Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Last week we traveled to "Camp Arcadia" on Lake Michigan for Tom's annual family vacation.
My husband's family first visited Camp Arcadia 35 years ago, when he was 2.  They have not missed a year since, and the group gets bigger and bigger. There were 30 of us this year. Tom's parents, his 5 siblings and their families.  Quite a crowd.  

So many people ask about "Camp Arcadia", I figured I'd dedicate a post to it.
First of all, don't let the name "Camp" mislead you.  It's not a camp like "camping", but more like "Camp David", without the secret service.

The front, center part of the Inn, from the beach

No, it's not that fancy, but it's not rustic either.  They deliberately do not have many things like tvs, phones, and internet access.  They want you to "turn off" that part of your life while there.  It's not easy, but I do appreciate it. They DO have good food, a lot of planned activities (think back to the movie Dirty Dancing, like that, without the dancing) and a wonderful beach.

We set up our beach tent on day one and left it there all week! 

Second of all, Camp Arcadia is Lutheran. There are morning religious programs that most people participate in and prayers before the meals and evening worship services.  This year we did not participate in the evening service and I  skipped the morning program, since it was my only two kid- free hours each day (this is when I worked out and showered). 
You don't have to be Lutheran to go and enjoy it (I'm Catholic, but married a Lutheran), though I'm not sure someone who was not Christian would enjoy it.  While I don't think it's overly religious, I'm biased, being Christian and all.  There are prayers starting and ending each meal, but besides the program, I don't notice it much.  Again, if I wasn't Christian, I might not feel the same way.

Third, it is very historical and tradition is very important. Things there don' change much and people like coming up year after year and seeing that most things are exactly as they were the first time they came.  If you are someone who likes things with some "history", you might really enjoy this place.
One of the hallways is covered by plaques made by families over the years.  They typically are made at camp, have the family's name and the years they have been coming to Camp Arcadia.  Many families have been coming for over twenty years.

I'm not sure how many guests are up there each week, but if I had to guess, I'd say between 200 and 230.  You can rent a cottage or stay in the Inn.  We started renting cottages, but switched to the Inn because it is so much more convenient with kids. The Inn rooms are small, basically beds, a sink and a dresser.  Works out fine since you don't spend much time in your room anyway (think cruise).  
Typical Inn Room, photo from www.camparcadia.com
Most meals are in a big dining room, family style (assigned seating, you sit with your own family). 
image from Camp Arcadia's website
Here's a sample menu for an entire week.  If you don't feel like clicking, I'll give you a typical day: 
Fritatta with ham and cheddar
Homemade scones & muffins
Fresh fruit
Chicken breast and 
provolone on ciabatta roll, Guacamole, lettuce, tomato, & chipotle-lime ranch
Chips and  homemade salsa
Homemade Cookie

Homemade Bread
Chicken Breast Fillet with Proscuitto-Sage Cream, 
Sugar Snap Peas
Wild Rice
Strawberry Shortcake
That's roasted turkey breast, sesame green beans, salad and smashed sweet and red skinned potatoes.  I really dropped the ball on food photos, but I felt like a huge dork taking a picture each time I ate! I need to work on that. 
Here's Mack at Dinner.  He is trying to make his spoon stay on his nose. 
And here's Tommy having some cheese. And saying cheese.

The days are pretty packed.  Here's a typical day:
8:00: "Quiet Time" ends
8:30: Breakfast
9:30 Morning program/nursery open (kids go to their own programs, Tommy was with all 3 and 4 year olds in the "Ark").
11:15: Program Ends
11:30: Teen Archery Tournament, Kid's Critter Race, Adult Ping Pong Tournament
12:30: Lunch
1:30: Beach Carnival
4:00: Adult Volleyball
7:00: Arcadia Improv
11:30: Quiet time.

Tommy and cousins at the Square Dance

Mack getting his groove on
Tommy playing potato toss at the patio carnaval
 Tom posing only! 
 Mack didn't want to throw the wet sponge at "Sandy"
 But Tommy had no problem with it! And he had a pretty good arm!

Tommy was so excited to get his face painted.  Initially, he wanted the whole thing painted black, like a "Panther", but we talked him into whiskers and a nose. 

Tommy put on a stellar performance at the Camper Talent Show
Here he is clearing his throat for his singing debut

Making faces at me when he should be paying attention at Story Time

While the schedule is packed, you don't have to do anything and there is always plenty of time for the beach side playground,

Perfecting Superhero poses
Spending HOURS on the swings
Going for a walk
Relaxing on a porch
Checking out the goldfish pond..for the millionth time
Hanging out in the room watching videos and eating in bed
 Building Sandcastles and 
Hanging with family

or, just watching the light show. Every night.

In a nutshell, that's Camp Arcadia.  

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