The Loons Return to Northwestern Wisconsin

1

It won’t be long and we’ll be hearing the yodel, hoot, wail and tremelo sounds of our native Common Loons! After a winter, where they experience a complete molt of their feathers, they usually return from the South in mid-April to early May.

3

Wisconsin has a summer population of over 4000 breeding loons. They are the darlings of the lake that they inhabit and are greeted with joy when they return. As much as we swoon over the fact that they “mate for life” and return to the same area together each year. Much of their lives is spent alone. They migrate in the Fall alone. They winter alone and they come back alone. (I’d go it alone too if I lost all my feathers.) The male loon usually returns first and waits for the female. After only a few days of calling and swimming side-by-side, they are back in synch, ready to build their nest.

2

5

They spend most of their lives in the water because their bodies aren’t built for land dwelling. But they will typically lay two eggs in a nest on high ground and then teach their babies to swim through the course of the summer. The chicks ride on their backs for only about the first 10 days. After that, the parents swarm and coddle them as they grow and become stronger swimmers.

6

The immature loons will migrate South for their first autumn, but don’t make the return flight for about 3 years. Once they do return, they will choose a place within 30 miles of their birthplace. With a typical lifespan of about 25 years, they have a pretty reliable flight pattern. From sun country to God’s country – nature is the original “get-it-right” operation! ~ Wanda Boldon

Busting Out of Icicle Jail

1

Winter has had a long grip on our time and patience. It’s time to bust out! You don’t have to go far to feel the benefits of “escape” and enjoy an extraordinary outdoor experience in Northwestern Wisconsin.

4

Just 45 minutes north of Danbury, lies Pattison State Park, containing the highest waterfall in Wisconsin at 165 feet! In any season, it’s a glorious site!

3

The trails in the park are clearly marked and offer a variety of distances. It’s only a half mile hike through a majestic, mature forest on a nicely managed trail to get to the shores of the Black River.

6

It’s a quiet place where you can let your hidden dreams of joining Tom and Huck bubble to the surface. It just might cause you to bust out…in a smile warm enough to melt ice! ~ Wanda Boldon

7

How Quality Photography Leads to Happiness

Mud Hen Lake - Siren, WI

Mud Hen Lake – Siren, WI

When we discuss the real estate marketing process with Sellers, we explain to them that their “first showing” is online. Buyers thoroughly digest photos online before they contact us for a physical showing. Because of this, the photos we use to represent a property are critical to the success of everyone involved – Sellers and Buyers.

Ham Lake - Danbury, WI

Ham Lake – Danbury, WI

It makes us scratch our heads when we see new listings hit the MLS with poor photography. It’s kind of a public humiliation to everyone involved! So why does anyone let it happen? It takes work, timing and skill to beautifully represent a property. One can’t just hire a professional photographer and wash their hands of the process. If an agent is too busy to personally take and/or get involved with helping to achieve great images, the results show it.

Crooked Lake - Siren, WI

Crooked Lake – Siren, WI

At our firm, there are a few guidelines that we live by:

  • A head shot should be an exterior shot of the main dwelling. If you can’t show the outside of a dwelling in the head shot, it makes you wonder why…?
  • Efforts should be made to capture images on a picturesque day. If the weather isn’t cooperative, re-shoot when it is.
  • If the seasons change during the course of the listing, so should the photos.
  • Wide angle lenses should not be the “meat and potatoes” presentation of a property. They are for special effect only and should be used sparingly.
  • Drone photography is not appropriate for every property and should be left in the hands of a professional. Most drone shots done by amateurs (agents) in our area make it look like the woods around the property are lying down. (Sad.)

Real estate photography should flatter a property, but it should also paint a clear and realistic picture. Great photos attract the right Buyers. The right Buyers write better offers. Better offers lead to successful closings, where the Sellers and the Buyers are both happy. Happiness is all it’s cracked up to be! ~ Wanda Boldon

Danbury’s Minerva Chain of Lakes

Minerva Chain of Lakes

Minerva Chain of Lakes

One of the best kept secrets just East of Danbury, WI is the Minerva Chain of Lakes. “The Chain” consists of 9 lakes created by the Loon Creek dam. Seven of the lakes, starting at Burlingame Lake and heading South, offer connected boating and recreation. Each lake has a distinct personality, fishery and unique boating conditions, giving the gift of fun and adventure around every bend and bay!

Minerva Flowage - just South of the dam

Minerva Flowage – just South of the dam

Longtime owners, Paul and Dawn have enjoyed many years of fun with their family at their cabin. “We thoroughly enjoy the variation the Minerva Chain of Lakes provides, from an assortment of boat accessible lakes and channels, to remote undeveloped waters. The Chain has clean and clear water with a mix of vintage cabins and charming homes – all while being minutes from shopping, dining and entertainment options.”

The channel between Minerva and Falk Lakes

The channel between Minerva and Falk Lakes

The Minerva Chain of Lakes is ideally located in the heart of lake country and near thousands of acres of County Land, making it a highly sought-after location for most types of recreation – fishing, boating, trail riding and hunting. There are several bars and eateries within 10 minutes of any given point and there is even a boat-up tiki bar at Houman’s Resort in the summer! Nancy and John are new owners on the lake. “Every boat ride offers a new adventure for us.  We’ve enjoyed exploring the different lakes and unique experience that each one offers.  We also enjoy access to ATV and snowmobile trails right out our door, as well as numerous restaurants and bars nearby.”

Boater's paradise in full Summer

Boater’s paradise in full Summer

The water level is controlled by a dam, which means there is little fluctuation in water depth along with easy, sloped elevation at the shore. That’s a rare combination! Some waterfront owners are even able to leave their dock in the water year around.

Natural views around every corner on The Chain of Lakes near Danbury, WI

Natural views around every corner on The Chain of Lakes near Danbury, WI

Easy elevation on Gull Lake

Easy elevation on Gull Lake

The water clarity is high due to natural vegetation in the channels acting as a filter. “When our grandkids come to the lake, they want to take the pontoon to the sandbar on Love Lake. It’s a fun social outing for them and we always run into people we know.” Steve and Peggy

Entering Love Lake on the Minerva Chain of Lakes

Entering Love Lake on the Minerva Chain of Lakes

Love Lake water clarity

Love Lake water clarity

Sunset cruise on Minerva Lake

Sunset cruise on Minerva Lake

“What has probably surprised us the most is how quiet and peaceful it is around the lakes. It has been great for personal relaxation and bringing family together. It is the highlight of our nephew’s summer to spend a week fishing and playing. That’s pretty telling as they are now in high school.” Andy and Marlene

Fishing for bass and panfish on the Minerva Chain of Lakes

Fishing for bass and panfish on the Minerva Chain of Lakes

Summer vacations at the lake

Summer vacations at the lake

Jon and Lori have years of great experiences under their belt and are still loving it. “At the top of the list is the boat cruising!  We love the ability to take nice long boat cruises  from lake to lake. If we have friends up to visit we can load up a cooler with some beverages, put together a tray of appetizers, dial up some good beach or island music and venture out for a few hours. We think it’s fun to cruise slowly along the shoreline and look at all the other cabins and wave at everyone we see out on a dock, in their yard, or by their fire-pit. It’s fun to kayak back in the shallow bays. The water is so clear, you can see down into the water and see the little fish, turtles and underwater vegetation. On sunny days the turtles climb up on the logs along the bank and sun themselves and everyone gets excited and counts them. ”

We enjoy helping people get to know the hidden treasures of our area. After years and years of work experience, the Minerva Chain of Lakes still stands among the best! ~ Wanda Boldon

Minerva Chain of Lakes courtesy of Sportsman's Connection

Minerva Chain of Lakes courtesy of Sportsman’s Connection

Snow Day Means Snow Play

Two substantial snowfalls in the last week have added up to enough snow for a winter wonderland of fun in our area. What a great opportunity to get out and play!

Snow shoeing in Danbury, WI

Snowshoeing in Danbury, WI

This father and son were happy to get out and drill a few holes in the ice. They planned to spend the day fishing and relaxing together. 

Ice Fishing in Burnett County

Ice Fishing in Burnett County

The ice fisherman tucked away in this pop-up planned to fish into the evening. With another round of snow on the way, he expected the barometric pressure to change and the fishing to get exciting. He plans to retire in April and move here with his wife. Her workplace values her so much that they are paying to equip their home so that she can continue to contribute after the move.

Ice Fishing Near Webster, WI

Ice Fishing Near Webster, WI

The trails were open and snowmobilers were taking full advantage, including Dave and Carolyn Iverson.  “We didn’t take a warm weather vacation this year, and that’s really the result of living in God’s Country. We love it up here! Six inches of fresh snow on the trails certainly helps.”

The trails are open!

The trails are open!

Snowmobile trails in Danbury, WI

Snowmobile trails in Danbury, WI

 

Snowmobiling in Webb Lake, WI

Snowmobiling in Webb Lake, WI

After playing hard in the snow all day, you need to rest and refuel. The local businesses were happy to serve! ~ Wanda Boldon

7

The Spring Market: We’re Here For YOU

Are you in? If so, here are some insider tips you need to know, whether you’re a BUYER or a SELLER, before you take the plunge.

BUYERS, where do you begin? Online, of course! Go to the site that will give you the best, most accurate information, the most photos and easiest interface. For our area, you can’t top the www.c21sandcounty.com site. Why? Not all companies belong to both the Northwestern Wisconsin MLS and the Twin Cities MLS simultaneously. Therefore, if you’re searching on a Twin Cities based web site or on one of the “big box” sites that miraculously knows everything and yet nothing, you’re missing out on properties. The CENTURY 21 Sand County Services site has a search function that was specifically designed for searches in Northwestern Wisconsin. It pulls complete information from all sources and then boils it down to an interface that helps you get what you want quickly. The map-based search of Northwestern Wisconsin is front and center, so you can quickly see what’s available. Then, you can narrow things down by property type, price range and even a specific lake. Once you find a list of properties that interest you, you can save them for later. You can also monitor new listings as they come on the market. The “new listings” feed is continuously updated so you won’t miss out on a thing!

Next, get an agent involved. Don’t settle for someone who merely has a license to show you property in Wisconsin. Choose someone who is a local expert. You will benefit by getting more complete detailed and background information about the properties you view and will have fewer surprises after the closing. If an agent has to drive over an hour to show you properties, they’re not local and there’s no way they can be experts!

BUYERS, when all is said and done, and you’re ready to go to closing, be aware of one other thing. There is a trend in the industry toward charging buyers a closing fee. Yes. That means your agent charges you a fee for the privilege of working with them. This fee is on top of the commission they’re earning from the sale. If this makes you froth up, you’re not alone. The CENTURY 21 Sand County Services Team does NOT charge a buyer closing fee. None. Not. Nada. We give you full service and nothing less, with no extra charges.

SELLERS, is it time to move on? It’s a very personal and potentially sensitive time, and you need help. Start by finding an agent who you trust and makes you feel comfortable. Listen to your gut on this. But also rely on referrals and previous customer feedback. Do an online search to find out more before you hand over the keys. On top of that, you want a knowledgeable agent who will lead and manage the whole process – someone who will stay in touch with you, someone who has a good rapport with other agents and someone who prepares you for what to expect. That’s not too much to ask.

Next, consider the company’s marketing package. Finding the right buyer for your property is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach. Every property is unique. Seller’s goals are unique. Look to your agent for innovative ideas to personalize the marketing of your property and of course, expect great photography and presentation.

Ask if the firm has dedicated support staff. Find out who will manage the ongoing listing details and who will contact you to coordinate showings.

Lastly, skip forward to the closing process. Does the firm have an in-house closer who prepares the closing documents, including your Deed, who is able to close cash transactions on any day, at any time and personally attends closing along with your agent?

WE DO. At CENTURY 21 Sand County Services, it is our goal to offer you all of this – whether you’re a BUYER or a SELLER. It’s our mission to defy mediocrity and deliver an extraordinary real estate experience. Let us show you! ~ Wanda Boldon

Team CENTURY 21 Sand County Services

Team CENTURY 21 Sand County Services

We ARE the Bold North.

Being a part of the “Bold North” is about embracing the unique conditions that winter brings – with others, as well as by yourself.

7

It’s an opportunity to try new things and challenge yourself.

DSCN9688

DSCN9699

It’s about community.

DSCN2811

It’s about nature.

20180203_083242

It’s about family.

33552

IMG_6273

It’s about people.

33487

We’d like to help you embrace your OWN Bold North. Brace yourself for a Great Real Estate Experience! ~ Wanda Boldon

It’s (Gluten) Friendly Up North.

20180124_071436

You can hardly have a conversation about food these days, without encountering someone who’s affected by gluten in the food they eat. I have a friend who was diagnosed with MS and has been prescribed a gluten free diet as a result. I recently met a woman with a child who is ADHD and their pediatrician is having them try a gluten free diet for a year. When the topic arises, it’s interesting to find out how many people are truly in tune to the dietary restriction – either for themselves or for someone they know.

It caused me to seek out food resources in the area for those in need of a gluten free or gluten friendly diet. Because no one should avoid coming Up North to have fun because they’re worried about where and what they can eat!

20180126_161403

If eating out is on your wish list, be sure to try Mia Mangia in Grantsburg. It’s a thoughtful family owned Italian restaurant with pizza, pasta and sandwich choices that are big on flavor. Owner Gerry Ensign said they decided to adapt some of their menu items and offer a nice assortment of options because they have a daughter who eats a gluten free diet. As a result, he said they have a “regular” who comes in just for the gluten free spaghetti and they do quite a few pizzas as well! They have a comfortable dining area if you want to eat in or you can order in advance and pick up your food on the way to the cabin.

20180126_161253

Wouldn’t it be sad if you couldn’t eat at Tesora or the Wood Shed in Siren because of dietary restrictions? Thankfully, we have a “no sadness allowed” policy Up North and owner, Jake Mangelsen said they offer several options on their menu at Tesora and are now offering gluten free pizza crust in the Wood Shed. They’re careful to use separate utensils and clean cutting boards so their diners can eat with confidence. Jake said they’ve found that people really appreciate having the gluten free items noted on the menu, but that people who have the dietary restriction are very educated and know, for the most part, what they can and cannot eat.

20180127_140641

20180127_140604

20180127_140705

If you’re looking to grab some grocery items and want to cook for yourself, you’ll be surprised at the options available at Wayne’s Foods in Webster. I talked to Kim Flodin from the store, who said that the bread, buns and frozen items are selling well. If you’re driven by your sweet tooth and want to grab a yummy dessert, they even have gluten free cakes and cupcakes.

20180124_164856

And then there’s the “Mother Ship” in Spooner – North Crossing Foods, “where organic, bulk, gluten-free and regional favorites meet”. If you haven’t experienced this place, you need to schedule a field trip to believe it for yourself. If the owner, Dan Fern is there, you must request a tour of the store to fully appreciate what they have and what they put into every single item they offer. It’s beyond the scope of this Blog post! Suffice it to say, if you’re looking for ingredients for a gluten free diet, this is your new mainstay. From bulk flours, nuts, beans, rice, spices, to condiments and packaged items, it’s a treasure trove. They even have take and bake gluten free pizzas. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, they’ll make a serious effort to get it!

20180124_164550

20180124_164602

20180124_164628

Not everyone is a foodie, but everyone eats food. Now there’s no reason for all food eaters to come Up North. Smiles Everyone, Smiles! ~ Wanda Boldon

What YOU Need to Know About Zebra Mussels

image015In November of 2016, zebra mussels (9 adults, all less than a year old) were discovered on one of our finest and most popular lakes – Big McKenzie Lake. It’s a significant discovery, because it’s the first inland zebra mussel population verified in Northwestern Wisconsin. It can and will affect other waterways over the course of the coming years. Historic data of populations that were found elsewhere show that a downstream spread to other lakes and rivers is highly possible.

Zebra mussels are finger-nail sized bottom dwellers and are an invasive species from Europe and Asia that can affect our native species and negatively disrupt the current ecosystem and water quality of a lake. They resemble small clams with a yellowish or brownish D-shaped shell with alternating dark and light-colored stripes. Most are under an inch and they grow in clusters, attached to piers, rocks and other hard surfaces.

image012

At this time, there is no known effective control method for the spread of zebra mussels. Every lake is different, as to the maximum number of animals the lake’s nutrients will support and some lakes have a higher dissolved calcium level than others, which makes them a more susceptible environment to support a zebra mussel population.

A team of state and local staff, along with university experts have joined together to work on a response to the outbreak. The best that can be done at this time is two-fold: awareness and removal.

Awareness is being built through online platforms like Facebook and online newspapers with media releases. Digital road signs, brochures and signage at the landings are being used as well. Creating a higher public awareness is the first step. Creating a personal willingness for people to help prevent the spread is the next. Sadly, there is no law requiring boaters to decontaminate their boats when they leave a lake.

image_large

Boat cleaning stations at the landings with power washing units have been successful when there are volunteers present to assist and remind boaters. But more volunteers are needed.

The Big McKenzie Lake Association is working diligently with the DNR to monitor, test and suppress this problem. Snorkel and dive teams will be used to manually remove zebra mussels and the awareness and education efforts will continue.

If we want to preserve the beauty and pleasures of our special lakes region, it will be incumbent on all boaters, no matter what lake they interact with, to inspect their boat and equipment, remove any attached aquatic plants or animals, drain all water from the boat and motor, dispose any unwanted bait in the trash and to buy bait locally. It’s the least we can do! – Wanda Boldon

New Listings for Spring Buyers

The Spring buying season is underway and we’re just beginning to bring in some great new listings. Now is the time to look, if you want to be enjoying yourself when the weather turns. Just to remind you of how that looks, here are a couple new listings you can warm up to!

3649 Bay Drive $285,000

3649 Bay Drive $285,000

“Go jump in the lake!” This 4 bedroom (plus office!), 3 bath home has 3 acres of land and overlooks Loon/Cadotte Lakes. Dog lovers and kid protectors – this one has a fenced yard!

Quick and easy access to boating and fishing in the summer, trails and ice fishing in the winter.

Quick and easy access to boating and fishing in the summer, trails and ice fishing in the winter.

Attractive, low maintenance landscaping and a fire pit waiting for your coals.

Attractive, low maintenance landscaping and a fire pit waiting for your coals.

“Garcon!” This 4 bedroom, 3 bath home on 2 acres of lush woods and landscaped paradise has venues all over the place to share with others or to savor on your own. Table service, not included!

4521 Wilderness Way $214,900

4521 Wilderness Way $214,900

Grill-side dining, just steps from the screen house.

Grill-side dining, just steps from the screen house.

Overlooking the wood chip paths and pine forest.

Overlooking the wood chip paths and pine forest.

Let us know when you’d like to take a look and we’ll make arrangements to give you a personal tour! – Wanda Boldon