Are you nuts?

 

That’s the first question we’re typically asked when we tell family and friends about the distance to our new cabin at Brickyard Creek. It’s approximately an eight hour drive from where we live in suburban Chicago.

In reply, we take out photos from around the cottage. We show pictures of the screened-in back porch looking out over a lush, green forest. The bursting kaleidoscope of color outside our cabin door in autumn. The glistening, turquoise-and-white ice waves frozen on top of Lake Superior in winter. By the time we get to photos of the Apostle Islands, lighthouses and Bayfield, the next question usually is, “when are you inviting us up?”

This is the first full summer we can extend those invitations. Our cottage was finished last August. The decision to buy in Brickyard Creek happened rather quickly, but the story behind that decision was 20 years in the making.

Although we both grew up in Chicago, for a number of years Ingrid and I lived in Toronto, Canada. In the ‘80s, we purchased a cabin on a little lake in Eastern Ontario. The cabin was nicely tucked away in the woods overlooking the shore. From our front deck, we could see – and hear—a family of loons, inspiring Ingrid to cross stitch a picture of those wonderful birds. We hung it above the Franklin stove.

Summer was all about hiking, swimming, fishing and paddling around in a canoe. On winter weekends, we would drive to within about a mile of the cottage, then snowshoe the rest of the way in, hauling our food and supplies on sleds. (We were a lot younger then!) This small cabin was a magical place for us. It was our “home in the forest.”

After returning to Chicago, keeping the cabin was no longer practical, so we (sadly) sold it. Our hope was that one day we’d find another place that held some of the same “mojo.”

From time to time, we checked out cottages. A few were nice, but none were right for us. Those closer to Chicago often seemed more like suburban houses that happened to be next to water. We weren’t looking for another lawn to mow; one lawn is plenty!

Two years ago, unrelated to our cottage search (or or so we thought at the time), we chose Bayfield and the Apostle Islands for a family summer vacation. Looking for a place to stay, we came across a rental unit at Brickyard Creek. Call it luck, chance, or destiny. The minute we stepped into that cabin, we knew this is what we had been waiting for.

Before the week was up, we met with Bob Davidson and Susan Keachie, and learned more about Brickyard Creek. The cabins were beautiful, the natural setting exactly what we had in mind, and the ecofriendly philosophy resonated with us. We were delighted to find cottages that had all the modern amenities and yet blended in with the environment. A return trip to Bayfield later that summer sealed the deal, and by Labor Day we had signed up as the “pioneer” family for the Brickyard Creek III development. Yes, in a sense this was a “snap” decision, but its roots traced back to that small Canadian cabin we so fondly remembered.

Last August, Ingrid, our two sons (Alex and Eric) and I pulled up in a U-Haul truck and opened the door to our new cottage. Ingrid’s cross stitched picture of loons was carefully unwrapped and hung above the fireplace. We taped a cardboard “Casey Lane” sign to a wooden pole, and propped it between two rocks next to the road. “BYC III” officially had its first occupants, joining the community that had grown from Brickyard I and II.

Now that warmer weather is at last returning, we’re planning to come up to our cottage much more frequently. Which brings us back to the original question, is the drive to Bayfield “nuts?” Well, if we leave in the morning, by mid- to late afternoon we’re settling in to the back porch, enjoying the view of the woods, listening to the birds and watching for wildlife. After sunset, the gray, light-polluted sky we normally see around Chicago is replaced by millions of sparkling stars dancing across the heavens. Point a telescope at those stars, and celestial masterpieces fill your eye.

The commute is not such a big deal when you weigh it against those rewards. As Ingrid likes to say, “when you get there, your stress falls away.” We’ve found, at last, our new magical home in the forest.

Fred & Ingrid Lebolt

Brickyard Creek III, #1

Meet Your Neighbors

 

How did you end up at Brickyard Creek? We strongly encourage you to share your story. Each member of the community has a unique and inspiring answer to this question. Reach out to community manager Jeffery Garrett today to get started.