Having lived in White Bear Lake since the age of 2, it’s safe to say that I’m a fan of this town. My Canadian-born parents built their first and only home here in the ’60s, a singular house sprouting up in an expansive, open field. Other homes eventually filled our street, populating it with instant playmates. The block across the street from us remained undeveloped until I was a teen, giving me and my two sisters a place for grand adventures.
When my husband and I were expecting our first child and looking for a home, we spent six months searching for the place where we’d become a family of three. Part of the struggle was our piddly little budget. The other struggle: location. After a day of traipsing around the Twin Cities touring places that just “weren’t right,” our Realtor finally asked what we were looking for that we didn’t see. I said, “Well, you know that little neighborhood in downtown White Bear Lake, where all the houses are old and charming? That’s where I’ve always dreamed of living.”
A place popped up for sale a mere block from the lake, and we made an offer sight-unseen on a little house on Sixth Street. Our offer was accepted! It had eyebrow windows, an eat-in nook in the kitchen, oak floors and all original 1920s trim. It was the perfect place to raise our kids. As our family grew, we fell into the smalltown rituals I craved—biking to the farmers market, the local library and the five-and-dime store (White Bear Variety, we miss you!). Walking to the beach closest to our house, having friends over for barbecue and then parking lawn chairs on Lake Avenue to watch the Manitou Days parade pass by. My son Justin even won the Manitou Days button drawing contest one year and got to ride in the parade.
We eventually outgrew our adorable little house downtown and moved to another White Bear Lake home, but fortunately, we could bring our memories with us. You get the picture—I’m in love with this city!
So when I was offered the guest editor spot for White Bear Lake Magazine, I jumped at the chance. Now, I get to tell you where to go with family and friends (page 14), what you can do (page 10), and give you great recipe ideas (page 16), all so you can create wonderful memories with your family and friends this holiday season.
Cheryl Brunkow, guest editor