Great Escape 2012…30 years and going strong

There may be the tiniest discrepancy between what the Great Escape is and what I’ve put it out as to Grumpy.  For instance, for the past decade or so, I might have allowed Grumpy to believe that we are camping in pathetic tents, while Mother Nature howls and rain splashes our gear.  That might have been the case with the first Escape, but I’ve learned since then to choose wisely.  No more tents for me; not on a chilly October night in New England!

This year we were lucky enough to stay in Christa’s house.  It’s lovely- a snug little cabin in the woods.  Christa McAuliffe camped here as a girl.  There is a display which includes photos and her scout uniform.  The building is heated, with a modern kithcen and bath as well as a working fireplace.  A big improvement over the leaky tents!

All of our meals were served in the Dining Hall.  Served, as in someone else did the cooking and cleaning.  Oh yeah!

There is a huge fireplace at one end of the dining hall, kind of a gathering place to sing, socialize or just cozy up for a cat nap.

The activities are varied.  You could choose to enjoy a 7 hour trail hike.  My friend Barb did this.  In the RAIN!  She even suggested that I might want to join them.  Silly Barb.  She should know better.  You could also plan a morning of canoeing on the lake.  Ann was planning to go canoeing.  Sadly, it was sooo rainy all weekend that they canceled canoeing (I don’t think Ann was very sad at all).

I chose to participate in a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, as it was presented by Mel, another old friend.  She led a brief (thank you!) foraging hike in the wet woods followed by a traditional tea party.  We learned the various things to avoid (poison ivy,etc) and what to watch for: we mainly found wood sorrel, wintergreen and indian cucumbers.  I’ve never even heard of indian cucumbers before.  They have star shaped leaves(Mel is holding one in the photo), and a tiny white grub shaped crunchy bit attached to the root.  Sounds appealing, right?  I did try them, they taste like what you’d get if a cucumber and a daikon radish got married and had babies. Not bad, and while I won’t be serving them at my next royal banquet, if I were ever lost in a boggy wet woodland, then I would probably not starve.

The educational classes included (but not limited to) stained glass (been there, done that), jewelry making (put together some nice earrings), and various classes where you make things you didn’t even know you needed out of duct tape/old calendars/ bits of dryer lint, etc.  Once class that I missed out on was quilling.  It looked interesting and my friend Ann really enjoyed this one.  Here is a photo of the things she put together.  Not sure when I need to use quilling in my life, but it looks cool.

On Saturday there was a bit of entertainment.  In addition to the usual (auctions, skits) there was an amazing display of synchronized swimming.  I’m not sure how they managed to pull that off indoors, but where there’s a will…

Finally, I tip my hat to the ladies who cook.  They managed to put out food that was healthy, tasty and at each meal they provided vegetarian/gluten free/ nut free options galore.  I don’t go in for those choices myself, but it was a big undertaking.  In addition to the meals, they put out snacks (I try to skip those) and desserts (I did allow myself one- and only one!).   While these little “campfire cupcakes” were really cute, I was just taken instead by vanilla.  That one, right there(3rd from the right), that’s mine!

One other thing they had there- morning, noon and night- my dear old (at least among non-alcoholic) beverage of choice:Sigh.  What a lovely welcome,  and a lovely weekend as well.  Just between us, that is.  As far as Grumpy knows, it was an all-out torential rainstorm all weekend, and we camped in the thick of it.  ;-)