Nearly fifty years ago my husband's grandfather, Harold Woodard, bought a property on the eastern side of Seneca Lake, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. It's about halfway up the lake, just north of Lodi Point State Park. There is a comfortable two-story cabin, a dock with a boat hoist, and an incredible view up the lake toward Geneva, NY. On the far south end of the lake lies Watkins Glen, which I posted about yesterday. The lake at this spot is about two miles across, and it is 40 miles long from north to south.
What makes this spot my favorite place on earth is hard to put succinctly into words. There is no telephone here, no television, and only this year is there internet access. What there IS here is total relaxation. A day at the lake proceeds like so: get up whenever you wake up; eat breakfast; read, swim, play games, talk, exercise, go for a stroll; sit on the dock until you are too hot to stand it, then jump in the cold lake until you are shivering and your lips turn blue, then get back out on the dock; eat lunch; repeat the morning acitivities in the afternoon; eat supper; have a campfire; make s'mores; go to bed. On rainy/windy/cold days there are plenty of places to visit in the area, so there is always something to do. It is a routine which fosters family togetherness while still affording each individual plenty of choices for activities. It offers plenty of time to catch up on books that have gone unread, personal devotions, conversations that need to take place, and spending time with family.
I have been coming to the lake for seventeen years now, since the summer I met my husband. He's been coming almost every year since he was born. We spent our honeymoon here. We look forward the rest of the year to our week at the lake. The cabins on either side are family-owned also, so the adults there are my in-laws' age, and their children are now adults like we are, who are now having the next generation. Everybody knows each other fairly well from summer after summer of close proximity. My children have grown up knowing this as their best vacation spot. The love swimming, playing on the shore, and going "tubing" behind the boat. When they are older they'll learn to water-ski like my husband. (My one attempt to learn resulted in a popped blood vessel in one of my eyes, so I've learned to enjoy riding in the boat or being the one staying on the dock to help.)
The physical beauty of this place also factors in to it being my favorite place. The pale, clear light at dawn, the deep crimson of sunset, and the expanse of sky to the west are simply reminders of God's greatness. And the lake: clear and still, or softly wavy with a South wind, or pounding in on the dock and shore from a North wind,--no matter how it's behaving it is beautiful. The sound of the waves at night is anesthetic. Then there is the pleasure of sitting by a fire on a cold, clear night, watching the other fires spring up around the lake, leaning back to gaze up at the stars and identify the constellations.
Now, some people may think that I like it here because when I'm here I am away from other obligations--homeschooling, running a household, church responsibilities, etc. Well, I'm sure that's part of it. Surely a vacation spot is treasured primarily because it's just that--a vacation spot. But even here I must help with the cooking, cleaning, laundry, discipline, and other main responsiblities which I face daily no matter where I am. No, I just think that the combined factors of real relaxation, being with my husband and children, and the beauty that God created bring about a sense of peace for me when I'm here that I haven't found elsewhere. The Lord has blessed our family with being able to come here. I praise Him for it.