Raising a Family at a Minnesota Resort

Children who are raised at Minnesota resorts live in a unique environment that can have many rewards. The following is a reflection from a mother who raised her children at their family owned resort.

I grew up on Otter Tail Lake in Central Minnesota where our family had a classic Minnesota lake cabin. Many of my favorite childhood memories are from the summers spent at the lake. By the time I was 5 years old, I learned how to drive a fishing boat with a 3 HP motor, pick weeds on the beach and waterski. My friends loved to join us and we celebrated every 4th of July setting off fireworks that we wouldn’t think of using today. We often biked to a nearby resort to get candy and ice cream and I always thought it would be so fun to live on a family resort. When I met my husband, Tim, at college, I found that we shared a love for the lakes, as he had grown up spending summers at a Montana Bible Camp with his family. When we graduated from college my parents sold the family cabin to the neighbors and I silently wept.

Fast forward 17 years. After marriage, having two children and living in North Dakota, Tim and I finally had an opportunity to buy our own resort. Geneva Beach Resort was an answer to our dream of wanting to live on a lake again.

We sold our resort in 2019 and as I look back on the 23 years that we owned and operated our Minnesota resort, I can see that many of my children’s happiest memories are also from summers on the lake. Like their mom, they learned to drive a boat, clean the beach and waterski at an early age. But they also experienced so much more:

They learned to admire the love and dedication of extended families who came from all over the country to spend their precious vacation time together at the lake.

They learned to be polite, courteous and great conversationalists, especially with the grandparents. They witnessed the joys and sorrows that our guests experienced over the years and they felt like they were part of the large Geneva Beach family. They still continue their friendships with many of the families.

They also learned how to work hard for the family business. They woke up early every day to rake the beach, clean the boats, pick up the grounds, mow the grass, restock the candy, clean the gameroom and so much more. They also spent many afternoons and evenings working in the resort office while I prepped for the upcoming school year (I was a teacher for over 30 years) and Tim managed our other rental properties. I believe the work ethic they developed has definitely attributed to their successful careers.

However, we were very careful to make sure that they enjoyed their own “lake time”. They had friends over to ski, tube, sail, wakeboard and jump on the trampoline. To this day they still come back to Lake Geneva (we now live a few miles from the resort) to give their children the opportunity to fall in love with the lake and enjoy all of the experiences that were so important to them.

So as you can see, by raising our children at our Minnesota lake resort, they not only experienced the joy of living on a lake, but they also developed life-long skills that I did not necessarily expect.

The owners and their families can provide an exceptional level of customer service and they often develop friendships with their guests that continue for generations.

The next time you vacation at a MN resort or campground, if you haven’t in the past, please take time to get to know the owners and their families. They truly appreciate their friendships with you. And, TAKE TIME to enjoy all that the MN lakes have to offer.

When choosing a vacation destination,
many people find that an owner operated resort or campground
provides a more personal touch to their vacation.

Carolyn Aarsvold
Former owner of Geneva Beach Resort,
mother of David and Megan

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