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Why I Love Coming Back to Keuka Lake Every Year

My family first started coming to Keuka lake in 2004, when I was eight. It was fall, and I remember my brothers and I were ecstatic to discover that the cottage we were staying at had bunk beds. To be honest, I really don’t remember much more than the bunk beds, so safe to say they must have been pretty cool.

We came back soon, during the summer, and this time my brothers and I were so excited to be there that we ran straight into the lake fully clothed. That house was just a few hundred feet down the street from our future lake house, christened Water’s Edge, where we proceeded to spend several weeks every summer thereafter.

The lake house was tiny, which was perfect because we spent the entirety of nice days outside. On rainy days, the living/kitchen area was just big enough to house family games and a PlayStation1, much to our mom’s ire. We fished (I hold the family record for “Greatest Indifference to the Sport of Fishing” and, ironically, “Biggest Fish Caught”), fashioned tiny acorn boats that later tragically sank, fed ducks, swam, tubed, ate spaghetti and meatballs at The Switz Inn, and made s’mores by the campfire. At night, we went to bed to the sound of waves lapping against the shore with the ceiling fan’s quiet whirring in the background, but not before arguing about who got to sleep on the top bunk. We finally had our beloved bunk beds, which was the best until we realized how difficult it is to get a fitted sheet on the top bunk.

Looking back, I remember loving the lake but simultaneously annoyed that our family vacations took me away from my friends. I didn’t know how lucky I was, and I certainly didn’t appreciate all the quality family time our lake house provided. Now in college, I wish I could spend a whole month of my summer waking up to a beautiful Keuka sunset in the morning (just kidding, I’m never up before the sunset), with a cup of coffee in hand ready for a day of sunning on the dock with intermittent swims. Lake life is the life.

Now that I’m older, and I can’t just take off for two weeks to Keuka in the summer, I treasure the time my family and I have together at the lake, even if we can only get away for a few days. When I was younger, Keuka Lake was our thing. We were lake people for sure, and we built so many memories there together. We’ve had family reunions there, even a family wedding, and so many friends join us for a week or just a weekend. It’s a special place for our family. Coming back every summer, and then more often once we moved to upstate New York for good, was a wonderful part of my childhood.

I think there’s something to be said for consistency in family time, and having a “thing” that your family does that’s special. Something that is set aside for just the family, for just spending time together. For us, that was our lake house. Maybe Keuka Lake will be that “thing” for you and your family too.