Monday, July 21, 2014

weekend recap: iron river

Apparently even five-day weekends aren't long enough. I'm hitting the coffee hard today after a relaxing few days in the Upper Peninsula. My mom grew up in Iron River, and my family and I spend time there every summer. We've always stayed with my grandma and grandpa at Sunset Lake, but they've recently moved out and my parents are in the process of building a new house at the site. In the meantime, it's definitely different to stay somewhere unfamiliar, but some things—like pizza at the Riverside—make it feel the same as it's always been. Take a break from Monday and peek inside the weekend. And in case you ever find yourself in the UP, a few pointers on how to do it right:

This is the Northwoods (Iron River is just minutes from the Wisconsin border), not Lake Geneva. A low wedge is OK for dinner at Alice's (best Italian food west of Firenze), but leave the bold baubles at home. Fleece, jeans and tees are all you need.

It can be tough to coax yourself in at first, but this is not where you go to simply sunbathe. Practice back dives off the dock, pontoon around the lake perimeter, and bring your shampoo down for an au natural shower as the sun sets. Getting IN the water is required.

Cocktail hour overlooking the lake isn't complete without Planter's Deluxe Mixed Nuts. G&Ts, cheese, sausage and crackers round out the spread. After a long day outside there's nothing better.

The decor is pure kitsch sprinkled with Packers memorabilia, but The Riverside pizza is as good as it gets, courtesy of the famous Dina Mia thin crust and special sauce. We always order a #6 (sausage, mushroom, onions, pepperoncini). Ask for "cheese out" for an extra layer of ooey-gooey goodness.

The weather isn't always ideal (understatement of the century) and cell service can be spotty—so be sure to pack a good book, cards and board games. We used to play rummy a lot, and Dominos is a family favorite. Stock your own suitcase here.

Stanley Lake sunset on Wednesday night. I arrived at the cottage a little after 5:00. My mom served skirt steak with an avocado and corn relish, seasoned home fries, grilled bread and cantaloupe.

The ultimate lakeside snack. 

Dinner at the pizzeria on Thursday night. There were sadly no leftovers.

My mom and sister enjoying the Thursday night sunset.

Nikki Nasser, UP Princess.
My dad built a fire on Thursday night—Boy Scout Bobby's still got it!

My dad

My mom and I walked to the ski hill on Friday morning. I haven't skied here in years and we're excited to start coming back over Christmas.

Live music at The Snipe after Friday night fish fry (like I said, this is the Northwoods..).

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