~Shared by Kathy Van Horn

What ways do you and your family keep the Woodloch feeling alive when you get home?

After a great, fun-filled, action-packed vacation, our guests want the Woodloch feelilng to stay with them all year long. Our guests have thought of some unique ways to keep that feeling going.

I recently checked out Jim Stechenfinger who has eight past visits. I presented him with his bill, after he reviewed it he handed me his credit card. As I was about to swipe it, he said to me, “Do you see the picture on my credit card?” I stopped my transaction and took a closer look at his card. Sure enough, it was a picture of Lake Teedyuskung, Woodloch’s lake. You could see how happy and proud he was as I passed around his credit card for everyone to see.

Allen Stein from Commack, NY had so much fun with the ring toss game as soon as he got home he put one in his backyard. Now he and his neighbors have regular ring toss competitions. He claims to be the champ. Allison Pollard also loved the ring toss game so much that she begged her mom to put one in her room since she didn’t have a tree outside their Madison Avenue apartment. Now Allison and her friend play the ring toss game and relive the great times they had at Woodloch, counting the days until they return.

One of  my favorite ways that this multi-generation family keeps the Woodloch feeling alive comes from the O’She family of Marietta, GA. The O’She family are long time guests with 20 + past visits.  They come the third week in July every year.  Each year, they have tee shirts made up with the O’She family’s name on it and a funny team name that they will use for the week while participating in the different competitions. They take winning very seriously; medals mean everything.  Since the Woodloch week goes by so fast, they decided to make their own Woodloch tradition.

In early March, the families come from different parts of the country and gather in New Jersey at Mrs. O’She’s daughters house for “a wish-we-were-at-Woodloch weekend.” All the different families bring their pictures, medals, tee shirts and other Woodloch memorabilia.  They make up games and have a “who can make the best Scandinavian pancake” contest. On Saturday night, everyone puts on their summer tee shirts and has a “Woodloch buffet”  They have a lot of laughs and many pictures to last them until their “real Woodloch vacation.”

Other guests have told me that they have coffee mugs they won at Woodloch and use them in the morning; this starts their day with a smile. John Martinez enlarges pictures of his Woodloch vacation and puts them in his office. When he is stressed, he takes a moment and reflects on the precious memories he has had with his family.

Just last weekend, I saw an elderly gentlemen sleeping in a chair in our lobby.  Around his cane were the different color activity bracelets that we use during our busy times. I’m sure he has a lot of stories to go with those bracelets.

Keeping the memories of family vacations is so important. They get us through those long days when we can’t be with our family as much as we’d like to be. They keep the family jokes going. It’s almost like you have your own secret language among your family and the friends that you vacation with.

My family vacations in Maine every year, and we have wonderful memories.  Every year while on vacation we go to Stonewall kitchen, a specialty food store. I buy jams, sauces, and toppings for brochette. Every now and then when we need a little pick me up,  I’ll take something out and make a meal with it. While we have our meal, we reminisce about our vacation.

Another way we relive our vacation is through our sea glass. Sea glass is glass that is made smooth by the pounding of the sea. Every year as soon as we get to our cottage, we head to the beach to see who can find the first piece of sea glass.  We put the sea glass we find in a special jar. When we get home, we add it to the rest of our collection.

We tease each other about who found the first piece last year and who will find the first piece this year. I know I’m going to get the first piece this year!

What are some of the ways you keep your family vacation going?