9 Signs You Grew Up in the Northwoods

You knew everyone in your town and surrounding towns

The townships of the Northwoods don’t consist of a lot of people.  Where I’m from, there were about 40 people in my graduating class and I knew just about everyone in the high school, middle school, and elementary.  You even heard about or met people in nearby towns.  It’s a cliche thing to say, but it’s true that everyone knows everybody and it’s hard to keep your secrets a secret. 

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You would take trips to the “city” or to “town”

The nearest town to get groceries when I was growing up was either Rhinelander or Eagle River, which is about a 20-minute drive from my house.  My family started a grocery list on the refrigerator and would usually schedule a time to head to “town” for the day and get in our weekly shopping.

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You attended “parties”

We’ve all seen the movies where there is a house party with over a hundred kids and it took place at a huge mansion with a pool.  The parties that happened in the Northwoods would consist of about 10 people and the biggest excitement would be having it by a bonfire.

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You hated tourists

Being located in a beautiful area surrounded by a lot of lakes brings in a lot of tourists.  Most can be nice but sometimes it just gets too overwhelming. When the Fourth of July comes around the north woods is over-crowded with tourists. 

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Your social media feed was filled with dead animals during the hunting season

Around Fall through Spring there is a dead animal in my newsfeed.  When it’s the two weeks of Gun season, my news feed is filled with dead deer.  I think this is the most exciting time of the year for most men and girls enjoy it as well in the Northwoods. 

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You cruised the “strip”

There seriously is not much to do growing up in the Northwoods. The “cool” thing to do would be driving around Eagle River or Rhinelander on the downtown strip passing by people with loud music. Now I look back and shake my head, but hey, it did make me feel pretty bad ass when I was younger.

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The nearest shopping mall was more than an hour away

The closest mall to the Northwoods of Wisconsin would be located in Wausau.  This was very hard growing up, especially being a girl.  You would have to plan a trip with your friends or family to get the trendy back-to-school outfits.

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When something bad happened, your whole town would support you

This is one of the best parts of living in a small town.  If someone has been diagnosed with cancer, or someone has a child who has a rare condition, the whole town will be there to support you.  Whether it’s a benefit or a walk to raise money there is some way the people in your area will be there to help. One example would be the Polish Square Fun Run last year that raised money for a young local boy, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy

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You always talk about leaving but you never do 

This is something I hear all the time, and even from myself.  When I was close to graduating, I couldn’t wait to move away and start fresh.  After living a couple years away from home I realized how much I miss living in the Northwoods and there truly isn’t a place like it.  People do leave, but a lot of the time they always come back.  

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3 Comments

  1. Growing up in a VERY small town in Upper Michigan, I agree completly! So much of what you write is exactly what I felt growing up! Those days of driving 30 minutes to go to a movie or eat at McDonalds. Lol

    Like

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