Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring Break

So, all last week I was on Spring Break from school, which was fabulous and which I had been looking forward to since January. Yes, these vacations are DEFINITELY more for the teachers than the students!
At any rate, the term "spring break" still takes a piece of my heart to the crazy beaches of Panama City, FL and Cancun, so I really wanted to take a trip. I toyed with visiting my cousin in Orlando, FL, but I waited too long to look into flights so by the time I did they were outrageously expensive. Finally, I talked to my dad and asked him if he just wanted to go north for the week.

Let me break down the terms: Camp vs. Cottage.

Camp - my dad's side of the family (my Pappap and ALL of his brothers) bought an old farmhouse in the 1950s to hunt at. It's in Pleasantville, PA, which is near Titusville. History buffs will know that Titusville is where oil was discovered - yup, that's right. PA, not TX!

At any rate, the property is now owned by misc. male relatives, including my dad and uncle, cousins, great-uncles, etc. When I was growing up, we spent all of our holiday weekends at Camp, sitting around the bonfire outside and walking in the woods. In the early 1990s, they tore down the original farmhouse and rebuilt a smaller cabin with primarily just bedroom space and a huge kitchen/eating area. It's primary function has always been a hunting camp and guys don't care if they share a loft with five other guys.

My family and my dad's brother's family were always together at Camp, and we always had a blast. We have some fairly ridiculous traditions, including tramping through the woods, climbing deer stands, and singing "Skinna-Marinki-Dinki-Dink, I Love CAMP" at the end of every trip - while my uncle filmed it. But we loved it, and I think it's a big reason why I'm so close to those cousins today.

Then, 6 years ago, my parents bought the Cottage - never, EVER to be confused with Camp. The Cottage is in Linesville, PA, on Lake Pymatuning. I know I've written about the Cottage before - that's where we went for our grand wine trip in the fall. The Cottage has much more modern amenities and is more of a home than Camp. Camp is more primitive.

Since the Cottage, we generally go there for all of our holiday weekends. My dad's sister and her family own a house across the road from ours, it's on the lake, there's slightly more to do...we even manage to convince my other aunt, uncle, and cousins to come over for at least a day during the holiday weekends. So we're all still together and slightly more comfortable.

The long and short of it is that I haven't been to Camp in a few years. And I love the Cottage, but haven't been there since last fall. My sister was off of work until Wednesday, and she wanted to go to Camp, too, so we decided to go there for a few days and then my dad and I would head over to the Cottage (about a 45-minute drive).

Little did I know that this is what would great me on Tuesday morning, after waking up at Camp for the first time in years:

This was the view looking into the woods in the back yard. My sister, Pappap, and I took a walk through the snowy woods. There was about a foot on the ground. And it wasn't there on Monday when we got there (although a layer had spread on the ground by the time we went to dinner at about 7:00 PM).
This is the view looking back towards Camp from the woods. I was playing around with the color on my camera :) Sepia tone!

Pretty snow-covered branches on fallen trees. I did also climb up my Pappap's tree stand but I was dumb and didn't take my camera up with me.

The front of Camp. It was actually snowing really hard when I took this picture, but you can't see the flakes for some reason - must be too small. We were in a hurry to leave by this point (early afternoon on Tuesday). My Pappap's truck is rear-wheel drive and the ground under the snow was mud, so he was worried about not getting out. Oh, and there was no hot water. So we all were ready for a hot shower!
These are my feet, covered in snow. I am so glad I brought my rain boots up north with me! I was expecting mud, not snow, but got both.

I am not a snow lover, but I didn't mind it this time for once. I was on vacation, so I didn't need to be anywhere. And I wasn't driving, so I couldn't be ticked at my stupid car for sliding on the slick roads (which it does). It was really nice to walk in the woods through the snow and hear the sounds of nature. The entire walk, Robert Frost's "Walking Through the Woods on a Snowy Evening" was floating through my mind:
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Obviously, it wasn't evening, but what can I say, we had just finished a poetry unit with my kids!


Courtney said...

It looks lovely. I like to look at snow, I just don't like to be IN snow.

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Vegas Princess said...

Isn't it just all the luck. Well, I guess you'll have to visit Pymatuning in the summer. It's so much fun. Maybe Charming and I could meet you there. We need to take a trip back to PA.