Washington, Maine: Medomak Family Camp
In 1974, best friends Ralph Ringler and David Hoople capped their final year at Medomak Camp for Boys in Maine with a hike up Katahdin. A photo at the summit shows their hair drifting below their ears, their teenage faces pure insouciance. A few weeks after the photo was taken, the boys headed off to college.
Fast-forward 30-plus years. The men had lost touch until a camp reunion in 1993. Almost 20 years had passed since that last summer at the lake. “Being there again took us right back,” says David. The friendship rekindled. With sons and daughters of their own, Ralph and David have returned to Medomak for the same week each summer for the past dozen years with their families.
“It’s been great to share with my kids a place that I loved when I was their age,” says Ralph, who lives in Stevenson, Maryland. “My wife, Linda, and I appreciate the sense of freedom here. Even when our kids were very young, they felt comfortable going off with a flashlight with their friends. They felt safe.”
Meals and their fixings are included in the cost, but Medomak is truly a camp, not a resort. Guests bring their own linens, blankets, and towels from home. Everyone buses her own dishes. If you get lucky with a fishing pole, the kitchen will gladly serve up your catch.
Out of necessity, some of Medomak’s old traditions have faded, but it’s a place where new traditions take hold. For many years running, Ralph and David have led a sleepover in lean-tos by the water. “We light a big fire and a few adults and a pack of kids from various families join in,” muses Ralph. “You’re never too old for summer camp.”