Thursday, June 02, 2011

On the Shores of Dana Lake

Best summertime memory?

Vacation in Upper Michigan, at a tiny little inland lake called Dana.

The land has been in our family since the 1950's. My mom remembers her father building the original cabin by hand, and can tell you where the outhouses were first situated before the indoor plumbing went in. Eventually in the late 1980's my grandparents added on to it and made it their year-round home. The original cabin is the one-story section on the lefthand side. It is approximately 800 sq feet, but we managed to house a family of four and a golden retriever in that cabin summer after summer.

My mom and her siblings tell funny stories about their shenanigans as kids, learning to waterski, jumping off the dock and scaring each other in the woods.

I have my own memories of silly leaf hats that my mom made from the massive trees taken from the forest. They only lasted a day before they dried out, but they were fun to wear. I remember that there was a dead tree near the house that most of the bark had fallen off of, but the tree was still standing. We used to spin tales of how that tree died -- was it struck by lightning one dark and stormy night? Did a sorceress cast a spell because the tree somehow did her wrong? Perhaps a family or owls, or ooo! bats! lived in that tree now.

I and my cousins played in the sand beach and make miniature rivers down to the shore, with a town of sand castles lining the river, lit by sparklers brought out by the 4th of July.

My mom waged a never-ending battle against the sand that would enter the cabin with every child's entrance.

My parents would play cards with my grandparents at night while us kids ran in and out to the firepit, making s'mores and telling scary tales.

The sound of the screen door banging shut was music to my ears but bone-rattling to my parents and grandparents.

Sunrise over Dana.
Now, I have seen my own kids making memories at Dana Lake: wading in the water, fishing off the dock, taking a pontoon ride along the shore, looking at the waterlilies and ducks along the way.

Marissa's toes in the waters of Dana Lake, summer of 2007.
This land may not be in my family for much longer, but in a little more than a month we are headed there again, for more memories, more laughs.

The best part of my summertime childhood memories is being able to re-create them for my kids.


  1. Love those cabin memories. I have many of my own from our beloved 'Birch Bank.' It's no longer in our family and I miss it terribly. Great that your kids have the chance to grow up there--it will be a lifelong blessing!

  2. I love this!! How lucky you have been to have this place to go! I wish we did!! Maybe someday...xoxo

  3. Any chance you can make the home a cooperative and somehow keep it in the family????