In the 1930s my dad's grandpa bought a cabin on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Canada. Manitoulin Island, located in the middle of Lake Huron (one of the Great Lakes), is the world’s largest freshwater island. Before moving to Alaska, my family and I lived in Wisconsin, and every summer we would embark on the 14-hour drive to the cabin and unwind for a week or two. There I would build forts, swim in the lake, and capture minnows, crawdads, and leeches (yuck, I know). I always had such a blast!
When we moved to Alaska, however, it was much harder to visit the cabin. About 10 years went by before I returned in 2013. So this past May, when my mom told me she was planning on going to the cabin this summer, I jumped at the opportunity to go too. Wouldn’t it be great if I met up with my best friend Megan and we went to the cabin together? And that’s exactly what we did.
A week after my birthday, I flew into Detroit, Michigan (about a 4-hour flight from Seattle) where I met up with Megan who flew in from Denver. We picked up our rental car, sweating in the 80-degree heat and 100% humidity, and started our drive to Canada. After 5 hours of driving, a 2-hour choppy ferry ride, and 30 more minutes of driving on the island while fighting a Dramamine-induced fog, we made it to my family’s rustic cabin. It felt so good to be there, with all of the familiar sights and smells.
Later that afternoon Megan and I went down to the crystal-clear lake and walked along the limestone rocks that line the shore. We kept our eyes peeled for leeches, but didn’t see any (thank goodness). The warm White Crow linen and cotton blend button-down shirt and DL1961 skinny jeans were the perfect items to wear on that chilly and cloudy day (and is the perfect outfit for most days back home in Southeast Alaska).
The first few days at the cabin were cloudy and rainy, so we made ourselves some tea, got the woodstove going, and decided to re-read the “Harry Potter” books. It was already becoming the perfect vacation! Then the sun came out, and my Southeast Alaskan-self was stoked to finally be getting some Vitamin D. Over the next few days we drove to one of the best sandy beaches on the island, went on a beautiful 5-mile hike up to some bluffs, and relaxed at the cabin, soaking up the sunshine.
One of my favorite evenings on our trip was when we had a small fire down by the lake and made S’mores. Megan and I took turns roasting marshmallows (concentrating intently on not burning them; it’s very serious business) and enjoyed the pink sunset. I was plenty warm in my cozy Ampersand Avenue double hoodie, listening to the crackling fire. We were definitely settling in to the quiet, cabin life on Manitoulin.
Before we knew it, our week at the cabin was coming to an end. So long to the Tim Horton’s French press coffee in the mornings, our intermittent reading of “Harry Potter,” our explorations around the island, and curling up with blankets and hot tea in the evenings. This trip not only made me reconnect with an important place from my childhood, but it also made me reset, bringing some fresh energy back home with me. It makes me think of a quote from Tom Stoppard, “If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.” Sometimes we all need to revisit those places that make you feel like a kid again. What places have that effect on you?
Written by Rachel Klein, of The Northern Current Blog
Meet Rachel, a small-town girl blogging about life in Alaska. Here you'll find posts about travel, food, home decor, and Alaskan adventures!
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Check out our latest collaboration, Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls! I made the sourdough here in Juneau, then sent it south on a float plane to Rachel, where she worked her magic to create some unbelievably delicious rolls!
Steyn, Paul. "Exploring the World’s Largest Freshwater Island." National Geographic Society (blogs). National Geographic, 01 May 2015. Web. 30 July 2017.
"Rolston Quarry Inc. - Home." Rolston Quarry Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2017.