Grandpa’s Table: Breakfast At Our Adirondack “Camp” from SamHenry

My maternal great grandfather started going to this little gem of a Lake in the foothills of the Adirondacks before I was born.  His son, my grandfater, owned his first cottage in a fairly well-populated bay but found a heavenly parcel with three lots and government property ringing most of it.

The house dated from the turn of the last century and was buried in trees with tall grass.  Not much mowing and all natural.

My favorite view of the property - from the old flat-bottomed fishing boat.

Inside was plain, not winterized, with tongue and groove unpainted walls.  The furniture was about the same date as the house; the kitchen dishes were depression-era glass and cheap reproduction willow ware and deep blue glasses.  In short, these camps were filled with anything you didn’t want at your main house anymore.

Grandpa with an iron frying pan full of sunny side up fried eggs cooked in bacon grease.

I began my trips there my first year on the planet and they continued until the camp (cottage for non-Adirondack vacation homes) was sold following my grandfather’s death.  In later years, my grandfather, a doctor, was the chief cook.  He and my uncle cooked wonderful breakfasts.  There was no dishwasher, a refrigerator only instituted in the place after 1970 and just the most basic iron cookware.  Water piped in from a well and turned off and on using faucets replaced the pump on the counter next to the sink around the same time.

All dining table and cooking equipment was kept in tall metal cabinets that shut tight to protect them from the mice and bugs.  Shelves were lined with oil cloth and, unlike today, seemed effortlessly spaced for successful storage.

I loved going fishing with Grandpa – often for the entire day.  He made up some Grandma Brown’s Baked Bean sandwiches (canned beans made in Mexico, NY) and brought some pop and other unrefrigerated snacks for lunch.  This was before ice packs and coolers.  He was not good about minding my mother’s rules about candy.  He would give me a few pieces and say “now I want you to take one of these once every ten minutes and see if you don’t feel better.”  When she would complain, he would turn to her and say: “I don’t get cavities from eating candy.  I keep my teeth in a glass nights and they are fine.”  He was a tease and a character.

Grandma and Grandpa on their way to the camp next door that was owned by his roommate at medical school. That family still owns their camp. This is one of my all time favorite pictures albeit from an early Kodak Instamatic.

3 thoughts on “Grandpa’s Table: Breakfast At Our Adirondack “Camp” from SamHenry

  1. And who is that standing behind Grandpa there at the table, hmm? 😉

    This is a great post dearheart, full of so much history and memories. Just lovely. 🙂

    And Grandpa definitely knew how to cook eggs! Sunny-side-up in bacon grease is the best way, ever.


    1. That was a good post, SH. It felt like I had been at that camp once upon a time!

      And Grandpa definitely knew how to cook eggs! Sunny-side-up in bacon grease is the best way, ever.
      I agree – no better way!! I remember the can of bacon fat always sitting on the stove when I was a kid.



  2. Big thanks DF and MR. It was a VERY special place and Grandma and Grandpa were the animating spirits. One of my Aunts wanted to keep the cottage but my Mother knew that they would not see eye-to eye on how it would be maintained. The big factor – with Grandma and Grandpa gone, it just was not the same place. It was their place. I miss that lifestyle.

    The current owners cut down the trees around the house, took off the old porch and put in a deck and put in a lawn! Thank God they were smart enough to forgo the wall-to-wall carpeting that is showing up in cottages/camps these days. What do they do when they find a dead mouse on it? I like to be able to wash the floor! And no longer rustic – it is now a mcmansion and just like home. THAT IS NOT a vacation. Rustic is relaxing.


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