Stateside for the 4th of July

I spent this 4th of July weekend in northern Minnesota together with some of my graduate students. The holiday fell in the middle of the summer course I teach (and yes, we have class on both Sunday and on the 4th) so we made the most of our situation and enjoyed the hospitality of one of my amazing students and her lovely family. I thought this was a great opportunity to reflect on what makes summer cabin life so special in Minnesota lake country.

When we arrived at the cabin on Gull Lake, I quickly realized that there were some qualitative differences between our Cabin Rehabin’ property and this summer home. Can you find 5 differences between these cabins?

Cabin A

Cabin B

If you struggled to spot the differences,that’s understandable. Both A and B feature inviting ambience nestled in the woods.  But the similarities end there. Consider these two pictures of the proud cabin owners. In Cabin A we see Mary and Steve, the happy cabin dwellers, hosting friends and family for a weekend of fun. In the Cabin B picture we see another Steve, but this one is wielding a machete. While the Cabin B Steve looks happy, one might wonder whether he is able to enjoy his cabin retreat to the same extent as Mary and Steve?

Cabin A owners

Cabin B owner

I am looking forward to the day when that machete in his hand can be replaced by a martini.

Mary, Steve, and Steph (my student) were so gracious in hosting us. They put me up in the loveliest cabin guestroom, as seen here. They really capitalized on the feeling of the north woods through the use of warm woods and cozy lighting.

Now, thats what I call a guestroom!

We awoke to a glorious morning on Gull Lake. My student, Steph, summarized the summer cabin dream just perfectly with her adorable Happy Cabin’er shirt. This is how great she looked after an early morning stand-up-paddleboard voyage around the bay.

Ah, the beauty of the water! And when your feet get a bit sandy, they even had a handy-dandy foot washing station. Brilliant!

Foot washing station- pedal powered!



I love how warm and welcoming this space is. We had such fun gathered around the seating area playing games following the fireworks. Thank you to Mary, Steve and Stephanie for welcoming us to spend the 4th of July with you. You’ve given me inspiration to keep moving head so we can create our own special cabin dreams.

Next week- it’s back to Wisconsin where we will work to tame the mosquitos and realize my picnic table dreams.


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