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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Every summer my husband and I ditch the city life for four days to camp in an old growth forest with a bunch of hippies and dance to live bluegrass performances all day and night. We started attending the Northwest String Summit six years ago, the first summer we were dating, and haven’t missed a year yet. We even planned our entire honeymoon around the festival; we had two hours from the time our plan landing from Maui to head back to our apartment in Seattle, grab our camping gear, and hop on the highway pointed south toward Oregon. We made it an hour after dark and set up our entire camp via headlamp light. We take our bluegrass seriously.
This annual vacation means the world to us. It is our recharge and reconnecting time; something we spend half of every year reflecting fondly on (we spend the other half preparing for the next one). Although I’ve successfully made us sound like the modern day flower children or perhaps the Beverly Hillbillies (and I can’t deny that we’ve donned straw hats to the concerts), it’s actually a very enriching experience. The music doesn’t begin until 2 p.m. most days, and anyone whose been camping knows you tend to wake up with the sunrise or soon after. This leaves us with several hours to hike around, meet new people, or just sit and play cards in our camp. Any above activity includes chatting, laughing, storytelling…bonding.
The old growth forest transforms into a small village of tents, hammocks, and tie-dyed sheets surrounded by people from every walk of life milling around smiling, waving, playing Frisbee golf, telling jokes, playing instruments, cooking on portable grills, selling homemade trinkets, or telling stories about the adventure they’d undertaken the night before. Everyone smiles and waves when you pass. It’s nothing like Seattle or the average work office.
One aspect of the String Summit that we’ve become gradually more aware of each year is the presence of families. Although we camp in the forest, rather than the more easily accessible open field reserved for family camping, we always opt for the route through the family area on our way toward the stage. Seeing the young children running around in the July sun barefoot, giggling, and shrieking with their newfound friends always makes us laugh. Each year we’ve paid a little more attention to the little ones, and it was two years ago that one of us finally voiced it. My husband casually said, “I’m looking forward to staying in the family area someday.” A bit startled, I just smiled back – a smile that gradually grew as what he said sunk in.
Little did we know just how prophetic that statement was. Last year was our last year camping in the woods, as I was five months pregnant. We didn’t look at last year as losing our spot in the woods, but as “graduating” to the family field this year. This year will be the first time we qualify for the family camping area – and we are stoked to say the least. We can’t wait to introduce our daughter to the strangely wonderful world of bluegrass festivals. Does anyone know if they make straw hats that small?