Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Q & A: New England

Reader Question: Den and I met while attending The Juilliard School in NYC and have made our living working as artists ever since graduating in 2002. Though we love the culture and vibrancy of the city, we long to celebrate our wedding in a place more conducive to reflection and peace. Naturally beautiful and a step away from the hustle and bustle. Den is from Oregon and his dad is a theologian and environmentalist, and I'm from Massachusetts and my parents are both activists (mom is a social worker and dad is a documentary film maker for Nova and National Geographic) so needless to say--conservation, environmentalism and art are primary values in our lives. We want our wedding weekend to be about those things as much as it is about our love for one another--we are creating a template for the values we will share as a married couple and that we will raise our family with... and we long to do this in a place that we can come back to for visits for family retreats over the years to come!

The issue is, we are trying to have our retreat in New England and are having the hardest time finding a camp to rent for an affordable price! Do you have any suggestions?

Ooh. I love that line: "We are creating a template for the values we will share as a married couple and that we will raise our family with." I want to linger over it a little longer.

Yes. That's it exactly!

Now, onto your question. Unfortunately, I can't think of anything off the top of my head, but I am sure, sure, sure there is something out there. There are so many major airports in the area that connect to mass transit and transport you conveniently out of the city. I think you'll be able to find the perfect thing. I'm writing this post in the hopes that someone out there knows just the place! But in case they don't, my best advice is: keep searching! I had my best luck using the search terms "family reunion," "retreat," "camp," and "cabins." I didn't think we were going to find something, but, in the end, we found the perfect place for us. You will, too!

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Miss Rye Bread said...

I don't know of a camp in new england, but I'm getting married at a camp in Oregon!
It's awesome!
You should check it out!

Brite Lines said...

I'm from Maine and have a bunch of suggestions and resources - I'd love to help you. We also have a camp in Vermont that may be available depending on what's needed. Please email me at westparismaine (at) yahoo!

You may call me Jo. said...

It's not New England, but PA has some nice areas all through the Appalachians. Cook's Forest has a lot of campgrounds and log cabins, and it has GORGEOUS scenery.

Marina said...

reserveamerica.com is the website that lets you reserve campsites and cabins in state parks. I don't know much about the New England area, but from the brief glimpse I just took it looks like there are tons of state park camping spots!

Liz said...

I have several suggestions--

I'm getting married in June at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge in Warren, New Hamphire. It's halfway up the mountain, has little bunkhouses for people to sleep in and a large gathering building, amazing views, and fabulous food. And it's CHEAP! (~$25/night to sleep, $13/person for dinner, no extra booking fees for exclusive use if you have enough people there.) It is quite rustic though. Here's their website: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~doc/moosilauke/ravinelodge/

Some other great options in NH/VT:

Camp Ogontz in Lyman, NH- beautiful, less rustic, more expensive, but still fabulous, having been to a wedding there I highly recommend it. And they have a giant costume shed! Amazing!! FYI, they book pretty far in advance. http://www.campogontz.com/weddings.html

Camp Ohana, in Fairlee VT- gorgeous, much less rustic, though still in cabins, but significantly more expensive- $130/person/weekend, $3000 exclusive use fee, minimum $6500 total for the weekend. It's a fabulous spot though, especially if some of your guests aren't so hearty.

Farm and Wilderness, a Quaker camp in Plymouth, VT. Gorgeous, great people, cheap. Also pretty rustic- they have three-sided cabins for guests to stay in, and really super privies... but privies are privies. Tamrack Farm, a part of F&W, (pictured on the top of the page linked below) would be perfect for a wedding, it looks out over a gorgeous meadow and down towards a lake.

The Barbara J Harris Camp and Conference Center near Nashua, NH might also be a good option. It's in an amazing location, much closer to Boston, and much less rustic- all of the cabins have their own showers and toilets. I imagine it's more expensive, but still a lot less than a regular hotel/resort.

Hope this helps! Email me if I can be of more help, as I'm pretty familiar with these places and VT/NH in general- eak (at) dartmouth (dot) edu. Good luck!

Irishker said...

My brother and his wife got married at the BU Sargent camp in Hancock, NH (http://www.bu.edu/outdoor/). They had previously worked there so the camp gave them a good deal but I wonder if they would do it again for someone else. The camp is really unique in that the have multiple types of housing available.
It was a fabulous weekend that people were able to customize and make their own within the wedding confines. email me at kesullivan (at) alum dot hws dot edu if you have any further questions. I'd love to help!!!

Erin said...

Not quite New England but Camp Echo Lake in the Adirondacks is great and affordable. The staff is awesome.

Heather said...


I attended a wedding in NJ that was along the Appalachian Trail. There are a few on here in the NH area, but I don't know where in New England you are looking.

SH said...

Another search term-- "summer camp." That's where we're doing ours, Memorial Day weekend next year.

zoliepup said...

I have lots of suggestions on the West Coast. We're getting married at Shinneyboo Cabin Creek resort.

Kate said...

I'm from Maine and my fiance and I are getting married in October at Migis Lodge in South Casco, ME (www. migis.com). It's AMAZINGLY beautiful and has lots of cabins to stay in, but it's definitely pricier than some of the more rustic camps in the area.

Other places I looked into (all in Maine) are:
- YMCA Camp of Maine (maineycamp.org) in Winthrop
- Camp Manitou (campmanitou.com) in Oakland
- Kingsley Pines (kingsleypines.com) in Raymond
- Alden Camps (aldencamps.com) also in Oakland

The first three are all kid's summer camps that host weddings in the off-season. The last one, Alden Camps, is an American Plan B&B-style camp with lots of cottages that families rent. It's rustic but very comfortable. A friend of mine had a wedding there and had great things to report.

Good luck!! I'm biased, but Maine is a beautiful place for a wedding :)

Erin said...

I'm getting married at Camp Ohana at the end of this month. Liz gives the website above. If you want to know more about my experience with them so far send me an e-mail and I'd be glad to help out and tell you all about it afterwards :)

Anonymous said...

i had trouble finding something like that in michigan and found that searching for large family vacation rental properties was perfect for us! 40 of us can stay together in one place for a decent price.

Anonymous said...

Camp Kiwanee Hanson Mass

heather leigh said...

Also, check out the Vermont State Parks system. I have lived in the Adirondaks and New England my whole life and never realize how amazing, accessible, affordable and convenient VT State parks are. Seyon Lodge looks great (book early) we are doing our welcome dinner at Camp Plymouth. The parks have Cabins, cottages, lean-toos (sp) and tent camping. If we had a longer lead time we would have planned the entire event at a park.

Not to make any assumptions but some of the Kids summer camps and some state's parks do not allow any alcohol; VT lets you have a caterer OR BYO if it is served in less than a gallon container.

k said...


My cousin was married here. It was much more low key than some of the pictures on the site (the Groom wore Crocs). And we had a classic camp color war:)

Anonymous said...

What about Craigville on Cape Cod: http://craigville.org/index.htm

Courtney said...

I'm so glad I came across this post! I'm looking for venues just like this right now, and having a hard time sorting through Google searches. Thanks!

Kristen said...

Have you seen the Rocky Neck State Park in CT? The pavilion is beautiful and the beach is right down the hill, there is also camping available.

Sara E. Cotner said...

You all are amazing. Truly.



Sammy said...

Oh my word- I am speechless! Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!! All of you are so gracious and generous! And Sara thanks so much for putting me in touch with all these lovely ladies! You have given me back my faith in our dream wedding!!!! YEAH!!! -S

Kate said...

This might be a little late, but I just stumbled upon this posting, I'm a MA resident and am looking for the exact same thing, so far the best things I've found are Bucksteep Manor {SO less formal than its namesake] and the Overbrook house. Both have expansive properties and Main houses and cabins that come with the rental price, and are well priced! Feel free to get in touch with me so we can exchange any more ideas!

Alice said...

Camp Kinderland in the Berkshires Mountains of Massachusetts sounds like just the right casual, progressive, and beautiful environment for your wedding. We are right now arranging to host a wedding this coming Labor Day and we've had some great events at our camp. Check our website at www.campkinderland.org or contact Alice at Kindercamp@aol.com.

Sara E. Cotner said...

From Eilen: Have you checked out Woolman Hill, in Deerfield, MA? http://www.woolmanhill.org/ I'm considering getting married in New England (my fiance and I live in Boston), and I spent a long time looking into camps that we could rent before realizing that our friends and family aren't into "roughing it" enough. Seyon Lodge in Vermont is pretty affordable. Other places to consider (just google them): Stump Sprouts in Hawley, MA; Angel's Rest in Leyden, MA; the Roundhouse in Colrain, MA; Blue Heron Farm in Charlemont; Rowe Center in Rowe, MA; Starseed in Savoy, MA; 9 Mountain in Plainfield, MA...email me at eilenjewell {at} gmail {dot} com, if you need more info. I compiled a pretty long list. And best of luck to you both!

Laura Warner said...

We are getting married at Woolman Hill in Deerfield, MA this July and I highly recommend it! They have unlimited camping plus accommodations (semi-private/dormitory style, but nice) for about 40-50 people. The price was really reasonable, and Steve Howes, the director, is really great.

Email me if you want more info: laura.warner1 {at} gmail


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