Camp of Approval
A gorgeous lakeside retreat and its nostalgic online store
Summer camp evokes memories from youth — back when fireflies brightened quiet nights, ice cream was made with rock salt, and cabins were stocked with wood, morning and otherwise.
The camp itself is pure throwback: originally a bootlegger's brothel in the '20s before morphing into a Polish (and then Latvian) summer camp, Wandawega’s grounds have been largely unchanged for 86 years.
The rustically comfortable main lodge, and the assorted cabins, are Dirty Dancing meets Moonrise Kingdom: crossed wooden skis on wood panel walls, antler chandeliers looming over stone hearths, and closets chockablock with board games.
The sloped, verdant grounds include a rope swing-equipped lake, communal fire pits, a tennis court, and vintage equipment for hiking, fishing, and more.
Online-wise, Wandawega's store offers all the equipage of yesteryear: old school camping supplies (the Scoutmaster Axe, the Camp Dessert canteen), vintage playing gear (bicycle cribbage board, camp archery set, the Wandawega Sureshot slingshot), and classic reads, e.g., The Field and Forest Handybook, and The Best of Boys’ Life Circa 1911.
All these retro trappings can’t bring you back in time, but they just might bring some of that time back to you.