When you think of summer camps, the images that usually conjure up in one’s mind are the stress-free life back in the 1950s or 1960s, boy scouts, woods, sleeping bags, camping, summer away from parents… Well, Wandawega Lake Resort is something like that except this is a camp for adults, with communal showers, small log cabins, lodges, and activity grounds, spanning 25 acres, located in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
Wandawega was established in 1925, by a bunch of Chicagoans who wanted to utilize money making opportunities presented by Prohibition. Over the years, the camp used to be a brothel, an organized crime hub, a gambling centre, a Catholic church camp, and a lake resort before it was transformed in what it is today by the Andrzejewski family from Chicago. The place finally went legit in 1951.
When you enter Wandawega Lake Resort, forget about modern day amenities. The experience of staying at Wandawega is all about the innocence of bygone eras and simple pleasures of life. If you want to play tennis, you are given retro-wooden rackets and pointed to a beat up court. If you want to do archery, there is a straw target and some very simple bows to shoot from. Volleyball is played on a grass, unmarked court. Yes, you can ride a bicycle, albeit a vintage one (old-fashioned tire pump supplied).
If you didn’t have your own tree house when you were a child, Wandawega will make up for that with its own, beautifully designed one, in which you can relax, read, nap or participate in one of the many late night sing-a-longs. There are a total of 25 bedrooms to choose from in the camp.
When asked to describe Wandawega, the owners Tereasa and David said that it was certainly “not like the camp you remember. It is more like the camp counselors have gone missing and you found the keys to the liquor cabinet.”
If you don’t mind an occasional caterpillar on your pillow or a critter in the shower, by all means go to Camp Wandawega and enjoy a few weeks of uncomplicated existence. watch video below
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