Thursday, February 17, 2011


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I grew up in Stillwater, Minnesota and always knew “Minnesota Friendly” but my Husband, Ed, who grew up in Illinois had no clue what it really stood for. My parents were great lovers of the outdoors and fishing in particular. Dad always boasted about Pelican Lake in Orr, Minnesota and introduced me to fishing “the big ones” at an early age. We would rent a cabin on the lake and spend many vacation hours catching, cleaning and eating the best fish in the world. I was tending the net the day my Dad caught a Blue Gill that weighted 1 pound and 14 ounces. He had it mounted. When Dad retired he bought a home on Pelican and I did the drive, 236 miles one way, every Friday afternoon and home again on Sunday but it was all worth it. When Dad sold the home on the lake I was devastated but didn’t have the means to keep it in the family. “BIG MISTAKE!”

All of the stories and pictures Dad and I shared with my Husband finally paid off last summer when we vacationed at Aspen Resort. It was an uncomfortably wet and chilly week but that didn’t stop the fun. Our camping spot overlooked the beautiful woods and the wildlife did not disappoint. Deer are always a welcome site but the bear seem to bring out the rugged appeal of the Resort which was warmed by the nightly bonfires enjoyed by all.

Having never caught a good size Blue Gill or any Northern at all, Ed was ready to tackle the elements and put the rain gear to use. The Dock Boys were great help in outfitting us with night crawlers and fuel and were really appreciated by me helping us launch and land the boat without any disasters. I am a tried and true worm, leach or red and white Dare Devil gal so all of the extra tackle and changing of equipment has no place in my fishing enjoyment. I dropped my line into the bay and we were off. It sure didn’t take long for the first Northern hit and I was a happy fisher gal. Ed kept changing from one artificial bait to another and I kept saying, “hook on one of those Dare Devils and you are sure to catch a fish.” Well it took a bit of time and effort but he finally used the right bait and there it was, the biggest Northern of the day. Well ya gotta know he’s a believer. Personally, I think it kind of scared the baajeeburrs out of him when he looked into the huge mouth of that big fellow and saw that double row of razor sharp teeth and he realized he had to get all those hooks out of its mouth. I just smiled and enjoyed the show.

The next day we had a little reprieve from the rain and we headed out to the big water and up around the north end of the lake checking out the beautiful scenery and the hot spots. We finally found my old fishing hole on the back side of my Favorite Little Island right by the lily pads and tried our luck at catching some Blue Gill. There were a few bites and we landed some nice pan fish but all of a sudden the bites stopped. I loaded my tiny hook with a big bunch of night crawler and tossed it out over my shoulder into deeper water. I told Ed that my Dad always said “if the Sunnies stop biting there must be a Northern right close.” No more than my bait hit the water and started to sink when a big old Northern snatched it up. With the help of a net I landed that fish on that tiny little hook. Ed’s lower jaw must have bounced off the floor of the boat 10 times as he kept shaking his head in disbelief proclaiming himself a true believer. I think it was just one of those lucky things that accidentally happens at the right time.

Of course the next adventure was cleaning the fish. The fact that I had cleaned more than my share of fish in the past put me in the drivers seat. I like all of my fish without bones, including the “Northern Y Bones” so the job began and we were really thankful for the beautiful fish cleaning house. We sure couldn’t ask for a nicer place to do the job and everyone using the cleaning house was friendly, helpful and courteous. Fresh caught Northern fillets were on the dinner menu that night, deep fried with beer batter, just doesn’t get any better than that. And not a bone to be found.

Even with the inclement weather we were able to enjoy the beauty of Aspen Resort and Northern Minnesota and we also had the opportunity to spend time in the quaint town of Orr. Bar none, Patton Restaurant makes the best homemade rolls ever --- the peanut butter twists are to die for. It is a must to enjoy up north living at ASPEN RESORT and experience its Minnesota Friendly hospitality. This year we are already booked for a 2 week stay. Like my Grandpa always said, “Every moment spent fishing is a moment added to your life.” Grandpa was really wise that way.

The Kedzierzawski's

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bonnie & Allen Olson Testimonial 2/13/11

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Vacation at Aspen Resort – June, 2010

Let me start off by saying it rained almost every day we were there last year!! Didn’t stop us, however – we still fished and fished and fished and fished!!! We took a try at a puzzle that was a 2 sided gem and it was terrible – did’t get it done (no where near done). In fact, we exchanged it for a different one that we did complete before we left.

Anyway, our story is – We have been coming to Aspen for a couple of years now. It is me, my husband, my in-laws, my son and his friend. We stayed in the Blue Herron last year and it was a delightful cabin. One evening - it was about 11:30 – my in-laws had gone to bed earlier and my husband had just turned in for the night. I was working on a puzzle at the kitchen table and my son and his friend were in the living room area watching a movie. I heard a noise out on the deck of the cabin and wondered if there was someone on the deck. I didn’t give it too much attention until I heard the noise again and this time my son and his friend jumped up to look out the window on the door. My son quickly shouted out “It’s a bear”!! My husband got out of bed and came out to look and I jumped up from the puzzle to look and we saw the back side of the bear as he went down the stairs of the deck after trying to get into our garbage can. He proceeded to the side of the deck and put his paw (quite large!) through the rails of the deck railing trying again to get to the garbage. After no success in getting the can to the desired position to get it open, he started to leave and that is when my husband went outside. I was a little nervous about going out there when there was a bear around, but by the time we went out onto the deck, he was at the back of the cabin. He just turned around and looked at us and then went on his merry way. We tried to get a picture, but it was dark and he was black – needless to say, the picture didn’t turn out!!!

We called to make our reservation for this year and asked about the bear. Ray said that they haven’t seen it any more since his visit to the Blue Herron that night. It was definitely something that I will never forget.

Bonnie Olson

Kyle Fiebelkorn Testimonial 2/12/11

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I have been going to Aspen for 8 years now. I have stayed in 5 different cabins as my family grew larger. Each year it gets harder and harder to leave once we are there. I have met many people at Aspen over the years and I can honestly say that I have never run into an unhappy man, woman, or child yet. The atmosphere is truly set up for it to be whatever you choose. It can be totally relaxing and a complete download of the rat race you left behind, even if it is only for a short while. It is a wilderness wonderland for those that like to walk or enjoy the lake, fishing is phenominal, and the sights are second to none. There are many things for children and parents to do together, on your own and with Ray and Vanessa's planned activities for the kids. The cabins are 1st rate and come with everything you need. When all is said and done and the smoke clears, the dust settles, the most amazing thing about Aspen is you feel like family by time the vacation is over. My children never forget Ray, Vanessa, their 3 daughters, or the dock people that make the trip worth every minute. I could go on and on about Aspen, but I can tell you that I cannot truly describe in words how amazing Aspen is, so come on up and we'll see you there!

Kyle Fiebelkorn

Jacob & Heidi Olsen Testimonial 2/11/11

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We arrive at Aspen Resort every in June with our girls and grandma and grandpa for our family vacation. On our annual trip in 2010 we found a “real” treasure map in our cabin! (A plan cunningly planned by grandma and mom, but Mr. Ray and Ms. Vanessa soon became our accomplices., commenting on rumors of maps and such on the grounds. Our girls ages 7 and 4 at the time were, and still are, completely convinced that the entire thing was real.)

When the map was found behind a picture in our cabin our girls had to go directly to the lodge. After excitedly informing Mr. Ray and Ms. Vanessa of our discovery, we immediately went on our quest. Ms. Vanessa and her girls accompanied us and our girls as we followed the inked clues on the old fragile map that still smelled of incense and was marred with burns in some places. It was wonderfully thrilling…..It lead us all around the grounds of the resort.

Clue after clue we trekked around until the final clue left us searching around our cabin (Bald Eagle). My oldest daughter noted a suspicious bunch of shrubbery under the deck of the cabin and upon investigation it revealed…..a treasure chest!!

We rushed back to the lodge to unveil our bounty. Of course at this time Mr. Ray suddenly became more helpful (tee hee). We all searched through the rings, necklaces, “jewels” and real coins. The excitement was palpable and the hilarity continued when Mr. Ray donned himself with all the jewels! I hope you enjoy the pictures. It was a journey our kids will never forget. Thanks Aspen for helping us with this amazing experience…you guys are always up for anything!!!!

Jacob & Heidi Olsen (Taia and Avynn and new this year…Evie ) and Mary & Mel Olsen

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow, Snow and more Snow!

As of the first of Feb. 2011 we are sitting at 71 inches of snow above our normal amount for this time of year. Thats not 71 inches to date for the winter, that is 71 inches above normal for this time frame. All this snow will be great for lake levels come May but i'm guessing it might be a little wet and soggy while it's melting. Here are some photos of a few of our cabins after the snow was shoveled off the roofs. Reservations are coming in nicely for the 2011 Spring, Summer and Fall seasons. When we are not taking reservations, you guessed it, we are out moving snow. Happy ground hogs day everyone!