Shiver me timbers! Pirates!


Ahoy Mateys!!! …. there be a spot over Eagle River way … that will fill your spirit with adventure and your belly with laughter. What say ye? Where ’tis this wondrous place?

Take a heading due north on Highway 45 in Eagle River and watch on the east side for the sign for Pirates Hideaway on Duck Lake. Owner and Captain of his good ship, the William Charles, Steve Strauss and his Captain son, Steve-O, pay attention to details to the delight of their passengers.

Make no doubt about it, this is a family activity with a capital “F”. Both Steves are certified captains and safety is their number one concern. Toss any ideas out about “Booze Cruises”. This outfit puts kids and their families first.

Captain Steve is in on deck giving the younger passengers an artistic tattoo to brandish to landlubber friends when they get ashore. Captain Steve-O offers the young sailors their choice of material for their official pirate head gear and then helps to fashion the chosen style.

There are several opportunities to enjoy this high seas outing. There are the public sailings starting the day off with Coffee with the Captain, day sailings and an evening sunset cruise. The good ship is also available for rentals for family reunions, weddings, business meetings, bachelor and bachelorette parties - and can accommodate 35 people.

On the Coffee with the Captain sailing, delicious Eagle Roasters coffee is served along with a selection of breakfast snacks. Refreshments and light snacks are available on other excursions. While cruising along the shores of the Chain of Lakes, Captain Steve regales information about past and present properties and locations along the shore.

Passengers get to delight in the many wild life and eagle sightings as well as viewing the magnificent eagle nests built high in the pines.

Pirates Hideaway offers much more. Visit their Ice Cream Parlor featuring delectable Cedar Crest ice cream. Need a chilly refreshment - a stop at the Tiki bar is a must, There is frequent evening entertainment, beach parties, games for the kids and even a Family Fun night held in conjunction with the Eagle River Children’s Museum.

Stop in at the new Gift Shop and gather yer pirate’s booty that is sure to become a treasure.

Operating since 2004, Pirates Hideaway is a family venture inside and out. Steve’s wife, Linda, maintains land side activities and their three other children have or still pitch in during the summer. Jamie, the eldest, lives is Salt Lake City, Charlie, former NPHS hockey star, is on the East Coast and Samantha is a Nanny in Madison. Steve-O is a teacher in Madison in the off season.

“Nice thing about a family business is you don’t have to pay anybody” laughed Capt. Steve.

The family moved up here in 1997 to work at the family resort. When the economy took a turn for the worse, they brainstormed as to what they could do to stay up north and not return to their former home in Downers Grove, Ill. Steve hit upon the idea of a pirate ship — though he said most people thought he was crazy. Arrrggghhh! Steve is a contractor by trade and built the William Charles in his driveway.

Watch for a new pirate ship scheduled to be launched in 2017. Captain Steve said there will be a contest to name the new ship. Watch for details on this exciting event on the website.

The William Charles operates daily from Memorial weekend through Labor day and also has fall color sailings. For public sailing or rental information, visit their website or call 715-479-6756. You may also check availability or book your public sailing reservation on the website — reserve early — sailings fill up fast!

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