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Michele VanOrt Cozzens
Wisconsin Northwoods Author


I'm Living Your Dream Life:
The Story of a Northwoods Resort Owner

How one young couple left the city in search of a more meaningful life in the woods



"The land going from our front door to the boundary of the property where the resort sign is located and where we collect our mail is about a quarter mile long. It's a walk I enjoy making twice a day, first to take out the mail, and second to bring home the incoming mail. I often take along our young daughters and we've had many treasure hunts along the way. These beautiful little girls buzz around me from one side of the road to the other, scooping up fascinating leaves, sticks and birch bark, or perfect wild flowers and colorful berries to add to their baskets.

"Here's a treasure," they say. "Here's another treasure. Is this a treasure?" As their baskets fill up with nature's goodies, they hand them to me to carry the rest of the way home. Then they trot off to chase feathers floating in the breeze or marvel at butterflies, caterpillars and toads. I watch them as though they move in slow motion, and the never-ending chorus of bird calls that fill the air from just before sunrise to just after sunset each day drowns out my thoughts.

Sometimes at night after we put the kids to bed and we still have enough energy left to find each other and recap the day, my husband and I take a flashlight and go for a walk around the property. We call it the nightly "rounds," and we do what we can to go unnoticed by the guests. We walk arm-in-arm and talk about the day or sometimes we don't talk at all as we silently chuckle about the fact that together we've been doing this thing called Sandy Point Resort for so many years now.

When daylight comes again and the girls are up and ready to rush outside to swim in the lake or play on the playground, I follow them outside and take in the pungent, clean smell of pine. Pushing them on the swings of our playground, I feel hypnotized by their back and forth motion, and I imagine them growing up. I see them going from tiny babies born in the forest to barefoot little girls chasing chipmunks and collecting rocks. The curls on their hands stretch into braids and toothless grins grow into exuberant smiles and joyous laughter. I see the wonderful backdrop we've provided for their childhood and the endless parade of friends who come to play with them week after week each summer.

Truly, we have created a dream life."




About the Author

Michele and her husband Mike Cozzens have owned and operated Sandy Point Resort, a family resort on the north shore of Squaw Lake in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin for over a dozen years. Giving up their professions as a journalist and a stock broker, they moved to the Northwoods from Northern California in order to raise a family and try to create their own version of Walden Pond. Both their daughters, Willow and Camille, were born in the Northwoods. Mike and Michele chose the Northwoods because of Mike's childhood memories of family vacations on Rest Lake in Manitowish Waters. After selling off all their California assets, they purchased an existing resort, originally established in 1935, and updated and modernized every aspect of the vacation property, including the design and building of a 24-hole disc golf course (Frisbee golf), bringing this recreational activity to the Northwoods for the first time.

Michele and her family also are the owners of and
You can find this book at:
Sandy Point Resort & Disc Golf Ranch