Thursday, July 31, 2014


Camp got off to a rough start today with a total lack of camper enthusiasm (except our senior camper who is always game for my adventures). The start of the day was delayed to allow for extra laying around doing nothing time, yet still we encountered resistance. We chose our activities in the hopes of coaxing the girl camper out of her lair, but she admirably resisted our efforts in favor of completing her summer course work (how can a mother argue with that?). After a long yes-I’m-coming, no-I’m-not agony, my two most faithful campers got on board and we set off for the Central Market in downtown York.

We snagged an excellent parking spot with 47 minutes left on the meter and considered that a good omen. Our first stop was Cherie Anne’s Designs where we purchased refreshing smoothies and iced tea and visited with some of my favorite downtown personalities. Next we stopped in Kimman’s gift shop after spotting an amazing $589 cooler that looked like a VW Bus. The price tags were much too rich for us, but we enjoyed reading the clever signs – “Inside every old person is a young person wondering what the hell happened.”

My youngest camper lasted only about two minutes inside Sunrise Soap Company. It was just a wee bit too girlie and fragrant. I was excited to find patchouli incense and purchased a few sticks to ward off flies on our porch (an endless quest of mine). Trying to win back the mood, I purchased bananas and rainbow carrots at Dietz’ produce before introducing the campers to the market’s newest stand – Lancaster Pickles. We tasted several delicious flavors and got a very helpful lesson in pickle making from one of the owners. Pickles have been my nemesis for several years. I try a new recipe every summer to consistently disastrous results. My hope has been renewed!

We finished our marketing and each camper set off to secure lunch from a different stand and met back up to eat together. We enjoyed the people watching, dropped a few coins in a street performers guitar case and headed to Pippi’s Pen Shoppe – our most anticipated stop. 

Visiting Pippi’s is like stepping into Hogsmeade from Harry Potter’s world. The store is crammed with quills and fountain pens, inks, wax seals, journals, and every kind of writing gadget and accessory you can imagine. Antiques and vintage boxes, handmade creations, and the history and lore of pens, plus plenty of unexpected surprises fill the walls and shelves. There is so much to see; it’s a treat every time we visit. 

Joan, the owner, is darling, knowledgeable, and generous with her time and enthusiasm. 

She set up one of our campers with a real feather quill to test out.

A good portion of our afternoon was interrupted by a necessary, but ill-timed dentist appointment. After finding no takers for a visit to the new goats down the road, we managed to finish up our crafts before the campers petered out. But then began the debate about our last day of camp. A small revolt was staged and the schedule remains in question. Camp, even a camp as easy-going and personalized as this one can be exhausting. Our options for day five remain open. While the director is pushing for some outdoor activities, the day will most likely include some sort of indoor activity and possibly a screen of one kind or another. Alas, camp has changed since I was a kid.

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