Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


It was a beautiful Labor Day Weekend.  It did rain but only part of the time.  This beautiful picture was shared with me by Jack Barden one of my favorite guest photographers.  Thanks Jack!


The Zaremba Family who own Blackwood cabin that we manage where soaking up the last rays of summer this weekend while enjoying their cabin


Paul and Danny determined to get the last jumps in off the raft for the season.  Paul was happy to have the diving board back this summer that way when Danny tries to push him off he has something to grab on to, to stay on the raft


Picnic lunch was enjoyed by he Voight family at the dock.  Roy and Gail where enjoying their 3rd trip up to the resort this summer.  Memorial Day, Labor Day and a week in the summer is the perfect prescription for summer time 


Adam and Samuel agree with their parents.   These two fishermen could be guides later in life.  They catch the most fish as a tandem duo with their dad Roy that I see all year.  Now it is time to get back to school


Speaking of school we had John and Joanne Baldwin stop in.  They had not been to the resort in 60 years.  John was in Maynard, my grandfather, health class back at York High School in Elmhust back in the 50’s.  John came to the resort in the 50’s with his parents.  John and Joanne became campers enjoying the Minocqua area with their family staying at campgrounds in the area ever since.  Joanne was a little tired of camping and John said I know the perfect place to go to.  They are enjoying a few days at the lake and reliving John’s memories of fun times at the Cliff and his favorite teacher, Maynard Black

Side note:  Our old bell you see in front of our house I get asked about a lot.  It is the train bell off Clifton Keith’s train back when he built the resort.  Clifton and Lulu used it as their dinner bell to call the family to dinner and we did too until cell phones made it easier to track down family members.  We still ring it once in awhile when someone’s phone is not with them.  If you hear 5 bangs of this bell watch the family come running to the house

Our remaining cabins open for the weekend of Sept 8th I have reduced to a 2 night minimum

Restawhile 2bdr, Norway 3bdr, Holiday and Red Pine 4 bdrs are all open for the Sept 8th weekend

We also have Kaubashine 3bdr open starting on Saturday the 8th.  I will do a special on Kaubashine for smaller groups up to 4 at 175/night Saturday and 155/night mid week.  Otherwise it is 195/night midweek and 245/night Saturday up to 7 people.  Kaubshine is open up to Sept 13th

I will also do a special on Wigwam open today until Sept 8th for small groups at 155/night mid week and 175/night for Friday up to 4.  Otherwise it is 175/night mid week and 210/night for Friday up to 6



With cooler temps it has been great napping week and time to spend with family winning a few pennies


Wine and horse racing along with a nap makes for relaxation


The pennies were flying out at the office 


Troy had to get busy making a few more games for the gift shop.  If you want one of  these they are 65 a great family and group game for all from 2 – 99


Keeping Troy busy making boards drilling out holes


It is a bit rainy for Labor Day Weekend but that makes people relax more I think as they sleep in later not in a hurry to rush out to the beach.  As quiet as this picture looks it is


Peeks of color are popping up all over the resort  Fall is just around the corner along with more naps and walks in the woods



As sunsets get earlier summer is coming to an end.  


The fawns in the woods are loosing their spots.  I caught these five deer along the road.  Three fawns and 2 does



Steve and his friend Darby got to work fixing the fire damage we had to Kaubashine a couple of weeks ago.  We were finally given the Ok from the insurance company to get started on repairs


Ta Da all fixed

Reminder to be careful with fires around the resort.  This was started by a grill one the wood porch


An even bigger sign of end of summer is the trailer and car loaded to take Grant to his Freshman and Ben to his Junior year at Saint Norbert in De Perl.  Everything fit and off they went after a summer of hard work at jobs both at the resort and in town


Good luck Grant!  


We stopped to see Jake and Michelle at their new apartment in Kaukana and meet their new additions to their family two cats with lots of personality.  They start their first year of teaching in a week.  We hope to see them returning a lot to the resort on weekends when they can.  They will be visiting a lot with Ben and Grant just 15 minutes away from them

Our availability opens up at the resort Monday Sept 3rd.  Give a call with dates to see what is open.  Cabins are filling fast for fall and we are starting to get winter calls as well


Beautiful Sunsets this week


The Wasson family shared this great picture of their mom Eileen water skiing at 85!  Awesome Eileen we all wish we could do this at 85.  Keep skiing!


Some other guys I know where more interested in being passengers in at the ski boat instead of skiing.  Troy and his college buddy Mike hanging out.  Mike always finds things to help with around the resort when he comes up.


Today it was helping Troy drain the water out of the pontoon boat and rescue a stranded pontoon boat out in the lake


But most of the time when Mike and his wife Kris are here this is what is going on…  


Mike’s daughter McKenzie showing her boyfriend Rueben the ins and outs of kayaking


Meanwhile Kris and I took a trip over to Katie’s house to take a ride on her horses.  Katie just added her 3rd horse the white one and needed to take them all out on the trail for the first time.  If you get a chance to head out to our local stables there is nothing like a horse ride through the woods.  Knowing Katie well enough to go riding with her is even better



Back at the resort it was all fun and games


If you sent an email in the last day or so please resend.  Our internet provider was down and I missed emails for a day and a half along with having our website down





Just chillin at the lake

Relaxation is the name of the game

A good book, cup of coffee, comfy rocking chair and a good book





Little bit of inspiration for creativity with the view


Or find the family and try out the new checker game at the office

There were some new checker players in the Eddy Family who caught the Checkers bug this week


We also had some adventure seekers The Ellis’s headed off with their good friend Brant to kayak the Manitowish River


But the best thing this week was just hanging on the dock.  Just ask the wildlife

Our other wild beach visitors shall remain a secret but it was fun to see one of them sneak out on a dock before being chased off with a fish in its mouth


It has been a beautiful warm week at the resort.  These early morning pictures where shared by Jennifer Lynn.  Thanks for sharing!




You can tell from the clothes lines that everyone has been enjoying the lake and warm temps


Lori and her daughter Dani Macomber have not been to the resort in a few years and this time came with Dani’s husband and their little girls.  Nice to see them all having fun back at the Cliff.  They wanted to do a big hello wave to Donna Pyfer


Another gathering of long time guests was happening in Bayview.  The Sweet/Lustig/Goldwyn crew wishes Mel and Diane Goldberg could have joined them but a lot of laughs and stories were told on Bayview’s porch


The fire was going for the 7th annual Wiederhoeft family campfire but the family was not ready yet.  I will catch them later in the week.  

Our fall reservation book is filling up fast.  Give a call if you would like to come up.  Christmas to New Years is wide open right now for most of the cabins give a call if you want to join us for when the snow flies


Regardless if it is raining outside or not, do not bring your grill up on to the wooden entrance porch and light it.  We almost lost Kaubashine this week to a fire.  A guest in the rain brought the grill up on the porch and grilled.  They where done and covered the grill and went inside to eat.  The grill coals left outside where not out and they smothered a hole through the wooden porch and started the side of the cabin on fire.  We luckily heard crackling of the cedar siding on fire from our house and came to investigate.  One more minute and we would have had a different story to tell of rebuilding cabin.  The fire melted the light, torched the siding and also the underneath of the overhang.  We will be working the next few weeks to repair the damage.  Thankfully nothing worse happened

This is just reminder to all to be careful of where you have grills, and making sure they are out.  Ashes from the fireplace can also pose a threat for fire.  Regardless if you think ashes are hot or cold if disposing of them we have metal garbage cans around the resort for ashes to go in.  Please think of this picture when grilling or enjoying fires around the resort


In other news around the resort after 18 years from when Norway was remodeled, the island outlet was never hooked up.  The Kurtz family asked about it and Steve went under the cabin and discovered for some reason it  was never finished.  Well it now works!   Yeah!


As usual there were a few trees to take down.  This balsam was dead and ready for fall on our LP gas tanks


Crash, bang, boom problem solved


Last week the Chu girls stopped in to collect the pop tabs the had been saved in the resort over the year.  Marin loaded up the back of the family mini van with tabs to go to the Ronald McDonald House.  Thanks to all who saved them.  Keep bringing them up when you come and the pile for next year will grow

Our family spent a week at a Ronald McDonald House when one of our boys had to have surgery few years ago and we will always be thankful to the help and support our family received from The Ronald McDonald House in Marshfield.  It is a an amazing organization for families


We had some very small feet on Emily that we needed to have water skis for this week.  Emily laughed and gave the smallest ones I set in the office as decoration a try.  They are Aqua Land skis from the 60’s I think.  Even though Emily did not get up on them it was fun to try


Grant took his first solo spin in the old red boat this week.  The boys have been busy working at their jobs earning money for college this summer and little time to ski.  It was time for them to have some fun at the lake.  Grant definitely got the bug for driving the boat and even drove his first family skier.  The boat passes to the next generation of drivers


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