Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Late Fall/Early Winters at Gunflint Lodge

Hello Everyone,

Halloween around here is a little different than what I imagine it to be like in a city. Up here parents call ahead a couple of days and ask if you will be participating in the trick or treating this year. Then, assuming you will be participating, give you approximate times that they will stopping by. This year we had 4 Trick-O-Treaters all come at once. The kids had great costumes. We still bought way too much candy and when the first kid reached in for the candy he asked if he could get a second handful. Without thinking I cautioned him that I needed to make sure there was enough candy (I bought 3 bags of candy two weeks ago to prepare for the evening). Only after the first child withdrew his hand did I think fast enough to encourage him to go back for seconds because after all there were only 4 kids.

A friend of the family moved into a new neighborhood and he was told to prepare for 1,000 kids to show up. He ended up only having 500 show up. When I heard those numbers I was thinking holey cow. That is a lot of kids. Maybe that is normal, but I couldn't imagine having 50 kids much less 500 show up. I know it is part of the difference between living in the country versus living in the city but that is a lot of kids.

This time of the year we are required to tell stories of past Halloweens and it always needs to be mentioned that in 1991 we got 31 inches of snow on Halloween night. That snow ended up staying with us until April or May when winter finally released it's grip. This year we did get snow. In fact it was enough snow that earlier in the day, while I was on a hike to mid-cliffs, I could hardly see across the lake. John Silliman, our Head Naturalist, was with me and we both were thinking how nice it would be to have a 100 inches of snow this winter.

Growing up Dad used to tell the guests that we got between 100 and 110 inches of snow every winter. I don't know if he was exaggerating or not, but all of the people I know who have been up here for 20 years or more confirm that we used to get significantly more snow "back in the day".

The easiest way I can relate is that when I first went deer hunting we wore all of our winter clothes and added an orange hunting jacket on top. We definitely wore our winter boots and winter gloves. We always had snow on the ground (plus that made it easier for first time hunters to track a deer we shot). This year, like last year, there is no snow on the ground. Some of the puddles on the ski trails are covered in thin layers of ice, but no permanent snow yet.

Now that we have finished our Fall Food and Wine Weekend we have been working hard to prepare for the fast arriving winter months. We just finished our first Fall Work Weekend. Guests work with us from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM to do some of the fall chores. Then we cook a big late afternoon meal for them to enjoy. Next weekend is our second Fall Work Weekend and we have a long list of projects to get accomplished.

In between the Fall Work Weekends we are busy planning the Thanksgiving Buffet. Unlike the wine weekend we don't get to practice this a couple of times prior to the event. This year's buffet will still have some of the classics like Roasted Turkey, Smoked Ham, and Buffalo. One year we took off the Buffalo because we thought it would be nice to try something different. That was a big mistake and the guests made us promise that it would be back on the menu for the next year. So now we are busy planning the sides, salads, breads, desserts, and vegetables to go with the main courses.

If you are thinking of booking a reservation with us for Thanksgiving please call soon as we only have 4 cabins remaining. I just talked to John Silliman about what events he is planning over Thanksgiving weekend and he assured me that there would be lots of crafts like candle making, and birch bark the usual assortment of hikes and night hikes. He commented that the night hikes during this time of the year are some of his favorite times to go out on them.

Speaking of birch bark bookmarks that reminded me of our Books in the Woods event in March. We have locked in Brian Freeman as one of our authors. I am going to purchase one of them soon and as soon as I am finished reading it I'll write a review. I believe he has a new book called "Stalked" coming out in February so it might be a book he is reading from.

New this year we are planning on offering a day pass for visitors from the local community who want to participate in the event. As we get closer if you live in the area and would like to participate give us a call so we can get you into the readings.

Well that is about it. I'll try to post more again in the next couple of days. Since I missed the early Vikings/Chargers game I might cut out of work early to catch the Patriots/Colts game. Based upon the online game summaries it sounds like the Vikings rooking running back Adrian Peterson was amazing in the second half of the game. I can't wait to see the highlights on ESPN.

I hope you had a good weekend.


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