Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


It was a beautiful weekend in the Northwoods.  We have extended Eagles Nest being open through October 22nd weekend.  We may keep it open through Halloween if the warmer weather holds.  It is open starting October 19th


Over three days we had hundreds of people through the resort to see the sock shop for the Northwoods Art Tour.  It is always a fun and busy weekend of art and friendship and wine at the end of the day


Mack when the wine came out

IMG_7239 (1)

We also had a guest artist, Erik Peterson up from Grays Lake.  Erik is an amazing wood worker.  You have seen his work around the resort with our new cabin signs

IMG_7242 (1)

IMG_7240 (1)


Carrying on the fall tradition was Olav and Anita Mersserschmidt.  Every year Anita entertains us with her version of tetherball.  The best is hearing her hoots of laughter as the ball sails over her head


Such form!


Will Olav get it past Anita?  That shall remain a secret


It was warm enough for a few swimmers.  Johnnie and John Thompson could not resist a jump in the lake for one last afternoon on the raft.  Will there be another brave soul yet to swim out?  


In other news, Chris and Steve were busy working on our new cleaning room in the shed.  Steve got me to let him off the cleaning crew for 3 days to work with Chris on the project


Insulation and electrical light made it in.  This will be year round room for us to store our linens and cleaning supplies.  We will be reopening our sauna for winter use.   Hopefully our new sauna arrives in the spring so that next summer we can expand the office/Sock Shop into the old sauna




Raft days are quickly coming to the end


John and his dog Sammy up enjoying the fall colors.  Sammy almost blends in with the colors.  

The colors have been amazing this fall


Woods by Bear Den bonfire with yellows


Troy and Steve busy at the office taking out a few more boats.  Troy gets tired of keeping the paddle boats clean of falling acorns and debris.  They are done for the year along with all the green boats.  We have plenty left in as the temps go down and less guests go out on the lake


Penny along on for the ride


Beach front slowly getting put away.  We won’t have it all buttoned up till the end of October




We have Red Pine open this weekend.  I lowered the nightly minimums on this weekend and next for Bear Den and Red Pine to 2 nights.  

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are booking quickly.  If you wanted to spend the holidays up north now is the time to book before we fill up


My sister Katie out enjoying fat tire biking on our mountain biking trails in the area.  This time she was on the zipline trail 10 min from the resort.  Fat tire bikes are amazing to do trails with year round.  She loves her bike


Back at the resort it was a misty morning at the lake





Back up the steps for a cup of coffee and the day to start

IMG_7193 (1)

Need some fall beauty?  We have a Holiday and Red Pine open this weekend.  I put a special on Holiday for smaller groups 

Northwoods Art Tour will be going on this weekend.  You can follow a map to 39 local artists and visit their home studios or galleries and see them doing their art and check out what they have done for sale.  The Sock Shop is a stop on the tour.  I will be demoing sock making.  Amy will be felting her soaps.  Eric Peterson will have his beautiful wood work in his tent and a fire going.  Stop out and see the fun.


Fall has officially kicked off with the colors.  This beautiful pic was taken by Lynn Troia out on the lake


Its also been terrier week with Shell Lewis taking up for the scottish terriers that could not make it with Tom and Michelle Bronsky.  These little guys loved the resort


They quickly got to know Mack.  Mack was depressed after his buddy Julie Richardson left but was happy with his new neighbors to get to know


In no time the terriers were exploring the resort


Ride on the pontoon


End of the day in from to the fire

Thanks Shell for sharing your pics of the dogs!


We also had the Bingham and Holt couples up enjoying their special time at the resort.  The beer was cold, the pontoon ride was great and the grill was cooking


The ladies were a little worried that the guys were burning the dinner but I assured them it was ok to keep drinking wine the guys had everything cooking just right on the other side of the cabin


With the beautiful weather I moved my office outside.  I am entering my returning guests into next September and will be opening up the first half of September for booking by Friday


Steve and Troy busy getting the floor complete for our new cleaning supply room in the shed


More color pictures to enjoy


I am also busy making Christmas socks.  I have 3 days of Northwoods Art Tour at the resort October 8, 9 and 10th doing sock demos while hundreds of folks stop in and take the tour through the entire area.  40 artists in a 30 mile radius open up their studios like mine and people stop out to see them in action making their art and selling it.  It is always a fun but busy weekend



Special thanks to Lynn and Shell for sharing their vacation pics

Colors are headed to peak in the next week and we do have openings.  Check out the website or give a call for details


Always a good day when it starts out fishing with your bestie.  Sari and Bill off on a fishing adventure


Nice fish caught and released by the Jon and his wife to be caught another day


Others were happier to do the last swim of the year.  As the temps went to almost 80 Jackie and Rosie had to jump in and enjoy one last swim across the lake

Till Next summer!

IMG_7071 (1)

One dog in attacks others to jump in


Many more much happier to just watch from the beach warm and dry


Speaking of fishing… John Burscheid stopped by to pick up the fish stocking donations we have collected.  He reports that the DNR is stocking 50 12 inch muskies in the lake and the lake association is paying to put in 1,000 walleyes this fall.  He says thanks to all who donated


Troy and Steve are up to something in the shed….  They come up with projects to duck out of being on the fall cleaning crew.  We have been talking about this project for about a year


The beginnings of our new cleaning supply room in the shed.  Our supplies will be moving from the old sauna to this area which will be heated.  The old sauna will be activated back up this winter.  In the spring we are hoping for the delivery of a new barrel sauna.  Our old sauna we are going to be turning into an expansion of our gift shop/office room.  So excited to expand my shop!


Mack can’t contain his excitement.  More room for treats in the office


We escaped for a little camping trip and bike ride in Sayner


The Sayner bike trails are beautiful this time of year


Back to work.  Just another day at the office for Troy.  Making sure Steve does not take out all of the boats

Restawhile is open a few days starting on this Saturday the 25th if anyone wants to come up and enjoy Beef A Rama

IMG_7046 (1)

Peeks of color are popping up around the resort.  Colors will be exploding in another week

IMG_7050 (1)

We had some big rain come through.  Troy had had enough of bailing all the boats and we started taking out some of our extra boats.  

Key here is not letting Steve take out to many.  He starts towing them to Hilltop to take out and always seems to grab an extra or two more than we thought to take out.


We had an injured Oven Bird around the resort hopping around.  We caught it and took it up to the Wildlife Center.  Troy had never seen an Oven Bird before.  They get the name from the nests that look like ovens on the ground.  


Mack has been enjoying all the fall visitors.  He has many favorite guests he recognizes year to year that he drops by to see.  Gayle and Linda are on that list 


Cooler days and fires in the fireplace are a perfect way to enjoy fall.   We still have some fall openings.  Restawhile just opened Sept 25 to the 29th for 4 nights.  Grab it before it is gone!


The tale of bluegill fishing.   You always hear the story about the big one that was hooked while bluegill fishing but got away. Always a big tale and do you believe it when they say it was a big fish…..  

People ask me where are the muskies.  My response is always look for the bluegills and the muskies are not far behind

Mike Grady was fishing for bluegills with his son and grandson.  This is a wire hook that is easily bent meant for the little bluegills to bit a worm on

Mike hooked a fish and it felt like he was hooked on a log.  Gently pulling he saw the fins and the tail swish and knew it was bigger than a bluegill and told his son to hold on get a net

IMG_6995 (1)

For a half and hour Mike and the muskie did a dance.  He was using a 4lb test line with an ultra light pole.  Mike had caught many a fish but never a big muskie fisherman he had not caught a big one.  He let the fish drag out and slowly wheeled it closer and then let it drag out again repeated for over a half an hour.  Slowly the fish got tired and they got it near the boat and in the net.  Mike never thought the hook or the line would hold but it did very carefully

IMG_6997 (1)

Here is the small tackle he was using

Usually this tale ends with the muskie snapping the line and swimming off laughing.  Usually with a bluegill in its mouth

Mike said the fish even flipped out of the water a couple of times

IMG_6996 (1)

He hooked it in a good spot

IMG_6994 (1)

Happily this Tigger Muskie is back in the lake hunting more bluegills and getting bigger

Mike has a story to tell for the next 20 years.  Great job Mike!


Around the resort we know it is the end of summer because the tether ball rope wore out.  It is always good for one summer then it breaks in fall or early winter


It is colder and Grant made an order for mom to make him homemade pasties.  They are the best college warm up food.  They do not take too long to make.  Only rule is they must have rutabaga in them.  Can’t have a pastie with out rutabaga 

You can buy these meat pies around town.  They were miners food back in the day going down into the mines.  We eat ours with gravy over it.   We make the classic ones with sausage, potatoes, onion and rutabaga along with spices


Grant sent me his new route 51 stickers to sell in the shop.


The bowling game has been acting up this summer.   Finally roped Steve into playing with the cellinoids and it is working on all cylinders once again

It sat during COVID and needed a little TLC


Beach is getting easier to keep up with less people at it every day

We have 80’s projected for the weekend.  I just posted a special for our last cabin open Red Pine for the weekend on our availability page


IMG_6958 (3)

With kids back in school the beach got a lot quieter.  I found one person enjoying the beautiful afternoon on the dock.  So different than a month ago.  Gotta enjoy moments like this

I just opened up our summer 2022 calendar through August 27th.  We are currently booked starting June 11 until August 19th.  Check out our availability page for details.  Nothing will change until January when summer deposits are due from returning guests.  I will update the chart and Facebook when I hear anything canceling.  

We have openings starting this Sunday Sept 5th for anyone how needs moments like this as we turn into the fall season.  I have put some specials up through mid September as well

IMG_6959 (2)

Biggest excitement of the week is Andy Krammers fishing adventures on the lake

IMG_6957 (2)

With the quiet comes the guys making plans for projects.   First up is building a room in our shed for cleaning supplies so they can leave the old sauna area.  The old sauna we have not decided yet if it will be open this winter.  We have ordered a new barrel sauna and are anxiously awaiting word on its delivery.   When we no longer need the old sauna we are expanding our office/sock shop into it

Thats just a couple of things we have in the works


Conner drove his cousin Grant back for his final year at Saint Norbert.  How the time has flown that we have just one in college in his final year.  

Conner, Katie’s son is headed to his junior year at UW Madison next week


Back to enjoying moments at the lake while the warm weather holds



Troy and I had to pick up Grant in California to get him back to school.  We debated all summer how to get him back.  We finally decided to just do it and leave for 6 days to drive to California and back.  We had coverage for the resort with Jake and Steve, packed up the car and off we went.  We never vacation in the summer and had a lot of places that we have not visited.  First stop was South Dakota and a great time at the 1880 town you see advertised along the way.  We had been to the badlands so we swapped out a stop here for the Badlands drive so we could stretch our legs.  We loved it


Had to stop at the saloon


This was our favorite building


All the buildings have authentic furnishings.  This one was awesome. Loved the old stage


And of course the red rooms up stairs.

IMG_6844 (1)

They also have all the movie props from Dances With Wolves on display. It was a wonderful stop that took us back in time


I forgot to put the Corn Palace as our first spot we stopped before 1880 town.  We also loved it very interesting art work.  A local told me they call it the bird feeder because all the birds in the area take a snack out of it


I had no idea it was also a basketball venue outside of the summer months


Every morning over the 5 days out to California we tried to find a diner to have breakfast at.  Seeing old guys at the counter was our sign of a good diner


Next stop was Devils Tower.  I had not been here since I was a kid.  We had light rain coming down but again a great stop


It was 51 degrees and we were cold but happy to be out of the car


Our first mule deer we saw.  Not pictured were all the prong horn, 2 loose cows on the highway in Wyoming and a lone porcupine in Wyoming who looked very out of place

IMG_6890 (1)

Off to Utah for of course a stop at the Great Salt Lake


We prefer Lake Superior but it was nice to see although a bit stinky


We picked up a tumble weed in Nevada that joined us for about 2,000 miles getting smaller and smaller until we finally lost it on our return trip somewhere with the cows in Wyoming

IMG_6900 (1)

Finally made it to Western  California  to the Sierras where we had to be careful to pick a route that was not on fire.  Our original Hwy 50 by Lake Tahoe was being bulldozed as a fire break between the Dixie and Calder fires.  We came in on Hwy 20 and could see the smoke.  It was like being in the middle of campfire smoke.  It was scary but we were pretty sure the route was fire free


We wound our way through Napa Valley to arrive at Santa Rosa to meet up with Grant and Bex.  They took us up one of their favorite trails to see the  redwoods.  We only had 20 hours to be there before we had to turn around for home but we throughly enjoyed the hike


Napa Valley in back of us.  The end of the line for us

IMG_6920 (1)

While we were hiking our motel room was broken in to.  It was time to go home.  I look calm in this picture but 10 min before was not

IMG_6924 (1)

The sierras were even worse on the way home down Hwy 80 this was just east of Reno

IMG_6929 (1)

Penny slots in Nevada


We loved the trip but are thankful for our small quiet area of the world and happy to be home

IMG_6794 (1)

Sunday mornings in the summer are always full of happy faces ready for a fun week with the family.  Lots of happy smiles with grandma!


Brian and his son Asher talking about all the wildlife they might see on vacation.  Shortly after this picture little Asher showed up with a small grass snake he had found in the woods.  Nothing like time at the lake with dad discussing big plans for the week

IMG_6795 (1)

Asher’s grandparents Gavin and Tina were searching for a little shade to watch him explore the lake and woods.  Tina worked at the resort years ago and is now enjoying bringing her family back to the resort 

IMG_6799 (1)

In other news we gathered together the pop tabs left at the resort this summer.   Big thanks for Leo Hodes and his students and John Thompson who were a big part of this pile of tabs.  They are headed with another one of our guests who is the director of the Ronald McDonald House in Madison.   Tab collection for their house equals usually about 10,000 dollars.  If you have a drawer or cup full of them bring them along on vacation and drop at the office.  I will get them to the Ronald McDonald House.  Ronald McDonald will forever be in our hearts after having to use it once.  It is a great organization   Thanks to everyone who contributed to this pile.  I collect them year round not just in the summer, so bring them along on vacation much appreciated


Our resort is also a sponsor of a program at the Northwoods Wildlife Center where kids can try out being a wildlife rehabber.  Check out the Northwoods Wildlife Center if you have little ones to try out this fun program

IMG_6781 (1)


Back to enjoying summer!