MN Family Resort
Resort Life Means Good Times, Great Memories and Unforgettable Stories!
May 18, 2023
One of the most common questions we get asked is - what made you buy a resort? The answer is that it is because of a little boy with a dream. Here's the whole story - Enjoy! Brian
Sandcastles, Bonfires, Smores, Hot Dogs, Bobber Fishing, Tetherball, Canoes, Tilt-A-Whirl, Cards, Tubing, Charcoal Grilling, Fish Fries, Sandbar, Cabins, Paul Bunyan, Paddle Boats, Horseshoes, Arcade, Friends, Family AND Ice Cream … All the things that scream Summer at the Lake!
When I was five years old, my parents found an ad in the newspaper for a small five-cabin resort in Cass Lake. Little did we know then, but we had found our vacation spot.
For over 35 years, we journeyed from the south suburbs of the Twin Cities to Little Wolf Resort. Over the years, many changes have occurred, including four different owners. However, one thing that always stayed constant was the people and the enjoyment of getting away and being with nature.
Our family always had cabin #4, while a large farming family from central Illinois had the first three cabins and a rotating family in the fifth cabin. We became lifelong friends with the family from Illinois. We always booked for two weeks, as did the family from Illinois; one week was never enough time away for us. We looked forward to meeting up with our resort friends every year.
We would play games outside well past dark every day. Capture the flag and balloon fights that would go on for hours. One year we buried a treasure/time capsule in the beach area and created a map to the treasure we hid in the cabin to retrieve the following year. As a resort owner myself now, I always love when I find small things that people tuck away into spaces or behind pictures so they can see if they are still there the following year. As we grew up each year, the activities we did together changed, but our heart was still in that same place at the resort.
Summer Vacation Becomes a Tradition
During our first few years visiting the resort the owner was a retired sheriff. Even as little as a kid I was at the time I will never forget sitting down for spaghetti dinner on a rainy night when a raccoon (three-legged, of course) knocked over the trash can (yes, just like the Great Outdoors movie) and clawed its way up the screen hissing at us right by the kitchen table. The Sheriff approached him and blew him away with his pistol right off the window. A little shocking but also very fascinating to a little kid. My mom made the Sheriff a plate of spaghetti to take back to the lodge for the night as a thank you, as the constant picking up of the garbage the raccoons would do was to no end. Then, as we grew up, a new set of owners, Ralph and Karen, came along.
Every week they would have a potluck cookout so all the families could get to know each other. This was always a fun time as we already knew most of the people, but there would always be a new family we would get to know and new kids to join in our adventures. We were always at the resort in mid-late July, so the weeds would start coming up high. Ralph would enlist our help pulling weeds in the water off the boat ramp area to clean it up. In return, Karen would make us frozen pizzas and give us some worms, the best payment a kid could want. One day, we took our worms to the dock and caught a hundred perch.
They always went out of their way to ensure we had what we needed to make the most of our time at the resort. We always rented a motor from them that went with the traditional resort boat (we called them tin cans). Ralph would even offer to drop us off in his personal boat (much fancier than our tin can) on other lakes if we wanted to try another lake out.
As we were going through the purchase of our resort, my sister asked Ashley if she ever saw Ralph... not the actual person, but a clay statue I made of him in 3rd grade. My mom saved Ralph over the years, and he now sits in our lodge as a daily reminder of living out my lifelong dream of owning a resort and being able to help others create memories to last a lifetime.
Tom and Sandy have been the owners for over 20 years to Little Wolf. They spiffed up the resort and gave it a facelift by log siding all the cabins and cleaning up the grounds. I remember helping Tom bring fish guts out to the back of the woods for bear bait, a stinky job that must be done!
A few years back, when out trolling for walleyes, my brother got into a 44 inch muskie. As he reeled it in we all said, “oh my, that’s not going to fit in our net” (and probably some other chest beating words!). I guided the boat from snapping the line while my future brother-in-law fearlessly pulled out the beast with his bare hands, a true memory to last a lifetime! No matter how old you are, going to the lodge for ice cream is one of the best parts of being on vacation, and I enjoy seeing the excitement in my mom’s eyes when the idea is still brought up.
Even after purchasing our resort only 30 minutes away, my family still rents a cabin at Little Wolf. This is still our vacation place and holds many heart-filled memories for us that we can now pass on to our children. Resorting is truly about the people we can impact and the relationships developed along the way