A couple of weeks ago, we headed North to Alexandria, Minnesota, with my hubby’s family. We rented a wonderful lake house with a boat, playground, and killer lakefront view porch. We spent our time boating, fishing, eating, playing games after the kids were in bed, swimming, and site-seeing. It was a lovely way to spend a week in the summer!
We broke up the 7+ hour drive with a stop in Minneapolis, to see my sister, brother-in-law, and niece both times. A big backyard with a sandbox and a wading pool were a welcome view to my stir-crazy, stuck in the car, kids.
Upon arriving at the lake, all cousins immediately jumped on the boat, and proceeded to giggle and goof off. I absolutely love this image – it captures their silly attitudes and sheer joy at being on a boat, perfectly.
As it grew dark, the dads and kids went for a breathtaking (literally) swim. I opted to take photos, and wished I had brought my own wetsuit. I am a chicken when it comes to swimming in really cold water!
I was pretty excited to have this view for the next week, and settled right in to work on a watercolor painting that I had started a day before.
The next few days were filled with fishing, boating, and all things lake vacation. The kids had a blast playing with their new pets, err rather, bait – the minnows. All kids wanted to drive the boat every chance they could. I don’t think Eric liked sharing as much as he said he did…
We found some of the most beautiful biking scenery we’ve seen in a while, on the snowmobile trails that traverse the entire area. There was seriously no one on this trail with us, save for a strange encounter with one lone cyclist, I will spare you the details on that story. We saw snakes sunning themselves, sandhill cranes calling to one another, turkeys strutting across the trail, and wildflowers in bloom.
We biked from Alexandria to Osakis which proved to be a good find. We found a Scandinavian shop, Jacob’s Lefse Bakeri, that sold honest to goodness lefse – made in the back room! I was in heaven and bought a package to wolf down with the two older girls. We also decided on lunch in a small diner on the main street, which proved to be a blast from the past. I could almost hear my grandfather’s stories of the neighbors, and other gossip over the clink of coffee mugs, and lovely Minnesota accents.
We found a fabulous set of museums in Alexandria. Our favorite was the Maritime Museum, which housed quite the collection of Chris Crafts and other antique boats, an interesting Gyotaku (fish print) exhibit, and gardens outside.
We drove to Inspiration Peak and made the short hike to the top, only to find ourselves wading through ants, so we snapped a few pictures and headed back down quickly! The kids loved being able to see for miles and didn’t want to look at me for this picture.
It wasn’t all just boating and swimming time – we did do quite a bit of fishing.
These were two of my favorite views of the trip – oh how I love being on and near water.
On our last day, we found ourselves a petting zoo and pony rides in Osakis for their Osakis Days summer festival. The kids were beyond delighted to do a few laps around on Princess and Nugget.
On the last night, we used up leftover food and make kitchen sink nachos to go with brats, potatoes, and other sides. I absolutely loved sitting and eating meals on that porch, overlooking the water.
We enjoyed one last cloudy fishing outing before heading back to warmer Iowa and the work week (for the non-teachers). Lake time was exactly what we needed to kick off our summer vacation.