I had the true joy of meeting Abby Heistad at the Adventure North Retreat this past September, and we're so thrilled she's sharing her experience of the weekend on the blog! This go-getter gal has a big heart, big ambitions, big passion for the Northwoods and will be one to watch in the coming years. Thanks for being you, Abby!
Leaves begin to change, and the temperature starts to drop. The endless summer feelings don't quite leave you in mid-September though. As I drove up the driveway to Alderwood Resort in Manitowish Waters, WI, I found myself embarking on a weekend of adventure in the Northwoods.
Warm greetings from the hosts lit up contagious smiles as all of us anxiously awaited our first adventure to Bartling's Cranberries across the road. With wines from across the nation in our hands and an array of Wisconsin made cheeses to go along, the ice was broken, and laughter rang out across the bog as we all learned a bit more about the incredible cranberry harvesting process. Each picking up a Stormy Kromer hat, every lady shared a smile from ear-to-ear as we had the fun of posing for Alysa Meinke of Alysa Rene Photography.
Shortly after leaving the bog, we joined at the main lodge for a "Fiesta on the Lake" while enjoying the beautiful warm evening around a crackling fire. Don't worry, we didn't forget to roast a few North Mallow marshmallows while learning more about one another. Laughter and cozy cabin blankets warmed us up as we sat chatting for several hours.
Rise and Shine! 6:30 a.m. rolled in and I decided to enjoy the sunrise with Katherine Gramann, owner of Lake Effect Co., sipping on a cup of steamy Ruby coffee listening to the thunder roll in the distance. Seeing how it was one of the last opportunities to get in the water for a swim before the weather turned far too cold, we slipped into our suits for a quick dip and enjoyed the water while we could…. a whole 10 minutes!
Soon throwing on our cozies, we met the rest of the ladies for a wonderful breakfast at the main lodge. Yogurt, fruit, fantastic Danishes and pastries from Fika Bakery along with more Ruby Roasters coffee made for the perfect breakfast. "Coffee clinks" as Meredith would say, were a blast as we continued our conversations from the night before. Before we knew it, the time had come to get crafty! Hand lettering and faux calligraphy are a passion of Meredith's that she's turned into a thriving business, Tiny Bits of Happiness. What was to be a short workshop took on an exciting and fun few hours as the ladies enjoyed it so much.
A Bloody Mary Bar Brunch, sourced from across the state of Wisconsin, left us full and content as we kicked off our afternoon. Many of the ladies ventured outdoors, enjoying the water and hiking in what turned out to be a perfect summer/fall day. We all gathered again on a pontoon ride around the Manitowish Chain before heading to the Blue Bayou Inn for dinner. An elaborate meal consisting of several courses filled our tummies before heading back on a moonlit cruise to our cabins. I personally chose the most incredible steak and potatoes and a cranberry Moscow Mule. Along in the choices for dinner were Shrimp and Grits, and a Cajun Jambalaya. In the Northwoods, this place has been seen as a gem for their exquisite flavors and entertainment throughout the evenings. It's a must to experience in Manitowish! A mellow, starry evening ride back to our cabins in the pontoon ended an amazing day.
After brightly waking up again at 6:30 a.m., I headed down to the pier to catch a morning sunrise and drink coffee while starting to write down some thought on the entire weekend. I felt an overwhelming gratitude for being able to participate with so many incredible women from across Wisconsin and Michigan. Each unique and vibrant in their work and lives. I also came to the realization of my inner peace and tranquility that was overflowing from this Northwoods Immersion weekend. Already planning another trip north, I was certain I would someday love to call an area up north home. Being in Stevens Point is amazing, but my heart feels at home where the trees become more plentiful than the houses.
Shortly before 8:00 a.m. I was gathered with the group at the main lodge for another fantastic feast of pastries, fruit, yogurt, and celebration of Elizabeth's birthday. We joined on the grass by the water for yoga sun salutations and our last "hoorah" as a group. Brunch ended our Adventure North experience. Coming in as individuals, we left as if we'd known one another for ages; truly a blossoming friend-filled trip.
Adventuring north meant travel, exploring and experiencing the Northwoods of Wisconsin. It also meant we would create an intersection for women to become friends for years to come. Learning about the flourishing businesses in the Manitowish Waters area and the great state of Wisconsin completed the circle our hosts created.
Thanksgiving and praise to the ladies who shared such an incredible event opportunity, Elizabeth, Becca and Katherine. Northerly Collective and Lake Effect Co. hosted a Northwoods inspired event leaving women captivated by the beauty of the land and people they were able to encounter while on their trip.