The sky was bright sparkling blue, with wafts of clouds floating past, and the sun warm on our faces as we arrived at Lakeside last Wednesday afternoon. I must admit I arrived feeling very tired, and worn around the edges, but looked forward to our working vacation because if there is one place where my batteries would recharge it is Lakeside. Lakeside is a vintage Victorian gated vacation community preserved in a different place in time. The architecture alone is beautiful, but the people are what makes it so special. Many of these families return year after year for a season by the lake, and the peace and tranquility rarely found anywhere else.
As we set up our tent along the lake shore there was a faint sound of the teen group singing camp songs that took us back decades to our days of camp as teenagers… it was wonderful to hear them sing. I think we lingered a bit longer just to enjoy their sounds.
And we found our wonderful bed and breakfast, tossed our bags in the room, deciding to find some dinner.
The charm of a Victorian house that offers a place of rest for 34 people is special. And the innkeepers, Dan and Joan Barris make it special. Every detail seems to be perfect, including the wonderful and abundant breakfast they serve each day at 8:30. Accomidations were comfortable, and the others staying at the bed and breakfast were friendly, charming, interesting.
Our tent in the art fair was located just to the left of the telescope, along the lakefront path, 30 feet from the lake. It was a great spot, with a wonderful breeze from the lake. And we soaked in the days with great conversation, met so many new friends, and struck up a friendship with a lovely musician lady from Oregon named Nancy. She spends August at Lakeside, traveling from her home in eastern Oregon, and participates in the Lakeside Symphony playing her Viola. What a rich heritage of art, faith, and a passion to preserve a quiet, and simple life. The days were spent at our tent, enjoying the weather, talking with people and when it slowed down we were blowing bubbles…. Yes, grown people with big bottles of soap bubbles proved to be a lot of fun. And from where we were the winds took the bubbles high and far toward the old Lakeside Hotel.
Our evenings were spent at the free concerts at an ancient auditorium that towers with huge steel arches, and giant ceiling fans. Hoover Auditorium was comfortable, with the breeze blowing through the non air conditioned auditorium. Majestic setting. Great Talent. Thursday night we saw a young man of 14 who is a piano virtuoso – and has performed with an endless list of celebrities. He played Chopin like a master, and switched to Frank Sinatra, Elton John, and Ray Charles easily. Delightful.
Friday evening we saw a throw back to the early sixties – The New Christie Mistrals. Some of the music was familiar, others not so much.
And Saturday after tearing down the art fair, packing up, and getting some dinner we walked to the auditorium. found a seat easily and settled in to an evening with Steven Curtis Chapman. I love his music, and realized as he sang old favorites how much his music has contributed to encouraging me. Steven and his family carry a story of a tragic accident – one of his grown sons accidentally ran over one of his adopted daughters, and she was so badly injured that she did not live. Grief in any form is a challenge, but a child, and a tragic accident involving the family are so very difficult. He shared of his loss, and the many times grief came calling… and how healing has been happening. One of the songs that twangs at the emotions is a song about his daughter asking him to dance with him… each verse implies growing, from a small child pretending to go to a ball, to the teenager going to the prom, to the bride to be preparing for her wedding. I think of my childhood, putting my feet on top of my dad’s shoes, and he gently glided me about the floor…. I was caught in a flood of emotions when Steve gestured to look to the right. There, about 4 rows up in the aisle was a grandpa twirling a little waft of a girl and spinning her in his arms. Emotion gave way to a flood of tears. How sweet, how precious was that moment and i am quite certain that little girl will forever remember her dance.
Overall, we entered Lakeside on Wednesday feeling drained, exhausted, lacking and in need of rest and recharging. Between the beautiful weather, the great rest, the comfort of the leisure of Lakeside, and the encouragement of people we left Lakeside ready to face the world again, energized for the season, and blessed for the opportunity to have spent some time there. Lakeside, we love you and we only wish our stay could have been longer. Somewhere on saturday it dawned on both of us that this is our first “vacation” since our economic collapse 5 years ago. Ah, and it was one of the best we ever enjoyed!