In keeping with my apparent obsession with all things nostalgic lately, my family and I are heading to the Northwoods resort where I spent one week every summer of my childhood. It is a typical family-owned resort of ten cabins fronting a sandy-bottom lake full of walleye, crappie, and bluegills, surrounded by tall pines. Up by the road, there’s a lodge (appropriately called “The Lodge”) with a bar and a game room with pool, pinball, and ping-pong.
From what I hear, it’s a dying breed, family resorts. Nowadays (do I sound sufficiently ancient?) people prefer shorter vacations or flashy places like Disney World.
Not me. Not even close. Give me a lake, a book, and some pine trees any day of the week. Give me a card game while it rains, a raft in the sun, a boat with a slow motor. An inlet with lily pads, a path through the woods, a drink at a hole-in-the-wall bar. Give me gravel roads, leaping deer, and a long red dock stretching out into dark blue water.
I haven’t been there since I was 18. It might have changed a lot, though judging from the pictures on its web site, it hasn’t; this could be both good and horribly bad. Either way, I am excited at the chance to re-experience a beloved place. It is rare, this chance, so I plan to take full advantage. I won’t have my computer with me, since we all know that travel and laptops go together like oil and water. Any writing will be done the old-fashioned way, using my iPhone Notes app.
Here’s to summer, to warm days and cool nights. To sandy beach towels and crickets under the picnic table. I hope you find the happy places of your childhood and stay awhile.