My wife works every other Saturday. Today is one of those days, and it's often a challenge for me to find something for the kids to do. I took the kids to the beach at Lake Johanna today. Johanna is a nice little lake in Arden Hills, about one mile square, and the beach is level and smooth, with a nice pavilion. All along the lake are $700K-$1M domiciles, where some of the power brokers of the northern suburbs make their homes. The kids love going to the beach and my wife is pretty diligent about taking the kids at least a few times each summer. Me, I hate the beach, but you have to make sure the kids are happy and on a hot day like today, it's a sensible place to go.
Like many of the metro lakes, Johanna has a lot of activity. You can see boats nearly from the moment the ice goes out until the winter chill returns. The water is pretty good; we saw about half a dozen small yellow perch darting around in the swimming area near the beach, and there are walleyes and northerns to be had there as well, out beyond the buoys. Lakes are a huge part of Minnesota life - most Minnesotans have some access to the lakes, either through owning a cabin up north or having a relative or friend who has one. The northern lakes are gorgeous, especially the big ones like Mille Lacs, Winnibigoshish and Lake of the Woods. But one of the benefits of living here is that you can find a scenic lakeshore in a matter of minutes. And even when the lake is full of activity, there's serenity to be found. It's something that's easy to take for granted, but we shouldn't.