I was at a special place in the world called the Ausable Club, one of the original Adirondack "camps" as they were called when first founded by wealthy Northeastern businessmen from Boston, New York and Philadelphia whose families would spend the summer in the mountains, joined by their husbands on the weekends. The Ausable Club is one of the few that remain, relics of a life that has changed drastically in many ways.
For one thing, few families spend the entire summer; more often families--including the husband--come for weeks, many a month at a time, or even just weekends. They arrive by car and van rather than horse drawn buggies. And the women no longer play tennis or golf in long dresses that would make a normal person wild in the heat.
But much about the Club remains the same. The Clubhouse, built over a century ago, still stands, a magnificent wood structure complete with outside porches with cane rocking chairs that have been there for ages. The privately owned cabins on the property all look like they did decades ago, like camp cabins for grownups. And the mountains and lakes, well they don't change at all.
Every time I visit the Ausable Club, I walk up the 3+mile trail that leads to the Lower Lake, just to get a view of the lake again and make sure it is just as I left it. And of course it is, breathtaking in its pristine beauty, a stunning reminder that some things stay the same and will live on long after we are gone.
And here's another thing that hasn't changed much: you can find yourself in conversation with anyone at the Club. No one is on a cellphone or using a lap top or iPad. It's not allowed. And, anyway, the cell service is lousy. When you go for a hike, you can be sure anyone you pass in either direction will look directly at you and say hello, undistracted by anything but the remarkable surroundings.
So conversation is king at the Ausable Club, even among strangers. It's not necessarily deep discussion. People are there to relax and get away from their work and pressing concerns at home. This is like camp as we remember it best: lazy days with choices of canoeing, golf, hiking, fishing, or just reading a book in a corner. But no counsellors and no lanyard-making.
Works for me.