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Our Labor Day Trip to Camp Van Vac

September 8, 2014

Every other year, Breon, Sen, and I head up to Ely for a weekend of relaxation, outdoor activity, and fun. This year, we left on Saturday morning with the weather looking to be chilly and rainy (sad). As we arrive, we grabbed groceries from the market and headed to our rustic cabin at Camp Van Vac.

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We ate dinner at the Rockwood. This used to be a pizza hut or something… very happy they got rid of that! We then headed to the International Wolf Center to check out “What’s for Dinner.” The wolves got to eat some delicious venison!

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The rest of the timeĀ involved relaxing, reading, and bonfires. We had a blast. We decided to leave a day early because we thought we could make better use of our time unpacking the new house (more on that soon). Plus, the weather wasn’t cooperating.

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My favorite places in Ely, MN:

Camp Van Vac is located on Burntside Lake 10 minutes outside of Ely, MN. It’s a perfect rustic getaway. The cabins have just enough to get by but the camp still has beautifully maintained restrooms and showers. Plus a sauna, wifi cabin, and a lovely beach. If you can ever head up there… do it!

Reflections from Camp Van Vac

September 8, 2012

Sitting and listening to the breeze, waves, loons, and laughter are just what I was hoping for when I reflecting on our trip to Ely. This past labor day weekend, Breon, Sen and I traveled to Ely to spend our long weekend “camping.”

I use the word camping lightly because we were in a cabin. Cabin 11 to be exact! A very very rustic cabin. No sink, no bathroom, concrete floors, etc. you can see just how rustic it was by watching the video.


Upon our arrival, I was so excited to see how gorgeous the view was from the cabin. Through the windows, there was a beautiful panoramic view of Lake Burntside. It was just breathtaking.

We grabbed a canoe and tested our abilities, we felt comfortable…more on that later.


A long awaited trip to Pebble spa on Sunday morning. Breon bought me a spa package that included foot soak, sinus and head massage, and 60-minute massage. What an awesome boyfriend…I mean come on! šŸ™‚

We spent some more time in Ely before heading back to camp to go fishing/canoeing.

After getting Sen comfortable in the canoe, we put the rest of the gear into the canoe. We heard a few warnings from folks leaving.

“Oh, its windy out there. I turned around!”

“You two will have a time of it getting back.”

But we ventured out anyways. We crossed the big lake with ease…it wasn’t until we came to a cove the we realized there was some serious “windage”.

We tried to keep the nose in the waves but it was just one second of unbalance and we went in. The canoe, sen, and us in the water. After finding that we were all okay, we pulled the canoe onto a random dock and waited.

We were a little nervous heading back. But with good communication, we made it back just fine. But we didn’t fish.


A fun and relaxing day with a walk, swimming, drive up echo trail, and a mini hike in the boundary waters. During the mini-hike we found a really cool mushroom that we were both enthralled over. I think Breon’s photo is the best (seen below)! After a nap, Breon made delicious chicken, potatoes and soup.

(c) Breon Nagy 2012


Having to leave Tuesday, we spent the morning getting ready. Then we ate at the Taste of Ely. Delicious breakfast in our tummy we went to the Wolf Center. Alas, those silly wolves were napping or so I believe in my mind. Next time, we’ll see ’em!

It was a wonderful trip and just what I needed. I love being near the water and being a couple of steps from it made the trip that much better. Reading, listening, looking, swimming, canoeing (tipping), laughing, relaxing, warming by the fire, and all I hoped. Camp Van Vac…we’ll be back.