Childhood Rediscovery: Find Your Magic

Holy cats, it’s happening. 😻 I didn’t know if I’d make it here. But this evening my husband and I are driving up north to spend a couple nights at a magical place I long ago believed I had made up in my mind.

But it’s real! ✨✨

My entire life I have asked people if they’ve ever heard of “Garnache”.

I didn’t quite know the name of this magical place but, when I started drinking wine and came across Garnacha/Grenache which became a favorite:

its name triggered the old familiar want to find this magical place from my childhood.

So What the Hell Are You Talking About

When I was a kid, I went up north every summer and winter.

What the Hell Does That Mean

Going up north is something white people in Wisconsin do. I’d like to think it was something people of color do too because “up north” is beautiful but, thinking on it, it really feels like a white people place.

In other words, it’s kind of terrifying.

Like rural places which are also mostly occupied by scary white people.

But – in my brain – going up north is magical and it isn’t just a white person place. I’m not alone in feeling this way.

There is a Milwaukee area bar called “Camp Bar” which is dedicated to the Wisconsin North woods. And it’s much closer to how I idealize the up north:

Warm, inclusive, welcoming and cozy with candles and lots of dead things: squeeeeeee 🥰✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨

But up north isn’t as charming as Camp Bar. In reality, it’s often a bit more bare-bones.

straight to the point

But whatever. People go up north for the beauty of nature.

You go up north to fish and swim and hike and stare at the sky, water and trees.

Unless you were my parents.

My parents were nature buffs. My dad could name a bird by its call, bugs by their whatever-the-fuck-bugs-have-gross and a plant, tree or flowers by its smell, shape or leaf. My mom was a master gardener and host of many luncheons and dinner parties.

What my parents weren’t is “let’s-spend-all-day-on-a-boat-fishing” people… I had to go with my friends and their parents if I wanted to fish or do water sports up north.

So when I’d go up north with my parents in the summer we’d instead explore supper clubs and resorts.

We were rural explorers.

And that’s how we came upon this magical place which I started this blog ranting about.

We found it because I think my mom had to use the bathroom so my dad turned down a long drive, following a sign, and came upon a parking lot:

My mom ran away and my dad and I walked inside, following her as usual, and…

holy cats of fire it was heaven.

We walked into a great room which had – in my child brain – shelves packed with books which extended to the high ceiling above and a ladder that was hinged to the wall so one could access the books at the very top. There were full-sized taxidermied bears on display and lamps and… it was unlike any place I had ever seen.

My dad looked down at me with wonder in his eyes and said, “Next year we are staying here.”

I know my dad must have been drinking because that’s the only time he really got that dreamy wonder tone to his voice.

But I was too young to know that. I loved the dreamy wonder tone and really felt my dad and I were on the same page when he had it.

That room we stepped into was the last thing we expected while being up north and it was wondrous.

We stood there in the middle of the room, gobsmacked.

But we also saw a bar through a doorway to the right and we walked toward it. It opened into a room which was perched on a big lake. Through the windows we could see the sun shining off the still water below which stretched far out to the distant shore.

The room was aglow with sunlight.

Another perfect room.

We were on a roll.

And that’s all I remember. Our accidental discovery of Grambles.

I had no idea what the name of this place was because I was five years old or some short age and only remembered the name was strange and started with “G”.

And my parents and I didn’t return the next year or ever again.

Therefore, I’ve spent my entire life asking new people I meet who are from the north whether they knew of this wondrous resort that starts with a G (I had settled upon “Garnache” by this point) and having them shake their head.


Eventually, I gave up on it. I started to think I had invented it or it had long ago closed and was simply a memory and nothing more.

Yet, a few months ago, my husband was driving up north for work and he saw an unusual sign on the side of some road and it said, in cursive, strange lettering: Garmisch.


David called me that night and we both felt this had to be the place I had long searched for.

I looked online and… it’s not an obscure little hidden secret. Its website looks like an infomercial from the 1980s with its full name being “GARMISCH USA RESORT”. It’s a giant place and looks just as crazy as I had remembered and…

I’m starting to doubt all these people I had talked to who were allegedly from the north. This place is “world-famous”.

For a little context, Garmisch is a “noted resort” in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps near Oberammergau. And this Garmisch is an oddly unknown resort at the northern Wisconsin shore of Lake Namakagon.

In any case, David and I booked a couple nights months ago and now those nights are here.

I’ve been waiting 36 years to walk into that great room again, and I’ve been waiting 13 weeks for a break as I’m practically crawling on the ground with stress…

so I hope it’s not disappointing

but I don’t think it will be. After all, it’s right by FAIRYLAND STATE NATURAL AREA WTF.

A magical, legitimately up north Bavarian spot of wonder. Here we come. 🥰

I don’t see any book shelves or dead bears so either I enhanced this room in my mind or they did some remodeling
this is pretty much exactly how I remembered it though…

Yay. Dead things, weird, warm and cozy. The best of the Wisconsin Up North experience.

the view from our room… be jealous… I’ve got little else for you to covet so covet this…

The last few months have been too much. So I’m really happy to make it to this mini break and a place I idealized with my father as a child.

I plan to sit at the bar of Garmisch and toast my dad.

And, if it lives up to expectations, I may just stay there forever. We can buy a house up north since we don’t seem able to buy one here and go to Garmisch daily.

We will see. And then I’ll die there and haunt Garmisch.

Does the up north decorate for Halloween?


Hope you may find a magical place this weekend too, even if it’s just your couch and a candle and a horror movie.

Finding magic is a solid way to keep going.


For my dad:

For this blog’s closing:

8 thoughts on “Childhood Rediscovery: Find Your Magic

  1. This is such a lovely story. I think we all have this idealized magical spot from childhood. Mine is a big beach with little cabins on it where my family spent many summers. Those childhood memories keep drawing us back. I hope you have a magical weekend away…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you dear Naomi!!!!! Oh yes… I also Iove the idea of a big beach with little cabins.🥰I suppose Garmisch is magical to me because of its whimsy and history… it feels a little Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. 😂🖤


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s