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the log mansion

I posted some photos of our trip to Wisconsin on Facebook and my sister commented, “I would like to see pictures of the rest of the house! It looks so pretty!” Although I’ve spoken of the cabin and posted a few pictures before, today I will fulfill her wish and show you the whole thing.

One reason I call Jeff and Jen’s vacation home a log mansion is because it is drop-dead gorgeous. And the other is because my husband, Dave, grew up in a simple and modest vacation log cabin in northern Wisconsin. It was built by his dad, several years before Dave was born. Sadly it was sold in 1987. I stayed there one time, in 1986 when Dave and I were first dating. And next to it, J & J’s is truly a mansion – even Dave’s mom agrees!

The Hopkins’ cabin was originally without running water (there was only a hand pump), no inside bathroom – instead of an outhouse (as seen above from a 2007 photo, and NO, I never went in there!). No heat besides what the fireplace provided. And no electricity until the mid-1960s. Once the electricity was in, the pump became electric and a bathroom was added. But as Dave told me, “Even then, when we lost electricity due to storms, it could be out for days at a time. I remember one time it was out for at least 3 days. So we still had to revert to using the hand pump, and the outhouse, and that is why we kept the kerosene lamps and the gas refrigerator and stove.”

This photo of the Hopkins’ cabin was taken in 1955.

And this one was taken in 2007, the first summer we spent a week at Jeff and Jen’s. We drove over to show Marissa and Connor the mystical place their dad always told them about… “the cabin in the North Woods.”

Jeff and Dave became friends in college and Jeff would visit Dave during the summers. It was during that time that, he too, fell in love with the area. This summer, we not only spent our usual 4th of July week with our dear friends but also a second week with Dave’s family. One of Dave’s two brothers had the idea of having a family reunion in the North Woods and Dave asked Jeff if we could use his cabin to have it. Jeff and Jen graciously agreed.

Here are a couple of pictures of the old Hopkins’ family cabin today. Grandma Hopkins with the original bell by the front door.

Connor snapped a shot of Grandma Hopkins and her three sons; Dave, Tom, and Roger.

OK, enough of the history. Following are six summers of photos with our BFFs at their gorgeous Log Mansion and the wonderful times we’ve had together. Above – the exterior (front and back) and the kitchen.

Dining room. Kitchen looking into the great room. Screened-in porch. Standing in the great room looking toward the entry (kitchen to the left and stairs leading down to the basement on the right).

Great room showing stairs leading down to the basement and up to the loft and master bedroom. There are also two vanities so that the bathroom can be used by two people at once as well as storage for towels and toiletries.

Cute boys, another loft picture, and to the left is the door to “our” bedroom.

Nighttime eagle on the back deck and caribou on the fireplace in the great room (plus check out the beautiful ceiling!)

The two signs leading down to the basement are two of the small gifts of appreciation we’ve given to our beloved friends. The finishing of the basement is nearly finished – here is the beautiful new bath.

The living area of the new basement (plus there are two new bedrooms down here) and the patio off of the basement that leads down to the lake.

Top – 2008 and 2007 Bottom – 2011 and 2012.

Every summer that we come, there is something new. This year, it was not only the basement but also the new stone path and the cascading little creek running down the hill that you take that led you down to the lake. Last year, it was the putting green and pitching greens that Jen gave Jeff for his birthday. The hill from the house to the lake used to be a slippery dirt monster to climb, now it is a gorgeous area of stone, gravel, grass, plants, trickling water, and utter delight!

The bridge and shed that holds all the lake toys were put in two years ago and Dave helped Jeff lay the rocks in the “dry creek” under the bridge that summer.

Then there is the lake. If you want to get out on the water, there is no excuse not to do so! You may choose a paddle boat, one of two kayaks, a canoe, or a motor boat. You can be pulled by the boat on a 3-seat banana, or a tube, or on water skis… two skis or slalom. See, no excuses!

Fishing and canoeing over to the island that sits in the center of the lake to explore and to check out…

… the bald eagle’s nest that is in the trees on the island, every summer! Oh and here is a shot of downtown Minocqua, Wisconsin… although that has nothing to do with the lake… the photo was the right size to fit here.

Good times being pulled on the tube by the boat and a pretty dusk shot.

And of course, there is water skiing. Experts like Jeff above and Travis and Blake (slalom skiing) below.

And new skier, nine-year-old, Jack

Plus, the first-timer, Connor, is about to get up with the help and encouragement of Travis and Blake!

We go strawberry picking and then make strawberry shortcakes, strawberry pancakes, and strawberry daiquiris.

Jen had this painting done as a gift to Jeff. It shows the cabin and lake with the three boys doing what they loved to do at the ages they were when the picture was done – Travis jumping around in the water and swimming, Blake water skiing, and Jack frogging. Oh, how that boy loves his frogs!

And my two love helping him and then they somehow convince him to let the little frogs go and be FREE!

And there is golf. Not for Jen and me, but for the boys. Sometimes we’ll ride along and catch of glimpse of deer and we always catch more than a passing glimpse of food and drink!

Jen and I love cooking together and this year, Blake joined in and we made my famous carrot cake. I purchased a pack of food coloring at the store, but when we got home, we discovered that the yellow bottle was missing, so we have pink carrots instead of orange. Oh well, it still tasted great!

The best part is just being together, two families turned into one. 2007- Marissa and Jack go crazy with a package of stickers. 2010 – Marissa and Connor are missing this summer due to work and summer school, as we go canoeing along a nearby river. 2012 Fireworks on the 4th of July; Dave, Connor, Jeff, Jack, and Blake. Travis and Jen.

2009 – Out to lunch in downtown Minocqua and the gang all bunched together on the couch.

2007 – The five kids I love! Our first summer in the Log Mansion – before there was much furniture – notice the absence of a dining table in the background. 2010 – Our fabulous, generous, loving, and wonderful Jeff and Jen. We thank you and we love you!!! xoxoox

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1 Sloane { 07.24.12 at 12:33 PM }

Wow great post! No wonder you love going “Camping” there…that’s your type of camping!

2 Pat { 07.24.12 at 2:20 PM }

What great pictures! We sure had a great time. I thank you, thank you, thank you for all you did to make it so special for all the Hopkins that could make it. I wish more grandkids could have made it, but now they can check your blog & see what they missed. xoxoxoxo

3 jennifer markett { 11.14.12 at 9:14 AM }

aaahhhhh sweetie – I don’t know why I never saw this post until now – thank you so much for putting that together, I love you, I love your family and yes we are 2 families that have become 1!! That was amazing! and you made me cry!! xoxo

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