“You just can’t stay away once you have the lake in you.”

Megan Johnson grew up on a farm in the very northwest corner of Minnesota.

Clitherall Lake has a lot of meaning for Megan and Justin!

Clitherall Lake has a lot of meaning for Megan and Justin!

And she ended up on a lake in west central Minnesota.

The story begins back in 1996 when Megan’s parents, Pat and Ron Sugden, finally pulled the trigger on a years-long dream, selling their Hallock area farm for property on Clitherall Lake near the town of Battle Lake.

Welcome to Bonnie Beach Resort!

Yes, not just lake property but a new business. So Megan, 16, started out in a new school in a new town and started helping out around the resort.

But Bonnie Beach needed a few more hands on deck so the following year Megan’s parents hired a dock boy. Teenager Justin Johnson. Who lived across the lake.

He even commuted by boat a few times!

Let’s see...a young helper, the owner’s young daughter. They kept in touch during college and then they both lived and worked in the Moorhead-Fargo area. In 2006, Megan and Justin married.

But we’re getting ahead here.

After graduating from Battle Lake High School, Megan attended M-State in Fergus Falls and eventually earned an Apparel and Textiles Degree from Fargo’s North Dakota State University. Megan became a fashion buyer for Vanity in Fargo which allowed her to travel and make some lasting friendships. After marrying Justin and her family grew, Megan left her full-time job but kept busy working part-time with Vanity and the Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre where she worked with digital marketing.

So for 14 years, Megan and Justin lived and worked in the Moorhead/Fargo area. But in 2014, with one kid in tow, and plans to grow the family, they made the move back to lake country.

Megan admitted that the family couldn’t stay away from the lakes area and found herself coming home to Battle Lake almost every weekend.  The resort needed the extra hands and, well, as Megan says, “You just can’t stay away once you have the lake in you.”

Now Megan keeps busy in Battle Lake operating the resort alongside her parents who are on their 24th season as owners. She continues to keep her digital marketing skills up to par thru a strong social media presence for Bonnie Beach and volunteers helping with social media for a few organizations. One would think things slow down in the winter, but there are plenty of off-season projects and cabins being rented which means cleaning, rental sales, and more cleaning!

What does Live Wide Open mean to Megan? “I think of it as endless possibilities. I don’t think of it as ‘living in the boonies’ but it is a simpler life. There’s no traffic or those things that add stress to life.”