Crazy about summer camp

23 Aug
My husband and I took the kids this summer to YMCA camp in Missouri, along with close friends and their family.  I thought we would find it kitschy, sit by a campfire and later laugh about our odd vacation spot. 
Needless to say I LOVED camp and would venture to say it was one of the most memorable times I have had to date.  There were countless activities to fill the balmy days for kids and adults.  Some of the activities included zip lining, paddle boating, alpine swing, under water basket weaving and my personal favorite paddle boarding!  I relished the fact I could easily zip across the lake on the board and my ever competitive husband could not stand erect!  Check out photo below as proof of my awesome ability and then imagine my 6 foot four-inch husband clutching the board while horizontal in water-really.
Summer camp reminds me of some of my best childhood memories at Camp Lutherhaven.  I remember the way the rustic cabin envelopes you at the end of a long day as camp winds down.  I love jumping into a cool lake early in the day as the sun dances on the water.  I even enjoy the camaraderie of eating in a mess hall, planning the days activities.  All events free of the mental exhaustion that typically accompanies life’s banal day-to-day.  Although I am not a dedicated Lutheran to date I still adore camping in a cabin and singing songs fireside.  Huge props to YMCA family camp in the Ozarks! 
Recently a girlfriend directed me to this arty website regarding cool, adventure seeking family camp!  Look how incredible this place in Wisconsin looks!  Fun to be had in the great outdoors!

Midwest Lake Vacation Spots: Wandawega Lake Resort

Posted Chicago magazine

A summer-camp–like stomping ground just two hours from Chicago

By Jan Parr

Rope swings at Lake Wandawega



If your idea of a lake getaway involves cabins, beers resting in an ice-filled cooler, and a rope swing, Wandawega Lake Resort in Walworth County is your summer camp away from home. Minutes from the shopping and dining options of Lake Geneva and the hiking and biking trails of Kettle Moraine State Forest, Wandawega has a colorful history. The site served for decades as a retreat for Latvian priests, until two creative directors at Ogilvy in Chicago bought it in 2004. Tereasa Surratt, one of the owners, has described the resort’s carefully cultivated vibe as “cottage chic at its best. In fact, camping indoors is a nice way to think about it.”

Actually, calling Wandawega a resort may be a tad grandiose, considering that Surratt warns visitors they may encounter ladybugs or caterpillars on their pillows or small critters in the shower. During my stay there one hot summer weekend, I encountered no such pests. In fact, my husband and I spent a long afternoon in the lake and on the dock, serenely unbothered by intruders. When evening came, we bought a pizza (although secluded on 25 wooded acres with a private beach, the resort is still close to civilization) and enjoyed it on our cabin’s deck. The cottage itself was utterly charming, as if Martha Stewart had redecorated an authentically rustic campsite with cheery linens, blankets, books, photos, and quirky ephemera. An air conditioner stood at the ready, but we never turned it on. It is possible to rough it even more by renting the vintage Boy Scout tents, which are canvas cabins on wood platforms, outfitted with beds and chairs.

Perhaps dangling your feet in the lake over the edge of an inner tube doesn’t provide enough stimulation. There’s also basketball, shuffleboard, volleyball, tennis, bonfires, fishing (for panfish, largemouth bass, and northern pike), horseshoes, rowing, and hiking. When Surratt and her husband, David Hernandez, are around, which is most weekends, guests may visit the main lodge and partake of its amenities—billiards, darts, and movies. Here’s a fun idea: Get a crew together and rent the whole place for a weekend. We’ll join you.


Kettle Moraine State Forest’s Northern Unit (262-626-2116) offers tons of hiking and biking trails through the glacier-formed hills of Wisconsin; the Ice Age Visitor Center (920-533-8322) explains it all. If you’re craving classic tourist stuff—fudge shops, adorable boutiques, great restaurants—Lake Geneva is close by; don’t miss a boat tour of the mansions on the lake (800-558-5911, Many of the fab vintage items adorning the Wandawega cabins come from the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market (Walworth County Fairgrounds, 411 E. Court St.; 414-525-0820)—Surratt’s favorite. Catch it if you happen to be around on June 26th, August 14th, or September 25th. Elegant Farmer (1545 Main St., Mukwonago; 262-363-6771, is a local grocery that’s been lauded by The New York Times and Gourmet for its homemade apple pies baked in paper bags.


W5453 Lake View Dr., Elkhorn;
Rates are $200 to $300 per cabin per night (two-night minimum), with discounts for multiple rooms or by the week. Also available are Boy Scout canvas cabins: $100 per tent, must rent all three tents for two-night minimum.

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