Manitowish Chain of 10 Lakes + Manitowish Waters
Northerly Collective was born from a passion to share the soul of northern Wisconsin. From adventuring through the tall pines to lingering conversations over mugs of coffee, Becca Bartling + Elizabeth Gering created Northerly Collective as their way of doing “The North” - a collection of adventures, favorite things, and local happenings in northern Wisconsin. They hope their love for the Northwoods inspires you to take the road north and write your own “up north” story.
Favorite lake(s): We are fortunate to call the Manitowish Waters Chain of 10 Lakes home. Connected by channels of various lengths, you can spend an entire day or weekend (or summer!) exploring. Each lake has its own vibe, history, and fun hidden secrets. Elizabeth grew up on Rest Lake, with a close proximity to downtown Manitowish Waters, plenty of waterskiers, and wide open space. We both currently live on Alder Lake on the other end of the Manitowish Chain, which is more secluded and quiet, with its shoreline lined with unique cabins and resorts. Alder is a great place to tie up, jump off the boat or float with the waves in the middle of the lake. Regardless of what lake you anchor your boat on, it’s hard to not fall in love with lake life in Manitowish Waters.
Closest major city + airport: The closest “major” city to us is Madison, Wisconsin, a 3.5 hour drive from Manitowish Waters. Commercial flights are not easy to find in our neck of the woods, but Ironwood, Michigan and Rhinelander, Wisconsin are both 45 minutes away and have limited flights to Minneapolis and Chicago. While Rhinelander is a Delta hub, Ironwood offers a less expensive but more thrilling experience. Flights are large enough to fit only 10 passengers and be prepared for delayed or canceled flights if it’s raining (or snowing) anywhere in the state of Wisconsin. Be ready for the friendliest seat neighbors with a great story to tell - we like to think it adds to the experience!
Nearest grocery store: Trig’s Village Market in downtown Manitowish Waters. Pick up your groceries via car, bike, or boat. Have you ever paddled to get your morning newspaper? Now is your chance!
Reason the lakes are important: We both have strong family ties to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Becca was the 4th generation in her family to grow up on the shores of Trout Lake. Elizabeth’s grandparents bought their first cabin on Papoose Lake in Winchester, a neighboring town, when she was two years old. Some of our best memories are full of sandy toes, catching crayfish and jumping in the lake in the midst of a rainstorm (we still might do that today!). The Northwoods seem to hold tradition and an old fashioned sense of connection to those around you; an attribute that is quickly disappearing in the fast-paced world we live in.
Favorite lake activities/foods/traditions:
Elizabeth: Pontoon cruising through all of the lakes, stand up paddleboarding, water skiing, jumping off of the boat in the middle of the lake, reading a book on the dock, floating in a watermelon shaped inner tube, and being with the ones we love.
Becca: Boating to the coffee shop, watching my dog jump off the pier, kayaking, soaking up the sunshine, boating to the 4th of July parade, watching the fireworks from the water, enjoying the changing of seasons.
What do you do when it rains? We believe rainy days at the lake are just as amazing as sunny ones. It’s an excuse to read your favorite book (we are both bookworms), play bananagrams, try to finish an entire puzzle, or just have a glass of wine with friends and family. When rain is in the forecast, we pull out the cribbage board or a new favorite board game, and get prepared to slow down and simply enjoy.
Local joints to check out:
Dixie’s Coffee House - Enjoy a cup of coffee with one of the best views in Wisconsin!
The Pea Patch Saloon - Stop in on Sundays for their Bloody Mary bar
Blue Bayou Inn - Enjoy appetizers + mint juleps on their patio or go for the full Blue Bayou experience, a 4 course meal - our favorite way to celebrate!
Greer’s Pier Marina - amazing carnitas tacos on the grill with a fresh fruity drink from the Lower Unit tiki bar. Served dockside.
The Howling Dog Saloon - the floor is slanted and the PBR is fresh. Enjoy great late night pizza and be prepared, no rap allowed on the juke box and cash is the only currency.
Favorite local restaurant: Our very favorite restaurant in the area is The Blue Bayou Inn. Traditional Louisiana cooking with a northwoods flavor - try the jambalaya, tableside bananas foster, and one of Rita’s amazing cocktails. They will even cook up your fresh catch from the lake. Delicious food, a warm atmosphere, + the perfect sunset spot.
Fish that’s prominent in the lake: Walleye, Bass & Muskellunge. If you’re heading to the Manitowish Chain to explore by the (fishing) hook, we highly suggest hiring a fishing guide. A day on the water is best spent listening to tales of a bygone era, some are even multi-generation fishing guide families. Does tradition get any more unique?
Lesson(s) learned at the lake: Slow down, look up at the trees instead of down at your phone, happiness is found in the simplicity of everyday moments, EXPLORE.
Misconception of the North: “There’s nothing to do”, especially in the winter. A local secret - the best seasons are actually Fall + Winter! This misconception is just one of the reasons we created Northerly Collective; to share with everyone the abundance of activities, events, food, and creative people who live here.