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Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  182 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Five generations of Marnie O. Mamminga’s family have been rejuvenated by times together in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. In a series of evocative remembrances accompanied by a treasure trove of vintage family photos, Mamminga takes us to Wake Robin, the cabin her grandparents built in 1929 on Big Spider Lake near Hayward, on land adjacent to Moody’s Camp. Along the way she prese ...more
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published May 21st 2012 by Wisconsin Historical Society Press
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Diane Supinski
Jul 09, 2012 Diane Supinski rated it it was amazing
Where to begin? Such charming and quaint stories lie within the pages of this book. Stories that tap old memories of loved ones who have since passed, along with friends and families one sees too infrequently. It reminds you of your youth, when the most important thing was putting on your bathing suit and running out to the lake for the day. Or the neighbor girl who would come calling "ding bell" to help kick off the day. Not to mention, traipsing through the woods in search of wild animals or s ...more
Judy
Apr 08, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it
This is a featured author of the Fox Cities Book Festival. She writes the story of a cabin lovingly called Wake Robin by her grandmother when it was built in the 1920's. I grew up going to a family cabin in northern Wisconsin, and although we didn't have a lake, we built our own family memories and had grand adventures. I am still sad that it was sold when I was still a kid; I would have loved my children to know about our 'shed.' Mamminga does a superb job with her text. I especially loved the ...more
Denise
Jul 12, 2012 Denise rated it really liked it
This is a feel good nonfiction story that is told in vignettes about several generations of a family's stay in a Northwoods Resort. Each chapter is a different topic/detail of the resort! It makes you long for a simpler life and relish the time you spend 'away from it all'. Mamminga's writing is often poetic, tugging at your heart strings along the way!
Jen
Jul 19, 2012 Jen rated it it was amazing
I couldn't get to the Northwoods this July, but reading this made it feel as if I was making the trip :) Delightful stories told with a poignant voice. Loved this!
Lillian
Jun 13, 2012 Lillian rated it it was amazing
This is charming book of remembrances of the authors summer home in Wake Robin near Hayward, Wisconsin. She mostly concentrates her memories on her own childhood and summers at Wake Robin. She also writes of her father's and grandparents summer times on Spider Lake,with a few references to her own children and grandchildren's summer trips "up North" She gives the background of her family, the founding and beginning visits of her grandparents, and her father and mother. What is most wonderful abo ...more
Joanne
Aug 13, 2012 Joanne rated it it was amazing
I chose to read this book because I also grew up going 'Up North to the cabin'. I found many things that I could relate to and so many similarities between my time at the cabin and the authors. This is a special story and if you've spent anytime 'Up North', a book worth reading.
Kathy
Aug 08, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Such a delightful reminisce of days gone by in the heydey of northwoods resorts. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has ever loved the call of loons, the sparkling waters of northern lakes and the slam of a wood screen door. Cherish these memories of days long gone.
Kate
Mar 20, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it
I don't usually care for books that are this "nice," but this one kept me engaged. Not sure if it was the setting (Hayward) or mood (nostalgic) that got me, but I recommend giving it a try if you've ever had an enjoyable no-frills lake vacation.

Vicki Lanzendorf
Sep 14, 2012 Vicki Lanzendorf rated it really liked it
This book made me think of all the times I've spent in the north woods, the friends I've made, the fun I've had, the restful, relaxed feeling that washes over me every time we head north. There is beauty, serenity, tradition, comfort. My kids would tell you that "up north" is one of their favorite destinations - and they have learned that you don't need water parks full of screaming kids and cranky parents, or shopping malls and fancy restaurants for real fun. You need a dock, a boat, a fishing ...more
Brooks
Aug 05, 2012 Brooks rated it it was amazing
I found myself laughing and crying as I read this book. My family had a similar cabin in the north woods of Ontario - my great grandfather having traveled up there, loved it, and built a cabin that has stayed in the family. So many of the stories from Wake Robin are the same ones that are in my own family's mythology and collective stories - future spouses taken to the lake to see if they are worthy, crashes on gravel roads, visiting bears at the dump, and the joy of visiting town for treats. Bu ...more
Sara
Jan 31, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it
Closer to a 4.5 for this memoir of a lake cabin and its family, spanning nearly a century in the northwoods of WI. If lake cabins could speak...

Author Marnie Mamminga introduces us to the five generations of her family who've called the family cabin, named Wake Robin, "home" in their hearts. We also meet friends and neighbors who were part of the bygone era of the traditional lake resort. Lodge meals, square dances, guided fishing, organized picnics, and lazing on the dock are all part of this m
...more
Barb
Jun 19, 2013 Barb rated it really liked it
The book is a quaint well written memoir of 5 generations of a family's experiences at a vacation cabin in Hayward, WI. The author describes earlier generations and her own from when she was a child through when she is the grandmother with her grandchildren. It is reflective of a simpler and quieter life style. Her family is from IL (we won't hold that against them) and drove 9 hours to Hayward. The early chapters tell stories of a time when the father would stay working in the city while the mo ...more
Pam
Oct 31, 2015 Pam rated it liked it
Nice memories from the golden years of lake resorts in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. I felt like I really missed out by not having a place to spend the summer - our vacations on a lake in Minnesota were nothing like the experiences at Wake Robin.

I was very disappointed in the quality of the photographs in my print copy. They are very small.
Abby
Nov 22, 2015 Abby rated it liked it
While I enjoyed this series of vignettes about a cherished family tradition, I must admit that my thoughts were equal parts envy and gratitude--envy that not everyone has the means or opportunity to spend time in Wisconsin's lovely North (monthlong vacations? I wish!) and gratitude that members of my extended family have graciously shared their special Northwoods home with us for many years. I know from happy experience how many special memories can be created in 48-hour yearly flying visits, ho ...more
Tracey
Sep 20, 2013 Tracey rated it liked it
3.5 stars to this book (if Goodreads allowed half stars). As someone who also grew up going to the Northwoods - albeit a few decades after the resort heyday - I was super excited to read this memoir. It was fun to read the author's stories and to see pictures from the 1950s and 60s. The only problem I had is that there was a lot of repetition from one essay to another (that said, this could easily be taken apart so people could read only an essay or two and still get it). I also wasn't a huge fa ...more
Anna
Apr 06, 2014 Anna rated it liked it
A pretty much mandatory read since I grew up yonder in that neck of the woods. Alas, as I was the one waiting on those dang tourists (our family resort, albeit, the white trash version) the idealistic trip down memory lane was sweet yet simultaneously irritating. I'm not very nice. Maybe a good Mother's Day gift though???
Molly Wilson
Sep 25, 2012 Molly Wilson rated it it was amazing
Return to Wake Robin is a wonderful memoir written by Marnie Mamminga. Marnie and her family have traveled to their cabin in the Northwoods of Wisconsin for five generations.Writing chronologically with a few backslips, Marnie brings to life the day to day and year to year adventures of her own family as well as a cast of characters who vacation and work at the other cabins and resorts on the shores of Big Spider Lake.

Much to her families delight, Moody's Camp, an American Plan Resort on the
...more
Connie
Oct 11, 2013 Connie rated it really liked it


This memoir brought back wonderful memories of my family's trips to lake cabins in the 60's and 70's. We stayed at a cabin near Rice Lake, WI and even stopped at an A & W Rootbeer stand! At age 5 I learned to swim underwater, and tore open my foot, catching it on a nail on the dock, running to leap into the cold water with my sisters. Dad fished and Mom watched us from a lawn chair when she wasn't frying the fish or feeding us lunches of pbj sandwiches. Later we skipped the long drives from
...more
Nancy
May 06, 2014 Nancy rated it liked it
A series of essays on the experiences that five generations of one family have growing up at their cabin in the northern Wisconsin woods. It's well written but a lot of the essays repeat previous events.
Linnja (Lynn)
Mar 21, 2014 Linnja (Lynn) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction, 2014
loved it. brought back memories of vacationing in northern Minnesota during my youth and teen aged years.
Lisa Tart
Aug 09, 2015 Lisa Tart rated it it was amazing
I grew up in the Hayward area-spent much time at Moody's Lodge in the early 70's with the Grossi family-this book has brought back lots of memories, and also saddens me when I think of how all of this will soon be gone-so happy this family has preserved this wonderful family heirloom and hope it continues for generations to come!
This is a great memoir-relaxing to read
Carol Carlson
Jul 25, 2014 Carol Carlson rated it really liked it
As someone who often visited her grandparents in "the country" which was really a suburb of our large city, I totally related to this. It brought so many memories of driving there, summers learning how to swim in the small lake and getting together with family. I did get a bit tired of Marnie's comparisons, but mostly her lyrical prose impressed me. The importance of nature, relying on the outdoors for your amusement, and appreciation of the beauty of her surroundings was enjoyable. It brings to ...more
Jean
Sep 15, 2012 Jean rated it liked it
I like the topic since the northwoods of Wisconsin are special to me as well. It was an easy read. The pictures added to the experience although some were just too difficult to see what was going on (too dark or light). I was bothered a bit by how the book is organized; it felt like with each chapter I was going back in time to that era of whatever the chapter is about and then we moved forward so this caused a lot of discontinuity for me. Not sure if this book could have been done in a sequenti ...more
Carrie
Jul 27, 2014 Carrie rated it really liked it
So many things that remind me of our cabin in NY
Elizabeth
Nov 02, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
This was uplifting to listen to. It was like a mix of "Star Lake Saloon and Housekeeping Cottages" and "A Christmas Story." It was a nostalgic love letter to the family cabin including funny and poignant anecdotes. The writing was lovely about nature and simplicity and how replenishing the spirit in the outdoors is vital.
Sarah
Oct 16, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
This was "Chicken Soup for the Northwoods' Soul". The author reminisces about the cabin on Big Spider Lake near Hayward, Wisconsin that has been in her family for 83 years. Although times have changed, the simplicity of cabin life holds dear to all the the people who have spent time at 'Wake Robin'. You can smell the pine, hear the dinner bell, feel the cool water during an early morning dip and heave a sigh of pure satisfaction.
Debbie Olson
Jun 04, 2014 Debbie Olson rated it it was amazing
Brought back so many good memories of my own family vacations.
Pat
Feb 09, 2014 Pat rated it liked it
Nice pleasant book....
Jennifer
Feb 03, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I bought the book for my Dad for Father's Day, he and his Dad have a long history going to cabins in the northwoods of Wisconsin. I've heard wonderful things about the book, making it high on my list to read! It lived up to my expectations -not an easy task, very relatable read for anyone who's spent time vacationing next to a lake, summer holidays in a cabin.
Sue Thornquist
Actually, I put it aside for now--it's very episodic and I'm more interested in finishing it in the summer when it's closer to my family trip to the Northwoods. I'm enjoying it, though at the risk of sounding snobby, the writing is more of a "homespun" type which doesn't appeal to me as much. Some of the stories and experiences still resonate, however...
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