Roseau family makes smooth return to Canadian cabin life at Buffalo Point property in Manitoba

The Fuglebergs were among the throngs of Americans who returned to their cabins on Canadian soil Monday for the first time since the U.S.-Canada border closed to nonessential travel March 21, 2020, in the very early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tim and Laura Fugleberg of Roseau, Minn., stand on the deck of their cabin Monday, Aug. 9, at Buffalo Point on the Manitoba side of Lake of the Woods. The Fuglebergs were able to get to the cabin for the first time in nearly two years Monday when Canada opened its border to nonessential American travel. Despite standing empty, the cabin held up quite well, they found, much to their relief. (Brad Dokken/ Grand Forks Herald)
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BUFFALO POINT, Man. – When Tim and Laura Fugleberg of Roseau, Minn., pulled into the driveway of their cabin on the Manitoba side of Lake of the Woods shortly before 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 9, they didn’t know what to expect.

A lot of things can happen when a cabin sits empty for nearly two years.

They hoped for the best and planned for the worst since they hadn’t been here since October 2019; fortunately, their long-awaited return to the cabin offered more good than bad.

Just pulling into the yard was emotional, Laura Fugleberg said.


“Oh my goodness,” she said, stepping out of her van and walking up to the cabin her dad, Bob Glassmann, of Roseau, had built in the early ’90s when she was in the first grade. “I could just lay down on the ground, I’m so excited.”

The Fuglebergs were among the throngs of Americans who returned to their cabins on Canadian soil Monday for the first time since the U.S.-Canada border closed to nonessential travel March 21, 2020, in the very early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laura said she had suppressed her emotions and tried not to think about the cabin they couldn’t reach, even though it’s only 45 minutes away, since the situation was beyond her control.

She calls the cabin her “Happy Place” because her parents made it that way. The walls are covered with cabin decor and photos of fishing trips and other family memories.

Bob Glassmann died in 2016, and Laura’s mother, Jeanne, died in March 2020, just days before the border closed to nonessential travel; both deaths were unexpected. Tim and Laura and their three sons – Joey, 7; Oliver, 6; and Theo, 3 – now are carrying on the cabin tradition.

The family ties run deep.

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Laura Fugleberg of Roseau, Minn., looks through the journal her dad, Bob Glassmann, kept of goings-on at the family cabin at Buffalo Point on the Manitoba side of Lake of the Woods. Glassmann, who died in 2016, built the cabin in the early '90s when Laura was in first grade. Then as now, the cabin is her "happy place," says Fugleberg, who was able to get back to the place Monday, Aug. 9, for the first time in nearly two years. (Brad Dokken/ Grand Forks Herald)


“It’s definitely different for me than it is for her,” Tim Fugleberg said of not being able to reach the cabin. “It’s one of those deals where, obviously, it’s not the worst thing that has come out of this pandemic. Other people have been hurt in a lot worse ways, so it’s hard to get too down about it.

“But at the same time, it’s still hard.”

Moving parts

There had been a lot of moving parts to clear before the Fuglebergs could make the long-awaited return to their cabin Monday morning. First, they had to take a COVID-19 molecular test no more than 72 hours before entering Canada and provide documentation at the border showing negative test results.

“It’s just lining everything up,” Laura said. “It’s the test, getting it in the required time frame – it’s such a pain.”

Like every other American who now enters Canada for nonessential travel, the Fuglebergs had to download the Canadian government’s ArriveCAN smartphone app and upload electronic copies of their vaccination cards showing they were fully vaccinated

A physical therapist at LifeCare Medical Center in Roseau, Laura said she was able to schedule rapid molecular tests for Tim and herself Monday morning, but just barely. She’d hoped to add oldest son Joey, as well, but the schedule was full so he had to stay behind at daycare in Roseau with younger brothers.

“He cried and cried,” Laura said. “And I remember coming up with my dad. That was going to be (Laura and Joey's) thing.”

Tim Fugleberg drove separately so he could get back to Roseau later Monday to pick up the boys from daycare; Laura planned to spend the night and return to Roseau on Tuesday.


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Tim and Laura Fugleberg show a prized family photo of Laura's parents, Bob and Jeanne Glassmann, with the Fuglebergs' two oldest sons, Joey and Oliver, who now are 7 and 6 years old, respectively. Bob Glassmann died in 2016, and Jeanne in 2020, and Laura planned to hang the photo in the cabin at Buffalo Point in Manitoba, which they were able to visit Monday, Aug. 9, for the first time in nearly two years. (Brad Dokken/ Grand Forks Herald)

Smooth crossing

Unlike some Canada-bound travelers, the Fuglebergs didn't encounter long lines Monday morning when they pulled up to the Canadian port of entry at South Junction, Man., north of Roseau. Travelers entering Canada at the 24-hour Sprague, Man., crossing north of Warroad, Minn., en route to Buffalo Point had similar stories.

By comparison, travelers entering Canada in Fort Frances, Ont., on Monday faced seven-hour waits.

“Definitely having done it now, it’s going to be less stressful the next time,” Tim Fuglerberg said of the border-crossing process. “It’s just the unknown of, are they going to be prepared?”

An even bigger unknown was answered Monday when the Fuglebergs pulled into the yard of their cabin. The deck needed a healthy dose of TLC – tender loving care – but it was nothing a pressure washer and a can or two of stain wouldn’t fix. The lawn was surprisingly well-maintained, thanks to the efforts of neighbors such as Ed Rampl, a Canadian resident who lives next door to the Fuglebergs’ cabin.

Ed Rampl (right) of Buffalo Point, Man., visits with Laura and Tim Fugleberg on Monday, Aug. 9, outside the Fuglebergs' cabin on the Manitoba side of Lake of the Woods. Rampl, who lives next door, has helped out with mowing and keeping an eye on the place. Before Monday, Aug. 9, the Fuglebergs hadn't been able to get to the cabin since the U.S.-Canada border closed to nonessential travel during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Brad Dokken/ Grand Forks Herald)

In true “Friendly Manitoba” spirit, their Canadian neighbors had kept an eye on things while the cabin stood empty. Within the first hour, several neighbors stopped by to welcome the Fuglebergs back.

“This is so cool,” Laura said. “Somebody’s mowed, too. I didn’t think it would be mowed. Oh my goodness – I thought we’d have knee-high grass.”

Bigger worries

Tim, a financial adviser for TruStone Wealth Management in Roseau, said he had bigger concerns than the lawn, not the least of which was the risk of broken water pipes. The cabin had been winterized before the border closed, but turning the water on for the first time is always stressful.

“It’s been shut down every winter for 25 years, and as far as I know there hasn’t been a problem,” Tim Fugleberg said.

He plugged in the water pump and nervously flipped the switches in the breaker box.

Everything worked.

The water was a bit rusty at first, but that’s to be expected after nearly two years

“I was thinking I'd get in the cabin and make a list of plumbing supplies,” he said. Meanwhile, Laura’s concern about an influx of mice in the cabin proved to be unfounded, as well.


“We even brought a tent just in case it was so bad inside, Laura she couldn't sleep in the cabin,” he said.

Laura planned to spend at least part of Monday cleaning and doing other odd jobs. There will be numerous lists to make and chores to do in the coming weeks, but with the border once again open, at least they’ll be able to spend time at the cabin that is such an important part of their lives.

Even if it means taking COVID-19 tests and meeting other border-crossing requirements before every trip for the foreseeable future, Laura’s “Happy Place” again was within reach, and they planned to return with the boys for the weekend.

“I’m happy this is better than I was thinking it would be,” she said. “A huge relief for sure.”

Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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