Northwoods, WI


Something I've learned about myself in my "late" 20s is that I don't take enough time to relax. I say yes to too many opportunities and end up stressing myself out.

This became extremely evident when, on the first night at my friend Jordan's cabin, I passed out around 9 p.m. and slept for about 13 hours. And as much as I needed that sleep, I also needed a carefree weekend up north with good people.

My friends Diana, Jordan, Mark, Monica, and I (and Jordan's parents) spent 4th of July weekend soaking up all Stone Lake has to offer. There's something about spending a weekend on a lake, with friends, that has the most powerful healing powers.

Parts of the weekend that made my heart full:

  1. Stopping in Eau Claire on the drive up with Diana.

  2. Listening to so many crime podcasts.

  3. Eating at Acoustic Cafe, which reminded me of college.

  4. Visiting a cute shop called Tangled Up in Hue (and having a mini-celebration because it was next door).

  5. Driving down Brackett Avenue listening to Brackett, WI and stopping at the Bon Iver mural.

  6. Finding our way to the cabin without GPS for the last 30 minutes of the drive.

  7. Being handed a beer almost immediately upon arrival.

  8. Riding a blow-up rainbow horse with Jordan.

  9. Bijou the pupper.

  10. Mini-golfing without a scorecard.

  11. Stand-up paddle boarding and not falling at all!

  12. Pirate's Booty ice cream.

  13. Playing hammerschlagen.

  14. Listening to Pop 2K on the radio, singing along to songs from middle and high school.

  15. Swimming in the lake, drinking margaritas on the raft.

  16. Reese's Cup s'mores.

  17. Riding on a pontoon boat.

  18. Eating ribs for dinner that had been cooked for four hours.

  19. Northwoods sunsets.

  20. Exploring Copper Falls State Park (separate blog post here).

  21. Stepping on a firework and having Jordan's mom go into full-on "mom mode" to help me feel better.

  22. Reading on the deck every morning while sipping coffee.

  23. 'Yaking.

  24. Driving a car with air conditioning.

  25. Relaxing and laughing with best friends.

Throughout the weekend I somehow managed to take 620 photographs. I'm not sure how or when that happened, but I'm going to let them tell the rest of the story now:

The Drive

The Cabin/Town

The Lake

Saying "yes" isn't always the best. I overbook and overstress myself. I end up denying myself time to relax and recharge. But in this case, I'm so glad I said yes. The weekend was cathartic and whimsical and, most importantly, renewing.