As an 8-year-old back in 1972 when I first moved to Quechee, I didn’t pay attention to what the greater vision or broader impact was when my former step-father, John Davidson (and his colleagues) created Quechee Lakes. I just knew that I had a place to hang out with friends at the then teen center located in the red barn; ski all day all weekend with just my friends – no parents to slow me down; swim in the pool or Lake Pinneo (although I’m not sure the Lake was even created that early on) and any number of wholesome, just plain fun activities. Families came from all over New England and even a few lucky Bermudians found another piece of paradise to call home #2.
The locals, those of us members who lived in Quechee year ’round, had the greatest place on earth to grow up. Our day-to-day life included lasting benefits that we all took for granted at the time – as kids are wont to do. The natural world, which was the backdrop of our lives, formed our playground. We felt safe and loved at the four-classroom schoolhouse called the Quechee Grammar School (now the Waldorf School) with homemade lunches cooked daily from scratch from local women who came in daily to feed us. Our after-school activities were prompted by “Go play outside!” No order or rules or structure except those that we made up on the spot. While we didn’t know it at the time, even the Green had a primary purpose of bringing people together. I remember overhearing John Davidson describe his vision of the Quechee Green as a local gathering place where people could sit by the river and enjoy concerts in the gazebo and that there might be shops and eateries, in short, a common ground location for QLLA members and Quechee proper residents, alike. We kids just saw it as a giant playground!
On the weekends and vacation weeks, a whole new group of friends would come to town at which point their and our lives and perspectives broadened. While it was interesting to hear about the worlds we all lived in during our day-to-day lives, we had limited time and had better get to the fun stuff… which is what Quechee was all about! As kids we knew it, but even more surprisingly, we witnessed our parents becoming more relaxed and fun… bonus! Even back then you could tell who was “super rich” and who wasn’t, but it was clear that if arrogance or insecurities about that issue arose, they were quickly overshadowed and forgotten because, again, there was fun stuff to tend to and that was far more important in the scheme of life… and still is in Quechee.
What draws people to Quechee and what makes it so special for the 1500+/- families who make it their home away from home (and some choose to settle here for good), is that there is a freedom and acceptance to leave the rest of the crazy world behind and to just enjoy life as it is meant to be enjoyed – communing with family members across the generations and with friends old and new; engaging in health-promoting mind/body/spirit activities; offering up brain power, physical time and energy and other resources for the greater good (a la QLLA Charities, Board participation and other volunteer efforts); and just plain being happy to be here!
Who one is at work and what costume he or she happens to wear when going to the office every day is inconsequential in Quechee. There is a common ground and that is a love for this place where everyone can truly feel home.
Jen would love to hear your thoughts about why Quechee feels like home to you. Feel free to comment below or to email her personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.