Tag Archives: Vacation

Up North: the series ::”Greens’ Point”:: Chetek

Long dock
Long dock

Because Wisconsin was calling my grandparents, they finally decided to purchase land and a cabin in the state. I don’t know how or why they chose Chetek, but I suspect it was because they had friends who had vacation homes there. Chetek is on the other side of Wisconsin from Arbor Vitae.

The house they bought was a tiny two-room cottage on a moderately large parcel of land along Ten Mile Lake. It had no indoor plumbing — at least no personal care kind of indoor plumbing. I think it may have had hot and cold running water in the kitchen.

They immediately began building an addition onto the house that was twice the size of the existing structure. It included a garage, a bedroom and a small bathroom.

I remember the house before the remodeling though. I remember using the outhouse and later the chemical toilet that must have sat in the corner of what became the dining room.

I can visualize the rooms of the cabin almost as clearly as I can visualize any room in my current house. If I were an artist, I could draw a perfect picture of my grandparents’ cottage. The living room had a huge picture window that looked out onto the lake. At one end of the living room, under a smallish window was a hide-a-bed sofa. In front of the picture window were my grandfather’s chair — a dark-golden easy-chair — and my grandmother’s plush rocking chair. In the corner, behind the door, was an old, low cupboard with sliding doors. Next to the door, on the right side as you looked at the door was a bookcase full of books. My grandfather was a reader and had boxes and boxes of books in the garage.

My grandmother's stove was similar to this
My grandmother's stove was similar to this

The kitchen was a tiny galley kitchen. It held a refrigerator, a sink, an island and a enameled cast-iron stove. The stove was the kind that could burn gas or wood and I vividly recall my grandmother putting wood and paper under the cast iron cook lids. I don’t know if she cooked anything on them, but it is possible she did. I think it was mainly used to heat the house.

My grandparents’ last name was Green. They called their vacation property “Greens’ Point”. When my grandfather retired, my grandparents moved to Chetek for good. Grandpa got a job in a local bar and played some golf. Grandma fished and visited with the few neighbors around.

I can’t count the number of times we visited Chetek, but enough that everything about it is vivid in my mind nearly 25 years after the last time I was there. I spent several weeks of many summers with my grandparents; and then just my grandmother after my grandfather died.

When my grandmother met John, she moved back to Illinois, but kept the house in Chetek. The last couple of times I went to Chetek, I was in my twenties. One time was shortly after I began dating my husband-to-be. It was great showing him where I’d spent so many happy days as a child and teenager.

Dean & Neal Juggling
Dean & Neal Juggling

The last time I visited Chetek was on our honeymoon. The fact that we brought some of our closest friends only made it better.

This summer I am determined to visit Chetek with my kids. We may not make it to the small house on Ten Mile Lake — that might be a little too painful, but we’ll see if the town is the same and maybe have lunch at the B&B Bar, which according to this website, still exisits or perhaps The Pokegma — one of my favorite restaurants from when I visited there. I used to love the pizza. Whatever we do, I know it will be bittersweet. It was such a huge factor in who I’ve become.

Ireland trip

We’re planning a trip to Ireland this summer. By we I mean ME. I’m responsible for all the details and am also the one my family will blame if the trip sucks. I spent much of yesterday and all of today looking at possible places to stay and places to visit. We’ll be gone just over 2 weeks and want to stay in two locations, central to cool things, but not necessarily in the middle of touristy towns.

I’d like to avoid big cities – although Andrew said he’d like to visit the Guinness brewery in Dublin. Clare is easy – she just wants to go to Ireland. Dean wants a chance to do some water related things and hike.

So far I’ve requested information from two cottages:

Sophie’s Cottage in Northern Ireland near Lough Erne

Bequia Holiday Home in Co. Clare

Unfortunately I’m at a standstill. I look at the map of Ireland and its like I’m at a restaurant  with a huge menu of foods I’ve always wanted to taste, but can only choose a few. Perhaps I need to decided where to go and what to do before I choose where to stay.

Any advice?

Back to normal

After three weeks of either vacation or house guests, our life is finally nearly normal again.

We left for Illinois on July 28 and visited with family in the Elgin area. My mother had been in the hospital with a severe case of pneumonia just prior to our visit, so things were a little unusual in that regard.

Then we headed to Wisconsin where we spent a week blissfully unconnected. No cell phone, no internet, only one channel on the television. The weather was perfect. It could not have been much better – perhaps a little longer. We went back to Elgin for more visiting. We even got a chance to see Wicked in Chicago.

We headed back to Maryland on Friday, August 10 and on August 11 welcomed three visitors from Japan. They remained with us for a week, and left this morning. While all of the experiences were really only minor changes, because they were in tandem, made for a bit more stress. While the visitors couldn’t have been less obtrusive, the mere fact we had to clean house, cook breakfast, a few dinners and some lunches and ferry them around the area was time-consuming and tiring. I got no work (for pay) done while they were here.

I’m glad we had the guests, but also glad to get our lives back to normal.