My work schedule lands me in Minnesota days before the Fourth of July weekend so I hit the first and nearest attraction prior to meeting up with my brother and his wife who live in the area.
Mall of America. Ehh, same ol’ shops with a few amusement park rides thrown in, most likely a draw for parents cooped up in the house on sub-artic winter days. I skip the rides, cruise the mall floors for an hour and purchase some squishy balls (which I paid way too much for) from a kiosk vendor. Turns out the squishy balls provided hours of entertainment for my Colorado grandaughter. They were worth every penny.
A quick look around at the artwork at the Mall’s entrance, a snapshot at the “Star” and I’m on my way to my brother’s home where I spend the night. Next morning the three of us hop in the car and head up to their cabin in Hayward Wisconsin.
Their cabin sits on the banks of massive 191-acre Hayward Lake, the waters of which are deep, clear and cold. But cruising on it would come after sightseeing on the Flowage.
The Flowage? Yes, the Chippewa Flowage, a 15,000+ acre controlled water flow. Basically a humongous man-made lake with 233 miles of shoreline.
In the mid-1900’s developers built small resorts along this shoreline — clusters of cabins with a “clubhouse” for the semi-isolated guests. A generation later the resorts were split apart, the cabins sold to individuals, and the clubhouses converted to bars to give fisherman and other outdoors enthusiasts places to eat and drink.
Recognizing their relative isolation along these 233-miles of shoreline, bar owners have joined together to create cross-promotion incentives to their visitors. Visiting three or more of these bars and enjoying a beverage at each will earn you a t-shirt touting your accomplishment.
But there is one resort that operates as a lone wolf, proudly offering its patrons the opportunity to earn a drinking t-shirt without ever leaving the premises. That resort is the Tiger Musky Resort and the Trifecta is their claim to fame. It’s a simple combination of three shots — brandy, tequila and bourbon, each with an over-the-top garnish. The shot of brandy is served with a live minnow swimming in it. A trifecta winner cautioned me, “You have to keep your hand over the glass while drinking it so the minnow doesn’t jump out.”
The shot of brandy is served with a live minnow swimming in it. A trifecta winner cautions me, “You have to keep your hand over the glass while drinking it so the minnow doesn’t jump out.”
Next shot, tequila, garnished with a live leech. The same fellow comments, “Yes, get ready because the leech balls up in your throat.” (Good sign, at least it won’t stick to your throat!)
Shot number 3, bourbon, served with a live earthworm. “That one’s not bad, except for the dirt that comes with the worm.”
Surprisingly none of that enticed me to head out to the Tiger Musky Resort but I was impressed by the creativity of these northerners. Amusement parks in malls and critters in their cups. Those are the results of living in the northern climates where winters are long and hours are spent hunkered down with your best buds in your favorite watering holes.
I’m not tough enough to earn the three-bar visit t-shirt and the Trifecta is way out of my league. I’m happy to enjoy an outstanding Bloody Mary…served with a snit of beer?