What happens "Up North"

What happens "Up North" 0

Amongst the pine trees and lakes of northern Minnesota, you often hear the term "Up North". It has become a destination and a term to describe a region and way of life, I am going "Up North".

It does not have to be just northern Minnesota.  "Up North" can be northern Wisconsin or anywhere you can find a magical summertime destination.

What happens "Up North"?  Why do people crowd the highways and interstates on Friday afternoons all summer long to get there?  Why do the same people come home late on Sunday and fight the same traffic back to their homes?  What happens up there that is so special and worth all the trouble?

The truth is sometimes nothing happens. Absolutely and utterly nothing. You can feel the warm sun and solitude as you lie on a hammock and listen to the loons call out. Time slows down, the worries seem less and the busy schedule seems distant and less important. It is a reset button of sorts and allows a much needed respite from our everyday life.

Sometimes a boat or pontoon ride is the prescription for that day which is equally effective at creating the "Up North" solitude. There is something magical about cruising the shorelines of a northern Minnesota lake. Of course we are Minnesotans so we wave at every boat and everyone on shore, almost like we are in some sort of boat parade. 

Other times you have a weekend with family and friends that you never want to end. From barbecues, boat rides, skiing, swimming, fishing, and golfing.  The night usually ends with a campfire and stories of days gone by.  Funny thing is many of the good stories from the past were about times spent "Up North". 

Next time you see everyone headed "Up North", remember a time you went and smile because you know they are going to have a good time.  They may be going to do absolutely nothing or they may be spending the weekend fishing, boating and forgetting sunscreen. Forget your lists, drop the schedule and prepare to find peace and quiet.

See you Sunday night in traffic!


  • Brent Johnson
The Struggle is Real....Winter in Minnesota!

The Struggle is Real....Winter in Minnesota! 0

Have you ever tried to push a shopping cart through a snow filled parking lot? If you have not than imagine filling a cart full of dumbbells and pushing it up and down the beach. Get the picture? It is awful! It makes us mumble words to ourselves that we would never say to other people. Combinations of words and phrases that would make a sailor blush! This cart did not even make it back to the cart corral. Left abandoned by its last driver in a fit of rage I'm sure. I love you Target but maybe some skis on the carts for winter?


This is no joke! This is an obvious sign of seasoned professional! You leave those wipers down during a snowfall you might as well not have wipers. They turn into frozen rubber pieces of ice and they are useless. You warm up your car and have defrost on high only to have the wipers make that "nails on the chalkboard squeal" (made the hair on your neck stand up, didn't it?)  Don't be an amateur, get those wipers in the air.



Snow Plows is a love hate relationship. We appreciate all you do and the time you spend away from family all hours of the day to keep our roads clear. However, you always seem to cruise our street at 5 am and the sound of metal scrapping asphalt wakes me up and instantly give me the cold reality that I have work to do. If I hear the plow I know there is snow, I know call me a rocket scientist, but what I also know is the end of my driveway is plugged tight with snow and it is 3 times deeper and more compact then the rest of the driveway. It is part of the process and not blaming the plow driver, I am just complaining, can't a grown man just whine once in a while?  


The last one to prove that the struggle is indeed real anywhere the snow flies.  You have to shovel a spot for your dog to go to the bathroom. Go ahead and laugh all you warm weather states.  You have no idea the struggle for our furry companions. Imagine being 12" tall from the floor to the top of your shoulders and then going out to squat in 6" of snow. Imagine doing that with a foot of snow, not so funny is it? 

The struggle is real, no doubt, so don't laugh at us when we wear shorts when it gets to 50 degrees in March. We earned it so let us have our moment!

  • Brent Johnson
Why I live in Minnesota!

Why I live in Minnesota! 0

If you have never been to Minnesota, you need to. We are not just a funny accent and a harsh winter. We are more, so much more.

If you currently live or have ever lived in Minnesota, there have been times in the dead of winter you have asked yourself, “Why do I live here?” You joke about moving south somewhere warm, but you know deep down you can’t leave. Minnesota is Home! 

So what keeps us all here? Why do we not leave in record numbers if the winters are so bad and the people talk funny?

We don’t leave because this state has “Everything”! Really, I mean it has everything! Stay with me here for a minute on this and let me explain. Sure southern states are warm and you never have to shovel snow or scrape ice off your windshield. (Sometimes with a credit card or driver’s license if you forgot your scraper, my MN peeps will understand this one)  I still get excited for the first snow storm of the year and feel like a kid waking up to see how much snow we got. My kids get to go sledding, build snow forts, have snowball fights and come in for hot chocolate. You are not cold if you dress warm and are outside enjoying the opportunity this wonderful state gives us in 2” to 6” and even sometime 12” increments.

You would only have to take a snowmobile ride in northern Minnesota (Up North as the locals call it) once to understand the draw and pull to stay here. The look of huge pine trees weighted down by a new blanket of fluffy white snow is almost magical as it cast a green hue on the white snow as you ride through the woods wondering why you still live here.

If you have never sat in an “ice house” on 18” of ice atop a frozen lake you are missing out. Really, I am not kidding, your loss! Why? Why do we do this? Because we adapted to what we are given, we like to fish and 2 feet of ice won’t stop us. How can that be fun? Just sitting there staring in a hole? It is so much more than that! It is a time to socialize in the dead of winter, it is a place to catch fish sure but it is also a place to play cards, to catch grief from your buddies, to teach your kids to fish, to listen to your kids tell stories about their day and life, and an opportunity to catch up with old friends.

Hockey! We are the “State of Hockey” and have the biggest high school hockey tournament in the country, multiple division 1 college teams and the Minnesota Wild. Hockey is a way of life here and you will find plenty of indoor arenas dotting the landscape but you will also find ponds and rinks setup in backyards in every city. You will find kids and even adults spending all day outside playing a game and enjoying life and each other.

When the snow starts to melt and our skating rinks become puddles the anticipation of spring approaching leads to a new excitement for another season. We rush to get our last trips out ice fishing and playing hockey in the backyard before the ice melts. We wait with anticipation for one last big snowfall to get the snowmobile out one more time or go out skiing before the season is over. 

Summer is magical and we appreciate it because we know it does not last. We pack in family trips “Up North” to enjoy one of our 10,000 lakes. We swim, we have campfires, we get sunburned, we golf. We mow the lawn that has been dead for the last 6 months and do everything they do in the “warm” states.

The difference for us is that as fall starts to put that crisp chill in the air it reminds us that one season is ending and now we GET to enjoy a new one. Not all places can offer so much in one year but Minnesota can and that is why I call Minnesota Home!

Don’t cry for us or feel bad for us, we like it here or we would leave like we always threaten to!

See you on the lake, maybe with a boat or maybe with an ice auger!

Happy Minnesotan







  • Brent Johnson
Campfire Bay Key, Accessory and Medal Hangers

Campfire Bay Key, Accessory and Medal Hangers 0

Campfire Bay is expanding its hanger product line and we have many new offerings for a variety of needs!

Basketball Medal Hanger

Medal Hangers

Campfire Bay Medal Hangers are unique and have multiple uses.  They work perfect to display medals but can also be used to hang your coat, hat or jersey.  Strong and durable was a description someone gave and we agree.  

We now have most major sports available in our store and have many more coming. We have also started on school team names, with a few available now and more to come.  Your team name or your favorite sport, you pick!

Wildcats Hanger

Accessory Hangers

Campfire Bay Hangers have so many uses we can't decide what to call them.  Key Hangers, Coat Hangers, Medal Hangers we can't pick just one.  Strong, Durable and Useful.  

Here are a few ideas:

  • Keys
  • Coats
  • Towels
  • Hats
  • Scarves

We designed them to hold keys at first, but after testing the hooks we quickly realized these could hold coats, backpacks, scarves, etc.  We recommend you use the drywall anchors that are provided with every hanger, if you plan to hang heavier items such as coats.                   

Wildlife Towel Hook

The strength, durability and workmanship of all Campfire Bay Hangers is evident the moment you take it out of the box.  We are proud of them and hope you will be proud to display them in your home for your coats, medals, keys or whatever you might think of!

Farm Key Hanger

Makes a great gift idea!  Check them out here.  



  • Brent Johnson