Dear Mom and Dad,
Upon rolling up to Camp Timberlane for Two Islands Weekend, my friend Kate and I knew that an evolved campy treat was in store. We saw sweatpants. We saw dispersed campfires. We saw people walking around with reusable mugs that were definitely not filled with hot coco. We were not in Toronto anymore.
Since we were a bit tardy to the party, our first night was spent mixing in with our fellow campers, mostly swapping stories and hearing about the porky feast that came and went just a few hours prior. Especially sad to have missed the honey roasted pig’s head!
We woke up refreshed! Breakfast was at 8:30am, and there was no way that we were missing it. There was “hangover juice” deliciousness from Belmonte Raw. Neal Brother’s had provided organic yogurt, homemade granola, oat scones, freshly baked Ace Bakery bread, and an array of treats, fruits, and spreads (raw coconut butter is a thing?!).
Quickly it was realized that the best part about this adult camp is that it is almost exactly like the camp experience I remember. Seeing as I went to sleep-away camp (as both a camper and as a counsellor) for 11 years, I’m a bit of an expert, right? Towards the end of breakfast, the program director made everyone pipe down (still a tough job, even with grown-ups!) and announced the time slots and potential activities for the day. A ropes course, arts and crafts, yoga, baseball—anything your inner camper desires. But to spin camp life on its head, you can come and go from activities as you please. This threw me for a loop. The freedom still felt like a novelty within the setting! I chose zip-lining in the middle of a forest, then canoeing. Lake times. AND THIS IS ALL BEFORE LUNCH.
Lunch was serious. From Kristina Groeger, we had buttermilk potato salad, honey garlic chicken wings, mustard, brown sugar, jalapeño chicken wings, quinoa salad with peach semifreddo, and watermelon chilli lime popsicles for dessert. After dessert, out came a vat of caramelized onion potato salad. Dessert #2? We conquered another bowl and were stuffed. But it was the perfect brand of food baby for a good ol’ cabin nap, which is exactly what I went for next. Sorry not sorry.
Activities started running again, and soon enough, a game of capture the flag was going on. Get that blue war paint on my face. Don’t forget that we were playing with adults! Adults strategize. Adults are sneaky. Adults have played this game before. So what usually is a blitz, on blitz on blitz became a two-hour game of heavy defense, spy missions, and game-changing jailbreaks. There were casualties. It began to rain, but we played on. We only threw in the towel because the tables kept turning with no winner in sight…and maybe because the open bar opened at 4pm. There was all-inclusive wine from Rosewood Estate Winery, beer from McAuslan Brewery, and coolers from Black Fly Beverages.
Dinner followed. It was a feast of stewed peppers and sausage from Tom Brodi, brisket and lobster kebabs from Daniel Sanders, who also brought in my favourite of the night: a vegetarian ribollita soup that tasted like black kale and cannellini beans were born for this purpose. Josh Maharaj gave us a summer vegetable ceviche and Sulivan & Bleeker rounded it off with their sweet treats.
The evening program was trivia (!), and the crowds had no problem mingling into teams of four. Trivia was camp-themed, difficult, and involved a paper airplane contest. After that we could roam as we pleased to assorted campfires, watch a camp movie in the rec hall, and in my case, take part in the largest ever Cards Against Humanity game. There was a lengthy welcome for each new player, chants, and humiliations for the losing player of each round. Again, serious games. This was followed by serious beachside, campfire chills, jams, and chats. Oh yeah, and a DJ-ed dance party went down in the mess hall.
Another day, another glorious wakeup! Being tempted by the promise of amazing food is probably the very best reason to wake up at 8:30am on a Sunday. Sleep in if you want to, but if you snooze, you lose. This breakfast entailed a “panamanian fry up.” What is that? Don’t ask me questions. But Rossy Earle made sure that we had our fill of chorizo, potato omelets, and yucca fries with homemade sauces aplenty. If that will not cure you from the previous night, then you’re on your own!
This morning was perhaps the most relaxing part of the entire weekend. Activities went on, the grounds were open. We went on a nature walk and hung out on one of the sunny docks, listening to a playlist called “Feeling Sassy” (think Grace Jones, “Warm Leatherette”). As the morning rolled by, we picked up a bagged plougman’s lunch (with our names written on each brown paper bag!). Smart thinking: a person could easily take this on their three-hour travels back to the city, or simply enjoy it in the beautiful Camp Timberlane surroundings. Picnic time!
All in all, what a time it was! An utterly unique weekend away with each detail tugging at our heartstrings. Event organizer Danielle Goldfinger did an amazing job of keeping the camp flavour but also making the experience suit its clientele: No strict schedule. Amazing food. Open bar. Hilarious and fun activities. Like-minded people. Was I dreaming? Can I come back next year? Please?
Miss you, love you, xoxoxoxo