Five Boats, Two Kids & Bloody Mary

Balancing life on the lake with a young family while running a business

Published in the March 2020 Issue July 2020 Feature Mickayeen Farmer

“I remember staying at the marina at sunset and playing football on the beach. There was no wind and we felt like we were alone,” said Ryan Timm, reciting his favorite memory of his family’s adventure so far, an adventure that started with his earliest memories of his grandfather and includes his wife, Tristina, their two children and Bloody Mary mix.

In the beginning of the summer, the heart of Ryan and Tristina’s adventure starts when they leave their house in Port Washington, Wis., load their kids and dog into a boat and roam Lake Michigan for anywhere from one to three weeks at a time.

What Do They Do?

“We love to go from city to city and immerse ourselves in those cities. We like to find the best restaurants to go to. We hit farmer’s markets and parks and we try to find good places to work out and hike. Just going from city to city is fun,” Tristina said, describing the Timm family summer.

They’ve owned five boats: a 1999 Maxum SPR 3000, 1969 13-foot Boston Whaler, 1970 13-foot Boston Whaler, 1976 Chris Craft 360 Commander, and a 1985 Tollycraft 40-foot Sundeck. They currently only own the Tollycraft.

The couple write a blog and posts on Instagram, where they chronicle their experiences on the lakes. A few of their favorite places have been Fish Creek and Sheboygan. Their favorite things in Fish Creek were Alibi Marina and biking with their kids. In Sheboygan, they enjoyed the beach, the phenomenal restaurants and a huge farmer’s market.

How About The Kids?

Although Ryan and Tristina have an appetite for boating, their children remain their priority. They are intentional about what they do with their children. In fact, their blog was originally meant for their children. They wanted to use it to narrate their story to stow away memories for their children as a way to replace a photo album or a journal.  

“We made a conscious decision to not put our kids into 100 different things where we were running three different ways every night. They play sports in the winter, spring and fall, but we purposefully keep them out of things in the summer because we wanted to take them and have the four of us experience things together for the first time as a family. It was a conscious decision to slow down and have a better quality of life as they grow up.”

Home Life

The family also puts a high priority on trying to maintain their home life as much as possible while they’re on the water. The kids (5 and 7 years old) love the adventure side of it. They love going to the pools, finding things on the beach, and the hikes they go on.

“Sure beats them begging to watch Netflix or playing on the tablet. Gives us good quality family time,” Ryan said.

“We’re going to have a close family and that’s really important to Ryan and me to have very smart kids, very athletic kids,” Tristina added. “We make sure we are working out on the boat or finding a place to run and they join in on everything. It’s adorable. We try to teach them through what we are doing.”

Although it sounds like a perfect life for any boat-loving parent of young children, Tristina cautions those who may think it sounds this way.

“It’s not always peaches; we do our best,” Tristina said. “We have a 5 year old girl, she’s rough. But we do our best with them. It’s better than the alternative, you know, staying home all summer, for us it is anyway. Even with the boat there are follies. It teaches me patience and perseverance. Not everything is going to go perfect all the time and you just have to roll with it.   

How It All Started

Ryan’s interest in boating started early in life. He attributes his love of boating to his grandfather, who represented Boston Whaler in the Great Lakes in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

 When Ryan visited his grandfather’s place in Bay City, Mich., from Minnesota, they drove down to the docks where Ryan would listen to his grandfather give a history of boats.

“Being on it is one thing, but just being around it was the biggest thing because we didn’t have the opportunity to be involved in it on a good scale back in the Twin Cities outside of being on a fishing boat. It was really just being around him,” Ryan reminisced.  

“Even later in life when we would go back, I would drive him to the dock and we would just look at and discuss the models and what’s good about that one or what’s good about that one,” Ryan added, talking about his later memories.

For Tristina, the love of boating was acquired rather than ingrained. She was raised in a boating city, but boating wasn’t on her radar until she met Ryan.

“I fell in love with it because he was in love with it. It has provided a fantastic way to keep our family really close and doing things together.”

While both possessed the desire to boat, they were landlocked in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, far away from any of the Great Lakes. The Timms noted two reasons they decided to venture away from their home in Prescott, Wis. The first, of course, was their love of boating. The second was their business.

Miss Mary’s Bloody Mary Mix

Four and a half years before starting their adventure, Ryan worked as the manager of a golf course in the Twin Cities. The middle of Minnesota in winter isn’t exactly the best environment for golf, where the average high temperature between December and February is a frigid 26.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because of the below-freezing conditions Ryan had a bit of time to concoct the Bloody Mary mix behind the bar there. Soon after creating the mix, many customers asked for bottles. Miss Mary’s Bloody Mary Mix was born and grew into a good business for them as their mix lies on the shelves of some national stores such as Target and Walmart.  

Ryan and Tristina wanted to boat around the lake because a cocktail mix, as successful as it was among those around the bar on the golf course, would yield much more success among those around water, so they chose to move and be closer to their target audience.

Follow The Timm Family

While navigating the water, the Timm family leases out their home as an Airbnb and every time they book it, it’s full because of how close the home itself is to the beach. Port Washington’s proximity to Milwaukee and renowned trout and salmon fishing is also a huge factor.

Ryan and Tristina aren’t close to being done as they are still adding more football-throwing, beach-visiting memories to their supply every summer.


You can keep up with the Timm family’s adventures through their Instagram @timmsonaboat where you’ll find a link to their blog. Find out more about their business on the website, www.missmarysmix.com.

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