The summer months are notorious for vaguely known to never heard of far-distant relatives uniting as one big happy family. “Smith Family Reunion” t-shirts are printed and shipped to the attendees for identification purposes as they prepare for their pilgrimage. DNA will be discussed over deviled eggs and potato salad while horseshoes clang and charcoal briquets are set ablaze. Bratty kids, only cute to their parents whom you barely know, will drench poolside guests with their cannonballs and a general good time will be had by all. Hopefully.
Though you still aren’t certain how you got elected, you’ve somehow been placed in charge of setting up the next family reunion. It’s probably because there is nobody better at architecting these types of events than you. Not wanting to tarnish your reputation as an expert in such things, location, location, location, has everything to do with whether or not you’ll earn bragging rights once other family members begin to arrive.
Here are some “up-for-grabs” suggestions of places which have worked well for other families. Whether you have too many relatives to count, or you come from a smaller clan of more intimately acquainted members, one of these locations may be just right for the impending shindig.
Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort – British Columbia, Canada
This is the place to go if having an immense private location expressly reserved for only family members sounds like the best ticket. At Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, off the hook relatives can get as crazy as they would like without disturbing the more subdued and civilized family members who will be enjoying the serene outdoors and the numerous activities awaiting them.
The resort is only accessible by plane or boat so privacy is always assured. Because it is situated deep within 50,000 miles of the Great Bear Rainforest, no uninvited hikers or hunters will accidentally stumble upon your private and secluded gathering. Imagine champagne picnics on private beaches while watching whales play in the distance. Or how about hopping in a kayak and exploring coves and inlets, or the 10,000-year-old glaciers?
After sitting around a roaring nighttime bonfire, family members will retreat to their private chalets complete with cedar hot tubs before retiring for the night to the sounds of a 5000-foot waterfall.
If family members, and family members only, are the only faces anyone wants to see, it doesn’t get any better than Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort.
Camp Wandawego – Elkhorn, Wisconsin
Since 1925 Camp Wandawego has invited guests to explore a by-gone era on their 25-acre resort complete with rustic cabins, dormitories, and private beaches. While it held quite the reputation for Chicago’s criminal element operating speakeasies and houses of ill-repute at the camp in the 1930’s, it’s anything but that today.
Hiking, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, archery, shuffleboard, and a host of activities are available for guests. Camp Wandawego does not claim to be a proper resort by any definition of the term. Their sole purpose is to reconnect people with the simpler pleasures of a simpler time.
They also lay no claim to being a “lux” resort. The vintage cabins mean simply that. They are original and have never been updated. They are not designed to just look old. They are old. There are also wood-platform camping tents and lakeside teepees.
Grills, smokers, and griddles are available for guests to use since no food or beverages are served on the premises. If hauling the entire crew out to dinner rather than grilling freshly caught fish is what you would rather do, not to worry, Elkhorn has some terrific restaurants. Camp Wandawego is the ideal location for a back to nature type family reunion without getting too overly remote.
Coachman Hotel – South Lake Tahoe, Nevada
You’ll be hard pressed to find any family member who doesn’t think Lake Tahoe is a great idea. Casinos for the gamblers, shows, live music, water sports in the bottomless lake, laying on a beach, hiking, and visiting the ranch where the television show Bonanza was filmed, should appease the varied tastes of every family member in attendance. But if you want to make the gathering truly spectacular, reserve the Coachman Hotel.
The Coachman Hotel has 42 rooms so it’s plenty big enough. Rent all of them or just what you need. It has its own private beach so family members don’t need to scatter out to find a good one, plus there is a private pool for those not liking sand in their sandals. The firepits are lit at night for making s’mores and the on-site craft beer and wine bar is open for business. The hotel serves a Belgian waffle breakfast complete with Stumptown coffee to gear everyone up for the day.
Dinner won’t be an issue with the many restaurants, diners, and cafes in the area. This is a good spot for anyone wanting to wander off by themselves for awhile, and for those family members who would just as soon stay put and enjoy the tranquil setting of the hotel and its grounds.
Ithica by Firelight – Ithaca, New York
If comfort and style in the form of glamping is something everyone might enjoy, look no further than Ithaca by Firelight. The safari-style tents are all situated for wonderful views and they boast high thread count linens, lanterns, and cozy furniture. Breakfasts of locally sourced food and freshly brewed coffee are served each morning.
Guests can take guided wild edibles hikes through Buttermilk Falls National Park and once they wander off the premises they’ll find restaurants, wineries, cideries, and farms.
If a more quiet and serene reunion sounds like a better way for family members to get more acquainted with one another or just catch up on what’s been happening in everyone’s lives, Ithica by Firelight will provide the perfect setting just far enough away from civilization, yet close enough without being too remote.
If you really want to impress family members at the next reunion, the key is in being creative and original. You’ll want them to have an experience they aren’t soon to forget, and one that’ll be tough for anyone else in the family to ever top. If the ones suggested don’t tickle your fancy, just look around. You might be surprised by what you find.