Maybe we’re just not Cabin people

A group of family members are heading to the north woods this summer. I thought it might be fun to join them.  I’m not generally a “family style” vacation person but faced with a whole summer home with the kids, this seemed like my chance to have others watch them.  Kidding.  #NotKidding.

North woods in Chicago terms means anything north of Green Bay Wisconsin and in this case Hayward, WI.   Now, this isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to cabins and woods.    I have family who lives in the Upper Peninsula part of Michigan and have been going there most of my life.

Cabin Drinking

You know what changes from the time you’re a kid running around a cabin in the woods to the time you’re an adult booking that cabin?


A kid needs a bed and a lake.   Throw them a grilled cheese at lunchtime and you’ve just made their LIFE.

Now, I’m not a Diva when it comes to cabins but I need to feel like I’m not going to be axed and hung to dry or covered in bugs the whole time in the place we stay.

We start by looking at websites that list cabins to rent with our vision of cabin life in our heads.


One of these is the vision I was going for, one of these is listed as “COZY”

Photo from

Photo from

Photo from

Photo from


The top vision also happens to be listed as “$$$$” and the cozy is listed as “Save your kids, save your wife.”


Wise One

Wise One


Let’s move onto cabin descriptions.

“The fully equipped kitchen has all of the essentials:refrigerator,stove,and microwave.”

Did they list coffee pot?  No.  No they did not.

Rule one:  Do NOT assume there is anything else in the cabin other than what they list.  That includes electricity, running toilets, air conditioning, heat, television, cable, internet, and for the love of god a coffee pot.  The key information isn’t necessarily in what they DO tell you, it’s in what they don’t.

Especially when it comes to coffee pots.

fire alarm


If there aren’t pictures of the interior don’t do it.  Really.  We once booked a cabin sight unseen and once we opened the door it was….scary.

There were no interior doors.

The walls were a Hodgepodge of paneling, stucco, wallboard and in some places just hanging sheets, with spider webs keeping it all together.

We expected pine woods scent, what we got was “ freshly dead skinned fish”

The kitchen was like one of those Mystery Spot optical allusions where the whole room was tilted to the right.

And the furniture?  Let’s just say no one wants to die on 1960’s brown tweed couch with springs and couch guts sticking out all over.


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As we searched on we realized that we didn’t even consider lake criteria.  It wasn’t until we read reviews of “swimmers itch” that it came into radar.


 “Welcome to the North woods lakes, now itch your ass”

“No sand beach, just rocks that leave shards of dolomite in your feet when walked on”

“This beach had many leeches, it was a lot like wearing leech socks”

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I guess we could all wear flip flops for the rocks but there is no way I’m living itching my ass all week.

The more we see and read the more this sounds like possibly the worst idea we’ve ever had.

My ass thinks so too.