We left off chilling on the Sweetwater patio, having absolutely downed our lunch, daydreaming about a nap. It was early afternoon and the summer sun was not doing us any favors. But we had more to do! We jumped in the car and, having road tripped Up North with bikes, drove over to the Tara Lila trail, running through marshland and over boardwalks. When presented with the challenge of a two-person bike race (as a rematch from the morning’s mini golf embarrassment), I had to accept. Onlookers would have thought we were training for the Tour de France, whipping down the paths. That is, if we had seen anyone. Much like our hiking experience, the paths were pristine, and perfectly quiet, so there was nobody to bother with our bike race trash talk. In the end, we called it a tie, as we both finished sweaty and covered in the bugs that we had ran into like human windshields, having hit mach five somewhere in the heat of the race.
We briefly went back to our hotel to shower off before heading over to Boat Sport Marine because we had arranged for a pontoon rental that afternoon. This was something I had been looking forward to alllll day, just relaxing out on the water and floating off into oblivion. We checked in and the fine workers kindly explained to us how to drive the pontoon as we nodded anxiously and tried to look like we had driven boats before. We got out of the dock without much trouble, and I am happy to report back that boating Up North is so. wonderful. With the light breeze and the endless chain of lakes, we could have spent hours out there exploring the waterways. We watched boats passing us by, towing kids in tubes behind them, and talked fondly about our tubing days when we were younger and not nearly as concerned about the wellbeing of our joints. When we noticed that our reservation was coming to an end, and my suggestion that we never give the boat back was denied, we returned it to the dock and continued on back downtown.
When you think of Main Street USA, the classic small town drag pictured in movies and TV shows set in cute little hidden away villages, the downtown strip in Eagle River would be a pretty fitting real-life example. There’s a retro movie theater, candy stores, a sporting goods shop and ice cream parlors. We wandered in and out of quaint little storefronts that looked like sets, eyeing fresh popcorn and munching on homemade sweets. Several of the stores had their doors open, enticing visitors with smells of fresh-made fudge and other baked goods. The people working were also just an absolute delight to talk to, and by the end of our walk around, it felt like we had made friends with the whole of downtown Eagle River, not to mention having eaten our weight in homemade snacks. But that was just the first course: we returned to our hotel to change and headed out again for the main event: the supper club!
We wanted the quintessential “Up North,” Eagle River dinner spot. Someplace with views of the water for the gorgeous summer night it was shaping out to be. That’s how we found our way to Eddie B’s White Spruce. We got there for pre-dinner cocktails and walked out to the docks. It was golden hour, and being on the water, everything looked incredible. If you want a spot to take some Instagram-worthy photos before dinner, this dock is it. Once we got to our table, we of course ordered the cheese curds, as a staple part of every healthy Wisconsin diet. The atmosphere in the supper club was welcoming and relaxed, and the food was unreal. At the end, we were compelled into a round of grasshoppers, which, for those uninitiated to supper clubs in Wisconsin, are a drink made of mint ice cream, fudge sauce, crème de menthe and crème de cacao. My dining partner was lactose intolerant, poor guy, so not only did I drink mine, but I had a good portion of his, fighting off a dairy-induced coma in the process. If you somehow fail to do everything else on this list, hitting a supper club is the number one must-do if you are in Eagle River. It is life. It is love. It is more dairy than the human body is designed to handle. It is Up North Wisconsin.
The day was an absolute saga, but we had accomplished exactly what we wanted to: we packed in the perfect Northwoods summer day in 24 hours. We experienced firsthand the magic that is “Up North” and since then, much like our college friends returning from their long weekends on endless lakes, we have not yet shut up about the trip.
So, get a crew together, pack a cooler, and start driving. That Up North summer magic won’t be around much longer.