A year ago, my daughter Tracey combed the Internet and found Great Sacandaga Lake, New York, a day’s travel for her Virginia family. A day’s drive would take daughter Janet, Bill, and Rebecca to visit Bill’s family in Maine after our week together.
I arrived early to scout out the place. I couldn’t see it for the trees. At 3 p.m. on the day of invasion, I walked into this four-bedroom, pine-paneled home with a remote-lit fireplace, and did a “Wow!” Cathedral ceilings held a balcony over the living room that looked through more trees toward the lake. A wrap-around porch held picnic and wrought-iron tables, a large propane grill, and railings decorated with blooming flowers.
Toys R Everywhere
The troops arrived and we advanced to the beach and found four canoes, a fishing boat, long and short piers, and another picnic table near a fire pit. A small shed held paddles, life jackets, canvas chairs, and water toys. With a week of canoeing, fishing, playing in the water and just enjoying the sunshine, we gave it all good use.
Although my almost 7-year-old grandson has enough personal toys to supply Toys-R-Us, he found shelves of toys that were new to him. We lost him for hours at a time. More toys awaited him in the basement, along with a pingpong table for the adults. Teen-age Rebecca was content to ignore us most of the time and hole up in her own room with a TV and sliding doors toward the lake.
Bill, the family chef, made good use of kitchen facilities for making corn bread, spaghetti, salmon alfredo, and other goodies throughout the week. Tracey created strawberry short biscuits, Janet made salad, and since nobody trusts my cooking, I cleaned the strawberries and set the table. Tom and Will took turns thanking the Lord for our considerable bounty in good health, food and shelter. It really was fun having all of us eating together around the big dining room table. Rebecca helped us clean it all up.
We filled the front row of Northville’s historic Presbyter-ian Church on Sunday. Early in the week, their newly retired minister, the Rev. Paul Hopwood, helped us with a very special celebration. It stopped raining long enough for Rebecca, bouquet in hand, to stand up with her parents for their 25th wedding anniversary. Janet and Bill renewed their vows in a flower-bedecked gazebo with foggy Lake Pleasant in the background.
In the foreground, Lake Pleasant Inn provided lunch and merriment with non-alcoholic champagne that even Will could use to clink glasses. We cheered all the birthdays, including Rebecca’s special 16th birthday in September and Bill’s August birthday celebrating a half century. We raised glasses to Tracey and Tom’s 14th wedding anniversary. They had a date to honor their actual anniversary the next evening while the rest of us roasted sausages and marshmallows in a campfire down by the lake.
A two-hour trip through Adirondack Park and along Lake George took us on a tour of restored Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain. Its history encompasses the Seven Years’ War, the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. America’s first Revolutionary War victory was seizing Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. The fort houses the Western Hemisphere’s largest collection of 18th century artillery. Will is into guns so the fort was his favorite.
The Solid Rock Ranch provided horseback riding for Rebecca, Will and Tracey into Adirondack Park, a Forest Preserve bigger than the State of Vermont. It has more than 3,000 lakes and ponds, and countless miles of rivers and streams. Eagle Mills Cider and Family Fun Center had beautiful grounds, probably with more advanced entertainment as the season progresses into festivals and craft shows. Will loved hunting gems, digging for dinosaurs, and petting a goat. The rest of us ate ice cream, not all bad.
It was an adventure in historical architecture to drive through Northville, settled in the 1780s. Magnificent old homes set my carpal tunnel syndrome into action with the thought of painting all their nooks and crannies.
Our clan descended on the Sport Island Pub one night, but Krazy Mary’s was the perfect place for “The Girls” to have breakfast on our last day on Sacandaga Lake. While the guys fished, we bought “memory stuff” at the Old Red Barn and the Adirondack Country Store.
We had a noisy, competitive game of miniature golf on Friday night. Tom, Tracey, and Rebecca each had a hole in one. We ended our last evening together with a rousing game of National Park Monopoly. We pack a lot into our time together.
We try to leave our space even cleaner than we found it, and that was hard to do. Sweepers, Swiffers, sprays, and elbow grease soon had the place spotless. We gathered in the great room, enjoying our last moments together. It would be a long two years until the next reunion at Rebecca’s graduation from Leavenworth High School in Washington.
The Norvelles returned to Virginia; the Wadlingtons left for Maine. I finished the laundry. It was still a “Wow” house, but now it was lonely with all the voices gone.
People are often afraid they will lose their family closeness when they go RVing. We are thousands of miles apart, yet we maintain our relationship through reunions, e-mail, and telephone calls. If you have close bonds while you are land-bound, you will find ways to maintain them while you are traveling.
I took off with George towing Cavy, with no idea where I was going until I got to the corner and flipped a coin. North or south, east or west, I’ll tell you next time.
For information about six RV-related books written by Sharlene Minshall, see www.full-time-rver.com. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.