There are two vacation places I love to return to year after year. There is a common theme, the word Sagamore. The Sagamore Bridge takes me to Cape Cod, a fave destination from the day my friend Jeanette took me on a much needed day of R & R when we lived at Westfield State College. The other is Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY. My mom has talked about this amazing great camp for years now. Opposites, ocean and mountain, but in each case, a different Route 28 will take me there.
Cape Cod is a bit of a trek from Syracuse, down the Thruway, over the Hudson River, crossing at the highest elevation on the Appalachia trail where it intersects with the Mass Pike, past the exit for Westfield State College, then by the Worcester exits to Route 495, where the sign says Cape Cod, but it’s actually almost an hour before you get close. Once I hit sand on the side of the highway, I know the long drive was worth it! Once over the Sagamore Bridge, I hit Route 28 and enjoy the drive into the tourist trap that is West Yarmouth. The last leg of the journey includes docking at my fave lunch spot on the water for my fried clam sandwich and summer ale.
My Cape pal Judy gets the same cottage every year (in June before the season gears up and then in September once the summer people clear out) near Chatham and she opens it up to her friends. Since I am the one who re-introduced her to the Cape all those years ago, she always asks me back. She and I spend most of our time reading (on the beach or on the porch or in the cottage) for hours. Depending on who else has reservations with her for that week, there is also dining out and shopping and often some kind of a ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket for more beach and food and shopping.
When I come to the Cape with my nephews we head to the state park and if we are lucky we have a yurt where we don’t have to worry about rain and have electricity to charge our devices and watch movies every night. The beach of choice is Scusset Beach where there are either big waves to body surf or quiet water where a fun sandbar appears during low tide. There is mini golf and ice cream and of course the inflatable water park every year.
The other road I travel is the one that takes me to Great Camp Sagamore. Chick and Bryan introduced me, they have volunteered to help open and close the camp for guests for almost 20 years now. It is a gorgeous drive to Adirondack Park, driving down Route 28 through towns where my dad’s family lived over 100 years ago. Things are lush and thick and green and so different from what this city girl sees every day! We stop at the Old Forge Hardware Store, then we’re off to Raquette Lake and the Tap Room, named so because there is only one tap (duh). There’s a long drive down a private road (about 4 miles, I think) gets us to the gate that has to be opened, usually by the newbie in the group.
This was the vacation spot for the Alfred Vanderbilt family since the 1910s. As with other camps of that time period, it is much more of a resort than a camp. Back in the day it was like Downton Abbey, but in the mountains. Let’s just say that these days I am allowed to eat in the grand dining room and perform in the playhouse, but back then I would have been one of the Collins’ kids polishing the bowling pins for the outdoor bowling alley. Now I help with the gardening and raking, and sometimes in the dish room, in exchange for staying the weekend. There are fun people to work with and play with and joke with and there is always someone new every time. I only see these people a couple of times a year but it feels like coming home.
There is so much more I could share, but the fog is clearing and I need to be on the beach. My bag is packed with snacks and books and my sunglasses, which I hope I will need today. I am sure we will shop and stop for a beverage on some sunny deck. I love vacation!
Photo credits: Judy Carr, Linda Lowen, and Chick Rubenau