Sandy Points Blog

Watching the Kids Grow Up



My favorite thing about running Sandy Point Resort? Watching the kids grow up.

We are so fortunate to have many, many families return year after year. We've had generations come through this place and have had the delightful pleasure of watching children grow as well as the heartbreak of having grandparents pass on.


Each spring when we return to the Northwoods, one of the first things we do is mark the height of Willow and Camille on our wall.

You know that wall . . . the one with all the family's growth records.

We are always amazed to see at least three inches of winter growth (and equally dismayed at our relative osteoporosis downsizing).




And while we marvel at the growth of the kids checking in each Saturday, our guests are equally amazed at the changes in our own daughters. Many, in fact, remember the summer I was pregnant with Camille--who arrived smack dab in the middle of 1997 (July 15).

I can't help but remember the summer of her birth and what it was like making bunk beds with an extra 30 pounds of tummy.

Featured in our photos today are Lily from Appleton and Autumn and Amber from East Troy, all of whom we've known since birth. What wonderful childhood memories they'll have from their summers at Sandy Point.

And we, of course, will never forget them.






Hollywood Spoils Little Bohemia


We saw Public Enemies last week, our one venture to the movies all summer. It was the 7:00 show and the theater was packed. It was also filthy. Spilled popcorn and snack wrappers littered the floor and clearly, the high traffic for this show had taken its smelly toll.

This made me wonder: Can the Northwoods handle Hollywood success?

Public Enemies, starring Johhny Depp, was not a winner for me. I had hoped it would be more of an inside look at the life of the notorious gangster, John Dillinger—particularly because of the talents of the man portraying him. But no. It wasn’t much more than two hours of machine guns blasting. And because all the trench coats and “Cagney” hats looked the same, I had a hard time distinguishing which characters were the public enemies and which were the public servants.


In my uncomfortable seat, I spent most of my viewing time waiting for the scenes shot at Little Bohemia, a restaurant located in Manitowish Waters. I had eaten there many times prior to the release of the film on July 1, 2009, viewed the preserved bullet holes in the windows and read the yellowed newspaper articles about the shootout there in 1934. Last spring, “Little Bo’s” menu got an overhaul and I made the 45-minute drive there twice, just to eat the best walleye I’ve ever had in the Northwoods.


Being a resort owner, I am asked daily by our guests where they should go out to dinner. This year, without reservation, I have suggested they make the drive up to Little Bohemia, to experience the atmosphere and the fantastic food. I make the recommendation with such passion, that almost EVERYONE goes.

Last night, we took a visiting friend there, expecting a wonderful evening out. Unfortunately, Little Bohemia fell far short of our expectations.

First of all, our table wasn’t ready at our reservation time. And then, the surly hostess seated us right next to the constant swinging doors of the kitchen and the waiter’s station. We asked to be moved and it was as if we had asked for a free meal. They reluctantly moved us to a table across the room and then we were ignored. Wait and bus staff folded napkins and set tables all around us, but no waiter or waitress would even look in our direction. All the indifferent hostess had to say was, “Someone will be right with you,” and it would have been fine. But she couldn’t have cared less.

Finally, our waitress, who failed to give us her name OR smile, was highly unpleasant. The Coke’s were flat. Twice.  My salad tasted like Styrofoam and I was brought the wrong dressing. My daughter’s ‘medium rare’ steak was still “mooing” and had to be sent back.

The good news is that the walleye was still delicious. It was the best part of the experience—similar to Johnny Depp being the best part of Public Enemies.



My guess is Little Bohemia is experiencing mid-season burnout. The wait staff seems to resent their success more than they appreciate it. Clearly, they’re tired of the onslaught of tourists, and even though it wasn’t particularly crowded when we got there, they had no desire to act the role of accommodating public servants.

In spite of how much business we’ve sent them week after week, we didn’t mention it, nor did we expect any special treatment. Regardless, we certainly didn’t expect to be treated like public enemies. We ended up doing research for the concierge portion of our job.

So, this morning when asked where to go out to dinner, I recommended the families staying in two of our cabins skip the drive up to Manitowish Waters and instead go to Mama’s Supper Club. It’s close by and ALWAYS a winner.




Piper in the Pro Shop


Musician, Dave Graham, Illinois resident and Sandy Point Guest for the past seven summers, treated the resort today with his bagpipe show. Decked in a jaunty Scottish tam, this year he left the kilt behind and first played at the beach, where it was a bit windy. He brought the pipes up to the cabin area and when he played, a large group of disc golfers stopped in their tracks, held onto their discs for a moment and listened. Soon, putting practice took on a ceremonial feel.

Friday is always a busy day on the course and today was no exception. So, Dave brought his pipes into the pro shop and gave me a personal performance. "It's going to be a lot louder in here than it is outside," he warned as he stepped inside and filled his lungs with air and his pipes with music.

It was a true treat from one of the nicest guests we are lucky enough to see each summer at Sandy Point. Dave is also known as Dave "Catfish" Graham. He is a member of The Salt Creek Boys, probably best described as a folk rock band, and regularly performs in venues around the Chicago area. He not only plays the bagpipes, but also guitar and dulcimer. For more information about the Salt Creek Boys, visit their website at: Meanwhile, check out the Pro Shop Performance:





Sushi in the Northwoods? Moo!

Last week and for the past 20 years, anytime anyone mentioned “sushi” in the Northwoods, the word that most frequently followed was “bait.” It was similar to the asking the question,“Farms in Berkeley?” (the place from which we came) and hearing the answer, “Moo!” *

Being major sushi aficionados when we first moved here from Northern California, it wasn’t unusual for us to travel as far as Appleton or Madison with a cooler full of ice in order to transport a to-go package to fulfill our constant cravings for this raw fish, Japanese delicacy.


But that has changed. In the year 2009, sushi has finally found its way to the Island City of Minocqua,Wisconsin. We went there for the first time last Sunday and three days later, tonight, we went back. Yes, it’s a regular hamachi, unagi, maguro, caterpillar roll, dragon roll, white tuna, salmon, miso soup and edamame dinner. And, it’s fabulous.

The first time we were there it was odd eating something other than fried food, steak or grilled walleye here in the Northwoods. But not tonight. Tonight we sat right next to the Main Street window and watched the tourist show walk by. Meanwhile, every 10 minutes we saw someone we knew either dining at or passing by the restaurant—disc golf season pass holders, resort guests, even fans of my books.

So, when sushi hits a small town it tastes even more familiar.

Dōmo arigatō to the proprietors of Kobe Sushi, 519 Oneida Street, Minocqua, WI • 715-358-7983. We highly recommend it.



* Berkeley Farms, a dairy company based in Northern California once used the slogan: “Farms in Berkeley? Moo!”





False Summer’s First Sunflower


We haven’t seen the sun in four—count them 1, 2, 3, 4 days. And now, appropriately on SUNday, at last we have been graced by the light and warmth of this all-powerful orb. The sun makes an amazing difference in the life of a resort owner.

Last week with all its drab gray skies and low temps, our guests were mostly cabin bound. Each day as we ran through the beach area, it was foggy and serene . . . and deserted. We’re not sure what everyone was doing—no one came to rent a single movie or even put quarters in our famous Coke machine. From the unbelievable trash load we hauled away from the cabins, they were definitely consuming. And several were consuming an awfully large number of download megabytes, maxing out our satellite service and rendering us inoperable every other day.

I ask, how can one run a business—especially an ebay business—without the Internet?




Which brings me back to focusing on the simpler things, like Mother Nature. In spite of the weather, I enjoyed every minute of my time outside. Not only do I have the opportunity to run with my husband on our beautiful disc golf course, I’m working with our daughters (Willow with soccer and Camille with volleyball) to get and/or keep them in shape for their upcoming seasons. I also have the opportunity to walk through my False Sunflower garden each time I step out the front door.

These prolific yellow flowers are typically mid summer bloomers, but without much sun to rise up to, they’ve been holding tight inside their buds. Until one day, just last week, POP! Hello first False Sunflower of the Season.

Now I wonder if we’ll have a real summer from this day forward. Soccer and volleyball are fun, but we miss swimming and skiing.



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VLSI Behavioral Synthesis