Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

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A very fun filled afternoon at the beach started out peacefully with happy people and unicorns.


Then they started talking and wondering what to do….


It started with 3 boats.  Black Family Boat Wars 2018 got under way


Boats circled and went in for firing.  Number one rule in boat wars is no bailing of your boat and all members of the boat must remain in the boat


And the war started.  Brother against brother, cousin against cousin against 2nd cousin and a few friends thrown in


First casualty was Ben’s boat with Conner and Ali


Down they went with the ship.  That left the Bluegill led by Grant and Seaweed led by Quinton


It was close but Quinton’s boat with Emily and Max went down first and after they bailed out they sunk the last remaining boat


Grant as the captain went down with the ship the last person standing

A successful family bonding 


The foggy August mornings have returned



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The muskie list at Hilltop has grown over the summer with some nice fish caught


I spent a very busy week at two days of craft fairs in Mercer at Loon Days and Minocqua at After Loondelight


Meanwhile back at the resort everyone was relaxing.  The Thompson family held their own horse racing night at the picnic table by Muskie.  I hear the kids were the big winners and had lots of pennies to turn into dimes for the pinball game


The Darling Family enjoying a cool evening by the fire

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I have eaten Blue Cheese hamburgers from one end of the Northwoods to another.  I have decided to rate Lakeside grills Blue Cheese burger hands down the best in the Northwoods.  From its fresh bun to its caramelized onions with the Blue Cheese it is delightful after a busy week

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It has been a wonderful family week at the resort.  Lots of fun being had by generations of families

I caught a lot of grandparents enjoying time with their grandkids this week. 

Jim Michael went past me with his beach hat on and yellow swim raft heading to the beach where his grand daughters were.  I talked him into posing for a picture with his floatie and hat.  He could not have a bigger smile on his face headed to the beach for his favorite week of the year


Jackie Thompson enjoying her 2nd summer as a grandma with her cute grand daughter Ellie

Jackie usually is sitting on the dock enjoying the sun and a book.  As soon as Ellie arrived she happily headed to the beach to enjoy building sandcastles with Ellie.


One of my favorite grandparents at the resort is Jean and Howard Berchtold. They spend 2 weeks at the resort with their family and one week by themselves.  Jean and Howard have more grandkids than I can keep track of and great grandkids. Spending time with them at the lake and getting them to help grandma and grandpa to understand their iPhones and iPads is what they enjoy. The whole Berchtold family only needs to hear their is a game going on and they are there and Jean and Howard are always game to join in.  Jean was winning pennies in the horse racing game and heading off with more than she came with


Gina her daughter inlay was not far behind in the winnings.  The more wine the more they were having fun cheering on the horses in our weekly horse racing evening


Lots of fun was had by all from grandparents, parents, inlaws, outlaws, kids, and friends

The rule this week is have fun with your family no excuses.  If you need more pennies see grandma Jean 


We added in a game of Werewolf this week.  The 18 – 22 year olds in the resort have been playing a form of this game called Mafia for the last few years.  Our boys introduced us to the game last winter.  It is a great campfire game for groups.  Black’s Cliff has been invaded by werewolves…..  all must gather and figure out who the werewolves are before the devour the entire resort…  play if you dare…..  you may or may not survive…


We had 18 playing on a cold rainy afternoon at the resort   Nick was our moderator leading the voting of who was the werewolves.   Grandpa Berchtold was our Seer but was eaten quickly by the werewolves…


Lots of laughs and discussions of who could have left Grandpa Berchtold dead by the lake… little did they know the werewolves were some of the innocent looking people above.  Even if a kid looks innocent can they be trusted?

Best quote of the day

Lindsay Stoddard to her Sister Arden:  Arden I think you are a werewolf. 

Arden Stoddard back to her sister:  Lindsay if I was a werewolf you would have been dead 2 turns ago.  I am not a werewolf


We had our own family time spending a week with all three of our boys home.  Time to have a campfire.

Good times at the resort for all


While everyone was having fun at the beach

Jake and Michelle came home for a week and wanted a project to work on

We always have a project to work on. 6 cedar chairs and 2 cedar swings needed to be assembled

After year of marriage this is good project for any married couple to try together


At first they started out working on their separate chairs.  Jake had a small advantage with having worked on these before


Michelle was not to be out done.  


Ok maybe putting the seat on wrong might have gotten to her..

After this they found working together was much better


First stage done, 6 chairs assembled and we still like each other


Did you read the directions?  


Directions who needs directions?


Ok did you find the direction diagram? 


Getting there.  Michelle’s idea to use the wheel barrow as a table to assemble

All going smoother


We did it!  Now on to year two of our marriage adventure



It is beach time!


Everyone is grabbing their float and friend and having fun


First big trip out to the raft


Only in Wisconsin, chasing down a run away rainbow unicorn in a kayak


Touching worms and baiting your sons hook so he will clear the swimming area of hungry blue gills who like to nibble on mom’s toes


Finding some shade and telling some fish tales


Or finding your happy place in the sun that you have been dreaming about for 50 weeks since last vacation

It is beach time!


Our favorite chef of Washington DC, Mark Tempel, stopped in to do a little cooking on the playground.  

On the menu with all the kids at the resort was Candy Sushi


Mark had every kid in the resort checking out how to make Candy Sushi


Starting with a pan of Rice Krispies and Fruit Roll Ups he got started


Some people like Charles were more interested in the tasting part of the event


Beautiful cut up sushi with Swedish Fish and Gummy Worms


Lots of laughs and candy making


A whole plate of sushi that was much more edible to the kids than the real thing


Yep lots of tasting going on


Thanks Mark for a fun afternoon on the playground!


The beautiful lazy days of summer mornings have arrived with a light fog on the lake and a warm summer morning


Work comes first.  Zoe and Bella delivering fresh shower curtains to the cabins like rock stars


Then comes the playing.  We headed out for a night of the theatre at Tommy O’s Playhouse to see The Beverly Hill Billies.  

It was a fun play. Granny rocked the house


A little fun behind the old red boat skiing around the lake


Then leaving time happens and it is time to take a little of the Northwoods home with.

Rick and Martha Riley and their daughter Megan welcomed Patricia to their family this year.  They adopted her from Hungry. No adoption is complete without an awesome Christmas stocking.  Patricia picked out a snowman stocking.  

Now to find a golden retriever puppy to make their family complete.  

Congrats Riley Family!



We are not sure what guests are having more fun with this summer the return of the diving board or..


Swimming out and bouncing on the water trampoline.  

I do know it is easier to get on the raft than it is to get on the water tramp


Then there are some who make up their own fun when no one is looking


We have had a busy week keeping up with family and friends at the resort

The final sunset on a great week at the resort


No vacation is complete without a picture in the driveway

See you all in another 350 days

Heres to Family and Friends and time spent at the lake

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4th of July means one thing.  Time to pole dance with the horse shoes

We have done this tournament for almost 30 years.  It was renamed the Roy Tungett Memorial Horseshoe Tournament 3 years ago when we lost Mr T.  It is faithfully attended by all in  his honor and toasts are made to Roy


The newbie this year was Steve throwing his first shoes.


No Steve you were the visitor not home….. and out in the first round


Also out in the 1st round was Katie, who made the mistake of not having a Hilltop drink before playing.  She was a little stiff from not practicing the offseason.  


Someone else though did have a Hilltop Pain Killer before the first match


One Pain Killer and a good partner, Rich, and we ended game 1 with a 3 point ringer and one point shoe


By the 2nd and 3rd game which require a half a Pain Killer each and good music Rich and I hit our stride and where pole dancing with the shoes


We ended game three the same as game one.  We were on a roll


The crowd watching the matches also required a few Pain Killers and Kaubashine Koolers


One more match against Grace and Chris Moran and on to the Championships


Rich had to present to Chris his award.  Every year it seems Rich takes Chris out of the tournament…. and once again it happened….  Rich presented him a gift certificate for Charlies Ice Cream for getting licked again.  There is always next year Chris!


In the end it was Sarah and Paul in 2nd place and…… drum roll please….


Yep good music and a couple of Hilltop Pain Killers and you can be a whiner too


Cook Out after to celebrate

Happy 4th everyone! and a toast to Mr Tungett