Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Camp by Any Other Name

A new reader writes in and asked,
"What exactly do you mean by camp? I notice that a lot of the northern girls refer to opening up the camp, etc. For a long time, I thought you all ran children's camps! I'm guessing now that it's a vacation home, but is there something distinctive that makes it a "camp"?

When I first went to college and talked about my "camp" all of my friends thought that I worked at a children's camp as well- - you are not alone! In fact, just the other day my boyfriend was saying how he's never heard the word "camp" so much in one summer since he's been in Vermont.

I'm not sure the real reason behind calling it a camp, that's what we've always called it! All of my friends who have them too, call them camps. It is not so much a summer house as it is lacking many, many features that it would need to call it house (at least for me). Our camp is not insulated, heated by fireplace, has no dishwasher, no internet, no cable. Perhaps it is most similar to a cottage, but I always think that cottages should be located on the ocean and camps on the lake.

Anyone else have a take on this? I'd love to hear what you guys think.

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Blogger Meg said...

Great post! I find myself explaining camps to people from away all the time. I had no idea what a camp was when I first met Man either.

We definitely have the cottages are on the ocean/camps are on the lake distinction, but any summer abode can be called a cottage/camp regardless of amenities. On the island where our camp is, there are camps that are shacks that are literally just four walls and a roof, camps that are like what you're describing, our camp, which has electricity, propane heat, a dishwasher, washer, running water, etc., and another camp that's even fancier than ours - it has a security system! I've seen cottages that fall in both ends of that range as well, they're just on the ocean. I think camps are usually more spartan than ours, but Man's parents intended to summer at the camp when they retired, so they made it more house-like.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Sarah M said...

My friend's parents have a camp up on the Cape. It is right on the beach. It is heated by a fireplace. There is actully no running water. There is a pump and an outhouse. Not exactly my type of vacation home but it is soooo fun to go visit.

1:24 PM  
Blogger lisagh said...

We've always called it going to "the lake" or to "the cottage" ... there's another group where I live who go north (we go east), that call it going to "the beach". The cottage I go to has transformed over the years, but today we're talking heated tile floors, indoor hot tub, but no A/C.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Tammy B said...

In Alabama, it is called a "lake house". A lake house can be a simple cottage or it can be a castle. Since there have been a lot of hurricanes that damaged the Gulf Coast, lake lots and lake houses are expensive no matter how simple or elaborate the house. In Northeast Alabama where my mother lives, many people live in their "lake house". It is their permanent residence.

9:23 PM  
Blogger MC said...

Like Tammy B said, here in the South we call them lake houses, beach houses, river houses, mountain houses, etc. Camp just means summer camps for kids or the verb meaning "to go camping". And a vacation house can be anything from a multi-million dollar home to a shack that's been in the family for years.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Camp is a northeast word I guess. We have camps here in New York too and in college no one ever knew what I was talking about. My southern friends have lake/beach houses. Some call them summer homes. And my Indiana, Illinios and Michigan friends call them cottages. All the same thing though- a more rustic, summer vacation home.

That is too cute that she thought everyone was running summer camps!!

5:13 PM  
Blogger Tammy B said...

In Alabama, "gone to camp" is a polite way of saying that someone is in rehab.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from NY & went to "summer camp" in VT on Lake Fairlee. Later in life when I lived in Woodstock,VT. Many friends had summer homes (big/small,impressive & well appointed or tiny cabins with no electricity) all called them "camps". They also called their fishing cabin, their fishing camp...same with their hunting camp...the list went on. I chalked it up to a local term we just didn't use in NY...Like "jimmies" or "hoagies". If you are from VT you know what I mean.

6:56 PM  

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