At the turn of the last century, Americans started to warm to the idea of taking a vacation. While their work ethics were stronger than ever, Americans needed structure to their holidays, purpose to their play. In 1874, American Methodists founded Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly in New York. The Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association in Oak Bluffs was the original summer camp meeting place. At the northernmost end of the train line from Detroit, the Methodists also set up camp with the intent to edify vacationers through a balance of spiritual, educational, recreational and musical enrichment and another Chautauqua was born. My parents met at this Bay View, Michigan campus in 1946, where some 450 cottages were built in the early 1900s, festooned with gingerbread and never-ending porches.
Two inns, a huge auditorium, classrooms, a darling library (below), picture-perfect chapel and tiny post office dot the piney campus where generations of families have spent summers together sailing, singing, worshipping, exchanging ideas and making vacation look smart. My kids are now counsellors at the day camp, and teach swimming and sailing, having grown up spending summers with the kids of my childhood summer friends. There are current affairs lectures, painting classes, full moon kayak excursions, ice cream socials and classical music recitals and concerts performed by music students and resident professionals from around the globe.
Yes, I’m all for vegging out on vacation and can stare all day at the theater of clouds, waves or dancing tree tops. But, I bet you’ll agree that the most memorable vacations are those that took you someplace you haven’t been…on the map or in your head.
I hope you’ll enjoy this issue full of travel stories.
Where are you going next…?