When you live in a major city, sometimes you need to just get as far away from the crazy city life as you can just to get some perspective on life again.
Sometimes it takes a trip home, wherever that may be.
Sometimes it takes a drive into the country to seeing the trees and rolling hills of farmland.
Sometimes it just takes spending some quality, fun time with friends.
And sometimes, one trip can take care of all of these things.
For the past 12 years, I have been making a semi-annual trek to Saugatuck, MI. The reason for this trip is simple– to get as far away from city living as possible.
So I go camping. To a gay-owned campground.
When I started going to CampIt back in 1994, it was a pretty simple place. There was one area for permanent campers, and two areas for tenting. There were only three showers for the entire campground (for the men– only ONE for the women!), and a small ‘general store’ for various and sundry needs.
The place had the look and feel of a mid-century throwback to good old-fashioned Americana. Signs and buildings were painted in pale hues of turquoise and pink, and gave off a decidedly ‘retro’ feel. It wasn’t exactly pretty. In fact, it was quite primitive. But it was always a lot of fun.
The owner was a gruff, surly guy who lived in the trailer across the driveway from the office-slash-general store. Calling to make reservations was more of a hassle than a pleasure. They often lost your information, but let you in anyway. In some ways, his abrasive nature further added to the charm of the place… but that would soon change.
In the late 90s, the owner of CampIt died, and his partner sold it to a new group of people. They took this place with a lot of kitsch and charm and turned it into a destination with a lot of charm and even some pizzaz. They started to infuse money into improving facilities, expanding the options of the visitors, and adding new features.
They turned it, basically, into a resort, with amenities and added ‘perks’ galore. They added a pool and a new bath house. They expanded the tenting areas three times– once to accommodate a lesbian-only section. And this year they nearly doubled the size of the entire place.
Now imagine this. A campground filled with hundreds of gay men and lesbians. Some coupled, some single. All there to get a little closer to nature.
Now let your mind run wild. Put that many gay men and lesbians in one place, and things are bound to get a little crazy. And fun.
I’m leaving Friday morning and I don’t get back until Tuesday.
I can’t wait to get the hell out of here!!!