THE GUEST BOOK
Summer 2002 began our first full season renting this wonderful home. What follows are comments from our guests concerning their stays at Somtara. These remarks are from our guest book. It is available for your review, and hopefully a comment too, during your stay.
September 12-16, 2020
Lovely Place! Perfect for an ARIZONA girl wanting to escape the heat! Reunion with sister and nieces was full of adventure and relaxation.
We did: The Polar Plunge, Private Cave Boat Trip, Games, Walking and lots and lots of photography.
Marla, Mona, Molly and Shannon
August 29-24, 2020
Your beautiful home on the lake provided a much needed respite during these uncertain times. The pressures of the pandemic and fight for racial equity and social justice have taken their toll. We needed this time to reflect, reenergize and rest.
Enjoyed sitting by the lake, grilling every night, sunsets by the fire and hikes.
Laysha and Bill
August 9-14, 2020
We have been visiting M.I. for many years, since before our daughter was born and she is now 22!! I cannot think of a more beautiful and welcoming place to stay - Somtara is a precious gem that you have created. There is so much care and love and hard work that has forged this home - thank you for sharing this experience with us.
This was the first time we could spend time on the lakeshore - on the porch reading, the nightly bonfires, on the sand beach exploring and even watching the Perseid Meteor showers!! So many memories. And we even explored new places like the Lagoon at the Town Park by both e-bike and mopeds! 2020 has been a rough year for everyone and our stay at Somtara has helped us recharge and prepare for the rest of this challenging year. Be safe and well. Our sincere thanks.
Laura, Dave, & Serena
August 8 2020
The Hansen family had a wonderful time here. The weather was a little cold at first but it warmed right up. We went swimming everyday and also rented bikes from the Town so we could bike all over the island. One of the most fun things we did was go on a hike at Big Bay State Park. We we got there we went cliff jumping and swam through some underwater tunnels. We made a fire nearly every night which was a great way to end the day. While we were here there was a full moon in the clear sky which was very beautiful when it shined down on the lake!
The Hansen Family
July 30, 2020
This was our first visit to Madeline Island. Staying at Somtara was such a treat. It was so peaceful & beautiful! We really enjoyed searching for interesting rocks in the water with the kids. We had a wonderful & relaxing family trip here. Thank you for sharing Somtara with us, it is truly a gem!
Kelley and family
June 29 - July 4, 2020
We spent our honeymoon week at Somtara, and what a wonderful week it was. This is truly a special place. The view of the water and sky provided an everchanging spectacle that we never grew tired of. We enjoyed swimming in the water and sitting by the lake. The weather was perfect each day we were here. The whole island is a gem, a truly magical creation, with nature’s abundant reminders to appreciate what is around us and to take a moment to slow down and breathe. From the endless wonders of Big Bay to the majestic lake views, to the tranquil waters of the lagoon, to the soft sounds of birds singing, this island is a place we will never forget and hope to come back to many times. There could hardly be a better home base to experience it from than Somtara. We deeply appreciate all the thought, care and love that has gone into making this house and its grounds so inviting and relaxing. We’ll be back!
Matt and Victoria June 2020
July 7, 2019
First time staying here - absolutely beautiful place. Wonderful having deck by the lake to relax on and visit. Had a perfect windy day on the 6th; fun waves, cool water and lots of swim play time. Loved the fire pit and cut wood. Very nice to be at the end of the island with so little traffic. The nautical theme is gorgeous. Couldn’t love all the ship / sea paintings more. And the lupines were all in bloom when we came!! We’re usually up after they bloom - What a Treat!
We will definitely try to come back in the fall sometime. It would be stunning!
Thanks so much - we loved it!
God Bless You Richly!
Ron, Robin, Parker, and Christy
May 20, 2019
Came for the half marathon. 37 degrees and pouring rain for the first eight miles, then sprinkles. Loved it! No ferries on Sunday due to gale force winds. Beautiful place to be stuck on the island watching the snow. A fantastic trip (truly).
Reed, Aaron & June
October 7, 2018
Thank you for sharing your beautiful home. The landscape is beautiful and wish we had a longer time to stare. Lake Superior is mesmerizing with mystery.
Thank you, John, Michelle, Andrew and Ashley
September 30, 2018
We enjoyed this lovely home and setting for our 38th annual Madeline get-away. Lots of laughs and loves among us. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home.
Ladies of the Eighties / Mujeves de la Isla
July 31 - August 3, 2018
Our stay at Somtara was absolutely amazing. The view is breathtaking and the house was perfect for our family. We loved having fires on the water every night and waking up to the Porcupine Mountains every morning. We also enjoyed that we could grill out at our house whenever we wanted. We loved our stay at Somtara so much! Thank you!
From Kathy & Shawn and Grace & Maggie
June 11-16, 2018
Somtara is by far the best place we have stayed on the island! Our stay here was perfect and just what we needed. We came to celebrate my husband’s parents 50th anniversary and to just get away for a while. Perfection! Thanks for everything! This won’t be the last time we stay here! 😊
Lauren & Andy, Brooklyn Park, MN
May 17-20, 2018
Came for the half marathon. Had a great time. Thanks,
Craig & Yaniha, St. Paul, MN
October 11, 2017
We had a great time. Perfect sunny days in high 60’s. What a beautiful place
Thanks again. Joe & Sue
October 11, 2017
For us, enjoying the green lush landscape and lake front was an experience. We live in eastern Washington where it is brown most of the summer. The house is beautiful and very comfortable. We loved the library in town very much.
Kent & Hardy
October 4, 2017
We decided to come to Somtara for our honeymoon and we were not disappointed. The house was beautiful and the lake was breathtaking. We cannot wait to come back to the island. Thank you so much for everything, Tom. Take care and you will hear from us again.
David & Christina
September 23, 2017
As I sit out on the screen porch in the late afternoon of a glorious, unusually warm day, I reflect on my current surroundings, but also how much has changed here on Madeline Island, Somtara, and in our lives over the last ten years since we’ve stayed at this beautiful home away from home. The sun is warming me, the waves are lapping, and there are loons calling. Somtara is as beautiful as ever with a new kitchen, patio by the water, but so much has not changed and its charm is still here. Over the past ten years our two sons have graduated from college, married their high school sweethearts (same as us), and have given us the gift of being grandparents this past year. I lost my father and a favorite uncle, and while one of us continues to work, one can retire and take care of the grand babies. Life is full and we are so blessed as we celebrate 35 years of wedded bliss (not kidding). Thank you Tom & Sara
Pat & Jack
September 21, 2017
The Lake was calling, so I came……
Yuma, Arizona (born in Ashland)
August 5, 2017
Great first time on Madeline Island! Weather was mostly perfect – one day of rain and one evening without power. Especially enjoyed the boat / kayak tour out to Devil’s Island – awesome caves and lighthouse tour. We will definitely visit again!
Dave & Rhonda
June 14, 2017
Email from Guest: Thank you so much for sharing your lovely place with us! I can’t tell you how relaxing it was. Your setting is beautiful, peaceful and the home is impeccable! Thank you.
Tom, Jeanne, Mary and Laurie
June 6, 2017
I had a great time here and it was beautiful. We saw wonderful things. We went kayaking a lot. I’m sorry that I couldn’t meet you, Tom.
Ceylon, age 9
Email from parents:
We had a wonderful time at your place. It was beautiful weather and so relaxing! We have stayed at many places, including on the island, but your attention to detail, comfort and service are outstanding. When we return to the island, we would love to stay at your place again!
May 24...27, 2017
Beautiful Place. A wonderful few days of relaxation for us. The view out the window is scenic. Lake Superior is like a dream. God’s creation is wonderful and worthy of praise!
Thank you Tom and Sara for letting us stay here. It was a wonderful time.
December 28, 2016
Up here – in my favorite cabin – with my four sisters. My oldest sister left the ocean front – California – to be here on the lake front for my 60th Birthday. We snowshoed and walked though there was icy conditions. We were all grateful to return to the cabin where it is warm and comfortable with all the amenities of home. We love the cabin and will return again together but possibly in warmer weather. Cooked great meals, made jigsaw puzzles, played cards, played a board game and ventured outside to make snow angels. GREAT FUN HAD BY ALL! Thank you Tom & Sara!
November 23…26, 2016
Thanksgiving weekend 2016.
We chose gratitude weekend to finish out our daughter’s year long Madeline Island project. We’ve made nine trips in twelve months with, I believe, six or seven stays at Somtara. This final, close to the project, was poignant. My daughter and I had eight hours of driving each way and several days to get to know each other as adults – she’ll cringe reading this .
This has been the best gift of time and connection. The island has a mysterious magic that envelops and Somtara offers the warmth of home. Thank you, Tom & Sara. Blessings to you both.
(Separate note to Tom)
Thank you for EVERYTHING! These trips have been amazing and having Somtara as a home base made it so much easier and comfortable: like the visiting home. Thank you.
July 23…30, 2016
Tom and Sara,
We had an amazing week at Somtara! The weather was great, including a lovely rainy day when we assembled the maritime puzzle. The endless firewood is a huge treat. Iris and Hazel had never seen so many stars. And, we saw the International Space Station go over two nights.
Caretaker Tom is the ideal host. You were always there when we needed something. It was great to know you were watching out for us when we were gone for a long day.
Then there is the matter of all of the cozy places to relax. It was really difficult to have enough time in each spot.
We look forward to another visit!
Ginger, Bryan, Iris & Hazel
June 21…25, 2016
The weather was beyond perfect every day, and the view from Somtara was unforgettable. Thank you for a wonderful place to stay for our first trip to Madeline Island. If / When we come back, (and we hope that’s sooner rather than later) we will absolutely want to stay here!
The K………. Family
St. Paul, Minnesota
June 13…16, 2016
No sunrises, no sunsets, and no stars, but still an unbelievably beautiful place to be on the island to hunker down and just enjoy the overcast, rain, and dynamite thunderstorm in such a fantastic and comfortable cabin. True to form – for Madeline Island – we awake to sunshine on our day of departure!
Mike & Leah St. Paul, MN
P.S. The perfect place to continue a recuperative process after a serious surgery. Despite the many, many, relatives on the island, we enjoy this quiet respite – especially for our 40th! We’ll be back. Thanks.
September 18 & 19, 2015
A peaceful place is what our family needed this weekend .. and that is exactly what we found.
Perfect weather, perfect views. Secluded enough for family privacy yet close enough to everything else for fun adventures.
Had a fantastic meal at the Pub = great food & great views. Our daughter had a blast feeding her meal to the ducks & gulls at the Beach Club.
We'll have to come back to see how the patio turns out!
Justine, Rob, Anna & Angel, Aaron.
September 3 - 7 , 2015
What a wonderful little gem we found in Somtara. Loved the sound of the waves and the cool breezes. Screened-in-porch was a relaxing retreat as well as bonfire by the lake. Nice little place to kayak from. Accommodations provided everything we needed to enjoy this island and the fun places to explore! Lots of peace and good memories made this weekend. Thank you.
Colleen & Matt
August 30 – September 2, 2015
The house and location are the perfect combination of relaxation and solitude.
Sounds from the lake beating on the shore helped us over sleep and unwind. Each room providing new views that boost inspiration.
Breakfast at the new Ella’s Island Café was wonderful and filled with local tastes. This gave us the energy for hiking, kayaking, and moped adventures.
Rain on the final day matched our feelings of leaving, but we look forward to returning soon.
Thank you Somtara
John & Sara (Sohnjara)
Green Bay, WI
August 22 – 29, 2015
What a truly great house and property Somtara is! We just loved it here …. The quiet, the views, the amenities of the rooms and deck. Besides all the peace and beauty, there’s also tons of fun things to do in the area. We enjoyed downtown La Pointe and the historical museum, the really nice beach and lagoon at the Town Park (loved the canoes), the Raspberry Island cruise out of Bayfield, the orchards (but no blueberries! Sad), and the stores in Bayfield. We also took a drive to Cornucopia, which was a very neat place!
The real “Star”, however, is Somtara itself. You couldn’t find a nicer place to stay on Madeline Island. We can’t wait to visit again someday!
Craig & Charlene
August 15, 2014
(The following was artfully and beautifully scripted)
Somtara, thank you! (The dot being a heart)
Otis & Jeanie, AZ
August 4, 2014
The past couple days we stayed here on Madeline Island were amazing! The weather was perfect and we didn’t get a single drop of rain. Some of our favorite things we did here were: jumping of the dock, playing cards, reading, kayaking in the lagoon, riding bikes around La Pointe, looking for rocks along the beach, walking on the boardwalk, sleeping in, fires on the beach, early morning runs / walks and watching the many boats go by. We also loved watching the moon rise over the lake each night. Our whole family very much enjoyed this home and all found it very comfortable and suited to all our needs. Thank you for allowing us to share in such a beautiful place!
August 2, 2014
The lake and its weather provide endless stimulation – we watched thunderstorms, with lightning in sheets and bolts, mist, and sprinkles of light on water. The boardwalk in the State Park is wonderful! We saw and heard sandhill cranes, frogs, dragonflies, and, of course, people .. but not too many. Another favorite walk was The Point, with waves booming below into the rocks. The La Pointe Library is charming and was having a book and DVD sale, conveniently. We read some non-fiction and quite a bit of George Eliot’s MIDDLEMARCH. Today we left the island and went to Cornucopia, WI, and rented a 2-person kayak for several hours, so we could see the “sea caves” at Roman Point. We were very lucky for a sunny, calm morning on the water, to view amazing rock formations, as well as a mama loon and at least ten little ones! Did I mention the rainbow over the lake after one of the thunderstorms? Best Wishes,
July 26, 2014
A wonderful, beautiful, relaxing stay. I will miss the sound of the waves lulling me to sleep each night. Thanks for making Somtara available for us to stay in. We couldn’t have asked for more.
Michelle & Ed, Marshfield, Wisconsin
P.S. Wildlife we saw: eagles, loons, a coyote, a bear cub, and lots of deer.
June 24, 2014
We loved this awesome place. The house is set up beautifully for guests, perfect location and with every possible amenity we needed. Our only issue is that it will be hard to find open nights when we want to reserve it next time!
Becky, Matt, Tomar & Dave, Madison, Wisconsin
October 29, 2013
Sometimes when people create something very, very beautiful, taking a great deal of care over the smallest details, they naturally want to keep it for themselves. Thank goodness Tom & Sara did NOT do that with Somtara! What perfection! What days of bliss to stay here! The views, the sounds, the comforts – great & small. Cozy spots to snuggle, read, and watch the lake, The Wonderful Lake. The fire pit. The dock to just sit and watch the waves. There is only one flaw: time doesn’t stop & we have to leave. Sob. Oh, well, we just look forward to the next visit, remembering hikes, golden trees, breaking waves, beaches, woods ….
Jill & Leonard
Overland Park, KS
October 18 – 20, 2013
One word “beautiful. We enjoyed our stay so very much.
Ken and Jen
September 11 – 14, 2013
We loved your place. There are so many options to sit and relax. The kids loved the rocks and waves on the shore. This is our first time on the island and I think we hit gold the first try. What did we like?
- Swimming by the rocks
- Rock collecting
- Big Bay Town Park
- The waves
- Settlers of Catan (2 games)
- Mary Poppins on the first night
- Reading our bibles in all the quiet places like the deck, porch, etc.
August 30 – September 2, 2013
I had a great time here on Madeline Island. I especially liked it because my name is Madeline. The house is beautiful and my sisters and I loved going down to the beach to play. Here are some of the things we had lots of fun doing -
* roasting marshmallows in the fire at the beach
* eating lunch at the dock
* visiting the library downtown
* going to the museum
* walking downtown
* so much more!
* collecting rocks
Thank you so much – our whole family has had a lot of fun and I hope we can come back next year!
Maddie, age 12
Going here and going in the water. I also liked the ferry ride over and sitting on top. I liked this place. I liked being here and I liked being with my family.
Katie, age 6.
P.S. We loved the little accents of the home and how nicely it was put together.
August 17 -19, 2013
We appreciate the phone call back offering the cabin for a couple of days. It was a beautiful place to spend our first couple of nights married. We both LOVED IT! Thanx
August 10 – 17, 2013
Going out for our last bonfire and glass of wine. We came to Madeline Island looking for a place to relax and enjoy ourselves. What we found was perfection – Somtara. Your home is lovely and its setting is the perfect combination of solitude and beauty.
We thought we would be doing “plenty of nothing” with time for reading, sitting and enjoying the peacefulness of the lake. Instead we did plenty of everything the island has to offer at a relaxed pace.
Gems from our week include:
* the Madeline Island Museum and historical buildings
* walking the entire length of the coast trail from Big Bay State Park to the Town Park – and back
* climbing on the rock cliffs and enjoying the fabulous views
* staying up late for star gazing and counting the Perseid meteors
* spotting bears, deer and a pair of cranes
* discovering a cove with water as turquoise as the Caribbean
* having the weather warm up enough to swim on the glorious beach at the state park
* nightly bonfires and wine tasting
Thank you for sharing your home. We will remember the time we spent here for years to come
Janet and Doug
August 7 – 10, 2013
Thank you for letting us stay in your beautiful cabin. The view is amazing! We spent all three nights down by the fire roasting smores. Spent a lot of time at the beach and although the water was freezing, we still swam. We laughed a ton and really enjoyed our stay.
July 27 – August 3, 2013
Thank you for the gift of this beautiful retreat! This was a special gift to us because we could keep our kayaks down at the beach and go out whenever we wanted to.
We enjoyed many walks and hikes on the island: Big Bay State Park & Casper were wonderful.
Your home is warm and comfortable and the view of the “lady” is remarkable.
Say “goodbye” for us to the sweet family of mergansers.
Fondly, Linda & Tom
July 6 – 12, 2013
Thank you for sharing your island home.
We had a lovely vacation. Hiking, kayaking, sitting around the fire. How relaxing!
Pat & Mike
June 20 -22, 2013
Thank you Tom & Sara!
Beautiful place to turn “50.”
Our time hear leaves us refreshed and wanting to return sooner than later. Despite misty weather and fog most of the time, we thoroughly enjoyed the space and time. Highlights include the fires and time hearing the waves.
Marian, Doug, Katie, and Annette
May 23, 2013
Hmmm…how to sum up our vacation in one page. Well, after camping four nights on the Gunflint Trail in MN, an island home was just what we needed to end our vacation. Not just any home would do, we needed a home filled with charm; with peace; with tranquility.
Somtara met all our needs and exceeded our expectations of what a home on a lake would be.
During our stay the first two days were filled with rain, however, that did not damper our moods. We enjoyed a fire in the fireplace, a few chapters of a good book, and watching the waves roll in. Our last day on the island brought nice, sunny weather (which we hadn’t seen for nearly a week!). We fished at the lagoon, took a grand tour of the apostle islands, and watched the moon rise over a somewhat calm Lake Superior.
As both of us are used to living out in the country, the seclusion of Somtara was welcomed. Surely we will be back in the future.
Kyle & Leah
July 14, 2012
Our Alaskan cruise scheduled for this week was canceled due to an illness in the family. This “substitute” vacation was wonderful. The weather was perfect and the house so comfortable and beautiful. We hope to be back in many seasons!
--Making smores and a beach fire in the evening
--Morning coffee and yoga on the pier
--Settlers of Catan around the dining table
--Building sand castles on the beach
--Jumping off the cliffs at Big Bay Park
--Watching our son catch a northern pike from a canoe in the lagoon
--Every day, swimming in the clear, cool lake!!
Jon, Leslie, and Finn, Lucas & Walker
P.S. Love the book selection! Home of a physicist perhaps?
July 7, 2012
We’ve been coming to the Island for over 20 years now, but this is our first stay at Somtara. Hopefully it won’t be our last!
The house and its location are just perfect. We loved being right on the lake, listening to the sound of the waves and seagulls. And the full moon shining down on the lake a few nights ago was simply divine! What luck to be here to witness that beautiful sight!
Thank you for providing such a wonderful escape.
Best Wishes, Marcus, Cynthia & Emily (minus daughter, Anna, who had to work these days)
July 2, 2012
It was our first trip here to the island this summer. It was also the first trip the two of us had ever taken together.
Every moment was breathtaking and full of positive energy. The sights, the sounds, the smell from the lake brought us to true moments of inner peace. As we sat by the fire at night and the full moon hung in the air lighting up the night sky and our hearts, we came to realize that the feelings we shared for one another were deeper than ever imagined. With the dull roar of Minneapolis far away, we seized our chance to fall in love. No better place in the world then sitting on Somtara’s beach, the sky ever so bright, the fire crackling, the water gently splashing against the rocks, and the cool sand between our toes, to say I love you, and know she really felt it too.
Heidi & Max
June 28, 2012
Tom and Sara,
I think Lucia shared many of our sentiments ~ she and her sister Anna (11) had fun playing and exploring from the moment they set foot in your wonderful home. My husband Bill and I were able to relax and enjoy carefree days here as the kids were easily entertained with the rocks, the house, the porch, the lake, etc. We enjoyed the Town Park Beach, like you suggested. We found every perfect skipping rock on that shore! We canoed and waded in the lake. When the flies got the best of us, we headed to the pool at the Inn in town. That was easy living, complete with some cold gin and tonics. It was my first trip to the island and I hope not my last.
Kindly, Ruth Bill, Anna & Lucia Thank you!!
June 28, 2012
Wow! I loved this place. I loved counting all the boat stuff. You have more than 30 boats! Amazing! Loved the living room was so beautiful. I liked playing in the lake and trying to skip rocks. I also liked playing restaurant on the porch, “The Beach Bungalow” Love that saying! Thanks so much for letting us stay here. Also loved going in to town and taking the boat ride.
Lucia ( Age 9 )
P.S. Also liked roasting smores
June 7, 2012
What a wonderful place to stay to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We loved the peace, calm and beauty of the surroundings. We don’t want to leave...we’re having such a great relaxing time.
Somtara was a perfect spot! Thank you! Len & Jan
Memorial Weekend 2012
Dear Tom & Sara
This is a great place! We had a nice time celebrating my husband’s birthday.
Unfortunately the weather was a bit cold and windy, but we could enjoy the beach and fireplace outside anyway!
Thank you Linda, Jerome, Alice & Sophia
Sunday, September 25, 2011
On vacation we came to Somtara
To get here, we drove far –a.
We filled up with gas,
but dad drove too fast;
So now he’ll drive slower tomorr – a.
John, Janet, Rosalie & Grace
Moral of the story: Don’t speed!
Lovely house – Thanks!
September 9, 2011
OMG – Heaven. We loved it. Best placed we stayed in our 35 yrs. of marriage. Thanks for everything. Bill & Deb Cedarburg, WI
August 27, 2011
After a few years away, Madeline called to us, again this summer. The boys heard her first. They needed to recharge and orient after some very busy months of being 12-years old. The water, the stones, the time to walk around town to familiar spots gave them a calm, new energy.
Mary and I needed some time to wind down the summer and reset our compass for the months ahead – Somtara was a good place to do all of that.
A good book, a good lake, good island people … slow days and cool nights … make Madeline a place that keeps calling us.
We look forward to returning. Thanks for sharing Somtara with us.
John & Mary Nick & Zach Mendota Heights, MN
July 14th, 2011
This is our third stay at Somtara and our eighth visit to the island. We saw a bear, a wee mouse (that looked like it had a buffalo head --- don’t know what species), a fox, a coyote or wolf, wild turkeys and endless scores of butterflies and birds. We had two great weeks of mostly sunshine and enjoyed the island inhabitants we have seen each year; Ed at the island store, Ed at the kayak shop and Tom the Bike man. This house, this island, provide the opportunity for rest, reflection, gathering and in some cases healing. Thank you for sharing.
October 1, 2010
We are two sisters and a first cousin, from central Iowa and the Twin Cities. Our four days here could not have been more perfect, even the rainy one with games in front of the fire.
Thank you for the beautifully appointed home, for planting every tree with an eye for composition and color (we were not too early for fall foliage!) and for picking the most beautiful rocks and putting each one in exactly its perfect place on the beach.
The kitchen is very well equipped, and if you would ever like to establish a personal chef who comes with the house, give me a call.
Connie, Marilee, Jody
AKA The notorious moped gang, (old) Bats out of hell, (you’ve probably heard of us.)
September 1, 2010
This get-away with our adult children was a bit of an extravagance during this recession, but it was soworth it! We biked, hiked, bird-watched, swam (in lake superior!!), played games, read lots of non-fiction, and totally rested. We left the world behind. We feel so blessed to have enjoyed each other & this beautiful spot & lovely lake home.
Totally lived up to expectations & then some!
August 22, 2010
Thank you so much for sharing your house with a phenomenal view. We had an amazing time hearing the band “Charter Kats” and also the fiddler at Tom’s bar! We can’t wait to go kayaking to the lagoons and cliffs on our last day.
Relaxation, sun, cool breezes and the sound of charming waves nestled below.
Your home is very cozy and love the lighthouse collection.
Sincerely, Barbie and Scott
August 17, 2010
This place is great. My grandparents live up the road and this was a fun place to stay while we were visiting them. I like the leather sofa room, so cozy. I sometimes just lie there and gaze out at Lake Superior. My friend and I counted how many sailboats you have in the house, over 28!!! Thank you for letting us stay here. Sincerely, Molly & Family
July 30, 2010
Hi! We loved staying in this house; we loved the paintings, the model ships, the nautical theme and the library.
Going down by the lake and watching movies as a family were great highlights of the trip. I also loved the fire pit down by the beach: perfect for s’mores and watching the moon rise over the water. This is a great place; thanks so much for letting us stay here!
I liked staying here. I feel like it’s my home. I like the ships. I’d like the beach if it were less rocky. I caught 228 snails in two days. I want to buy this for a summer home. I like how there are no flies unlike last year. I really liked staying and I hope the next person will too.
Love, Kathryn, age 9
July 23, 2010
Seldom in life do you get exactly what you need when you really need it.
A cancelled trip to Colorado, two college aged daughters willing to stay home to work and dog sit, and a Google search for last minute availability on Madeline Island all conspired to lead us to this fabulous place just when we really needed a respite from our hectic jobs / lives in Chicagoland.
We rode bikes, cooked, read, did a jigsaw puzzle, had fires on the beach, visited the wonderful public library, hiked at the state park, and spent hours watching the ever changing view.
Today we return home recharged and delighted to know that a place like this home exists!
Thanks for sharing your wonderful home. We would love to return in the winter!
Jan & Peter
June 26, 2010
Thanks for a great taste of Madeline – just two days. We’ll be back!!
Burke, Sam, Quinn, Ty, Bea & Zane
June 21, 2010
Tom & Sara
You have a great home. It’s a very nice place to stay. Thank you for opening your home to us.
Steve, Michelle, Amanda, and Sarah
October 18, 2009
Tom & Sara,
Truly an escape! We were blessed with a spectrum of weather. Fabulous seeing Mother nature at work in action and absorbing God’s amazing creation. Beautiful fall colors, wildlife and winds on our last day made our experience breath-taking. The warmth of your home and its beauty compliments the island’s landscape. We were able to enjoy everything it had to offer – your meticulous attention to detail made it awesome! Our stay reconnected us as a family and provided those quite, peaceful moments for all of us to journey within and then share that peace & joy with each other. Thank you for sharing your home. We would love to return.
P.S. We also really enjoyed the fall festival.
October 12, 2009
Once again we relished our time on the island and in your home.
We were blessed with really quite beautiful weather – cold but mostly sunny. It allowed us to introduce our friends to the Island by way of a color tour and then hunker down in front of a fire after dinner and play scrabble.
There was the morning of a light dusting of snow, but it mostly melted.
We do enjoy Somtara and still might like to try a winter visit.
St. Paul, MN
P. S. Our friends were surprised that Somtara was not “rustic.” Ha!
September 28, 2009
We “relaxed to the sounds of the H2O. The leaves changed color as we watched. No Beer! No phone! Sunny 2 days …. Good conversations & going home with a resolution of doing this more often. Thanks for sharing your home. This place is “serenity.”
N & S
September 7, 2009
We had a wonderful time here at Somtara. We went fishing and swimming. The house is how we remembered it. The weather was great. The stay was perfect.
August 22, 2009
Had a Wonderful time at your beautiful cabin.
Hope to be back soon.
July 31, 09
Had a great time at Somtara. Our third time here. Weather cool, but sunny. Was a prediction of rain but none came – Hooray!
Enjoyed the sparkling water, beautiful view, thoughtfully appointed home.....
................................Lots of good memories and great pictures. Loved State Park.
Blessings to all, ......
June 11, 2009
Well it’s back to reality tomorrow and we find ourselves very sad to leave. We had forgotten how truly lovely the world is, but with our camera full, we won’t forget again anytime soon. Somtara has been an absolute joy to stay in and if we are ever blessed enough to return we certainly would. The house is so lovely and there was nothing we needed that wasn’t here. Thank you so much for sharing this special place. Hopefully, we can take the peace and joy we felt here, home with us and carry it forward as we get back to our regular lives. What a great blessing it has been to be here.
October 18, 2008
We had a wonderful stay at Somtara! Leaf Colors were just glorious this weekend, bright yellows, blazing oranges and reds. This was our third time on Madeline Island and Somtara is now our favorite place, so serene and peaceful.
Your house is beautifully appointed and meticulously maintained, we were impressed.
Thank you for sharing it with us! We hope to come back in the future.
P&V.J. S Edina MN
October 5, 2008
My husband’s entry of June this year is also my sentiment of this peaceful retreat to Madeline Island – my 32nd year. This year I had the good fortune to return 4 times. I have never visited the island in winter months but would seriously consider it if just to stay at Somtara around a roaring fire. Thanks for keeping your home open to us and for the warmth & comfort you give to it with your special touches.
L. D. St. Paul MN
Feel free to contact us at any time regarding specials for the rental of this beautiful place !
September 21-26, 2008
The cottage is empty of all of our things and the car is packed. But we pause for one last moment to hear the waves of Lake Superior and see the sun glisten on the water. So quiet and relaxing was our stay at Somtara. We had thought we’d spend more time off exploring and eating out but found we just wanted to stay here. (Except to go do a little fishing!)
It is so hard to leave….
J & D C Excelsior, MN
September 21, 2008
Thanks for a lovely time at Somtara. It has been a wonderful retreat away from the city. My daughter and I take a fall trip each year for a few days, this is our 3rd year and what wonderful memories the 2008 trip has brought us. The leaves seem to have turned right before our eyes. We had a wonderful bonfire on the beach, walks, naps, and great chats. No bear sightings!
Blessings J and S
August 30, 2008
I thought the island was beautiful and the Wavse on the last day the Wodr was nice and hot.
C. W., age 6
August 9, 2008
Thank you for providing such a wonderful spot for our family vacation. Your home and the surrounding grounds are truly beautiful. I especially enjoyed unplugging my family from the electronic world we live in. I think my children relearned each others names this week - no electronic world to escape into. Campfires on the beach, a family movie @ night, many card games - it was nice. Several nice thunderstorms too. We also hope to come back in future years if we are so blessed. And as one of your earlier writers noted, we also loved the totally random camel! ( a “double sheep” as my one son called it .... a lama)
H. M. Family
August 2, 2008
Thank you. Thank you for this beautiful home and the opportunity to stay along your peaceful shore.
Your home is perfect in every way.
FYI, there is a bee’s nest under one of the benches by the fire pit.
We look forward to staying here in the future if we are so fortunate.
The XXXXX Family
Wildlife: Eagles, Coyotes, Great Heron, Loons, Geese, Ducks.
June 18, 2008
I’m not usually one to write in journals like this. However, my spiritual roots are here on the island - my great, great grandfather, Dillon O’Brien, taught the Ojibwa in the 1850’s in La Pointe - and I find that your home sustains my deep feelings for this special place. We were blessed with four beautiful, placid days; watching loons, gulls, geese and ducks, and walking and resting. Marvelous!
P.S. Your home is elegant and unostentatious. Congratulations
June 15, 2008
Thank you for your hospitality. We all loved the place. Somtara is an invitation to peace, joy and love. We will come back.
This is a wonderful place to spend quality time with family. We enjoyed the peace and quiet, the fresh and beautiful colors, and the moonlight! We appreciated the well-appointed and beautifully maintained home.
Marlene and John
June 13, 2008
What a great place to “hide out” on our honeymoon! Everything was perfect. The sound of the waves lulled us to sleep each night. We will definitely be back.
Nathan & Andrea
June 4, 2008
Absolutely perfect honeymoon. We were stunned when we arrived! The pictures do not do it justice.
The lake is so beautiful and the town is so quaint and friendly. We loved the drive to and from town - so scenic and quiet.
Being the total city slickers that we are, we have a whole camera full of random wildlife and farm animals; not to mention the totally random camel. We just about died when we saw it. Ha Ha.
We really did not want to leave. Thank you for providing such conveniences as dishes, cooking utensils, etc... not to mention the overall feel of the place. The ships and nautical flare are both refreshing and stylish. We are planning to come back for our anniversary. God bless and thank you
Brent & Holly
May 15, 2008
Wow. What a beautiful place to stay and to honeymoon. We initially wanted to go out of the country for our honeymoon, but in the end decided not to. After staying at Somtara on Madeline Island, we would not have wanted to be elsewhere. Being at the Somtara was so peaceful, quiet, and relaxing. It is secluded from the busy part of the island, but was a nice drive when we wanted to go in town. We enjoyed hiking, exploring the island, playing tennis, fires on the beach, and great dinners while looking out the window at the beautiful Lake Superior. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Somtara for our honeymoon, and look forward to a return back in the future.
Peter & Dorothy
November 12, 2007
Well, our 25th wedding anniversary is tomorrow and we’ve been able to celebrate again at our favorite spot on Madeline Island. Every five years has been spent on the island since our honeymoon. It is so great sharing stories of our lives back then and how we have raised two remarkable sons. The island and Somtara help us rejuvenate our love and makes us feel so close.
While we were here we had an amazing dinner over at the Rittenhouse Inn, stayed hunkered in on Saturday since the weather was so bad – but still got a walk in. On Sunday the sun came out and we literally saw the sun dance on the water. We built a fire on the beach and watched the sunset.
….such a gorgeous setting to just be a couple in love.
Thank you so much!
August 11-18, 2007
Sitting on the deck at Somtara, with a book or not, is the perfect place to be. Listening to the lake is the best song of Superior. All the rocks are so fantastic. Trying to choose one awakens the inner child in all of us and, of course, is pure delight. We have had perfect weather, magnificent stars, and a great time in this great house. May blessings and light be here forever.
September 3, 2006
This was our second time to Somtara. It’s a beautiful spot. Hey, the only bad part was we thought we saw a bear, but we didn’t. You should get a hot tub, though.
Thanks. MB – NA – KA – LJA
P.S. We LOVE your beach. The girls played princess!
August 12 – 19, 2006
Great Weather. Great View. Great Accommodations. Lake Superior and Madeline Island did not disappoint.
August 12, 2006
We’ve spent more than 30 years of very enjoyable times in Door County in all seasons, but this week at Somtara goes right to the top of the “Best Ever” list. We’re not sure we’d have the courage to share such a beautiful home with strangers, but we’re sure glad you did! Hard to leave……..looking forward to a return.
August 12, 2006
This has been a truly marvelous week spent with friends. Your home has been an elegant and welcome retreat. We are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and thoroughly enjoyed Bayfield, La Pointe, kayaking to the sea caves and walking the beaches – all in almost perfect weather. This is our first trip to Madeline and the area and have loved it. The recommendations we’ve had for restaurants have been wonderful but the most elegant and deliciously creative was Wild Rice.
July 22, 2006
Thank you for sharing your cabin and waterfront with us. We’ve rented several cabins on Madeline Island over the last five years and this is the nicest. Our 8 & 11 year-old children swam everyday almost all day! The sand bar about 100 yards out is a worthy destination. You’ve done a great job with the trees and landscaping for enjoying the views. Your decorating and fine furnishings are a welcome exception to most rental properties, including Hawaii and Colorado. We appreciated the little notes for directions around the house, and we took care to sweep up everyday. We plan to return next summer and hopefully many summers to come.
Thank you. P.S. No need to add cable or satellite T.V.
June 20 -25, 2006
This bride had the perfect honeymoon here at Somtara: a small slice of heaven for a week. After a stressful year of planning a wedding, this is our reward. Thank you, Tom & Sara, for such a wonderful home and allowing us to enjoy it here. We were able to enjoy the beach, to get some kayaking in and see the sea caves around the point. What a lovely week. Sorry it is coming to an end. Hope to be able to return here again.
June 24, 2006
Thanks for a great honeymoon location at the Somtara on Madeline Island! The people on the island were very friendly, the boats on and off the island lots of fun and the activities here at the cottage out of the world.
After a year dreaming of spending time with my bride after all the wedding planning, this groom was happy we found paradise!
P.S. We look forward returning back someday!
September 4, 2005
We needed peace and quiet and that’s what we got! What a neat spot to spend a week and yes, how fortunate you are to own such a tranquil home away from home. Thanks so much for sharing it with us! We’re ready to return home, replenished and recharged for winter – and life.
August 20, 2005
“Deep Peace of the rolling waves to you”.
This has been a wonderful week. We have enjoyed the warm, sunny days as well as some rough water and gloomy days. The time, however, has been well spent with friends!
There has been walking, biking, kayaking, reading, cards, games, and puzzles! Again, I say Aaahhh!
The water, the sun, the woods – oh how I get re-created.
Thanks for sharing your home with us. We are grateful and forever changed!
August 6 – 13, 2005
We had a wonderful week here at Somtara. The peaceful quiet beauty has provided the perfect backdrop to my reading - and my husband, AKA Captain Tim, has gotten his fill of fishing and exploring. We could not have ended up in a better spot to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary! How fortunate you are to have such a beautiful home in such a magnificent location!
August 4, 2005
Our fourth visit to the island – our first to Somtara. Absolutely the best! The house is perfectly set with a beautiful view and the layout is so functional.
Our family enjoyed the beach and dock immensely – swimming, snorkeling, reading, painting, sand castles, raft building, camp fire and more.
Just a couple suggestions:
We loved cooking and your supplies were great except for the lack of dish towels and a drain pan.
More garbage bags would have been nice.
I really don’t want to leave. The sound of the waves will be greatly missed when I wake back in my real world.
Thank you for sharing your home. My family had a blessed time here.
July 23 -30, 2005
A year later exactly. And an incredible day – The lake shimmering all the way across to Michigan. Boys – now taller than Harry! - - take morning “cross-country” runs, followed by a brisk swim off the beach and dock. Simplicity made perfect. On my own run yesterday afternoon, returning in that special afternoon light that only midsummer days possess, I heard a solo violin while taking in the lake panorama – This is why we keep returning to Madeline – …years!
We almost didn’t make it this summer. We packed up the Expedition, slapped on the bikes and made it a whole half-block from home when the truck’s panel lights went wild. (Houston, we have a problem) Tow truck called – and we quickly re-packed everything in our two smaller cars and tandemed up 63 – We had a good laugh on Ferry ride over – with our faces in the wind looking toward the island. All forgotten troubles. A week of paradise ahead.
As always, thank you for sharing your lovely home!
Somtara is a very comfortable place, so clean and beautiful. It helped me to relax very quickly. We loved the campfires down by the lake the best, the stars were unbelievable. We woke the kids up at 1:00 a.m. to go down by the lake to see the meteor showers on Friday early morning. We each saw 5 – 8 shooting stars. Magical. The Water (Lake Superior) was a lot colder than last year, but that didn’t stop my husband and kids – they went every day. I am very rested and excited to go home actually. That is always a sign of a good vacation for me. We are sad to go, but we’ll be back.
Somtar. Thnk you for lating us com. My favorite thing was swimming and being to gather. HM (age 6)
August 15, 2004
Had a great week up here at Madeline Island – this is our second visit on the island and we love it here. It was stormy here the first few days but this place is very cozy & sweet. We are going home – I insisted to come here in fall – very rested.
August 7, 2004
We were lucky enough to experience Somtara during one of the most beautiful weeks of the summer – not a day of rain and temperatures around 80 all week – gorgeous! The clear skies allowed us to enjoy a breathtaking moon rise over Lake Superior – it was stunning and something we don’t have the opportunity to experience in the city. Most of all we’ve enjoyed the sense of peace and solitude that Somtara made possible -- we’re leaving today totally refreshed and rejuvenated.
Thanks for making this property available -- we’ll be back!
P.S. We saw two baby bear cubs up the road!
/Tom, best wishes for a speedy recovery!
29 July O4
Exquisite nearly full moon rising…
Complete with shooting star….
27 July 2004
Half way through our stay, but just a stellar day and a stunning night – moon rising above the lake leaching the waves with light. Today had to have been one of the finest I have ever experienced on the island. The bluest skies. The clearest water. What a treat to spend it entirely outdoors - - the perfect lake experience. The perfect freedom. It so easily reminded us why we return to Madeline. Thank you for allowing us to return here.
July 23, 2004
Much fun. Great dock and improved beach. We didn’t leave a note last year, 2003, but it’s good to be back. One suggestion re bathtub. It would be helpful to someone my age (> 29 yrs.) if there was a help handle on the wall to rise out of the tub. Also I get slick with soap so I almost fell. Laura was with last year and this year with her fiancé Mike who also loves your place. See you later.
Somtara is so beautiful and comfortable and fun. It has everything we’re looking for when we stay on the island. The view is awesome. While we’ve been here we’ve seen hummingbird, loons, woodcock, many Canada goose families – ten goslings in rows! No bear sightings this time but we’re still looking.
The Lupine is in its glory this week. The only two things I can suggest to make Somtara perfect are 1. use of the laundry (hint, hint) and 2. passes for unlimited ferry crossings! ( I can dream – can’t I?)
3 Cheers for Tom and Sara
June 5, 2004
This was our second visit to Madeline Island. The first was two years ago and this visit was equally as calming. The lake is such a tranquilizer to normal life. We’ve relaxed so much here, read lots of books, enjoyed the fireplace and the sun, which came out a few days. There was some great conversation, good card games, and chess games. We wrestled the world’s problems and solved international relations. We also had some buns and hamburgers stolen by Edgar Alan Poe – the raven that patrols the yard. We’ve made some great meals, enjoyed the sunsets and especially the full moons. We wish the island was closer to our hometown, Chicago, because we’d come more often.
September 1, 2003
Hello! Thank you very much for opening Somtara as a rental home for people and families to stay in. We had a very enjoyable stay here at Madeline Island. We are leaving today on the ferry to go back to Minnesota. We are sad to go because we had such a wonderful time here at Somtara. We have visited Madeline Island numerous times before, but this has been my very favorite time we have come here and Somtara has become my favorite place to stay when we come to Madeline Island. Somtara has the perfect beach for swimming and kayaking in the daytime and having bonfires in the fire pit when it becomes dark. Our stay here has brought out the meaning of “family” in our lives.
August 7, 2003
It always begins on the ferry ride over. The magic the sun plays on the water. A family of loons greated us our first night. A beautiful stay, but today stands out - even for Madeline Island. A beautiful breeze, ezar skies, a beach day that makes you believe you are alone at the ocean except for the crystal cool fresh water. And tonight a moon skipping across the lake like a loon with waves hugging the shore. More magic and memories. Thank you for graciously opening your lakehome and inviting us to make them.
July 2, 2003
Thank you for giving this cabin to us. We reelly liked it. I hope the next person has as much fun as we did. Josh, 8
We loved the flowers. We loved the lake. Maya, 5.5
The kids said it all! We loved every minute.
June 16, 2003
This is our “first time” to Madeline Island. What an amazing, beautiful place! Each night we have watched the moon rise over the water, while sitting, toasting ourselves at the firepit. It’s so peaceful and private here - your house is truly a wonderful respite.
March 1, 2003
How inadequate are my words to express the delight we have experienced on this fairyland island, crossing on the ice road during a whiteout, approaching this lovely cabin while snow’s falling, leaving its pristine whiteness over the shimmery silver landscape - then gazing out the expanse of windows daily on an ever changing winter landscape. The interior beauty, its harmony with its environment & the good taste of its furnishings has been appreciated by us world travelers who never cease to find the Brigadoon like serenity of Madeline among our favorite travel experiences. The feast of digging into your collection of books enhanced our evening conversations as we sat by the fire.
A morning of reading, an afternoon of skiing, an observance of the cocktail hour while taking in Lehrer’s news, followed by a delicious dinner & conversation - how civilized! Could anything be better?
Thank you for providing us with this wondrous backdrop for wintering on Madeline
November 16, 2002
We spent our honeymoon on Madeline Island 20 years ago and have celebrated every 5 years by coming back and staying at different cabins or homes on the lake. Your beautiful, comfortable, cozy home is by far the nicest and roomiest we’ve stayed in. There was snow on the ground when we arrived and it’s been snowing on and off since. The snow makes the surroundings like a winter wonderland. We went for long walks in the woods, drove all around the island, had a special nostalgic dinner at the Bayfield Inn, and even built a roaring fire on the beach while the snow was swirling from the sky all around us. It was absolutely breath taking.
Thank you so much for sharing you delightful retreat with us. We will definitely be back and will also recommend it to others.”
September 2, 2002
We had a marvelous time spending the past week here. Amazingly, up until yesterday, the entire week was bug free! Nary a mosquito or fly. Our kids, ...., loved every minute of our beach house for the week. From rock hunting to sand castle building, to wading in the lake, to the nightly fire & marshmallow roasting, to the stargazing on Saturday night...Everything was a new & wonderful experience for them. This summer had offered us some ... disappointments to us & we scheduled this past week hoping to regroup & refresh ourselves. In that respect, this week was a raging success. Somtara was a wonderful, comfortable & well appointed place to rest & rejuvenate. The quiet pace of this end of the island was a salve to the soul. We felt like we had the island all to ourselves! Anyway, thanks for making your home available to rent. We very well may come back next year. God Bless. P.S. Great book selection! We read 8 of them!”
August 25, 2002
We really enjoyed our stay here. We had beautiful weather. Our two young boys (2&4) enjoyed the beach - skipping rocks, building sand castles & “swimming” in the water. They also enjoyed roasting hot-dogs in the fire pit and finding “cool” rocks. It was very relaxing, a wonderful family getaway! Thank You,”
August 22, 2002
Two days of sunshine - then two overcast days (perfect excuse to light a fire & play cribbage!). Thanks for a clean, well-lighted place on the island (hint: maybe you need a pitcher in the pantry for orange juice or sangria).
Loved the fire pit on the beach - loved the bear prints we found on the sand even more - They were close but not too close. Maybe that was the snort we heard last night. Enjoy,”
August 5, 2002
Hi! You have a lovely place here! We enjoyed our week here very much! We have vacationed on Madeline Island for a long time now and I think we all agree that this was one of the best houses / cabins on the lake! We left some puzzles here for you and your future guests to enjoy! The majority of the time we spend up here, we are swatting flies, but this year there were basically zero flies! That was one of the best parts! Many Thanks! God Bless,
August 1, 2002
Hello! This place is very creative! We loved the rocks and the neat house when we came in. We also stayed in Bayfield in a cottage, but we agreed that this place was better. Thanks for letting us stay here. We would never change anything.”
July 20, 2002
Hello! We’ve been vacationing on Madeline Island for many years now & have rented a number of properties. This one is by far the best - the layout is neat - very spread out; we love the flooring; the fireplace is incredible. Nice sized kitchen & great porch. Not to mention fantastic beach access for kayaking! We just got here today & will stay for a week. Thank you for such a restful, cheerful place to stay!
July 17, 2002
As the waves sound in the background, it is with great satisfaction that Kate and I think of the days we have spent here. It has been a time of great discovery, as we were married on July 13, 2002, and we can not think of a better place to begin our life together than here at Somtara. Tomorrow is a new day, and though we are leaving we will always remember this place as the perfect place to begin our travels together.
June 27, 2002
Our family has had a good week being together (3 teenagers). This week has been a great change of pace for us. The weather has been good, your home beautiful & comfortable, the woods & lake peaceful, and the town, as always, quaint & charming.
June 11, 2002
Somtara has been a welcome respite from the hustle of our lives. Yesterday was a full day starting with sun-tanning, a long walk, and finally, a fire on the beach. It was the highlight of the day. Skipping rocks, and of course, swimming in the big lake. The library is intriguing, the view is calming, and a nice little beach. Thanks,
May 27, 2002
Elise, Kristian, Al and I have had a wonderful time skipping rocks, hiking & going on explores. The water is quite cold, but the kids have been in up to their knees. The full moon peeked out enough on Saturday to leave a shining path of gold across the inland sea. Many Thanks.