Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

What happens at Madden’s behind the swinging kitchen door, in the offices, and more

Confessions of an Assistant Event Coordinator

Most guests don’t realize how much work is done “behind the scenes” to prepare for groups of guests coming into the resort.  Most of the behind the scenes stuff that I deal with is for corporate meetings and conferences. We coordinate everything from where the group will stay on the resort to what kind of beverages are served during their functions.  Functions usually include, but are not limited too, meetings, social receptions, dinners, award ceremonies, team building, recreation, and of course golf! Keep checking in on our blog as I plan to write about some of the fun behind the scenes things I help Madden’s Event Coordinators with.

Madden’s does do several weddings in the summer that I help plan as well: we usually average 7-10 weddings a season.  And with weddings the work can be surprising; we really never know if we’ll be doing basic planning tasks, like seating charts and menu assignments or if we’ll be hanging paper lanterns and setting up centerpieces. I have assisted with 5 weddings this season, all of which were beautiful, but as different as night and day! More to come on that in another post!

One of the most important things I have learned about the hospitality industry in my short time in this position is that the small details tend to be the ones that please guests most.  In a world where many other hospitality businesses have thrown detailing out the window, offering sloppy service with little room for flexibility, I am incredibly proud to be an employee at Madden’s: a place where everyone understands that cutting corners
is not the way to our guest’s hearts!

As Ever, Sarah Schultz


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What to Expect at Madden’s Food and Wine Weekend 2011

We are excited to announce our 2nd annual Food and Wine Weekend at Madden’s. This year it will take place from August 26-28. The resort will be buzzing with renowned chefs and vinters. Join us and not only will you be able to enjoy their decadent dishes and wines, but you will also be able rub elbows with them during our welcome reception, wine tastings, demonstrations, and golf outings. Here is what you can look forward to when you join us.

Friday August 26:

A guest chats with vinters at last year's Food and Wine weekend

  • 5:30-6:30 pm Welcome Reception
  • 6:30- pm Dinner, Cookout and music by Burrito Deluxe at Wilson Bay Beach
  • 8-11 pm Bonfire
  • 9 pm-1 am Entertainment at the O’Madden Pub

Saturday August 27:

  • 7- 9 am, Breakfast
  • 8 am, Coffee Station
  • 8 am, 9 hole scramble with vintners and chefs – You’ll be paired up with the Chefs and Vintners for a fun event! Pine Beach East golf course
  • 9 am, Tea 101 with Bill Waddington of the Tea Source
  • 10 am, Pastry Chef Amy Desanto demonstrates techniques in preparation and presentation of a desserts
  • 11 am, Current Trends in Handcrafted Chocolate with B.T. McElrath
  • 1-3 pm, Wine Tasting (by reservation – space is limited)
  • 3:30-5 pm, Wine Tasting (by reservation, space is limited)
  • 5:30-6:30 pm, Reception and wine tasting
  • 6:30 pm, Dinner, Guest chefs and Madden’s chefs prepare their specialty foods, paired with the perfect wines
  • 10 pm, Burrito Deluxe performs O’Madden Pub

Sunday August 28:

  • 7 -10 am Coffee Station
  • 8-11 am Brunch, Guest chefs featuring their specialties at multiple stations The Restaurant at Madden Inn

*Events/times/locations subject to change


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Summer Heat is Great for Your Perennials

Greetings friends of Madden’s!

I know I am not alone when I say our extreme weather conditions have made this a  challenging summer in the garden. But while the wind, heat and continuous rain may slow down your annuals, its great weather for perennials.

Perennial hostas line the stairs to the beach from Wilson Bay

Maintaining Healthy Perennials

Perennial plants such as Hosta, Daylily, and Iris should be dug up and divided every three years to keep them healthy and at a desirable size. To do this, dig up the  entire plant with a spade shovel. This is an easy job if the plant has been maintained; however, a friend’s help may be needed if the plant has become overgrown. Once the plant is out of the ground, use a hand saw to ‘saw’ the root ball into two or more clumps, depending on the original size (some plants may provide ten clumps or more). Next, plant a nice clump back in the original spot, water, and fertilize. I prefer a slow release, granular fertilizer, such as Osmocote 20-20-20, which can be found at any garden center. It is simple to apply and because it is a slow release, you only need to fertilize once a year. And, finally, find homes for the new plants! If you are unable to use them in your own yard, try selling them at a yard sale or give them away to friends and family – they will love you for it!

Enjoy, Julie, Madden’s Horticulturalist


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Mary Alverson turns her Love of Seaplanes and Teaching into a Business

Mary Alverson is pictured with her restored 1969 Piper Super Cub

For Mary Alverson of Wings Over Water, flying isn’t just a pasttime. She’s made it a way of life. And why not? Didn’t your mom and dad always tell you to pick a job you love? Well, Mary certainly must have heard that as a child! When I asked about her business and life she reported, “There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than flying seaplanes.”

As owner of Wings Over Water Seaplane Certification Program, Mary offers current pilots training to earn their seaplane rating. A rating on a pilot’s license is like an additional endorsement on a driver’s license. For the training program Mary provides the airplane, a restored 1969 Piper Super Cub.

As expected, Mary had nothing but good words to say about seaplanes. “I love every aspect of flying seaplanes. I teach on other planes, but seaplanes are my passion. It doesn’t matter if I’m flying or teaching.”  And she has good reason. Mary explained to me how different and exciting it is to fly in a seaplane. And then, she showed me by taking me up in her Cub.

Rather than taking off from a well manicured and planned out airport, a seaplane pilot must learn to take off from and land on water. There are so many things to consider when the pilot becomes his or her own air traffic controller. They must be aware of wind speed and direction without being able to use top of the line technologies. Instead, they assess the waves on the top of the water. They must know how much wind speed correlates to a certain amount of waves. They must also keep in mind the space they have available. Are there boats coming? Leaving? What about land obstructions? In a lake like Gull Lake, there are many islands and points reaching out into the water that could obstruct take off or landing so pilots must be exceptionally cautious.

Flying a seaplane has its perks though. It’s an entirely different feeling landing on water. At take off, you get a smooth feeling of hydroplaning before a gentle lift off of the water. Then when landing, the water cradles the plane as the nose tips upward for a few seconds.

Water explodes upward in beautiful patterns as we land Mary's seaplane on Gull Lake. Pictured is one of the floats attached to the bottom of the seaplane.

It really is a great feeling. And Mary made sure to show me a landing and take off several times. She asserts it is the best part of flying seaplanes. And since seaplanes take off and land on water of lakes, rivers, and even oceans, there are always exceptionally beautiful views.

This is a view of Madden's Golf Villas (top left), the Madden Inn (top right), and the first tee and last hole on our Pine Beach East course.

A view of one of the peninsulas in Gull Lake

Mary has been lucky enough to combine her love for seaplanes and teaching into a career. At Madden’s we’ve been able to combine Mary’s skills with our hospitality to create a fanastic package for pilots looking to get their seaplane rating. Pilots can stay at Madden’s for 4 days/3 nights on a package that includes meals, golf, and flight time required for training. To learn more about the package, check out our recent post, Seaplane Certification at Madden’s.

Thanks Mary for so graciously offering me a ride in your seaplane. It was a beautiful flight! Elizabeth

**Have you earned your seaplane rating at Madden’s? We’d love to hear your story. Please comment below or email me at**


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This Week in Photos: Flags, Fundraisers, Singing, Nature, and More

At Madden's we can make anything happen. A group this week requested a path of American flags to guide their guests to event destinations.

Our friend, Billy the Blue Heron grooms himself while lounging in our "moat" in the center of the resort.

The Libera choir boys joined us for a few days on their tour of the United States. Pictured is the group walking down Strawberry Hill for breakfast at the Lodge. The unique group is visiting from London. Learn more by visiting:

Madden's staff member, Dan, levels the blades on a golf course lawnmower.

The "Go Red" group of ladies gather for a photo on the 1st tee of Pine Beach East before beginning their golf tournament. They also hosted a banquet with a raffle afterward. Funds raised will benefit the American Heart Association.

A calm morning at the beach by our Marina

I had the pleasure of talking with Marion Dorfman long time guest of Madden's Lodge. This year is her 56th year visiting!

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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Behind the Scenes


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Madden’s Waterski School Offers Guests A Video of Experience

To stick wih the theme of recreation blog posts for the week, I wanted to tell you about Madden’s Waterski School. Our three well-trained instructors can help you learn to waterski, wakeboard, or watertube!

This season Madden’s has added an exciting technology as a perk for our guests: a waterski cam. You see we’ve had a full service waterski school at Madden’s for many years, but this year we wanted to up the anti.

It started as a idea… how can we record our guests learning to ski (or wakeboard, or watertube) and then be able to get the image or video to them quickly. We started with several ideas. Can we find a camera that sends the video directly to Facebook? Directly to email? We weren’t sure. After a little digging, we finally selected the camera we wanted, the software we needed, a new computer for our Tennis & Croquet Club, we determined the most efficient way to share a video was by posting it on YouTube for our guests to view and share. Then all we had to do was wait. Wait for the camera to come in the mail. Wait for a new computer in the mail. Wait for the software…. but it’s here now! We are pumped.

Then the scary part came: they made me try it! Before now, I had attempted waterskiing only one other time… and failed horribly. How do you think I did this time? Check out my video below and see! Oh, and I must note the water, although it was about 65 degrees when I went skiing, felt like 40 degrees. All I could think about was the movie Titanic!

Want to try our water ski school for yourself? You can sign up at our Tennis & Croquet Club by calling ext 5913 when on-site or 218-855-5913 from home. Rates are $40/half hour and $80/hour. Videos will be edited and posted on YouTube for free after your experience!

As always, feel free to comment or email me at, Elizabeth


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All Fireworks

The Fourth of July Fireworks went off without a hitch. I’m here to tell you why.

There are many steps in preparing for the fireworks. I talked about some of it in a previous post, but now I was able to see it first hand!

Setting the empty racks in late morning. Plastic tubes fill the wooden racks. Each tube will have one shell dropped into it.

For the folks setting up Madden’s fireworks on the Fourth, the day began at around 10 am and they didn’t quit until long after the fireworks were done. It wasn’t just one person either. There had to be at least 4-5 people running around all day in the hot sun–great for swimming and cook-outs, but quite dehydrating for those setting up! I was impressed though with the energy the Zambelli staff had even through the hot day. Thanks Zambelli!

One of the first steps was to check each tube for debris from the last time they were used. “Cleaning out the guns” as the professionals call it. All it took was running a stick down each tube to make sure it was clear. But multiply that out time over 300-400 tubes and it takes a while.

Each shell is wired with an electric match which will then be plugged into a master switch box so the fireworks can be started from a safe distance.

Next the racks of tubes are set up very deliberately. The order, size, and color of each fireworks is very important to making a show spectacular.

Once the racks are set up, they start filling the tubes with shells and then wiring them to a yellow boxes. These yellow boxes will then be wired to a master box or used independently.

Various sizes of shells were used for the Madden’s fireworks: ranging from 2 inch to 7 inch. The size of the shell determines the height of firework. It also determines how far the audience can sit from the set-up. For each inch of shell, the audience must sit 70 feet away. So for the biggest shells, 7 inch, the audience must sit 490 feet away!

Wiring each shell into the main switchboard

Sadly, I couldn’t get any great photos of the fireworks to share with you. If you’ve seen fireworks before, you know why. They just can’t be captured with a camera. It can never be the same as being there.

Did anyone else get any great photos of the evening’s fireworks? I’d love to see them! Email me at or post them below in the comment section.

Until next time, Elizabeth


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