My sister’s family are big-time campers, which is a great idea when you’ve got lots of kids. Not only does camping provide a multitude of things to do and explore, but when you go with siblings and their children everyone gets their family-time bucket filled. Including my sister’s sister. Me.
I was delighted to be apart of the family weekend on Kelley’s Island, (Explore Kelley’s Island), which is just a 20-minute ferry ride from Marblehead, Ohio, on Lake Erie.
Niece Becky and her family had been there a few times and offered it up for this year’s first summer campout. Three of her siblings plus her parents, my sister and bro-in-law, took up the gauntlet, uh, er … backpack. With me tagging along, there were 25 of us – when her whole family gets together they number 45 and I’m talking immediate family here.
When I joined the campout, I found the kids (ranging in age from 5 to 49, these kids) had sort of a condo-thing going on in the eastern part of Kelley’s Island State Park, which appeared to be a short bike-ride from the ferry. I know that because I kept passing two cyclists who knew were they were going while I retraced my route. (Note to travelers, my EOS nav did not work after I got on the ferry, and my iPhone wasn’t much help either. Next time, I’ll print the directions setting out to sea.)
What fun for me to see 20+ nieces, nephews and their children in one spot and for more than just a cookout. These are awesome people – a doctor, nurses, a teacher, city planners and engineers – and their children are so much fun. Michael, a fellow Cancerian, got to celebrate his 15th birthday with his cousins.
There was a huge frosted sugar cookie and frosted chocolate chip cookie. The former was decorated with a golf ball and a Reese’s cup to represent the hole. (His mom is the teacher. No duh there.)
The accommodations ranged from a single kid’s pop-up tent, which actually looked pretty cozy feathered with at least one down comforter, to a deluxe 28-or-so–footer, which I called the Taj. This was a deluxe place for six of us to share and I lucked out landing a very comfortable couch turned double bed. As a Girl Scout I spent plenty of nights in a tent and those were the days before tents had floors – nasty when it rained but that’s another story.
Kelley’s Island had much to offer – from putt-putt and tie-dying to a martini bar, brew pub and wine bar plus several decent restaurants. All the so-called adults joined up at Kelley’s Island House Restaurant and Martini Bar Island Restaurant and Martini Bar. The food was good and I overheard someone say the martinis were only five bucks. Folks at our table raved about the lobster sandwich, every martini drinker seemed happy with their drinks – not happy as in “tipsy” because several of them rode bicycles back to camp – but happy with the portions and the taste.
I was plain ole happy to be with a bunch of good people for the weekend.
If you’re in or around the midwest, check out Kelley’s Island. In addition to the state park, where there’s room for all sorts of campers, pets, oh, and there are two rentable yurts right on the lake, there are a host of other places to stay.
I’d go back.