Gordon, Wisconsin Population 176

Forrest Road

 I announced to a group of ladies at a dinner party that I was beyond excited to go to Wisconsin for vacation.

 I would be unplugging, away from news, tv, phone calls, work.

The kids had to play outside and create their own fun.

Declan by window

Make forts, swim, take walks, play in the forest.

I was amazed when one of the women said, “why would you want to do that?”

The thought of being so remote and having an electronic free zone seemed horrific to her.

 I’ll tell you why I was so excited.

Doc Shot

I had no idea what was going on in the world other than my own world.

I enjoyed talking to my family face to face instead of texting.

sunset feet

Each night I got to watch the sun set.

I enjoyed daily four mile walks with my sisters and Mom.

Wild Roses

We discovered wildflowers, followed animal tracks, walked through the woods, heard a symphony of bird songs.

We waved to and were waved back by every person who passed us.

They slowed down to 20 mph to let us pass (try that one in Los Angeles).

We saw a bear.

We made wonderful nightly meals and all sat down as a family to eat.

We drank some awesome wine.

We drank even more awesome beer.

Beer Chair

We saw more eagles than crows.

We saw more deer than people.

My 6-year-old now knows how to kyack.

Caroline Kayak

My daughter learned to fish.

We played for  hours in water  so clear you can see your feet and all the fish swimming around.

Clear Water

We drank tap water from the faucet.

It’s ice-cold, delicious and clean!

I did some canoeing.

Canoe

I listened to big, loud Midwest thunderstorms at night.

Powerful and majestic and perfect for sleeping.

View of Lake

When we woke up we made huge pots of coffee and sat on the screened in porch, surrounded by old pine trees and an amazing view of the lake and slowly embraced the day.

We went to a Lumber Jack show.

 I learned a lot about logging  and I got to see some super cute Lumber Jack’s.

Lumberjack

We ate at a local joint for a Friday Night Fish Fry,we drank beer, ate cheese curds, played Pac-Man (yup, the original version was still in working order).

Long Branch

No flash or frills, no one was dressed up, it was real, delicious and down home fun.

cheese curds

I felt American.

I know it sounds corny, but there were American flags all over the place and it wasn’t because of the 4th Holiday it was because the people of the small town communities we visited love their country.

It’s nice to be around and especially after the controversial verdict that has our nation divided and up in arms.

   I almost cried when I ate an iced chocolate raised donut because it was that good.

We played family charades and ate popcorn.

The sound of the Loons on the lake, eerie and beautiful.

I love the fact each year I can count on nothing changing.

Cabin Wall

The creak when you hit the second stair on the way down, the sauce pan that was struck by lighting, the elephant foot stool, the pheasant taxidermy on the mantle, the fireplace made from stones from the near by St. Croix river, the old faded map of Wisconsin, the porch swing.

They will all still be there, unchanged when we return.

Lighting Sauce Pan

Wisconsin Map

The memories I had as a kid will be the same memories my daughter will have.

Carrie 1972

 Carrie 1972

Caroline On Dock

Caroline 2013

It’s so nice that there is a place that stands still in time.

Gordon Forest

Standing still is not a bad thing.

Darbie & Sunny

I came home with a clear mind and a full heart.

Gordon

I whole heartily recommend going away to a place Like Gordon, Wisconsin.

Population 176.

And now I hope you understand why.

xoxo Carrie

Packing for the North Woods

Wisconsin MapI am counting the days before we head out of town for our annual trip to Wisconsin.

It’s a slice of heaven and the biggest decision of the day is whether we should have white or rose wine.

Brule river

I am starting a packing list and here are some things I won’t leave home without!

This tote is the bomb, you can turn it into a cooler, you can cram all your carry on stuff inside it, sturdy, with a lifetime warranty.  It’s the best.  If there is a rainy day we will drive an hour into Duluth and hit the store.

Duluth Pack Tote

Buy it here: Duluth Pack

My favorite pant of late is Current Elliott’s, “The Buddy Trouser” in Army Camo. I love the tapered leg and the Chino style.  The cotton is so soft and light weight that they work in the heat and keep me covered at night when the mosquitos come out to feast on my ankles.

currentelliott-army-army-camouflage-cotton-pants-product-1-7397352-919681397_large_card

Buy them here: Bloomingdale’s

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I am a sucker for some stripes.

My old and dearly loved St. James Sailor Shirt will be coming along again this year.

It’s old, a bit frayed, and gets better with each wash.

Perfect to throw on with shorts, jeans, skirts, sweats or over a swimming suit.

I’ve been known to wear it for days…..thank god we are amongst family.

st-james-shirt

Buy it here: St. James

Muriel Brandolini is a major style crush for me.

Her interiors and personal style are divine and I’ve been following her for years.

So a while back when I heard she was making hats, I had to run out and get one.  It shades the whole face which I love.  Personally I love a little tan, but I hate wrinkles more so it’s sun block city and the hat helps.

 I can’t find them in the stores anymore, but they pop up on Ebay every now and again.

Muriel Brandolini

 I bring a bunch of long Cover Up’s, my adult version of a onsie.   I sleep in them, canoe, cook and cocktail in my cover up’s. Here’s a super cute one I just got from J Crew.

Nili Lotan Beach Cover Up

Buy it here: J Crew

When I was last in Nantucket I bought a pair of these clogs from Brooke Boothe’s Nantucket Monogram.  My clogs are black with a hot pink monogram.  I can walk for miles in them they are so comfy, I throw them on like slippers. They are already in my suitcase.

Monogrammed Clogs

Buy them here: Nantucket Monogram

Make up usually does not come out of the case (unless we are doing a family Christmas Card) while I am in Wisconsin.  I do however, throw on some Rodin Lip Balm.  It provides a hint of tint and a great, long-lasting sheen.  It’s moisturizing too.

Rodin Lip Gloss

Buy it here: Barney’s

Gordon Porch Swing

A good read is a must, so I am taking my Book Group pick “The Interestings” on this trip.  I like to read printed hardcover books even though they take up packing space, it’s a must.  I like to read on the big porch swing, air breezing through the screened in porch.  It’s great, after a long day of swimming especially before dusk.

The Interestings

Buy it here: Amazon

Cousin forrest walk

We love to take long daily nature hikes through the forest and we’ll stop to eat wild blueberries, search for animal tracks (and occasionally run into some animals), look at all the beautiful wild flowers. It’s fun to do a little amateur birding on the walks and there happens to be an abundance of Bald Eagles.  Seeing one up close with binoculars is a sight to behold.  It’s also pretty cool to be lay down on the dock and watch them circle above.

LL Bean Field Binoculars

Buy them here: LL Bean

Birds of North America Book

Buy it here: Barnes and Noble

I also like to bring some of my favorite recipes.  One of the most fun things about the trip is cooking with my sisters. We sip (or chug if the kids are making us batty) wine, crank the music and grab some cooking utensils which we use as microphones while we prepare the evening meal.

I will be bringing recipes from my worn and torn Barefoot Contessa, Zuni Cafe, Mozza, and Sunday Suppers at Luques cookbooks.

Summer Salads

And board games!

Scrabble and a deck of cards are coming in my bag.  Jenny is bringing Mastermind and my Mom is bringing some oldies but goodies.  I also like a big, complicated jigsaw puzzle that we can work on all week long.

scrabble

I am so looking forward to unplugging in one of the country’s most beautiful places. Where nature thrives, firefly’s glow and my family reunites every year and creates memories for the next generation.

Northwoods Here we Come!

xoxo Carrie

Photos: www.123rf.com,  National Geographicwww.scrabble.com, all the others are from me.