Sunsets are stunning The lake is serene quiet places everywhere
There’s a lot to love about my island. It’s peaceful and beautiful. There are gorgeous sunsets at night and great swimming in the daytime. Duff, of course, loves the swimming part best. He doesn’t have to wait for me to take him to the beach – he can just take himself in swimming any time the spirit moves him. I have a wonderful little pea pod – a double ended boat designed originally in Maine for harvesting lobster pots. It rows like a dream and we can go out for a trip around the islands any time we like. It’s even got a set of sails and we can sail her when the wind is right.
Duff loves to swim The "cottage" Julie on the swing
My parents bought this little island when I was eleven. We camped on it for two years before my father built the “temporary cottage” that was supposed to be the precursor for the main event, a snug and comfortable summer home with heating and plumbing and plenty of room for everyone. But that was before he got his first New Hampshire real estate tax bill. In the years since, the building codes have changed and building anything bigger would take greasing some palms somewhere to get variances for the setback regulations. Eventually my Dad did add a small porch along the front and a tiny kitchen on the back corner, but the camp itself is still one room, fourteen feet square with bunks up one wall to sleep five. Six if you count the couch.
There a lot of great memories made over the years. My Sweet Sixteen birthday party was held here and I got to invite the boy I had a crush on at the time. We’ve had countless wedding showers, baby showers and birthday parties. Early on, my mother’s side of the family held an annual Clan Day and all her siblings, their kids and friends came together for a day-long event and many of these were held here at the island. But as kids grew and had their own agendas that family tradition died off and a new one began that we call Mutt’s Nuts. My kids and their kids, my sister-in-law and her kids and all their kids come for an entire week of family fun.
Mutt's Nuts (earlier years) The Hammock hangout Me and Natalie under the canopy
You’re asking where we all sleep, I’m sure, and there’s the rub. The camp is still only fourteen feet square, a dimension dictated by the size of the tent that it was originally built as a platform for. We still have to haul drinking water and use a single outhouse, and six beds don’t cut it. So, every family has their own tent, or tents. It’s like an encampment with tents popping up everywhere. My son-in-law has the biggest and most elaborate set up so we call that site Chateau DeVost. Some families with older kids have two or three tents to house them all. We’ve got a big picnic area we shelter under a temporary carport so we can all sit down to eat together rain or shine. We can also play games there or make puzzles.
Julie at the well Philip and Jack Jacqui can't decide what next
We’ve got Sammy’s Beach, a lovely little sandy beach in a shallow cove that’s perfect for the littlest among us, and we have a float in deep water for the rest of the swimmers. My grandkids love the place and the sense of freedom it gives them. Away from lives governed by electronic gadgets and television, they’ve discovered the joys of fort building and nature. And every night there’s a campfire. Smore’s of course! And a comfortable camaraderie that only sitting around a campfire can create.
We’re always here in the summer, but we’ve taken to celebrating all the holidays. This year it will be Easter and there will be a massive egg hunt. We had Halloween two years back when all the kidlets got dressed up and went trick or treating at all the tents in tent city. Maybe next year will be Christmas.
Pirate party Lynn & Theresa Philip in the bucket
Faerie Party Halloween
So the memories continue to be made and it’s still a fun place to come. BUT…
For the last six years, since I sold my Maine home and moved to St Augustine, I’ve come here for several weeks in the summer. My first year was for three months. It had to be the coldest June on record in New Hampshire and I shivered every night even in my LLBean winter weight sleeping bag. Since then, I’ve come only after the 4th of July and leave before the end of August. But I’m finding it harder and harder to appreciate “roughing it.” No hot showers, hauling all my drinking water, a short hike every time I need to use the bathroom, living out of a suitcase, sleeping on an air mattress in a tent, lousy to no cell service and on and off again internet, (no TV either but that’s not really much of a loss for me) and the utter isolation are getting to me. Not to mention that getting on and off the island requires a trip by boat and a hike up Cardiac Hill to where the car gets parked.
Sammy's Beach Summer Digs The Thunder House Dining al fresco
I hate to admit it, but I’m beginning to think I might be getting too old for this. A friend of mine said his idea of roughing it is a 3 star hotel and I’m beginning to agree. Maybe next year I’ll find myself a snug little cottage to rent for most of my New England stay and only come camping for the week the whole gang is here. I can hear the chorus calling me a fuddy duddy now, but it just might be worth it.