FTF’s Senior Editor was thrilled to return to Vermont’s Tyler Place summer camp and find that it provides an even better family resort vacation with passing time.
My family of three were guests at The Tyler Place Family Resort in 1998 and 1999 when our son, Jesse, was 12 and 13 years old — a potentially awkward age when kids may have trouble bonding with strangers at a resort. This was definitely not the case for him; he enjoyed it tremendously and is still in touch with a few of the kids he met there. Over the years we have reminisced about Tyler Place and talked about how great it would be to return.
When we were invited back this summer (the resort is open annually from late May to mid-September), we tried to arrange it so the whole family could go. Adult responsibilities (Jesse is no longer a teen) made it impossible for him to join us. So, my husband and I set out to see what was new, what was different and what has remained the same.
The good news is that in its 81st season, Tyler Place is not different at all. While it has tweaked some of its activities, now offering pottery and jewelry-making classes along with boating activities, sports competitions and tennis lessons, beyond all the facilities and activities, what remains strong is the essence of Tyler Place, always on Family Travel Forum’s list of Top 10 Getaways for Tiny Travelers.
An Introduction to Tyler Place
For those who don’t know, Tyler Place is an independent, upscale camp for the entire family on Lake Champlain, Vermont. It’s a blast from the past for parents, and an exciting adventure for kids 2½ to 15 years who gather in age-appropriate groups for morning and evening activities. Infants under 30-months are very welcome and individual care is available for them. While kids are in excellent supervised camp programs, moms and dads pursue their own interests from mountain biking, to archery, kayaking and sailing, from yoga to aquaerobics, arts’n’crafts, or just reading and relaxing.
Afternoons are “family time,” when families can nap or play together at the pool, join pontoon boat cruises, farm tours or pony rides. While parents enjoy a gourmet meal and attend adult evening events, kids are back in their groups, enjoying field games and parachute play, treasure hunts, campfires, trampoline time, evening swimming and more.
If you are looking for some international flavor, Montreal is under 2 hours from TP, and the quaint Eastern Townships of Quebec, picturesque farm country with wineries, sugar shacks and other agrotourism sites is even closer. Don’t forget the passports!
There is an option for family-together breakfast if you prefer, but kid’s healthy, delicious meals are typically served in their own hangout areas. That leaves adult guests free to mix and mingle during cocktail hour and dine among new and old friends, or at a table for two if they prefer.
Tyler Place has an old-fashioned flavor that may remind you of your own summer camp days. Everything is down to earth at Tyler Place; nothing slick about it.
All-Inclusive Vacation Includes Old & New Friends
The Tyler Place all-inclusive rates includes accommodations which range from studios and small “apartments” in the main Inn building (housing from two to six people), to 2-,3-, 4- and 5-bedroom cottages with kitchen facilities and screened porches; some with lake views. They are very comfortable; not fancy, but not rustic.
Every guest is lent a bicycle to get around property (baby-seats available), the use of all of the equipment and facilities, and three incredibly delicious, freshly prepared meals a day. In fact, the fine dining is one of the elegant Tyler Place hallmarks that distinguish it from other camp environments. Only alcoholic beverages, spa treatments, infant caregivers, and private lessons are charged separately.
Guests spend a full week, from Saturday to Saturday, giving them sufficient time to let their hair down and to connect with other guests, whose names, kid’s names and ages, and hometowns are printed on a list everyone receives at check-in.
Guests often coordinate their stay with friends made on past visits. At the Saturday evening introductory cocktail party, everyone is given name badges, and former guest’s badges proudly display the years they have been at TP, ranging from one to 10 years or more. Former friends hug and kiss, and the Tylers make a great effort to chat with the newcomers and introduce them around.
Before long, everyone seems to be having a great time and the week begins.
Formula for Success: Family Ownership & Guest Relations
So, what makes Tyler Place different from any number of other all-inclusive resorts with kid’s programs and day-long activities? What makes guests return year after year as their kids move from toddlers to teens? And what makes them plan their yearly vacation in conjunction with other Tyler Place families they met there?
There are several reasons for the resort camp’s three generations of success: First, there are Tyler family members (from college students to grandparents) on property everywhere, working and interacting with guests throughout the week, and they make everyone feel like part of an extended family. The entire staff is incredibly friendly, attentive and enthusiastic.
Next, while the kids bond in their groups, parents bond during their activities as well, and their shared interests in their sport or craft, topped off by their mutual delight in their kids, creates a camaraderie that I have never seen on other vacations or at other resorts.
Finally, at Tyler Place adults can be kids again, free from the daily grind, enjoying friendly sports competitions, achieving personal goals or creating something to take home. At the same time they can be adults with a chance to refresh, who can enjoy their friends during uninterrupted meals, not to mention re-connect with their spouse.
This formula has been working to create memorable vacations since 1933 and I hope it will continue with future generations of Tylers.
Happiness is Tyler Place
Everyone I spoke with was just having a wonderful time. Old-timers were so happy to be back, saying they look forward to this week all year long, and first timers were already planning their return next summer. One first time guest told me that their vacation “exceeded his expectations.”
The only time I saw anyone looking unhappy was during the last evening’s dinner and activities. Thankfully, as time does fly, they will be returning to Tyler Place before they know it.
The best story I heard all week was about a 7 ½-year-old boy who set the clock ahead one morning because he was so excited to get back to his group… Priceless.
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