Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Northwoods Vacation and August Cocktail

Sunset on Eagle Lake
We decided to end our summer by (finally) going on a vacation. My aunt and uncle own a cabin on Eagle Lake "up north" here in Minnesota. My dad's family has been vacationing on the same lake since my dad was a kid. Over 50 years! Even I have been going to same lake since I was little. My husband and I got engaged at Eagle Lake! There is a lot of history there. I remember how my parents, aunts and uncles would talk about someday actually buying some property on the lake. My Aunt Jackie and Uncle David finally made that a reality about six years ago. They bought just about the very last piece of land on Eagle lake and built a cozy cabin. Family and friends have a standing invitation to stay during the summer. We can't afford to do much for our vacations, so having a cabin to go to is perfect for us.

Stanley sleeping on the porch
David and Jackie are the consummate hosts and we are truly spoiled when we stay there. When we go there, we go to relax. We sleep in (if the dogs let us), eat lots of great food, enjoy happy hours and great conversation. I bring a stack of magazines and books and spend hours reading on the screened-in porch.

Me & my little walleye
We like to going fishing, and sometimes actually catch fish. I don't like to bait my hook or even touch the fish I catch, but my uncle happily does it for me. I just like to sit there in the boat and wait for a sharp tug, then take all the credit for that night's dinner. This year I caught a little walleye and Bryan caught a nice Northern. The bulk of the dinner came from the big Northern David caught, though! You can see in the photo, I won't even touch my little fish. I don't know why, I have no problem touching raw fish to cook, but if it's still alive - ewwwww!

Strawberry goat cheese salad
I like to help my Aunt and Uncle make dinner. This year we had some wonderful meals. The first night we were there we had a traditional Iowa meal: pork chops, corn on the cob, beets and a strawberry goat cheese salad. The next night we had grilled hamburgers and roasted potatoes.

Jackie's blueberry pie
The day we caught our fish, we had the fish for dinner, fresh out of the lake. David seasons and grills it and it is delicious. There were bones to deal with, but it's worth it. I taught Jackie about quinoa and how to cook it. I just made up a pilaf recipe with ingredients we had the cabin. Our last night was grilled chicken, asparagus and baked potatoes. Jackie made a delicious blueberry pie for dessert and no stay at the cabin is complete without S'mores.

Of course, I also try to find some time to walk around with my camera and take some photos. It is so beautiful and scenic and I'm always so inspired to capture it. There is so many beautiful trees and wildflowers. The sunlight streaming through the trees is ethereal. I enjoyed exercising in the woods, hiking up hills and jogging next to the lake. If I only had such motivation to get me exercising all year round!

We went for several boat rides in the evening and saw some amazing wildlife. We saw two bald eagles really close to each other. It's pretty awesome seeing just one bald eagle, let alone two at once! We also saw herons and of course, loons. I love loons and one of my most favorite sounds is hearing them sing in the mornings.

Eagle Lake is near a small town called Park Rapids, which has a really cute downtown area. They have lots of neat gift shops and candy stores. I really enjoy the art stores and looking at the creations that local artists have made. This year I even bought a necklace created by a local artist.

My uncle David makes some great cocktails. He makes the best cosmopolitans, using top-notch ingredients. Here is his recipe (my August Cocktail of the month):

David's Cosmos

1/4 jigger Chambord (a raspberry liqueur)
1 jigger Grey Goose Vodka
3/4 jigger cranberry or pomegranate juice
1/2 jigger Grand Marnier (an orange liqueur)
1/2 jigger Rose's Lime Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a slice of lime, if desired. Serves one.

This sums our summer vacation. It was a beautiful, relaxing time for us and we are sad to be home.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures, Diane! It looks like you had a good time at the lake, the Blueberry Pie looks great! We just came back from the Northwoods a few weeks ago, we go every summer to Sugar Camp (North of Wisconsin). Love it up there... so beatiful and it's a great change for us since we are in South FL.