/ What "Up North" Means To Me

What "Up North" Means To Me

It’s Friday afternoon in a typical Wisconsin workplace, and you and your co-workers are discussing weekend plans. Someone says they’re going “up north,” and immediately, everyone has a general sense of what that means. It doesn’t matter specifically which town or lake or region of our beautiful state they’re going to, because Wisconsinites know going "up north" is less about the geography and more about what you do once you arrive. It’s understood that “going up north” includes days spent on one of our beautiful lakes, camping in the woods, fishing on a river, and simply taking in all of the natural beauty Wisconsin has to offer.
As a lifelong Milwaukee resident, I am accustomed to the sights, sounds and lack of nature that comes with living in a big city. And while I love being a true Milwaukeean, I’ve always made a point to break away from my busy hometown and escape to my grandparents’ cottage in central Wisconsin every summer. That little house on the lake is the perfect retreat from the hectic pace of the city. The water is clear, the air is fresh and you can actually see millions of stars—not just the biggest and brightest ones. The days are filled with boating, skiing, fishing and other lake activities, while nighttime brings campfires, crickets and the dead silence of the woods.
This is what “up north” means to me. It’s a place to go to relax and forget the pressures of everyday life. It’s where you go to breathe in that crisp country air with a hint of pine, hear the eerie call of a loon at dusk and watch a sunset that is so breathtakingly beautiful it doesn’t seem real. Being up north helps me appreciate what nature created.
Everyone’s “up north” experience is different. For some, it’s purely about the beauty of the natural landscape. Others focus more on the activities that come with lakes, rivers, and miles of open land. No matter what parts you value most, “going up north” is a part of the Wisconsin way of life. It’s so engrained in who we are, that many take it for granted. Sometimes it takes moving away or meeting someone who didn’t grow up with these experiences to make us realize just how special “up north” is to Wisconsin.
What does “up north” mean to you? Comment your thoughts below.

Jennifer Ingish is a producer at Discover Mediaworks. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Jennifer is a proud UW-Madison graduate and an avid Wisconsin sports fan (Go Pack Go!). When she’s not at her family’s cottage in Wautoma, you can find her kayaking on one of Wisconsin’s beautiful lakes or trying out a new restaurant!

14 comments on “What "Up North" Means To Me”

  1. "Up North" is definitely the beautiful scenery, wildlife, fish fry's, campfires, fishing, boating, snowmobiling and so much more I cannot name them all. But it all adds "UP" to one thing, "UP NORTH IS A STATE OF MIND" a FEELING that once you have experienced it, will stay with you forever !!

  2. Going up North means going home to family, friends, a nice cold bottle of Leinies and a good Friday fish fry at the local pub! It doesn't get any better than that!

  3. Highway 57, north of Green Bay is what we call the" stress line." Once we get past that stress line, you can almost feel the difference as the body starts to relax. The air is sweeter, even the "dairy air"! On the thumb of Door County, one rarely hears a police siren, instead you hear the waves lapping at the shoreline as an eagle soars over your head. No hum of the air conditioners because the fresh breeze off the bay lulls you to sleep after you've filled your stomach at a Friday night fish fry. Up North! Yes! Heading there now!

    1. Door county, UP NORTH? Only people from Illinois call that up north.
      I don't like traffic jams or waiting in lines. Going up north is getting away from it all, NOT bringing it with you.

      1. Oh I so disagree! True- parts of Door County are tourist traps, but we are 15 miles out if Sturgeon Bay, at the dead end if a mile long dirt road, in the woods, but on the water. The only sounds we hear are the birdsong, and the lapping of the water on the shoreline. No traffic jams in our part of the door!

  4. Up North means vacation, unplugging, fishing, trail running, projects, flea markets, salt water taffy, fish fry, family cribbage tournaments, and swimming. It's introducing my spouse to my childhood version of heaven on earth and wishing fond memories in the making as we introduce our baby daughter to the delights of the Northwoods. It is a family constant. I'm typing this from Hwy 51 as we approach Minocqua. We're nearly there - up north.

  5. "UP NORTH" means coming home to my own slice of "Up North" right here in the "NORTH"east part of the City of Pewaukee. I am on a secluded parcel of land with my own 6 acre pond...geese, heron, egrets, deer, coyote, muskrats, fish, etc. Dlefinitely feels like "UP NORTH" compared to the rest of the area. It doesn't get any better than that!

  6. Up North meant so much to us, that what our Cedar Sign we hung our lake reads. And then, we decided we loved Up North so much, we moved here last weekend.

  7. "Up North" is relaxing at my uncles cottage in Minoqua, camping in Mellen or just enjoying the summer in Ashland or Hayward. Grilling brats,eating as much Walleye as I can stand. I live in the south now so any time spent in Wisconsin is like being in heaven. I was born in EauClaire and have fond memories of the beautiful north country.

  8. I actually grew up on a farm in central Wisconsin and came to know " up north" as being what many southern Wisconsinites referred to as my home area. It wasn't until I went to college in Menomonie and met my husband in Hudson that I found my own definition of "up north." Now we spend every weekend enjoying our summer home WAY NORTH in the Gordon/Wascott area. It is so peaceful and quiet, yet filled with so much to do and so many friends to see! We love being "up north" and can't wait to make it our retirement home someday.

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