A Northwoods Celebration

The only thing Eric wanted to do for his birthday was go camping in Wisconsin's Northwoods at Lake Metonga - a place where he spent plenty of time in his youth and, therefore, has that magical "no place on Earth is better than this" essence of nostalgia. So, we took a long weekend and headed up there last Thursday for some fun and celebration in the Great Outdoors.

The campgrounds are just about 45 minutes away from Eric's hometown, so his mom and brother were also able to join in on the fun all weekend! Aside from the addition of their great company, we also took advantage of the fact that they had a pop-up camper. Let me tell you, this little princess appreciates a nice mattress when going camping, so it was an extremely welcome upgrade from staying in a tiny tent with no extra padding all weekend.

While at the campgrounds, we did all your typical campy-type stuff.
We made fires.

Played games.

Went swimming.

Ate food.

OK.... we ate a lot of food.

And washed all that food down with delicious beer.

We were worried about the weather, as the forecast called for chance of storms pretty much all weekend long, but aside from a light hour-long sprinkle Saturday mid-morning, luckily it stayed fairly clear! Which meant only one thing to Eric: WE COULD GO MOUNTAIN BIKING!
On his actual birthday, Eric went to Nicolet-Roche, which is considered one of the best mountain-bike trails in the state. He was giddy like a schoolboy to go, and because this is a pretty technical trail, I stayed behind. Eric went on his beloved trail and I opted to go for a 9.5-mile run while he was gone.

However, on Friday morning, we went to a trail that was a little more on my level of mountain-bike experience.

We made a couple loops around the Ed's Lake Trail Friday morning, which was definitely fun. I hadn't been mountain biking in well over a year, so I had some rust to shake off, but by the second lap I was feeling a lot more confident in handling my bike through the roots and rock gardens.

Obviously, Eric's a little more talented on a bike than I am.

Not all of our weekend was spent out in  he wilderness, however. After our mountain-bike adventure, we headed into town to get supplies (read: beer) for the rest of the weekend.

Town = Crandon, Wisconsin. A thriving metropolis I'm pretty sure is going to get Internet access any day now...

And Jak's Bake Shop might soon be able to afford to pay real, actual employees!
(Sidenote: Apparently there's a photo of Little Eric as a child at this exact same spot doing this exact same pose. Only he had to reach much higher to shake Jak's hand back then...)

While Eric went in to get freshly-baked buns and cookies from Jak, I decided to pay a visit to Mrs. McGillicuddy.

After receiving some "health and beauty aids," Eric and I went into actual town and grabbed some coffee at Tricia's Treasures.

And took our (Peanut Butter Crunch-flavored!!!) coffee down the block to an adorable little shop, 2nd Chance Antiques.
I was bowled over with just how much this shop had. Its furniture especially impressed me, and I found so much that I wished I could take home! And for an antique shop, the prices were fairly reasonable.

 I know I posted about our new dining table last week, but is it too late to trade it in for this awesomely-rustic table in teal??

This place was so shabby chic without even trying - The Northwoods' version of Anthropologie. 

Although I've never walked into an Anthropologie and seen one of these:

Let alone two of these.

After sadly walking out of the store with nothing, we returned to camp to carry on with the birthday celebration.

As night fell, we all decided we'd done the whole "sit around the campfire until we all become zombies staring at the flames" thing, and Eric had an itch to test his birthday luck at the nearby Mole Lake Casino.

I was excited - this was my first trip to a casino in my life! In my mind, the question wasn't if I'd walk away with any money, but if the pile of money I'd win would be enough to cover a new speedboat. 

And, surprise! My winnings were enough for a new speed boat!!!

.....If that speedboat were free.

Booooo.... I didn't win one measly cent. However, I also didn't lose any money - I was playing with $20 in promotional money, so no skin off my back. Besides, they were serving 20-cent Leinenkugel's Red at the casino bar, so in my mind I totally came out on top!

But at least the birthday boy managed to go up $2. We were really rolling in cash, so we decided to leave while so incredibly ahead.

The weekend was just packed with enough activity to keep everyone entertained, but free enough to stay relaxed, carefree and able to enjoy our time outdoors and away from the city. I'm glad Eric was able to ring in his 31st year exactly the way he wanted - even if it did cost me about 27 separate mosquito bites in three days.

And so concludes the barrage of posts about Eric and his 31st birthday. Just wait until mine rolls around next spring.... Don't worry, I'll give you plenty of advanced warning!

Gratuitous chest-hair shot. Ewww.....


  1. Ha! We were just in a couple of those places including Tricia's Treasures and the Mole Lake Casino. And, much like you, we didn't win a cent!

  2. No way! I hope you didn't spill hot coffee all over you at Tricia's like I did :(

    First, we go to Bayfield around the same time, then Crandon? We're on the same getaway schedule!

  3. Oh this is exciting. No one knows about Crandon. My family has a cottage on Lake Lucerne and I'm there every year.


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