Crane Lake Stories: From 2 Days to 58 Years – Crane Lake Story Potporrui

Published On: July 8, 20219.5 min read
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Episode 5 – Stories and Sentiments from Crane Lake Visitors

Stories and Sentiments from Crane Lake Visitors

Matt brings you a number of interviews with visitors to Crane Lake who have been coming here from as little as 2 days to as much as 58! These interviews give folks an opportunity to express what they love about Crane Lake life. From funny tidbits to beautiful sentiments, these stories show how rich the experiences of Crane Lake can be. Enjoy these real stories from real folks who choose to enjoy their summers in Crane Lake, MN! 

Like what you hear? Build your own Crane Lake story this summer with a visit to this beautiful area. Whether you’re interested in camping and fishing or other outdoor recreation, there’s something for everyone here!





What You’ll Learn In This Episode

  • Crane Lake visitors come from all around!
  • Crane Lake is a place to build special memories with your family and loved ones.
  • Summer is the perfect time to visit Crane Lake.

Episode Transcript;

Matt Addington: Hey folks, welcome to another episode of Crane Lake Stories. My name is Matt Addington. Just thank you again for coming by and checking out what we’ve been putting out here. It’s been really fun connecting with lots of folks from lots of different walks of life, all having some sort of tie to this special place in the world. This week’s episode is kind of a mishmash from a recent visit up to Crane Lake where I had an opportunity to talk to several different people who have lots of different ties to the area. Some, uh, one of the girls that you are going to hear from, she’s only been at Crane Lake for two days! Another one of our guests has been coming to Crane Lake for 58 years. So we’ve got, kind of, we covered the entire gamut this week with people who have a story and some sort of affinity with this special place. So enjoy some short conversations with some people as they tell their Crane Lake Story!

Nikki: I’m Nikki Vanderwaar, and my husband Corey. We’ve been coming out, er we’re from Angora, Minnesota. Right now that’s where we live. We’re originally from Virginia, but we’ve been coming up here for, uh, 10 years. About 10 years. And we come up, we camp. we fish all weekend. Our daughter started doing this with us and now she comes from Duluth and she comes up. It’s one of her favorite trips every year.

Matt: Awesome. Do you guys stay at Handberg’s every time or have you moved around?

Nikki: Uh, we started staying here about five years ago?

Corey: Yeah.

Nikki: Six years ago? Um, we were staying with his friend-

Corey: A friend has a cabin on the lake, and then we got the rv and started rv-ing instead.

Matt: Nice! Do you have any top secret fishing spots or fishing tips you want to share with us?

Corey: Jig and minnow, shallow water. That’s as deep as I go.

Matt: Nice! Well, good luck and thanks for sharing!

Isa: My name is Isa, I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Matt: And you’ve been at Crane Lake for how long?

Isa: Two days.

Matt: Two days! So number one, I just ask you, like, what in the world are you doing here?! And how did you get here. What’s the story of, like, what got you here?

Isa: Well, I was, uh, searching around for something to do seasonally. And I found this place, sent them an email, and then I had a phone interview with Scott and Lori, and they were just the nicest people I’d ever talked to, so I figured I should give it a try!

Matt: Unbelievable. So, uh, two days in, what’s what are your impressions of Crane Lake and Handberg’s and north country Minnesota?

Isa: Nicest people on the planet! Um, yeah it’s been pretty great. People have been really lovely. The flies are killing me, but that’s pretty much my only complaint.

Matt: That goes… that’ll go with the territory, and they come and go throughout the summer. So what, uh, like what expectations did you have leaving California and, like, going to the absolute north country of Minnesota?

Isa: I definitely knew it would be different, um, but I kind of like different. I like to pop around and try new things like most people. I don’t leave California because I hate it or anything, but, um, you know. Go meet some different kinds of people. Do some different kinds of stuff. I came in with very little information. I kind of just packed my bag and came here.

Matt: Awesome and interesting. That’s one of the all-time unique Crane Lake Stories. Enjoy your time! Good to have you here, and we’ll maybe catch up later this summer.

Steve: My name is Steve, and I’ve been coming up to Crane Lake for 58 years and my favorite story is my… my dad and I and our families have been coming up here for many years, obviously, and uh, he passed away a couple years ago. What I did was I took a log that had been cut and I burned his name in it, and it is up on what we call The Rock, which is our favorite fishing spot.

Matt: Awesome, so cool. Do you have any great memories of the past 58 years? uh
awesome fishing stories you can share?

Steve: Matter of fact, just last year, just last spring, my middle son Christopher and I came up here just for the day. At the end of the day I pulled in a 25 pound Northern.

Matt: Wow.

Steve: Yeah. There’s all sorts of stories like that up here. You just gotta get up here and make them.

Matt: Yeah it’s a pretty special place that way, isn’t it? How bout a favorite memory like when you were, when you were, you know, generationally, fishing with your dad or an experience you had camping.

Steve: Yeah, I guess the biggest memory is when, years ago, we were going across Sandpoint Lake and opener fishing and it was snowing sideways. My mom my two sisters my dad and I were in the boat and we were going wide open throttle and a rod blew on the motor. Sent us, you know. So we had to use the kicker motor to drive all the way back to Handberg’s and John Sanborn who you know owned the place sold my dad a new motor and off we went!

Matt: Wow, awesome, yeah, cool. Thank you for sharing!

Pete: I’m married into the Crane Lake family. So, Crane Lake, until last year when we got locked out of Canada, has been kind of a base camp if you will. We spend most of our time up in Lac La Croix, but last year when we were forced out of Canada, we bought this place. I was personally pretty amazed that I’ve driven by everything here for 25 years. It’s like it went into the gorge and did the walk I was like how have I not been here for the last 25 years. So we’ve really kind of, uh, very excitedly jumped out of the Canadian-only camp. I’m very happy to call Crane Lake our sort of primary.

Matt: You said your wife is a fourth generation Crane Laker, and you kind of married into it, which is good.

Pete: Yeah, so, Johnson-Martini family, and uh yeah i married into it but uh, yeah, um they’re all from Orr and Virginia and Duluth.

Matt: How is it, how has it captured you through your marriage and through this time?

Pete: I guess I was just a natural. I mean I got a boat ride up the river with my wife for the first time 26 years ago this summer. I was hooked before we even got to LaCroix, it was just like okay… yeah this is, this is it, that easy.

Matt: Awesome, well, thanks for your time.

Anne: Okay, my name is Anne Torrey. I grew up in Northern Wisconsin, lived in the cities for about 30 years making my living, and moved up back to Northern Wisconsin. A couple years ago with my husband.

Matt: Okay, and tell us, uh, your Crane Lake story is an emotional one for you but definitely powerful. What brings you back to Crane Lake?

Anne: Okay, well, my dad… here we go. My dad has been fishing here for 40 years, he came with all his friends. He’d planned really awesome fishing trips every year and they came back with all the stories and sadly but surely his friends died. You know you get old, you get to a certain age and he hit a point where they were all gone and he didn’t have anyone to come with anymore, so we started taking him. Uh it’s been four years since we’ve been coming and he passed away this year a couple months ago, and now we’re here.

Matt: Awesome. You’re gonna fish in tribute to him, but what what kind of things are you
looking forward to here on this opening weekend that will carry on the tradition?

Anne: Well, we’ll go up the Echo River and hit the area where he meets the lake and try to catch some walleyes. We probably won’t do it as well as he did it, that’s for sure. But I hope to catch one or two in his honor. Just kind of relive the memories.

Matt: Yeah. What is it about this area besides the memories with your dad that you love the most?

Anne: Uh, I like the wilderness you know. It’s, uh, I love where we live in Northern Wisconsin. It’s beautiful and wooded, lots of forests and lakes. But you can get up to where there’s nobody if you keep going. That’s what we really like.

Matt: Awesome, yeah, well thanks a lot for sharing. Really appreciate it.

Anne: You’re welcome.

Matt: So that’s it for this week’s, um, kind of potpourri edition where we heard from a lot of different people with lots of special stories from the Crane Lake area. We really appreciate you stopping by here. Hit the subscribe button if this is something that you are enjoying, either on YouTube or on whatever podcast platform you listen to.

Also, we’re looking for people that might be willing to join us on an episode to tell their story, or their history for that matter, that they might have or their family might have with the Crane Lake area. It could be anything from vacationers to locals to people who have maybe stopped by just one time. We’d love to hear different stories from all kinds of different people all over.

Again we appreciate you stopping by for this episode, and we’ll see you next time!



The Crane Lake Visitor & Tourism Bureau can assist you with ground, water, or air transportation, lodging reservations, group planning, meeting facilities, and any special consideration required to accommodate a unique condition or disability.

If you would like more information about the Crane Lake area or to access our Visitors Guide, please visit our Contact Page. Thank you for your interest in our beautiful area.