Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Travel Tuesday

I'm starting something new here on the blog. Since I started this little blog with the best of intentions, did well for a while, and then became too busy with other things to ever update it, I've decided to dust it off and pay it more attention. The goal is to ultimately make my own site and maybe even have sponsors so that we can make a little income from it, but we'll see what ends up happening. That being said, I have to have something interesting to post, and it would probably be more successful if I were to update more than 3 times each year. I love writing and have kept a journal for years now; updating more frequently seems like a pretty natural and easy extension of that. That just leaves me needing something interesting to write. So, I thought to myself, "Amy, what are your favorite things?" The top answers ended up being as follows (but in no particular order): family (especially Husband), creating useful/wearable things and homey projects, health and natural medicine, cooking, and being outdoors. That's a pretty wide range of things, but the goal is for it to keep me (and you!) interested.

Now for the something new. Alliteration being a big deal these days, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and start a Travel Tuesday here on the blog. Each Tuesday (ie each Tuesday that I choose to do this--it may not actually end up being every Tuesday) will be Travel Tuesday where I'll either share stories of someplace I've been or research and then describe a place I hope to one day go. These places may be international, here in the USA, or even here in my same zip code. So, my friends, welcome to my first Travel Tuesday!

This week I'll be describing a place that permanently holds a special place in my heart for it was in this lovely, almost-hidden spot that I spent seven beautiful summers; I even met my amazing husband here! And, since we'll be meeting Husband's family in this favorite spot of mine in just a few days, it seemed fitting to feature it in my first Travel Tuesday.

Highland Retreat: the camp that will always be "mine." I first laid eyes on this camp in March of 2004. I was 16, and my dad had taken me to tour the college that I would later attend. I had also applied for a 2-week volunteer position at Highland Retreat Camp for the coming summer and was invited out that same weekend for an interview. The hour-long drive down 259 in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley was beautiful, but I do remember marveling that a place that far out in the middle of nowhere could thrive the way Highland has. There are mountains in every direction making you feel like you're in a giant bowl with giant trees, purple mountains, and blue skies for sides. A creek runs through the middle of camp where thousands of children have spent countless hours building stick boats and racing them under the cement bridge, catching crayfish, skipping rocks, building dams, and wading. Campfire sites dot the landscape where ever-increasingly confident counselors have cooked camping delicacies like pancakes and banana boats (and trembled with fear of being fired as bacon-grease fires consumed entire breakfasts and threatened to burn down the cabin while the campers cheered, excited by the big, big fire).

The mountain swing at the top of Mt. Everett has thrilled children and adults for generations and frightened even the bravest mamas whose strong-willed children insist on doing flips despite the staff's best efforts to make them impossible. Word to the wise: under-dogs on the mountain swing are a terrible idea, as anyone who ever tries it will admit as they helplessly tumble down the mountain and pray to not end up splattered on the back of Hickory Cabin.

From morning worship to evening fireside, rec time on the big field to capture the flag and counselor hunt, hike day to camp-out night, not a moment spent at Highland Retreat is wasted or boring. So, send your kids there this summer!

Disappointed that you yourself are too old to be a camper? Never fear; Highland has lodging and opportunities for people of all ages. The Youth Camp is at the bottom of the mountain, and at the top of the mountain are Red Oak Lodge and Mountain View Retreat Center. Church groups and families can rent these spaces for their next retreat or reunion. Sign up for the Ropes Course and experience the thrill of the zip line or the Super Swing and learn team building at the numerous low ropes obstacles. Play in the creek. Or, feel like roughing it? Rent one of the several tent or RV sites available. You won't regret it.

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