1. Deep Creek Lake
    A huge lake in Maryland
  2. My family spent a week there every summer until I was about 11 years old
    And by family, I mean parents, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. There were 15-20 of us.
  3. We stayed in a big lake house called Howard's End
  4. The living room had humongous windows through which you could see the lake
  5. My uncle had two wave runners, my grandparents owned a pontoon boat named "Hakuna Matata," and we would rent a speedboat, too
  6. Most mornings, my grandma made pancakes and my uncle fried up the bacon
    You don't know true happiness until you wake up to the smell of bacon
  7. Days would consist of swimming, skiing, jet skiing, and tubing. My dad always wanted to drive the big kids so he could aim for the biggest waves and send them flying off the tube
  8. After a long day on the lake, we would shower and get ready for dinner. Each mom had a designated night to make dinner. Baked Ziti was a crowd favorite
  9. This covered 4 of the nights. On the other nights, we would go out to eat. My oldest cousin (who is 8 years older than me) always helped the three younger girls get ready, which meant straightening our hair and applying our makeup (luxuries which we were not old enough to experience in our everyday lives)
  10. One night of the week was the cookout. Howard's End had a fire pit, so the boys would spend a while searching for kindling in the woods, and we would make a fire and cook hot dogs. S'mores were, of course, the most important part
  11. At night, we were allowed to stay up as late as we wanted. The family would play board games around the table, and, of course, Pitch
  12. Pitch is more than a card game. It is the family gaming staple, and a rite of passage
  13. Now these days, our family dynamic has changed. Everyone has gotten so much busier. My cousins have gotten married. There are new babies. Our lives have grown apart.
  14. I haven't been to Deep Creek Lake in 8 years. But I still vividly remember every detail of many a week spent there