In an era when the family dinner is hard enough to schedule, a week at family camp has real appeal. We visited one in New Hampshire and asked campers to tell us why it floats their boats.
Maggie and Jeremy Weiss, and their son Shiloh, 3, of East Calais, Vt.
Maggie Weiss hails from a family that's been coming to Sandy Island for 50 years, not a single summer missed. In fact, she made her first visit while in her mother's womb. "It's a real community," she says. "One year, word got out I was planning to pierce my nose, and the whole camp tried to counsel me against it." She ignored the advice, and returned with a pierced lip, too. In 2005, she and Jeremy Weiss, an organic-seed technologist, were married on the island in a silent Quaker-style service. Maggie is now a graduate student in speech pathology, and she and Jeremy grow most of their family's food. At Sandy, the fare may be a tad processed for their taste, but they get to take a real break—check in with four generations of relatives, play guitar, stroll the woods, and give their boys, Amariah, 11, and Shiloh, 3, that first taste of freedom Maggie remembers so well.
Years attending: 32
Memorable camp moment: The summer Jerry Garcia died, Maggie was 16: "That night, the most unforgettable bloodred full moon appeared over the lake."
Wish list: Better coffee, organic food, more yoga.
Thing we most look forward to: Says Maggie, "I love hearing the water lapping on the rocks outside our window at night."
Why We Come:"We're all family; it feels as if there are 100 sets of eyes looking after each of the kids on the island." —Maggie
BEHIND THE SCENES
This story was shot last August during week six at Sandy Island Family Camp, situated on its own private island on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Campers stay together as families in cabins with bunk or twin beds and screened windows; a few setups have private bathrooms, but most are communal. The nearest airport, Manchester-Boston Regional, is an hour and a half away. The 10-minute boat ride to the island leaves from the Sandy Dock in Mirror Lake, N.H. Camp reservations can be tricky to come by, but slots are often available at the beginning and end of summer. There are organized kids' programs for ages 3 through 12.
Sandy Island Family Camp
Adults and kids 13 and over $700 per person for a weeklong stay (including boat transport, meals, activities, and use of a stroller if you need one), seniors $645, ages 9–12 $555, ages 6–8 $450, ages 3–5 $345, ages 2 and younger free; 9 one-week sessions from July 3 through early September, plus a long weekend over Labor Day. si.bostonycamps.org.