Who: Globe arts reporter Geoff Edgers; his wife, Carlene Hempel; and their daughter, Lila, 7
What: Family camp
Where: Rindge, N.H.
I never liked camp much. As a kid, I remember sluggishly hot days, tomato soup, and archery. I wanted to be home playing baseball with my friends. As an adult, my attitude’s changed. Even if for one night, it’s nice to get away from the clogged Expressway and live under the sky.
Wildwood Family Camp, run by the Mass. Audubon Society in Rindge, N.H., offers three days of activities, meals, and that singalong spirit for roughly $200 a person. It’s all ages.
You stay in either a cabin or a cabin tent, a structure made up of canvas pulled over a wood platform. There’s a central bathhouse, meaning showers are possible. The food is standard camp fare: hamburgers, waffles, lasagna. The activity board is varied, from arts and crafts to kayaking and archery to fishing off the docks. (Lila caught her first fish one evening. Her friend hooked one of the counselors, Wes, in the neck with a hook. Fear not, he was OK.)
Then there are the ropes. These activities are set high in the trees. It’s safe - you’re hooked into a rope to offer support in case you fall - but psychologically challenging. On the “Burma Bridge,’’ Carlene, Lila, and I took turns scurrying up a tree until we were about 35 feet up and walked a slightly thicker version of tightrope. After a slight pause, Lila scurried across as if she had joined the Flying Wallendas. She also conquered the Zip Line thanks to the encouragement of Luke, one of the counselors.
The real beauty of Wildwood is that you simply can’t be grumpy. The group dinners and campfires force you to check your city-inspired moodiness at the door. And while there’s a structure you can abide by, there’s also freedom to break away from the group. One afternoon, Lila and Carlene took a kayak out and read Harry Potter on the lake. I rowed my way out to them later after completing another high rope activity, the slightly insane “Leap of Faith,’’ which required climbing up a wobbly telephone pole to jump off and attempt to hit a ball suspended between two trees.
By the end, we were ready to sign up for next year. And I was relieved that at no point did they serve tomato soup.