Tag Archives: Vacation

8+ Ways to Be Sustainable at Home and on Vacation

We know being sustainable and “going green” is on many people’s minds these days, but sometimes it can be hard to act on your desire to help our Mother Earth. Need some fresh ideas to get you started? Look no further.

Sustainability on Vacation

While on vacation there are ways to engage in earth friendly practices.

1. Consider chosing a vacation spot that engages in sustainable practices. Just by choosing a resort or hotel that is “green” you are making an impact. At Madden’s sustainability is a big priority. Our friends in Naples, FL also practice what they call “Good Earthkeeping”

2. Keep up your habits of recycling while vacationing. At Madden’s we provide friendly reminders to recycle as well as many recycling receptacles around the resort.

Signage and recycling bags in guest rooms allow guests to keep up their recycling habits from home.

3. Consider walking or biking rather than driving. A brisk walk or bike ride isn’t just good for the environment, its good for YOU! Madden’s offers bicycle rentals for moving around the resort and for using local trails. Stop by the front desk or the Tennis and Croquet Club for trail maps.

4. Flip the switch. While on vacation we sometimes forget about the lights or air conditioning because we’re distracted with some many fun things to do. Just flipping the switch before leaving the room can make a big difference. Plus by shutting off the air at night and cracking open the windows, you can often take in the local sights and sounds–our favorite at Madden’s are the loon calls at night.

Cut the juice in the evening. Loon calls are much more relaxing to listen to than an air conditioner!

5. Reuse your towels and sheets. Consider using your towels and sheets for more than one day. If you choose to reuse your towels let your housekeeper know by hanging them rather than leaving them on the floor. For sheets, look for a note card or sign in your guest room to place on the bed.

6. Take home your in room amenities. You can reduce waste by taking home opened bottles of shampoo, lotion, etc. Use them at home to feel like you’re still on vacation. Then recycle the bottles when you’re finished with them for a doubled helping of sustainability.

Sustainability at Home

1. Saving fuel helps both the environment and your pocket book. Here are some tips to improving your fuel mileage:

  • Avoid “jack rabbit”starts and aggressive driving. Flooring the gas pedal not only wastes gas, it leads to drastically higher pollution rates. One second of high-powered driving can produce nearly the same volume of carbon monoxide emissions as a half hour of normal driving.
  • Think ahead. Try to anticipate stops and let your vehicle coast down as much as possible. Avoid the increased pollution, wasted gas, and wear on your vehicle created by accelerating hard and braking hard.
  • Follow the speed limit! Driving 75 mph instead of 65 mph will lower your fuel economy by about 10 percent, and can dramatically increase tail pipe pollution in man yvehicles.
  • Plan your trips to avoid rush hour. Stop-and-go driving burns gas and increases emissions of smog-forming pollutants.
  • Combine trips. Warmed-up engines and catalysts generate much less air pollution, so combining several short trips into one can make a big difference.
  • Take a load off. Carrying around an extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy by about 1 percent. Take a few moments to unload your cargo area.
  • If your vehicle has it, use overdrive gear at cruising speeds. When driving a manual transmission, shift up as soon as possible. Running in a higher gear decreases your rpms and will decrease fuel use and engine wear.
  • Try using the vents and opening windows to cool off before you turn on the air conditioner. Air conditioner use increases fuel consumption, increases noxious emissions in some vehicles, and involves environmentally damaging fluids. Note: At higher speeds, using the air conditioner can actually increase milage compared to leaving windows open. So in town open windows and on the freeway go with the AC.
  • Carpool. Riding with others both keeps you in good company and saves multiple cars from being on the road.

2. Reuse plastic grocery bags. If you haven’t yet converted to canvas or other types of reusable grocery bags, try using unique ways to reuse your plastic ones. Here are a few ideas to get you started

  • Small garbage bags
  • Doggie Do Bags
  • Homemade bubble wrap for packing or storing
  • Travel bag for wet swimsuits and towels
  • Cover smaller stored items in the garage or attic to protect them from dust
  • Wrap around paint brushes to keep the brush from drying out while you take a break
  • Ball up bags and put them inside purses to help them keep their shape when not in use
  • Line litter boxes with them
  • Did your favorite antique vase break? Line the bottom with a plastic bag to keep it from leaking so you can keep using it

For more super fun and creative ways to reuse plastic bags, visit

**What do you do to help out Mother Earth? We’d love to hear your tips! Comment below or email us at**

Your green friends, Madden’s Green Team

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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Resident Bloggers


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The Best Week of the Year at Madden’s

I made my way down to the Lodge recently in hopes of getting the opportunity to meet a family who has been staying at Madden’s “for like 50 some years” as reported to me by various employees around the resort. As I walked up to the front desk I inquired about this family. “Oh,” the front desk agent replied, “She’s just walking in now!” Our agent went on to introduce me to a Mrs. Marion Dorfman. Marion asked me what I needed and I told her I had come down to interview her if she was willing. She was happy to speak with me. Actually she was very happy to. She and I chatted for a good half hour. She told me so many stories about her stays at Madden’s for the last 56 years… that’s right, fifty-six. Fifty-six years of enjoying what she claimed to be the best week of the year at Madden’s.

Marion Dorfman is at home in the Lodge lobby. She reports having taken naps in this very spot on more than one occasion relaxing to Frank Sinatra music.

I do want to tell you a little more about Marion, but before I do, I want to tell you about the best week of the year at Madden’s.

The best week of the year at Madden’s is the week when guests at the Lodge expect to see their friends from last fifty some years. Marion reported she always gets a little sad when she notices someone is missing from last year. “We’re always happy to know they picked a different week,” she stated. Because after coming back for over 50 years, sometimes those folks that are missing have passed on to a better place.

The best week of the year at Madden’sis when you walk in the door to check-in humming the theme song from Cheers, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name…”

The Seawood family enjoying their first "best week of the year at Madden's."

The best week of the year at Madden’s is when the chef makes homemade rhubarb sauce all week upon special request for a loyal guest.

The best week of the year at Madden’s is when Nellie at the front desk announces, “Mrs. D (Marion) is here. It doesn’t dare rain!” And, it never has.

The best week of the year at Madden’s is when you can laugh and remember years ago when you used to come here and folks came to dinner dressed up in suits and wearing gloves.

The best week of the year at Madden’s is the week when you get to check in on your family friends you see once a year. “Look how much Bobby has grown this year!” “Wow, Jenny, you’re married already?” The same family friends that call when they read in the paper that your younger brother just got married or that your parents are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

A birthday party at a private dining room during the best week of the year at Madden's.

And you know the I greatest thing I learned about the best week of the year at Madden’s? After several interviews I learned the best week of the year at Madden’s is whenever YOU are here.

Shortly after interviewing Marion I learned she was not the specific person I had been given a lead on interviewing. Appparently many families have traditions reaching the 50 year mark in “her week.” And I think that is the charm of Madden’s. Marion explained it by sharing, “There is something about this place that is magical. I feel. My kids feel it. Now my grandkids feel it.” It was one of those moments that makes you want to tear up just listening.

I invite you to join us at Madden’s. Don’t you deserve your own best week of the year tradition?



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Vote for Madden’s

Do you LOVE Madden’s on Gull Lake?

If you do we encourage you to vote at

Vote for your favorite resort or destination and if you have time, comment below about your experiences there.

Take care, Elizabeth


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Vacation Packages: European? American? Modified what?

When you are planning to travel you have so many options. Sometimes too many! Let me offer some guidance to help you decide what kind of packages is right for you. First, below are the different types of packages many resorts or hotels will offer:

European Plan:

A European plan generally means you are paying for lodging. You’ll get a hotel room with whatever in room amenities your specific hotel or resort provides. You know, maybe a fridge, microwave, and wireless. But that’s all. You will have to cover other expenses out of pocket as you go along including food and recreation.

Modified American Plan:

A modified American plan is lodging plus some. At Madden’s we think of it as our family plan. Or modified American plan includes lodging, dinner, breakfast, recreation, and a round of golf each day on two of our courses. Details on the modified American plan will vary based on the hotel or resort you choose, but usually it includes dinner and breakfast for sure.

Full American Plan:

This is our full conference plan and generally not available to social guests. It takes away all of the hassle of planning to pay for each meal, each activity etc. At Madden’s our full American plan includes lodging, 3 meals a day, recreation, and a round of golf a day on two of our courses. Again, details will vary based on the hotel or resort your choose so make sure to check into details before booking.

Other Planning Notes:

One thing to keep in mind when planning financially for a vacation is that most anywhere you go your plan will not include your drinks. If you are a big drinker, you’ll want to plan for that! Now this depends on where you choose to stay. For example, I visited Cancun a few years ago and they did have all-inclusive plans that covered drinks. All I can say is be aware when making your decision: when you get there you don’t want to have to worry about the details. The only thing on your mind should be relaxing.

**Have any vacation planning tips to share? Comment below or email me at**

Hope you enjoy your vacation, Elizabeth


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Bringing Baby on Vacation

So you want to go on a nice family vacation. A quiet getaway to… oh wait! There is no quiet when you’ve got the kids! I recently read a fun article in Conde Nast Traveler that could help out any parent: “The A-to-Z Guide to Traveling with Kids.” Wendy Perrin does a great job of sharing “Secrets every smart traveler should know.” I’m going to share some of my favorites directly from her article. If you want to read the whole article you can check it out on their website.
Wendy also has a blog and Twitter account: @wendyperrin.

My favorite letters… my notes follow with a double **

B is for Bananagrams.
Think Scrabble but with no board, no complicated scoring, and no need to wait your turn: Each player works independently and at his own pace and skill level, thus ruling out frustration and boredom. Your child can play alone, or the entire family can participate, and even when you lose some letter tiles under the airline seat, it’s still playable (

H is for Headphones.
Not the awkward inside-your-ear type that falls out of kids’ ears but the over-the-ear type that remains firmly on the child’s head. When your jet-lagged child wakes up at 3 a.m. in the hotel room and announces, “I’m tired of sleeping now,” give him the headphones and a movie and go back to sleep. **my bet is this works even when you don’t fly!

I is for Invisible Ink.
Colorless ink leaves no mess to clean up. The only frustration with invisible-ink activity books is when they come with only one pen and your child loses it. Once that happens, I is for iPhone, with its plethora of mess-free children’s game apps, but fair warning: It’s a slippery slope from Encylopedia Britannica Kids’ Ancient Egypt app to Moto Mania Dirt Bike Challenge.

J is for Journal.
It needn’t be fancy—just a simple notebook where, each day of the trip, your child writes a paragraph on the highlight of his day or three things he learned. If your child can’t write yet, he can draw a picture of something he liked that day. Leave space in the journal for trip photos that your child can add later. **I remember doing this as a kid. It is fun to look at my drawing journal from when I was in Kindergarten!

K is for kids eat free, kids ski free, kids cruise free, and other money-saving family vacation packages. Look for these deals at,, and

T is for Thinkfun games.
Portable mind-sharpeners that have kept my kids occupied during long train and plane rides. Our favorite is Rush Hour Jr.—an addictive puzzle that involves placing vehicles on a grid in a different arrangement each time, then trying to get the ice-cream truck out of the traffic jam by moving vehicles around the grid. It’s a single-player game, though, so when your kids start fighting over it, T is for Time Out (

W is for Wikki Stix.
The least heavy, least bulky, least messy way to do arts and crafts on the go.

**Do you have any more suggestions for traveling with kids? Help out a fellow traveler and share them by commenting below**

Take care, Elizabeth

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Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Traveling Tips


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Minnesota’s Classic Resort: Madden’s on Gull Lake

Hello there!

I am happy to announce Madden’s on Gull Lake will be starting a blog. We look forward to sharing behind the scenes stories, industry  news, pointers for activities like golf and fishing, local events, Madden’s  history, and well, whatever YOU want to read about! If you have any ideas, we’d  love to hear from you. Right now the plan is to have several of our employees  contribute. If you want to hear from someone specific—maybe your favorite waitress or the pontoon driver—let us know and we’ll see what we can do. To  offer ideas please comment below or shoot us an email at

Until next time, Elizabeth


Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Behind the Scenes


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