Updated: May 27, 2022
The last day of school, this meant more to me, my brother, and sister than just summer break. It meant that sometime in the next few days we were going to head to the lake for the summer. a feeling I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully describe to anybody that hasn’t experienced the magic of a place like this first hand. A small glacier lake, nestled in the north eastern most corner of Pennsylvania, in the endless mountains of Wayne county to be exact.
We packed up all of our things that we’d been acquiring all winter for a summer at the lake. For me, a new Buck knife, a brand new snorkeling set and my favorite hoodie… because nothing was better than sitting around a fire at night, by the lake,in a still damp bathing suit with a towel wrapped around your waist, and a good hoodie on.
We piled our stuff into the car, crammed packed of everything we would need. A mini van, electric blue! If I recall, it was a 90’s Chevy Lumina, a screaming duck on the front license plate,which dad always got a kick out of. That license plate hung in the garage at the lake house until it got sold a few years ago. I’m not sure where that license plate is now, but I’d love to have it hanging on the wall in my garage.
About 100 miles door to door, we had better get on the road! About a three hour ride full of anticipation. Route 80 out of New Jersey to 309 through East Stroudsburg, to 402, or “the long road” as we used to call it. 45 minutes of winding, twisty,bumpy country roads with nothing but woods and hunting cabins on either side.
Coming out on the other end, you land on Route 6, which takes you through some quaint little country towns, like Hawley and then Honesdale, PA. Just outside Honesdale, we’d hop on county road 670 and from there on out the road signs started to disappear. Make a right at “The Little Red School House” and if you didn’t know the route past there, you’d likely never find the place. ‘Til this day I could probably do that drive with my eyes closed. It was quite a few miles (or more) of those back country roads between there and Preston Market, or Paps as we knew it. Paps was the start of the dirt roads, red shale from the local stone quarry covered in a tar/oil mixture in front of the houses to keep the dust down. When we hit the dirt roads, Boccie, our 100 pound German Shepherd,started to vibrate with excitement in the back seat. He knew what the dirt roads meant… and so did I. We’d make a right at the red house on the corner, down the road marked “do not enter” with a sign filled with bullet holes.
That’s where mom and dad would stop the car. They let me and Boccie out of the vehicle, and it was on! Him and I would race through the woods, a much more direct route than following the dirt road. Across five or so acres, jumping over logs and dodging tree limbs, this was an all out race through dense hardwoods to the back patio of the lake house. He beat me Every. Single. Time. Moments later the car would come rolling into the driveway, and the rest of the family would pile out.
The first thing I would always do was run out to the front lawn and stare at the lake for a few minutes, as of to say “hello old friend, it’s good to see you again”. Something about the early summer sun setting on the opposite side of the lake was just so soothing to my soul. That water was like glass that only showed a ripple as a small mouth bass would breach the surface, grabbing a bug. Sounds of bull frogs low croaks and the Katty-dids twilight symphony would fill the air.
Our nights where generally spent sitting around the fire pit I built, swimming around in the water, making s’mores, or maybe playing some manhunt with the other kids on the lake. Bedtimes didn’t exist, and nobody had to be up the next day… because we were at the lake, for the summer, and because of that, nothing else mattered.
The sun still sets on that lake every single night and forever will, the sounds of summer echoing across it for all eternity to hear.