Just a few weeks after my son Aren was born this past August, I listened to an interview on our local radio station WTIP about a new business coming to town, The Wunderbar Eatery & Glampground.  I wasn’t sure what I would be doing to make money before we opened our doors to The Big Lake in May of 2018, but after listening to the interview, I thought WOW, this woman, Teri Downing, sounds like someone I could easily work for!!

Barry the Gnome Bear, one of the many fun mascots of The Wunderbar

A few days later, I meet up with Teri at the Wunderbar (the former Harbor Light Supper Club), and she gave me a tour of the grounds. This tour included the entire main building where she poured out her dreams and desires to me of what she wanted the space to be and how she felt this spot was truly a unique and needed space for the community. We then ventured to the ice house out back, which is actually the first ice house in all of Grand Marais. She hopes to turn this climate controlled, charmingly vintage building into a speakeasy bar sometime in the next year.

Then, we toured the cute vintage trailers and gorgeous Lotus Bell yurts on the property. Yes, these cute little units are for rent! The North Shore’s first glampground has arrived and it is FANTASTIC!

So, why have I dedicated an entire day, the LAST day, to The Wunderbar Eatery & Glampground?? Well, what happens next in my story is why.

After we finished our tour of the grounds, Teri asked if I wanted a glass of wine. She poured two glasses and brought me over to the fire pit surrounded by red Adirondack chairs. We sat, and she said something along the lines of “So what are your dreams?” I told her about The Big Lake, I told her about my desire to have more time for my growing family, I told her that I LOVED that there were new businesses and new energy arriving to my beloved North Shore. We talked about a whole lot of things I didn’t expect to talk about during an interview! It was really an incredible first meeting.

So, after a while she looked at me and said, I think you can plug into The Wunderbar in many ways, one of the ways I’m envisioning is through artwork. She asked if I would be interested in helping curate the artwork throughout the entire business. Well, first she asked “Do you want to play?”

And I, of course, said yes.


We started with the wine and coffee bar. Already lush with big, comfy and cushy leather couches, a red “Santa” chair and funky vintage lighting atop a poker table, we added three whimsical and gorgeous prints from Rick Allen.

Baby Aren resting in the "Santa Chair" below a trio of Jahna Vashti prints.

We added bits of Jahna Vashti to the left and old music sheets framed alongside Emily Winfield Martin prints to the right.

We connected our incredible artist friend Jeff Niesen (@j.mn.art) with the Downings and he completely transformed the bathrooms stalls with “North Woods Graffiti.” With Adam Turman prints to touch up the rest room walls, I could honestly say I wouldn’t mind living in these public restrooms :-)


Trailers from Slow Loris adorn the walls of the kids room/mud room/extra room that leads to the patio.

Oh and sooo much more, folks. You simply have to venture to The Wunderbar to fully take in this magnificent feast for the eyes. Teri, Chris, their family and staff have completely transformed this building into a truly unique and magical establishment.

With absolutely divine Bloody Marys.... Chelsea & I each enjoyed the Bloody Mary bar at our most recent business meeting :-) 

What has followed has been an incredible relationship built between The Big Lake and The Wunderbar. Even more importantly, an incredible friendship between myself and Teri. I can not express enough how much her trust, kindness and support has meant to me, a new entrepreneur and mother, these past few months. I truly believe we were meant to meet, Teri and I. I know for a fact, her presence in my life has helped to keep our spirits high, ideas rolling and momentum up during these unknown and exciting months prior to opening our brick and mortar shop downtown. Thank you, Teri. I’m so grateful you asked me to play.

Well folks, that’s a WRAP! Our 12 Days of Holiday Cheer has come to a close! Thank you so much for all your support in our first year of business. I hope you all continue to have an incredible holiday season, and we can not WAIT to welcome you to our shop in the new year!!

Abby & The Big Lake Family

p.s. Don't forget to check us out at "It's a Wunderbar Life: Holiday Market" at, you guessed it, The Wunderbar this Thursday, December 14th from 5-8! Over 20 local artists and businesses will be available to help fill your holiday shopping needs :-) 

*All photos courtesy of The Wunderbar Eatery & Glampground, unless otherwise marked.


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