This is not going to be my “normal style” (whatever that may mean), but it seems to happen every August. So I am just giving you a warning that my posts for the next couple of weeks will be…um…different. You see, for some strange reason, every August I start thinking about summer camp. It’s kind of strange how it happens like clockwork. I think it is because of this….
This is the Methodist church camp that I went to for a number of summers in August when my husband and I were dating and for a number of years after we were married. The building above is called The Arbor, and that is where the church services are held. Families still come for the week of camp meeting for reunions, worship, and a wonderful time just being together. There are buildings all around it that are called “tents” where the families stay for the week.
Some are rather primitive, while others have all the comforts of home. The one we used to stay in had no glass in the windows…only screens. This was pretty comfortable with fans there in the north Georgia mountains. My husband’s family sold their tent a number of years ago, and camp meeting is now held in July instead of August, but the memories of that place seem to come on strong each year at this time.
Couple those memories with the fact that school has started here in the middle of summer, and bam! I get a craving for fun… and not just any fun…summer camp fun for adults. And that brings me to a place I want to share with you…a place for fun – Camp Wandawega.
Located in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, Camp Wandawega is your time portal back to the camp you wish your parents had sent you to as a child. Only now, you can do all those fun things as an adult. Owners, David Hernandez and wife Tereasa Surratt have poured their heart and soul into this place that appears to be frozen in time to give you that summer camp experience.
They have an amazing talent for finding vintage items that give the place its authentic feel…down to every single last detail. And I do mean every one.
Their wedding was featured in an article at Martha Stewart Weddings. Here is how they tell their story…
“Boy meets girl. Boy proposes. Proposes both marriage and that they purchase his abandoned childhood summer camp to be wed at. Girl accepts on both counts.”That’s how Tereasa and David tell their love story. The Chicago-based couple set off on a mad dash to restore the camp to its former glory just in time for them to tie the knot there.
Isn’t that amazing? Camp Wandawega has a rather interesting past being used as everything from a brothel to a church campground. There is an assortment of buildings in the camp including an old hotel …
an old lodge,
a giant teepee to stay in right by the lake,
several authentic Boy Scout tents,
a collection of cottages,
including a tiny tourist log cabin that was moved 245 miles from Illinois to Wisconsin.
(You can read all about the little cabin’s move and renovation in this book.)
And…there is an absolutely amazing treehouse they built with the help of some very talented friends in memory of Tereasa’s father.
(You can take a video tour of it here.)
The whole place is so perfectly appointed that everyone from Lands End to Land of Nod have done photo shoots there.
And goodness knows, we probably couldn’t even count all the gorgeous weddings that have been held there!
But even though these nostalgic spaces are wonderful, it wouldn’t be summer camp without activities. So what is there to do at Wandawega? How about playing volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard, tennis, or take one of their vintage Schwinn bikes down to the grocery store? If that is too strenuous for you, you can read from their library of books, shoot pool, put together a puzzle, or just enjoy a hammock.
And then…there is always the lake. 🙂
So swimming, fishing, boating, and floating on an inner tube are all available…along with that very long rope swing. Are you ready to go to summer camp now? I certainly am. Unfortunately Life calls, and adulthood replaces the long unending days of childhood summer camp fun. But everyone needs fun, so how about a giveaway? 🙂
I’m afraid I can’t take us all to Camp Wandawega, but I have put together a few things to celebrate that summer camp feeling. First there’s a pair of skewers from Williams Sonoma for making delicious s’mores.
Then there is a precious movie for you to enjoy about a group of adults returning to their childhood summer camp. (You will definitely have to roast marshmallows after watching this one!)
And finally, I’m including a copy of Tereasa’s book, Found, Free, and Flea that tells all about collecting vintage items for Wandawega and includes many photographs taken there at the camp.
If you would like to be entered to win, simply leave a comment on any or all of the Summer Camp posts (there will be a few!) between now and midnight August 22, 2013. The winner will be chosen in a random drawing and announced in the next post after that. And just to get you started, I will leave you with a question to talk about today.
Did you go away to summer camp as a child? If not, did you ever want to?
Hope to hear from you soon!