Of all of the wonderful and exciting trips I have been on, my favorite is our annual trip to Brant Lake, a small but beautiful lake nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. In 1885, my grandmother’s grandfather bought property on Brant Lake and built a house for his wife who was suffering from tuberculosis. The house has been passed down through the generations, and now is jointly owned by my grandmother and her three living siblings. Each owner has his or her own family, and they split up the summer weeks evenly among the four owners’ descendents. Every summer, all of my relatives- my family of six, my four aunts, five uncles, eight cousins, and my grandmother- travel from all over the country to spend a week together in this amazing place.
After the eighteen hour car ride from Georgia, as our giant conversion van trundles up the gravel driveway to the house that is christened Cedar Camp, we have our seatbelts unbuckled and our hands poised on the door handles, prepared to leap out of the car. Although this is the only week of the year that we see most of our relatives, we are all extremely close. Once we have finished our initial hugs and squeals, all of the cousins run down the path through the woods to the lake, just to make sure nothing has changed. And it never has. The calm blue water is still catching the sun’s rays and reflecting a glistening picture show on the side of the boathouse. The clanging metal dock is still scalding the soles of our feet from lazing in the sun all day. The towering evergreen trees still fringe the lake on all sides, and the regal mountains still join heaven and earth as they soar above it all, embracing the whole landscape. It is the most beautiful place I know.
As for the house itself, Cedar Camp is almost exactly as it was when it was first built. The screened-in porch spans the entire front of the house and is littered with rocking chairs and the famous hammock that can suspiciously hold ten people without crashing to the floor. The downstairs of the house is filled with books, wooden puzzles, and games- did I mention there are no computers or cell phone towers in the mountains? This seems archaic, but the lack of technology adds to the atmosphere of sheer escape. The upstairs bedrooms are bursting with bunk beds to ensure everyone always has a place to sleep, no matter how many people we cram into the house at once.
All week, it is as if time has stopped. We sit and watch the sun rise over the lake as hummingbirds flit back and forth to the feeders. We spend all day swimming to the lake’s distant shore and back, passing the time with word games. We lie on the couch wrapped up in the afghans my grandmother knits as we talk late into the chilly nights. And when the week is over, we write in The Records, which have been kept since the birth of Cedar Camp. All of our family’s history is written in those books that now take up an entire bookcase, and when we look back, we can see that our ancestors spent their time doing the exact same things that we still do today at Cedar Camp. It is the comfort of timeless connections coupled with the stunning magnificence of the surroundings that make the trip to Brant Lake the one I most look forward to every year.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.