Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

The projects, chores, and life of a family-owned, Northern Wisconsin resort.


Unless you were a 24 inch fat northern, it was a great weekend to be at the resort.  The fishing was hot.  I have several groups sending me their fishing pictures.  All the fish were headed to the spawning beds from bluegills, bass,  northerns to crappie.  The elusive muskie was not far behind but I did not hear of any caught this weekend.  Everyone fishing went home happy


These guys are some of the happy fishermen who are sending me pictures.  They have been coming to the resort since the early 80’s every May and October.  Happy times with good friends and fish


I had to share Craig’s new improvement to our dock.  He installed a 9 foot bench.  I think the dock has a lot more leg room and the ability for folks to sit and talk better.  This will be the new hang out this summer.  The bench needs a coat of stain but other than that it is ready to go for summer


The last remaining projects are being completed as summer creeps closer.  Steve was determined to keep Donna Pyfer dry this summer and make her happy with a new roof on her porch.  Kaubashine’s roof has had a notorious leak over the swinging bed that had been patched and patched and patched some more.  Happily this is the last porch roof that needed shingles and Steve got it done this week.  No fears Donna, you can sleep on the swinging bed and listen to the rain with out being plopped on with rain drops


Painting, painting, painting…..


Can’t wait to see more and more folks out on the dock enjoying a sunset like Ben and Grant


Craig standing on his masterpiece

Steve wrote a diddy for the day

“Make a reservation to see the new dock in town, it is warm and has a sunny attitude and excellent lakeside manor”

So in the spirit of Steve’s inspiration I am offering a special this weekend.  We have 4 cabins left, Wigwam, Holiday, Red Pine and Blackwood

Come up and see the new dock, Wigwam and Holiday are reduced for up to 4 people to 145/night, 2 night minimum.

We also have a couple of nightly summer specials going on

June 6, 7, 8 and 9th Bear Den is open on special for 175/night for up to 4 people, 200/night up to 6 and 225/night up to 8

June 12th, 13th and 14th Shamrock is open on special for up to 4 people at 175/night, up to 6 people 235/night

I have a special 2 night opening on Birchwood August 4th and 5th that I am only announcing here on the blog.  It is 180/night. Give a call this will not stay open long.  I have someone leaving early due to work and I am renting out these 2 nights.

We are then booked up til August 19th


Absolutely beautiful this morning and warming up after a cold weekend.  Hopefully we have turned the corner on the cold stuff


The Lilies of the Valley are popping out.  They will be blooming soon with that amazing smell wafting off the hill


Troy and I took a walk down our trail across the road from the resort.  I wanted him to finally show me where the nymph in the swamp was.  Steve has been talking since fall about the nymph of the forest we left in the swamp for people to find.  Unfortunately he gave us no clues as to her location.  I am giving this one.  Look for the blue square on the tree above and follow the trail to find the lady


The tail takes you a short way to the nymph in the swamp


Interesting thing to find in the swamp….


On our way back the final, I hope, snow of the season was being caught in spider webs long the trail


If this was October I would think it much prettier than in May



Troy and I have been squirreling away pinecones the last couple of weeks.  They have been falling like crazy and we collected them before they got squished when folks come to the resort.  I will be selling bags of cones in the gift shop.  If you are a crafter that needs some stop by they will be much cheaper than the crazy prices I see on line for pine cones


The guys with Craig as the designer and master planner have been busy rebuilding out big swimming dock

Here is the beginning of it


Is it level?  No idea but the lake is still cold


First pallet going on


Opps time for the saw, needs a little trimming


I love it when a plan comes together.  Many hours thinking about the design of the dock while in Arizona this winter


Two sections in and all is going smooth


End of day one.  Three sections in and the boss is happy


The slide snuck in along with the rest of the blue dock in between sections.  The orange ladder also made it on, a carry over from the old white dock


Penny keeping her eye on Steve putting the raft in


Starting to look more and more like it should.


Still on speaking terms as the dock ends.  All is well and it looks great.  It does not jiggle like the old dock.  No more twerking a you walk down the dock


The last piece of the dock up for debate.  Bench is going on and the back is coming tomorrow. Questions is how long is the bench.  The general feeling is no longer than this.  Craig is contemplating extending the bench farther.  We shall see what tomorrow brings

Dock is looking good and ready for the next 50 years or more


Craig came back from Arizona this week and headed straight to the beach to begin working on assembling our new swimming dock.  The big white dock is being replaced.  Craig has spent a winter designing it in his head.


Each pallet is being hand built by him one board at a time


Rule at the resort this weekend was, if you are headed to the beach grab a board on your way down.  Charlie and Noah were earning dimes for the pinball game going back and forth.  Noah hit his personal high score and can’t wait to come back in July to beat it again.


Even if you are 18 and don’t want your picture taken, grab something on your way down the steps


Lots of work going on at the lake.  Raft being painted.  Ben claims this is the last time he is painting it as he will be in college next year.  He forgets about how much he will miss home and painting the raft and I bet he makes it back next year


Mom, stop making up stories about me and put the camera down.  Did you grab a board on your way down to the beach or just take pictures?


Ah but Ben, you will miss the cold lake and wadders…. I am sure of it


“No”, says Ben, “I will just do things smarter like right now and convince folks on vacation that it is fun to help do docks.  I have read Tom Sawyer and am inspired by the white picket fence story.”

Nathan’s comment from the shoreline “Hey Ben when you are smart and go to college you stay on the shoreline and help from there.  Who has the wadders on and who is on the shoreline”


But look who laughs last and is enjoying his nap.  Who needs college?



Many guests have taken the time to do the  Northwoods Zip Line in Minocqua.  The Ament family had not done it yet but it was on Jaimie’s Mother’s Day bucket list of things to do with the family.  Charlie and Noah were ready to go with mom.  Nathan and Jamie had  zip lined in Mexico and wanted to do it again but take the boys this time.  Northwoods Zip Line is 2 1/2 hours of 8 amazing zips with great guides along to get you through it.  After doing Mexico, Nathan and Jaimie where impressed with how much fun Minocqua’s was.  Well worth the money they said and Charlie and Noah agreed


Noah ready to do the first zip.  No fear!


The suspension bridges are one of the things I hear are more nerve racking than the zips.  I thought they were fun when our family did it.  Noah and Charlie were all smiles.  There are several bridges on the tour


In between zips still all smiles.  The guides took all the pictures and do a photo package for families.  The only thing is, the guides are too busy during the zips helping folks take off and land that they don’t get the mid zip pictures.  Take a look at the Northwoods Zip Line page for more pictures of folks in mid zip.


Jaimie, “I love the bridges…. I love the bridges….. Nathan are we having wine after this if I love the bridges?”


I can do it!


The end of an amazing afternoon with the family.  Thanks to Nathan and Jaimie and Noah and Charlie for sharing the great pictures of their amazing family adventure.  If you have not tried the Northwoods Zipline in Minocqua it is a must do.  The zipline is open year round.  I do not enjoy roller coasters, being dropped on water slides, going up on roofs, but the zipline with all its safety equipment I loved it as much as the Ament family.  You sit in the harness and off you go

The best part of the entire adventure is a long zip that takes you our over a lake.  The views are amazing!  By the time you do this last zip over the lake you are ready for it and it is a piece of cake


First for the pretty picture of the day.  Katie, my sister, took this picture of Clear Lake in Woodruff on the Raven Trail.  If you have not hiked the Raven Trail or stopped at the Clear Lake beach you are missing something.  I wish our beach was like the Clear Lake Beach.  Kudos to Katie for the great picture


Now on to Facelifts.  The fish house is getting a little TLC starting with brown paint.  Green will be next and then we shall see about the inside…..


The more major facelift was going on at Eagles Nest.  Since we had a nice warm spring and lots of calls due to the Travel Wisconsin video I thought it might be a good idea to see if we could get Eagles Nest up and running a little sooner than usual.  Eagles Nest is our last seasonal cabin that we have.  It is shut down in the late fall and becomes storage for stuff through the winter.  Most springs we empty it by mid May and are scrambling to get it ready for Memorial Day Weekend and don’t take the time to do any changes.  So this year I thought lets get it cleaned up early and ready to go…. that was the initial idea….  The guys started emptying the cabin and looking around at a few projects they have not had time to do the week before Memorial Day Weekend.  So out come the tools


Nope the cabin is not ready for me to start cleaning.  The guys were supposed to just empty the cabin and put the new couch in and turn on the water for me and the cleaning crew…  Well the new couch made it in…


Then this happened to the kitchen


All of a sudden there is carpet in the driveway.


New kitchen floor was the first thing to go in.  Missing picture is the guys also put the flooring as the bottom of the cupboards which really made them look nice


New carpet being tacked down


More sawing.  You know they are serious when the table saw gets moved on location


Now here is the thing that will make every person who has stayed in Eagles Nest cheer, SHELVES!  Steve got to thinking if he was staying in Eagles Nest there is no place to put your stuff and it bothered him.  Now there is!  Way to go Steve!  When Craig comes home this week a range hood and light will hopefully be installed.  It involves bunching a hole through the roof for a vent and Steve wanted Craig around for that in case things go bad.  No more little light over the stove.

Not pictured, Steve also planed and trimmed the french windows in the bedroom that have had a tough time closing the last couple of years.  Eagles Nest was built in the 60’s and things have shifted since it was built and the windows needed a little TLC.  Steve has always dreamed of tearing down Eagles Nest and building a year round cabin.  I keep telling him that people love Eagles Nest for its old cabin charm and to leave it alone.  We compromised on a facelift.  He has other plans for the cabin in the fall or next year.  He would love to take out the twin beds in the living room and install a gas fireplace and a big TV.  If you have feelings either way on this let us know.  It is in the planning stages.  Yes some year the cabin will get a screened in porch and swinging bed too.  This was a nice start for our compromise to make a few changes in the old cabin but keep its charm


The new kitchen floor.  The kitchen is really coming together and I love it!  Troy and Steve did a good job and spring cleaning of Eagles Nest is next week.  Eagles Nest is open May 15th to the 21st and then is booked til Sept 2nd.  It is open Sept 2nd and 3rd and then opens again Sept 10th – SEpt 22nd.  Sept 25th it is open until mid October when we shut it down again and maybe do some more work on it.  Give a call if interested in Eagles Nest.  For its privacy, private dock and rustic charm Eagles Nest next to Birchwood is the most sought after cabin during the season it is open.

Here are our remaining openings for summer.  I just posted a couple of early June specials and Birchwood opened June 8, 9 and 10  Call if interested.  We also have openings up to Memorial Weekend starting at 125/night

Memorial Day Weekend

Norway 3bdr and Bayview 2bdr open up to Saturday but are booked out Saturday

Red Pine 4 bdr 3night minimum 180 4 people, 255/night up to 6 people, 365/night up to 10

May 30th to June 3rd lots of cabins open at low spring rates starting at 125/night

June 8 – 14th the following nightly openings

Birchwood 2bdr June 8, 9 and 10th 455/ 3 nights.  This is our most popular 2bdr and will not stay open long

Bear Den 4bdr June 6, 7, 8 and 9th at 175/night up to 4 people, 200/night up to 6 or 225/night up to 8

Shamrock 3bdr June 11, 12, 13 and 14th at 175/night up to 4, 235/night 6 people 4 night minimum

August 19 – 26

Blackwood 2bdr 1425/week

August 26th – Sept 2nd

Restawhile 2bdr open starting August 27th.  895/week or 765/6 nights

Blackwood 2bdr opens starting August 26th at same rate as Restawhile week rental Friday to Friday

Shamrock and Wigwam 3bdrs 1125/week or 965/6 nights

Holiday 4bdr 6 nights August 27 – September 2nd 1200/6 nights

Red Pine and Bear Den open starting August 26th at 1595/week Friday to Friday

Labor Day Weekend

Blackwood 2bdr 175/night 3 night minimum

Bayview 2bdr opens on the 3rd 175/night 2 night minimum

Eagles Nest 2bd 175/night Sept  2, and 3rd

Shamrock and Wigwam 3bdrs 235/night 3 night minimum

Norway 3bdr opens on Saturday the 3rd at 255/night 2 night minimum

Kaubashine 3bdr 255/night 3 night minimum

Bear Den and Red Pine 4bdrs 365/night 3 night minimu



Sunset on Lower Kaubashine


This is a busy time of year for us getting all the projects done.  Steve power washed the totem poles to get them ready for staining and putting the top back on.  Bryon is working on repainting the top triangle


Blasting away the grime


Pontoon boat seats getting reupholstered.  Reupholstry, means one thing….. Laura and Don Quackenbush have come to visit.  They have been working on pontoon boat beautification the last couple of years


They just need a nice big cabin to work and out comes the sewing machine and the sewing shop is set up.


Mack posing with them with our new improved pontoon boat seats.  If you are in southern Wisconsin, especially in Lake Geneva, Quakenbush Upholstery is the place to call.  From little jobs to yachts, Don and Laura do a great job


Soon these chairs will be full for the summer, but til then we are scurrying around painting, cleaning and raking



The sun finally came out today after quite a few days of rain.


While it was raining we finally had time to finish off our maple syrup.  We came out with our biggest year of about 6 gallons of syrup.  At 32 to 1 ratio that is a lot of buckets of sap boiled down.  Finally all the cabin fridges are empty of stored sap in pots, bowls and pitchers.  It is all in these jars


Deer in the woods wondering when the rain would stop


Between rain drops I took the time to run over to Cedar falls to catch the fish spawning in the falls.  There were no muskie’s when I stopped just the red fins of the suckers


This rock was a popular spot for the suckers




Muskies next time


Penny was getting swimming lessons from Steve.  She was not thrilled with this new idea of ball retrieval


Katie sadly lost her black dog, Boone this winter from diabetes.  She stopped in to meet her new dog Kara.  Kara is in the back.  Her owner was in a bad accident and could no longer take care of her.  Katie adopted her as friend for Macy who has been missing Boone.  I have a new name for these two “The Australian Dingo Sisters”  They both have Australian Heeler in their mix.  Penny was not thrilled with them as they are both herding dogs and decided herding Penny was their mission.