Nap Time

Nap time: my definition: a child resting for a period of time during the mid-day hours, giving he/she (of course, only he’s at our home) some time to “recharge” the battery, if you will. While Mother’s simply watch soap operas, have a bubble bath, needlepoint or read magazine articles on “How to manage children and schedules of this generation” to recharge our batteries. I don’t remember doing this?!? Where did the time go? There is very little “naptime” going on at our home these days, Jake is 13, Jon is 9, Jack is 7, and Jens will be 4 this December. They are great boys and I truly delight in being their mother and a wife to Jay. Life could not be better.

Jens and Jonell, February 2006
Jens and Jonell, February 2006

Maplelag has been a busy place and we are wrapped up in the midst of it all. The boys have their areas in which they like to help and their talents are able to shine. The store is an outlet for me to design and display, I enjoy this very much. Each year, I do new things which keeps our guests as well as our family outfitted in new attire. I am currently working on the 2007 mug, I wait until I am hit with a lighting idea and run to the company with it to see if my thoughts are do-able. Sometimes they tell me, “can’t do that” but do their best to get me what I envisioned. The mug is different each year therefore proving that Maplelag is not “cookie cutter”. The Maplelag store carries, chapstick-on-a-rope for the skier, thermal mugs, and bumper stickers. We also have local harvested honey, maple syrup and coffee by Muskrat Coffee. I also have some jewelry made by local artists, guests of Maplelag, and even a kitchen staff gal, each piece is a one-of-a-kind. And now, for the drum roll……………………Yes, it is true, this holiday season we will have our first Maplelag cookbook for all to enjoy!! It has been a long time in the making but we hope you think it was well worth the wait and find it unique! Another area of Maplelag which consumes much of my time is wedding planning! I never would have guessed I would get to plan so many weddings! Maplelag truly receives the “cream of the crop” as far as guests and this goes for our wedding guests, as well. We have had great brides and grooms to work with and their families become a part of ours, after spending such a special weekend with us. We choose to offer a “wedding weekend” which provides the bride and groom, along with many of their family and friends an unforgettable reunion with a wedding bonus. We have had some long time, faithful, Maplelag guests as well as brand new guests choose Maplelag. So, if you are thinking of ‘tying the knot’ and looking for somewhere unique and out of the ordinary, consider Maplelag as your stress-free destination wedding.

Chirps from the Bird

As we continue with the finishing touches of the new lodge, we are very pleased with the function of the building. As Jim adds a new lunchbox to the collection and an antique sign goes up on the wall, memories of the old lodge return. Many repeat guests have commented on how the new lodge has the feel of the old lodge. (The location of the cookie jars the most important of course). We always strive to make everyone feel at home at Maplelag and will do everything we can to make the visit to Maplelag as memorable as possible. Probably the most surprising business avenue we have taken is the weddings that have occurred at Maplelag. The lodge has enough space to accommodate all the activities associated with a wedding. It is particularly fun when the majority of the guest stay at Maplelag. Everyone has a chance to relax and have more opportunity to visit with the bride and groom.

If you missed a visit to Maplelag this past year but kept up to speed with the newsletter, you read that Jonell and I were getting ready to add another person to the Maplelag family. Jens Niklas came right before the first winter storm of the year and he is truly a blessing. His older brothers love having him around (although I am not sure Jens feels the same all the time). I look forward to the day when they all grow up and we will have the trails groomed and the lawns mowed in record time!

The past summer has been the usual busy with the language camps and planning for the fall activities. We did quite a bit of work on the course for the Laddies Loppet weekend and feel the bike course is getting better every year. I still continue to race mountain bikes myself and had the opportunity to go to a National race in Idaho. Jake and Jon went along and enjoyed seeing the different types of mountain bikers.

With the leaves already showing hints of color, it won’t be long until fall is here and the snow will be falling.

Have a crisp fall and think snow.

Posters on Parade

Over the past five years, we have had three original Maplelag posters done by Fergus Falls artist, Charlie Beck. They have been absolutely fantastic and each one captures a different aspect of Maplelag. We are thrilled that he was willing to depart from his usual art forms to create these for us. And we have our fingers crossed that the muse will alight again and he can do a fourth for us.

Charlie is the wonderful artist who’s woodcut prints we have been showcased in the dining room of our lodge. We are honored that he has asked Maplelag to serve as gallery for his work. The prints certainly help to recreate the mood and feeling of the former Maplelag dining room. We also share an interest in duck and fish decoys and Charlie carves wonderful, sculptural shore birds and loons.

Many of you have asked where you can see and/or purchase his prints and decoys. Just give Joyce or Charlie a call at their home in Fergus Falls, MN, where his studio is located. Maybe you can catch them on your way to or from Maplelag or you can make an appointment. Charles and Joyce Beck, 529 Guttenberg Heights, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, (218) 736-3957.

Depot Project

We are still moving ahead with our depot project as we persevere in our quest for depot signs. I must admit it is harder, as we have checked out most of the old depots and less of them are turning up. We have made some wonderful friends along the way and we have been amazed at their wealth of knowledge. At last, we have some on display. Primarily in the library on the upper level and in the towers and there are also some in the lower walk out level.

For those of you who are not familiar with this project this is what I am trying to do: I have been taking pictures of old depots in the upper Midwest and the Prairie Provinces of Canada and researching their history. Whenever possible, I will purchase the depot signs of depots no longer in use. We will then have the signs on display and try to show how the towns fit into the various main and branch lines. I will also do a brief history of the town and try to find someone to write an interesting antidote about the town, as well. Any help that you can give us as to location of depots, signs, depot photos, photo depot postcards or any interesting railroad memorabilia is always welcome.

“What does this have to do with Maplelag and its role as a destination cross country ski resort?” Absolutely nothing! But, I think it makes Maplelag a more exciting place to visit and it gives you a hands-on approach to history. The small depot and the subsequent rail service was often the birth and death of many a small town. I know it has been interesting to guests who have been here and once you have been here yourself, I think that you will capture a little of the “depot fever”.

Laddie: 1983-1999

I know that all of you who knew our dog, Laddie, were saddened to hear that he passed away in the summer of ’99. As a registered Border Collie, he was bred for heart and courage as well as the working ability of herding sheep. He would put his herding instincts to use when going out with a group of skiers. During the summer, he would herd the campers, especially when they were playing volleyball or soccer. His heart and courage were apparent to everyone throughout the entire year. He was a very gentle, patient dog and especially good with children. The following sentiment, taken from a poster size card given to us by the Spanish campers, sums up our feelings quite well: “I am very sorry about Laddie. The good thing is, he lived a long and happy life.” Yes, he certainly did.