Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Glorious Summer Day

Summer is in full swing right now. Today’s weather is just what you want. It must be in the 70’s with sunshine and a few puffy white clouds in the sky. There is a very small breeze from the northwest. The bugs are not here. We have been teasing Don Kufahl who runs the kitchen and dining room. It is Sunday and we are scheduled for the weekly outdoor barbeque. We are asking Don where the rain is? Sundays with an outdoor meal planned always seem to be rainy days. I was down at the lodge just a short time ago. The ribs on the smoker smelled wonderful.
The cabins are filled with families. One of the interesting family groupings we had this past week is several fathers with their children. I mean 8-12 year old children who go out fishing and seem to be having a great time. Last night in the dining room we also had two groups of fathers and young children who had been out on canoe trips. It is really great to see these young kids getting out on trips with their dads.
Last week’s weather was a little cool and rainy but we still had kids of all sizes in the water. All the kayaks and inflated tubes were out with small bodies learning to propel them. There is nothing more fun that watching a youngster get into one of the kayaks for the first time. They struggle learning how to paddle and then, suddenly, they just know how to do it. After that they can go anywhere. With everyone in life jackets, a parent’s job is reduced to lounging in a chair and soaking up the sun.
I have attached one picture of the kitchen in new Cabin #27 and the living room in new Cabin #26. We opened both cabin just last week. Not too bad considering that it was late October when the old ones burned. Reviews have been good from our first two parties. They both are heavily rented for the rest of the summer.
It looks like we are going be having a good summer. Reservations are up from last year. People from all over are eating in the bistro and dining room. More and more as I talk to people, I find many groups who don’t stay with here but make a point to stop for a meal every time they are on the Trail. It all works out very well for us. It’s good for the gift shop too.
Hopefully we will be seeing many of you at some time during the summer.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Full Steam Into June

Now that the Memorial Day weekend is over, we are all catching our breath. All the cabins were filled which kept us busy. The weather was great. People took advantage of it by canoeing, boating, fishing and horseback riding. Even the bugs cooperated by not being present.

I have had a rather fun project lately. Out 2 ½ year old grandson seems to like all the “boy toys.” So I have been writing him stories about Grandpa working with his bobcat or when the horses arrived at the stables this spring. The stories and pictures are transmitted via the internet but I have not had a chance to read them to him myself. That’s about to change. I printed out the pictures and text for the latest story and put it into a 3-ring binder. So I will get to read “Grandpa Goes Minnow Trapping” to him myself when we go visit. Just so you don’t get overly impressed, writing for a little boy consists of one or two sentences per page. I think any of you could do it.

The Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center has been pulling me away from Gunflint Lodge these past couple of weeks. There were two weeks when our design firm, Split Rock Studios, was installing all the exhibits. Now we are working on a three page checklist of things we are responsible for. Every day one more project gets finished. The projects range from cleaning to installing computers to touching up paint to bringing in custom made benches. As things get totally finished I can’t help but think about the literally hundreds of people who have worked on this over the last five years. The grand opening is July 4th.

The new cabins are getting closer and closer to being finished. The list of what needs to be finished is pretty short. It is a good thing because one of them is occupied June 9th and the other June 10th. Of course, we always get excited as new cabins come on line. Since 1968, every cabin but one has been replaced and two of them (#2 and #9) have been replaced twice.

Last week we baked bread on the new wood-fired oven on Friday and Sunday. Each time we seem to get a little better at it. Learning to control the fire and bake everything at the right temperature is a project. It is also an accomplishment to avoid burning one side of the bread. Our next step is to try some pizza which will appear once a week on the lunch menu. I don’t think we are up to throwing the dough in the air yet but it should taste good.