Ten Things We’re Grateful for This Year

Thanksgiving is here, and we have been sauntering the resort grounds—of which are very empty and desolate this time of year—reminiscing about the incredible year we had up here at Sugar Lake. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that connecting with such awesome people is our job. Granted, there are some challenges, and we get flustered just like anyone else, but at the end of the day, we are so very thankful to be able to do what we do.
SO, we wrote a list of 10 things we’re most grateful for this year!

1. That Sweet, Sweet, Northern Minnesota Summer Weather

The weather this summer was a real gem. Do you know how we know this without being meteorologists? Because as we look back on our social posts, 90% of them are focused around how much we loved the sunshine, the late-night paddle boarding on a calm lake, and the welcomed breeze when we simply couldn’t handle anything above 78.9 degrees because we are VERY Minnesotan. Even the weather this fall has been a dream. We are so lucky to live in this Northwoods environment—wouldn’t trade it for the world, even in the dead of winter.

2. People Saying, “I Do” With Us

Honestly, picking a wedding venue and planning a party full of people you (generally) like the most in your life is a really big deal. We don’t take this kind of decision lightly, as we totally understand and have been in that very situation ourselves (some longer ago than others…coughcough Gwynne and Fred coughcough). We love love and we love to see your love (this is the worst sentence ever written, but you get the point!) Congratulations to all of you newlyweds, we are so honored to have been a part of your special day. Time to plan a Sugar Lake anniversary party! It’s a thing, trust me.

3. Groups Experiencing the Leadership Center

The Leadership Center at Sugar Lake Lodge has been a work in progress for a few years now, and we are SO proud to be where we’re at today with our incredible team of facilitators and events. We’ve hosted everything from large corporate leadership retreats, to small experiential workshops, to participants changing their lives, and others through the L3 program spearheaded by our partners at the Prouty Project and Chef Marshall O’Brien. We saw people challenge themselves on the ropes course and welcomed a new facilitator who specializes in leadership through improv (he’s hilarious). We have some big things coming in 2019, and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve got in store!

4. The Ever-Constant Clarity of Siseebakwet (Sugar) Lake

What would our gratitude list be without calling out our MVP, our pride and joy, our precious, more-beautiful-than-a-brand-new-car, Sugar Lake? DID YOU KNOW that Sugar Lake provides 26 FEET of water clarity? It is literally one of the cleanest, clearest lakes in all of Minnesota. The high concentration of calcium carbonate in the water that offers natural protection from acid rain, has been rumored to provide healing properties (Ojibwe tribes believed there was magic in the water) and produces that beautiful Caribbean/aquamarine color. Honestly, someone called us “the Mediterranean of the Midwest”, and we simply can’t let it go. Little Sugar, located just to the southwest of the main lake, lacks the brilliant color but is FULL of fish! What’s that? You want more SUGAR LAKE facts? Comin’ right up…

Crown Jewel of the Northland: “Ziinzibaakwad”

  • Lake Type: Natural freshwater lake
  • Surface Area: 1,500 acres
  • Shoreline Length: 8 miles
  • Normal Elevation: 1,329 feet
  • Minimum Elevation: 1,328 feet
  • Maximum Elevation: 1,330 feet
  • Average Depth: 44 feet
  • Maximum Depth: 105 feet
  • Water Clarity: 26 feet
  • Trophic State: Oligotrophic
  • Fish Species: Walleye, Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, Pike, Crappie, Bluegill, Sunfish, Perch, and Yellow Perch
  • History: First lake in Minnesota to have a lake owners’ association and the first lake with restricted waterfront deeds
  • Ojibwe Spelling: Ziinzibaakwad

More Fun Facts Here: https://www.lakelubbers.com/siseebakwet-lake-1702/

5. Loons

Not much else here… just a big loon fan.

6. Golf Groups

This year, we had a large number of golf groups return for their own unique golf tournaments and general weekend debauchery. Between the matching shirts, the hoards of hot dogs, the lake jumpers, and the lost room keys we found about 20 feet off shore, it’s a wonder why everyone doesn’t plan their own golf getaway with their friends?! We love to see returning groups (looking at you, 20+ years in a row, Sannes & Steichin/Guts n Glory groups!), and we can’t wait to plan next year’s rounds (don’t miss out—contact us and let’s get planning).

7. Making People Happy for a Quarter of a Century

Technically, 2019 marks our (official) 25th year of operation! Holy Sh(oo)t! Can you believe it? We’re 25 years old! That means we’re old enough to do things like rent a car, quit our jobs and move to Thailand with our new boyfriends, live out of a van…I don’t know, what else do 25-year-olds do? Open a credit card? Anyway, we’re heading into our quarter-life crisis, so we suggest you prepare yourselves emotionally. Much like 25-year-olds, we’re figuring out our unique qualities (like: poutine, sailing, an above-average handicap, and peanut butter s’mores) and becoming comfortable in our own skin. We went through a few rounds of accommodation updates, and we got a LOT of good feedback, enough to keep ‘em coming! Like a fine, young professional… we’re learning to walk away from the water cooler and take on some unique opportunities. Are you sick of the 25-year-old metaphors yet? Well saddle up, because it’s not even December…

8. Our Fabtastic (you read that right) Employees

FABTASTIC = fabulous + fantastic and that hardly begins to even describe our incredible Sugar Lake family. From our friendly front desk staff, to our hardworking housekeepers, we are ever grateful for a staff that understands our why; providing a true north experience unlike any other. A lot of our staff is seasonal, as they work from Memorial Day to Labor Day and leave us for the winter like a long-distance relationship, which we are clearly quick to be dramatic about. A great example of our employee depth: Heidi, our fearless chef extraordinaire, has been with us for 20 YEARS this summer! She makes the world’s best eggs and the most beautiful yogurt parfaits. How did we get so lucky?

9. New Ways to Enjoy Sugar Lake

This year, we took a gamble and made all of our activities more specialized and catered toward something we hold very dear: quality family time together. We sought out the best people to run our activities and boy, did they deliver. Sue Wolfe taught us how to not suck at pickleball, Doug Lien helped fix our slice, the adorable group of boat boys & girls made our guests cry-laugh on the tube, Casey played the banjo by the fire, and the one-and-only John Latimer taught us about trees and flowers and everything in between. We also got our Namaste on with lakeside yoga and the wonderful ladies of Center Yoga lead the way. Among so many others—these activities proved to be a real game changer this summer.

A special shout out to the athletes, volunteers, and race directors for the Timberman Triathlon—easily one of our favorite weekends of the year. Someone teach us how to swim, it’s very scary.

10. Guests Who Make Our Work Worthwhile

Last but CERTAINLY not least, our guests are the best. It’s a fact. We would love to relentlessly sing their praises (which we do ALL THE TIME, AND WE WILL SHOUT ABOUT IT OVER AND OVER AND OV…) We will leave you with this: You, our beloved guest, are the lifeblood of our business, and we couldn’t do it without you. Thanking for choosing quality over quantity, personal over impersonal, and family-run over corporate-fueled. We know you could go ANYWHERE you like in the precious summer months, and we couldn’t be more grateful that you continue to choose us. Thanks for being a part of our Sugar Lake family.