Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

I found a few interesting things on Ebay over the years plus our own archives of old pics. I thought I would share a few

The main entrance with the old gate. Love the old car. I believe that is my grandparents dog Skipper. There have always been resort dogs at the resort

The gate and its location changed in the late 1990’s. The old sign you see hangs on the perch today going up the beach steps. This sign location is 50 feet further in the resort than it is today. In the late 90’s the town straightened the road and moved it giving us an extra 50 feet and our gate moved to its present location. It was carved and created by Katie’s husband Bryon who maintains it to this day

This is the standing by Bayview looking towards Wigwam and Birchwood. Muskie did not make the pic. Driveway is not much different Trees in the pic still stand today

This is a rarely seen pic postcard of the playground. Horse swinging still standing. Our tree house did not get built until the late 70’s

I found this gem on eBay a couple of weeks ago. It dates back to the Keith’. It is a newly built Restawhile. I miss those old french windows but not cleaning them

Not sure what year but somewhere from mid 20’s to 1945 when Keith’s owned the resort. Restawhile is the last cabin they built. Holiday and Norway were built by my grandfather Maynard when he bought the resort

The old Holiday with its tiny porch. Missing from pic is the outhouse behind the cabin shared with Norway. Holiday had a single sized swinging bed. I think that white door is still out in our storage shed

The original Norway

Back in the day, Norway was a deluxe cabin, cutting edge. The old windows in the picture are not the windows into my gift shop

The small end table by the window and chair and the dining room table and benches are in the cabin to this day.

I might get corrected on this but I am pretty sure this is also a pic of Restawhile based on the steps going in the porch but it might also be Wildflower

Wigwam. The cabin retains a lot of its original look today

This is a pic I found on Ebay going back to the Keith’s. It shows how little trees we had back in the day. They had all been logged off by the Yawkey company

I do love this old doc pic. The beach and wall did not come in until the 50’s

Guessing this is somewhere in the 50’s before the dock changed to a L Notice the old beach chairs. Those chairs can still be found hanging around with way to many coats of paint on them

Moving forward to I think the mid 70’s.

Hope you enjoyed a trip back in time. Things change but also remain the same

Currently we have openings up to June 8th and starting August 10th. Check out our website or call for details on what is open. Need a trip before summer? I have a special going on for Shamrock through much of spring at Birchwood’s rate for groups up to 4 (if asked nicely I will extend it to 5 people but blog readers)

Steve invited one of his heroes to go for a walk in the woods with him. John Bates is well known regional actor and has been featured on public radio and tv in Wisconsin. He writes about the natural world and places in Wisconsin. He has written several guides on how to find and enjoy Wisconsin wild lakes, old growth forests and about our seasons. Steve and John went for a walk in our woods. John loved our trails and diversity of our land from the different tree types and bog. Steve had a great time can you tell from his smile

We are going to feature John’s books in our shop. They are great reads and great guides. John’s wife Mary Burns is an amazing weaver and artist in her own right. She has written a weaving book we also will be featuring in our shop.

Steve has already taken John’s info from this book and visited an old growth forest in Three Lakes

Great reads for sitting on the porch or swinging in a swinging bed

Talking about seasons and the natural world the maple trees are staring and we have tapped about 3/4 or our trees. We are in the middle of a nice run of maple sap.

We have started the long job of cooking the sap down. These pots will spend 4 – 5 weeks on our wood stove percolating and boiling off the water in the maple sap. We hope to have 2 to 5 gallons of sap by the end of the maple season. How long is the season? How many runs will we get….. each year is different

In other news of making things, we bought a new sock machine this week. My helper, requested a new machine after using my 1920’s finicky machines for several years. So a new machine from Missouri arrived. It is a Truknit. Truknits are a new machine just on the market. This is machine number 192. Can’t wait to see everything it creates

If you have never seen the machine I use here it is. This also was new 9 years ago by Erlbacher/Gearhart that I hooked up to bike pedals. I now have machine envy looking at the Truknit but there are no pedals on the Truknit

Guests have been still enjoying what winter we have on ice. The skating continues to be good. Melting and freezing actually make for great ice conditions

Oogie welcoming an ice fisherman off the ice

Good day on ice

We continue to hope for snow but enjoying what winter we have.

I had these great pics shared with me by the Duerst family from this past weekend

Their kids had a great time at the lake enjoying the Northwoods and time with family

4 months from now it will be a kid sitting in the same spot in a swim suit.

That is a smile of happiness on ice

It was fun!

Cabins open this weekend if you need some fun like this. I put Shamrock on special for the rest of the month

Muskie 4 bdr just opened June 8 – 15th if anyone wants some summer fun. We rarely get summer openings in Muskie so grab it before it fills

After that we are booked out till August 9th

August 9th – 16th Bear Den 4 bdrr

August 16 – 23 Bear Den and Red Pine 4 bdrs open

Wigwam 3 bdr and Eagles Nest 2 bdr open August 17 – 24th

We had a fun weekend with our youngest son, Grant and his fiancĂ© Bex welcoming their new buddy, Moose. Bex decided to surprise Grant with Moose at the resort this weekend. They had been considering him for the past 2 weeks, Grant just did not know he would be welcoming him at our front door Saturday morning. Moose is a rescue from Foster and Fetch in Wausau the same rescue, Purl came from. Moose was surrendered by an Amish breeder at 6 weeks because of a birth defect with his eye. Puppies should be with their moms till 8 weeks. Moose was fostered by Purl’s foster mom, Maggie. Her female golden gave Moose lots of love and he adjusted well. He had his eye surgery this week and was ready for Bex and Grant. When Maggie picked him up he was in a legal puppy mill, living in a yurt with 38 other dogs in crates. Please, please, please do your research when buying a puppy and beware of any puppies from the Amish. Puppy mills are horrible and legal in Wisconsin because of our lax laws

Moose is a happy ending and will be spoiled for the rest of his life. He is a cute bugger and we can’t wait for more visits from him and his humans

Oogie and Purl checking him out

Moose trying to help out with the kids playing tetherball this weekend. He was quickly learning what a golden’s life is at the resort. When he visits he will fit right in

Purl and Oogie wanted a pic since Moose was getting all the attention this weekend

Many have missed our County Plumbing poems in the bathrooms. Steve had taken them down with the intention of sprucing them up a bit and new frames. After many requests from guests we got them back

How many can recite this poem from memory. If you have forgotten a few lines, you can refresh your mind with each flush

We love winter and can’t wait for it to return for a few more weeks!

Oogie would like everyone to know it is cold out. Purl would not leave the house so it was a hike with Oogie this morning

Our trails in the morning sunlight are stunning

The views and varied terrain, I think we are beginning to be just as nice as many of the trails in the area. Who needs to leave the resort! We atleast have the best trails in Hazelhurst and are starting to be as good as established trails in area.

Cold leaf hanging on. Warmer temps by this weekend

Who needs to leave Hazelhurst anymore for good food. We headed down to Hilltop for one of their pizzas on a Wednesday night. We were happy to see a full bar of folks on a Wednesday that have discovered how great the food is. I tried something different, a sausage, garlic and shaved brussel sprout shaved pizza with a glass of Viking Blood. Delightful! Dayna and Jordan are really creating a unique spot and people are starting to follow

Their new menu typed out on a real typewriter

My choice tonight. Troy went more traditional with their pulled pork sandwich

Troy and I also got to meet the beer can people. Lets just say not to examine too closely with kids around. They are left overs from 4 owners of Hilltop ago. Back to Carl’s days. I had never seen them, Tom had them down at the end of the bar. I think they just come out for special occasions. Right now Hilltop is open 4 – 9 Wednesday through Sunday. When visiting the resort make sure to make a trip to Hilltop

Between Hilltop, Jacobi’s 1922, Church Social, Pickles, Hazelhurst Pub, Whitman’s and Quiet Side Deli there is no reason to leave Hazelhurst for food anymore

We received some nice snow in the last 24 hours. Somewhere between 4 to 6 inches. What is on the table shows the depth of the snow in the area currently. Somewhere in the 6 – 8 inch range. That is enough to get the ski trails going and give a reason to use our snowshoes in the woods. Its time to start playing in the snow

Troy headed to the lake to blow off our rink this morning

We noticed close to the shoreline slushy snow. Its been cold the lake is safe why would we get slush by the shoreline you ask?

Muskrat holes. We have a family of muskrats that has decided living under our docks, boats and raft for the winter is a great place to be. They keep open breathing holes like the one you see above. This causes a layer of water in the area

Somewhere under the raft is a very happy family of muskrats

Back to clearing off the rink a little farther out from the muskrat water, slush

Oogie on muskrat patrol

Lets play some hockey!

Need some time at the cabin in the snow give a call we will leave the lights on

Current Summer 2024 openings

Openings up to June 8 check website for dates and prices

Red Pine July 5 – 12 4bdr

Bear Dn August 9 10 16 4bdr

Wigwam August 17 – 24th 3bdr

Bear Den and Red Pine August 16 – 23rd 4 bdrs

Openings starting August 24th check our website

We received about 3 inches of snow over the weekend with a little here and there in the forecast. We are happy to be looking more like winter. Winter Park has rolled and packed their trails. They do amazing work with the snow they have

This weekend Steve did Winter Park’s fundraising skate race around Lake Minocqua. They plowed a track around the lake for the skaters. It went right under the Bearskin bridge

Lots of fun was had

Back at the resort, Troy was shoveling the beach steps. Our rink is in great shape for skating.

Steve and Troy added a new purple trail this week to our trail system,. Our trails are really becoming a favorite of not just guests but locals in the neighborhood appreciate them. Our new purple trail goes down for right along our bog. It is simply beautiful with its views.

This weekend we have 2 cabins left open. I have a special on Shamrock going this weekend and mid week through the end of February dropping it to the same rate as Birchwood. January 20th weekend has a lot of openings and is a perfect time to enjoy the quieter resort. After the 20th we get busier through February so get your reservations in

Summer guests remember January 20th when deposits are due is right around the corner, please get them in so I do not have to do a bunch of phone calls and can spend my time skating at the lake instead of being on the phone. New guests looking at trying to get in to summer can now get on a waiting list. We have had a couple of cancelations already filled. Currently we have openings up to June 8th and starting August 10. The only July opening that has come up is Red Pine July 5 – 12th one of our 4 bdr homes. Send me an email with phone number to Many of our weeks have waiting lists with guests in those weeks already looking for more cabins but openings do crop up

Oggie and Purl wanted to wish everyone a Happy 2024 and they can’t wait to welcome everyone back in 2024.

Oggi in the light snow this morning. Its been an adjustment not having snow at Christmas to New Years. We all still managed to have fun including the guests. We call it the winter of the Pivot. Pivoting to all the other fun you can have in the woods

One of the best things is the ice is safe again and it spectacular shape. These kids would not come off the ice, they spent hours skating all over the lake. With cold temps in the forecast we do not see the lake melting again anytime soon. As we get snow, the guys will shovel a rink but until then the whole lake is the rink!

The Stepniewski family took my advice and headed out on a waterfall tour an hour north of us. This is Interstate Falls just beautiful in the ice and light snow.

The kids liked it but wanted to be back skating at the lake

One more waterfall by Saxon Harbor

Happiness back skating!

We are finally starting to get snow with some here and there in the extended forecast starting this weekend.

Snow or no snow there is still fun. We have had guests renting fat tire bikes from Rivers’s Edge in Manitowish to go biking on the Winman trails. River’s Edge delivers bikes to the trail. Several guests brought mountain bikes and did everything from the Bearskin Trail to the Raven Trail. Zipline trails are closest for Mountain and Fat Tire biking

Waterfalls of the Ironwood area like seen above with a trip to the antique stores and pasty shops in Ironwood is a great side trip

Around the resort, enjoying a sauna, hiking our trails, ice skating, campfires, games and puzzles in the cabins have kept everyone busy

Visiting the newly opened Jacob’s 1922, bakery and coffee shop just up the road from the resort will be a favorite for everyone. I had my best bowl of beer cheese soup in a bread bowl I have every had

Troy and I also headed to the other newly opened restaurant/bar. Hilltop has reopened under new management. Awesome and clean are the best words I can come up with. The pulled pork homemade pizza was wonderful Everyday I think the menu is changing as they try out new things. Hilltop will be a must stop for anyone coming to the resort

Troy and I were commenting that will all the new small quirky restaurants we have in Hazelhurst now, we have no need to go to Minocqua for foot. Church Street Social, Jacobi’s 1922, Hilltop, Quiet Side Deli, Pickles on why Y,and of course The Hazelhurst Pub. Such great selection of unique places to eat

For now we will keep our eye out for more snow and hope the forecast is right

Summer confirmation letters went out on Saturday. If you are returning guest, deposits are due in by January 20th. If you do not have a reservation but would like to be on the cancelation list send me an email with dates you can travel between, phone number and cabin size needed. I will now keep a short current list of new guests looking to get in. I will also announce openings on our Facebook page

My New Year resolution is to blog more. I was having trouble getting my pictures to my computer to upload to the blog. I think I have it solved now, so look for more postings. Technology is great when it works right… or operator gets a lesson from younger generation who like to roll their eyes.

As we have watched our snow come and go and come and go again and again this month, it has been a test of patience. We have decided it is time to embrace this back and forth and let everyone know there is plenty to do up north to enjoy with your family

Ice skating is number one right now. Our ice conditions have been great and a little rain is not going to dampen that. Rain is actually a great zamboni for the ice freshening up the ice. Right now we have shoveled off a rink but I think during the week it is going to go back to bare ice. The best thing about this is you can skate over the entire lake and are not limited to just the rink. Bring your skates or borrow some of ours in the office. Ice skating, hockey, or sliding across the ice on a sled will be magical. Skating at night under the stars is amazing.

Around the resort our trails are open for hiking. The snow shoes will come out the minute the snow does. Campfires are stocked with wood. The community room is full of family games and puzzles to borrow or bring your own. Ice fishing needs no snow, just a beer, a bucket to sit on and friends. Even with no, or little snow, we are still the place to be for family fun

in the area, Winter Park has several events planned for hiking and campfires check out their website for details. Mountain and fat tire bike trails are open. Zipline, Musky Jack and Winman trails are a couple. I have not had any luck finding places to rent bikes so bring your own. All the ski trails in the area go back to being hiking trails. One of our favorite is Fallison Lake 15 min from the resort. We love it due to the entire trail having lake view of Fallison Lake.

If you want to do a little drive, the waterfalls of the Black River in Ironwood are amazing. Ask us for directions if interested

So plenty to do, time to make plans snow or no snow.


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Oogie would like everyone to know, we do not have a lot of snow but so happy some arrived last night. Christmas is not the same without snow in the Northwoods

Birchwood is open for Christmas if anyone needs an escape the 23, 24 and 25th 2 night min

We also have Bayview, Restawhile, Kaubashine, Red Pine and Bear Den open for Christmas. The ice should be good for skating and fishing. Not sure yet if snow will stay.