Camps, cabins or cottages

ESCANABA – Step into another world, where time stands still.

Hide beneath the heavenly cool canopy of ferns, flowers and leaves. Rest a spell while the river sings and breezes in the pines lull you to sleep.

Wildlife nibbles at the corners of your consciousness and peace and contentment surrounds you.

You are at campor the cottageor at the family’s cabin.

I have often wondered what the difference was between a camp, a cottage, a cabin or a summer home.

So many Yoopers own or visit a camp or cottage that they are like sacred places to us. Some of life’s most important things take place at camp. Great family meals, prayer, deer hunting, cribbage, the conception of a new child, laughter and practical jokes are a few of the precious times at camp.

Camps and cottages are tucked away in the countryside so growing is a part of the atmosphere. English cottages are so picturesque with their flower gardens of pink holly hocks and blue asters surrounding them. Window boxes spill forth with vines, ivies and herbs. The cobblestones leading up to the cottage door have vegetables planted on either side.

In the olden days tenant farmers – called “cotters” – stayed in the dirt floored cottages. Today cottages are pretty cozy little country estates.

The dictionary says that a cabin is a small crudely built hut or house. In our mind’s eye, a cabin should be made of logs and have a fireplace in it. The cabins of the north woods can range in size from, just enough room for a bed to a mini mansion in the wilderness. Abraham Lincoln was born in a cabin not a cottage.

That brings us to camps. Camps are supposed to be small temporary dwellings according to Webster’s dictionary. Camps, U.P. style are anything but temporary. Some family camps have been handed down for three or four generations. My Grandpa George Rose hired a lumberjack to clear some of his property for possible farming back in the 1920’s. The lumberjack’s cabin became the original Rose Camp until the 1950’s when my Dad built his own camp by the river.

Camps were built to be near nature. Lakes sparkle in the sunlight outside of the camp’s door. The fish are calling. A 10-point buck is sneaking behind the outhouse. Camps were constructed to be close to game animals.

Today, camps can be simple with a woodstove and a water pump or they can have electricity and running water.

The nice thing about camps is that they are laid back, easy-going places. Frills and fancy things are not at home in camps. From the flannel clothes worn at camp to the favorite chipped coffee mug, camps are about comfort.

Many camps owners have names for their woodsy getaways. Our family camp is called “Rose’s Roost.” (My mom named it many years ago). Tons of “roosting” and resting have been done there as well as hunting, fishing, gardening, tree planting, firewood cutting, dog running, nature watching and eating.

What is your camp’s name?

Whether you’re going to a cabin, cottage or camp this weekend, enjoy the simple things in life. Let the peace and quiet of God’s Country (U.P.) fill your nights and beauty and nature fill your days.

Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong resident of north Escanaba. Her folksy columns are published weekly in Lifestyles.