Relaxation Station

As summertime rolls around, I find that my mind wanders more and more…thinking about reading outside by the pool, wearing nothing but my swimsuit, a coverup and a nice sunhat and drinking an Arnold Palmer. Ooh, and grilling out. Man, my dad can cook a mean burger or steak. I drift away from responsibilities and listen to carefree, beach-y music while wearing my most comfortable clothing.

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Carson Propst rides a paddle board out onto Pelican Lake. // Photo by Tanzi Propst

Oh no…it seems I’ve drifted into the middle of the lake; but it’s hard to care when you’re this relaxed. Ahhh…it sure is a beautiful day to kayak the 22 mile shoreline of the big Pelican Lake anyways. The sunshine feels good and the lake is nice and cool.

We packed sunscreen, right mom?

I don’t like to wish my summers away, but waiting until the end of July to relax at Fair Hills has always been a test of patience. The anticipation is rewarded with a nice treat — a long week of relaxing and no worries before the hustle and bustle of school, work and responsibility sets back in.

Summertime is always fun because there’s no homework, no place to be, no obligations or responsibilities and plenty of room for the more fun things in life like swimming, hiking and enjoying the beautiful sunshine! But I don’t ever feel like my summer is complete without a trip to Fair Hills…

Bingo night, ice cream socials, pirate cruises, belly flop contests, amazing food, friendly staff and so much more — there’s no room for complaining here! Parents and children alike can be happy about relaxing and running off some energy. A simple seven-day vacation here never seems like enough. It’s always a bittersweet goodbye to the friends we make and the activities we love at the end of the week. As I walk through the lobby to get one last snack from the soda fountain, I’m reminded of how long it will be until I’m reunited with Fair Hills again — only 51 weeks! Not even full year. I can do this!

Summer is a time to be bored and entertained all in the same stride. Whether I’m mindlessly paddling along the shores of Pelican Lake in my kayak sharing conversation with my dad, singing my heart out with the staff members during the Hootenanny or involved in an intense game of capture the flag, I’ve found ways to take time for myself and to also make memories. Fair Hills gives me an opportunity to really make the most of my vacation time and to make the most of my summer.

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Rich and Lisa Propst walk back to their cabin to devise an afternoon plan after eating lunch in the dining hall during their Fair Hills vacation. // Photo by Tanzi Propst

My favorite moments on the lake, however, aren’t necessarily marked by the timely ringing of the lodge’s bell or by the amount of pages I’m able to read in the newest book I’ve pulled off the bookshelf. It’s not the amount of photos I’ve taken or the embarrassing amount of popcorn and ice cream I consume.

It’s the laughter between families, the sunburns from falling asleep on the deck chairs. It’s the guests and the staff that vacation the same way as I do. It’s more of a feeling that’s perpetuated rather than a specific moment. These experiences are a cumulation of a lot of little things that make Fair Hills what it is. There’s always something different in store for me year after year. It’s also some of what everyone loves to come back to year after year.

Or maybe it’s the opportunity for s’mores and ice cream, or the breakfast options? Those personalized pancakes never disappoint!

As I get older, I appreciate the time I get to spend with my family during my time at Fair Hills. It’s uninterrupted and obligation-free family time that relies on doing things, rather than watching television or being surrounded by unknown people in a place that’s loud and distracting. I get to focus on spending quality time with mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, brother and sister and aunt, uncle and cousins. It’s a place and time where we’re able to come together in a reality where we otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to all sit around the same table together and catch up on life.

At Fair Hills, the vacationers there week-in and week-out are like family — we dine together, golf together, swim together…no one is a stranger. It’s truly a wonderful vacation home.