A May 2005 trip
to Hayward by SFPhotocraft
Quote: Where did I want to turn 50? Paris? Rome? Sydney? Nope, in the middle of northern Wisconsin. I gathered family and friends, and they helped me ring in 50 in the wilds of Wisconsin on Spider Lake!
It was wonderful to spend my 50th birthday here and be with friends and family. Most of the guests had never been to central Wisconsin and were from large cities: New York, LA, Minneapolis, and Chicago. It was a treat to see everyone come in "urban mode" and leave a little less stressed out and calmer.
Don't get me wrong, there is plenty to do here. We fished, golfed, shopped, and took out the canoe. But the pace is slower and more relaxed. Spider Lake is a magical place, and you feel it the moment you arrive.
Of course fishing is the other sport that rules the area. The Fishing Hall of Fame is located here and everywhere you look folks are selling bait or fishing maps. Even if you are not a fisherperson these lakes are relaxing to sit by and hey, if you hang a pole in the water... you never know. The two world record muskies were pulled from these waters!
Spider Lake Lodge is about 15 minutes from downtown Hayward. The lodge does not serve lunch or dinner, and you will need a car to get into town to eat.
The best reaction came from our ten-year-old son, who as we drove up the road to the Lodge could barely contain himself. A huge grin came over his face, and he became giddy. This was his second visit to SLL and he knew what was in store. We could totally relate to his excitement as he darted to the lake.
Spider Lake Lodge is a special place, and everyone seems to feel a bond and connection to it. The Lodge has a rich history. It was opened in 1923 by Ted Moody. At that time, the only way to the lodge was by water, as no roads came this far out of town. During that time, Hayward was ground zero for the gangsters of Chicago, and this was a perfect place to hide out, as the only way in was by water.
This was a wonderful fishing camp, and huge walleye and muskie were pulled from these waters (they still are). In 2000, Jim and Craig bought the lodge. The cabins had been sold off to private families, but the main lodge remained intact. Jim and Craig took the lodge and transformed it into a show piece.
The lodge has seven bedrooms and is open year-round. It's located about fifteen minutes from Hayward on a beautiful bay on Spider Lake.
The lodge takes you back to a time when these fishing lodges were all over Wisconsin. Fish trophies hang from the walls, as well as moose and deer heads. Two large fireplaces stand guard on both ends of the great room.
Spider Lake Lodge is cozy. It's the kind of place you will want to take a new novel, curl up by the fire with a glass of port and relax. Jim and Craig make every guest feel like family, and it's a warm and welcoming place.
There is plenty to do here, or nothing at all to do here. There is a motto above the clock over the coffee bar: Here there is no time, and truer words were never spoken. Time does seem to stand still here.
Five of the seven rooms have private baths, and the other two each have a bathroom across the hall. A hearty breakfast is included each morning.
As there are only seven rooms, it's easy to book the lodge as a unit for a family reunion or just a group of friends. I imagine staying here alone is a great experience, but to have it all with family and friends makes you feel like the lodge belongs to you. We love having our Thanksgivings here, and I can't think of a better place to turn 50 with family and friends.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 31, 2005
Spider Lake Lodge
10472 West Murphy Blvd.
I was a little surprised, as we drove up on Highway 63, that this little supper club appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. The neon sign showed a lot of wear from many harsh winters. A small white building with a bright-red pagoda-style entrance sat in the middle of the woods. This was it!
On entering, it's a bit of a shock! There are pictures and bric-a-brac everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. It's overwhelming, and it takes a moment to get over the shock as you first walk in.
Our group was given the Sulton Room, a small private room off to one side. The restaurant was not full, but this was still off-season and it had enough tables filled to be called busy. I understand that in the summer it is packed.
The menu was mostly meats and steak. They offered lamb, steaks, chicken, and shish kabobs. A few of the appetizers were Turkish, and I was unfamiliar with them. Our waitress steered us through the menu and helped us order drinks and appetizers for our two tables.
It didn't take the waitress long to learn we were all first-timers and give us a little history lesson on The Turks Inn. It was the kind of story movies are made of! The place opened in 1930 by a Turkish guy who had just lost his candy factory in The Depression. Hayward, at that time, was mobster central. So, The Turk (as he was lovingly called) opened a fashionable supper club in the middle of nowhere. Dancing, big bands, and lines at the door, it was the 1930s version of The Viper Room! But when the father became ill, he asked his daughter to come home from New York, where she was a successful fashion model. Many of the photos on the wall are from her modeling days. The daughter, now elderly, is still here running the show.
Each piece of meat is aged downstairs for 5 weeks and hand cut by the daughter when you order it. I can promise you that this will be the biggest and best piece of steak you have ever tasted. The owner will come by several times and make sure your dinner is perfect. The meal ends with pots of strong Turkish coffee. The prices reminded us we were in Wisconsin. We ate like pigs, drank, and all had desserts, all for less than $30 per person!
I love The Turks Inn. I can't wait to come back. It's a little campy and shows a little age. But the food is outstanding and I promise you, it's one of a kind!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 27, 2005
The Turks Inn
11320 N. U.S. Highway 63
It's not much to look at. It sits right on Main Street, pretty much in the dead center of town. It is a boring-looking brick building without much charm. During the summer months, tables are set up outside on the front patio, which does give it a little more of an urban feel. Inside, it is pretty much your typical Wisconsin beer joint. It's a long, narrow room with low lighting. The room is filled with neon beer signs and stuffed animals and fish. If you want to visit a very typical American bar, this is it!
The one unique feature about Angler's is that they have two bowling lanes in the bar. So, if you get bored with the bar conversation, you can always bowl a frame or two.
As in most Wisconsin beer joints, the burgers are what draw the crowds. Anglers is no exception. They serve big, juicy, hearty burgers. We had several "city" folks with us from New York, LA, and San Francisco, and they all commented that these burgers were the best they had ever eaten. I went off tradition and had a Rueben, but it, too, was outstanding.
Our waitress was sweet but a little ditzy. When one of our table memebers asked what kind of cheese was on the cheeseburger, she looked very puzzled and said, "I don't know, just cheese." We all had to laugh at being in Wisconsin and it being "just cheese." She seemed to say, "Like, you mean there are different kinds of cheese?"
You cannot have your burger without a local beer. Leinenkugel is the best Wisconsin beer, and most folks lovingly call it a Leinie around here. A Leinie Red is my favorite.
On Fridays they do the typical Wisconsin fish fry. This is pretty much standard in these parts. Most restaurants have all the fish you can eat on Friday nights. I, however, noticed that the fish they serve is Icelandic Cod and not a local lake fish. I guess lake fish has gotten too expensive, but when I was growing up, all the fish was local.
Angler's is a tradition. If you come to Hayward and are in search of a great lunch, just head front and center on Main Street. These burgers are the best anywhere in town, as any local will tell you. In the summer, expect a wait for a table, as Angler's Bar and Grill is for sure a Hayward favorite.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 27, 2005
Anglers Bar and Grill
10547 S. Main St.
Hayward, Wisconsin 54843
The breakfast is made by local women who go all out to make you a homemade, hearty breakfast. You may have pancakes, waffles, quiche, or eggs. You never know, but I promise you it will be delcious. Homemade jams, local sausages, and flaky biscuits are all part of the fare. The presentation is pure five-star hotel.
It's too bad that they don't do lunch or dinner here. The lodge is about 15 minutes from town, and if you want to spend a nice, quiet night at the lodge, you will have to at some point get into your car and drive into town for a meal.
However, if you book the entire lodge, anything is possible here! Over Thanksgiving, we were given access to the 1930s-style, huge kitchen. We were able to cook together and prepare our family favorites. It was dream come true, with all the family having enough elbow room to cook together as a family!
For my birthday, I wanted to have a dinner at the lodge. No problem! If you have the whole lodge Jim and Craig (the hosts) will do everything possible to make the time here your own.
We had a wonderful dinner. It was cooked by Roz and her team, who do the breakfasts at the lodge. It was elegant and delicious. We had fresh walleye from the lakes in the area, beef tenderloin, red potatoes, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, spinach salad with bacon dressing, homemade wild rice soup, and for dessert, we had two homemade treats, German chocolate cake and lemon meringue pie. The cake and pie were better than any bakery. It was filling and outstanding. A five-star restaurant could not compete with this meal.
Spider Lake Lodge will do weddings, birthdays, or any other type of dinner you and your guest have in mind. It can be casual or formal, or it can be indoors or out.
This place has a lot of class, and dinner here is perfect. This is one of the best places to do a small family reunion or get a group of friends together. If you use your imagination, Roz, Jim, and Craig will make it happen.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 1, 2005
Spider Lake Lodge
10472 West Murphy Boulevard
Hayward, Wisconsin 54843