A mid-June SUV parade down highway 306 can only mean one thing… school is OUT and summer camp is IN session! Thousands of camp-ready kiddos descend on Pamlico County each year as they put school in the rearview and shift their excitement to endless adventures on the river.
Coastal waters with steady winds and extensive forested and natural areas make our area an ideal setting for families to escape the hustle of their everyday.
Arlington Place sits smack dab in the heart of summer camp country, sandwiched in between two of the largest sailing camps in the US. Camp Seagull for boys is 2 miles South and Camp Seafarer for girls is our neighbor across Mill Creek.
The Sea Gull and Seafarer Experience from Camp Sea Gull Camp Seafarer on Vimeo.
“the equivalent of a small town … Sea Gull and Seafarer cover 350 acres apiece and represent two of the rarest camps anywhere in the country. They’re both single-sex camps, situated on a coastal sliver of North Carolina in Arapahoe, a tiny town named after a horse.” ~ Jeri Rowe, Our State Magazine
Two other popular faith-based camps are just 5 miles down the road. You’ll find Camp Caroline tucked back on Dawson’s Creek and Camp DonLee just around the Minnesott Beach point on the Neuse River.
For more than sixty years, campers have been in the river learning and mastering all things that float — from sailing to windsurfing and fishing to cruising. And when on land, they keep busy with traditional camp activities such as archery, tennis, golf, creative arts, zip-lining and just about anything else you can think of that falls in the ‘spontaneous summer fun’ category.
But these camps are more than cool activities, WAY more. Summer camps are instilling core values in the next generation. Values that are worthy of our attention, yet are too often overshadowed by the busyness of the daily grind.
These youngsters might not realize it when they’re at camp, but this is often the place where their futures take shape. Guided by ambitious directors and counselors who naturally build character by surrounding campers in an environment of respect, independence and inclusion while celebrating diversity. Kids from every background and lifestyle, from all over the country… heck, all over the world really… come together to “discover who they are under a rising and setting sun along the North Carolina coast.”
All of this in a place devoid of electronics… yep, these kids (willingly) ditch their devices for a different kind of connection.
One of our favorite issues of one of our favorite magazines, Our State NC, is titled ‘Campfires & Canoes’. Inside you’ll find a neat article called A Kid (Still) Needs Camp that highlights Camps Seagull and Seafarer and how these special places “fill a new generation of campers with a season full of memories.”
“At Camp Seafarer … everyone stands on her seat in the dining hall and whoops it up for anything — birthdays, lost teeth, hamburgers … This is summer camp. We all have these memories, when our clothes smelled like mayonnaise, our hair felt like slick string, and that girl — or boy — made our heart leap when we saw him or her careering head-first down a slide covered in mud … And like a roasted marshmallow on the end of a twig, summer camp gives us memories that stick.” ~ Jeri Rowe, Our State Magazine
Read Jeri’s full article HERE, he sure has mastered the art of storytelling.
Generations have now passed through all of these camps, with alumni sending their children and grandchildren to share in the same experience they had as kids on the Inner Banks. A one of a kind family bond that over the years has bridged the gap between baby boomers, generation X, millennials, and generation Alpha (had to google that last one!).
And did I mention they have family camp in the spring and fall? For those of you looking to relive your glory days, look no further!
These classic summer camps seem somewhat frozen in time… a rarity in our ever-changing world. A true escape where burdens fade and freedom awaits. They have a tried-and-true formula for success at camp (and beyond) and they’ll be the first to tell you there’s no need to mess with a good thing.
Camps give our youth the gift of a throw-back childhood all the while teaching them to be the best version of themselves.
We’re incredibly fortunate to have these world class facilities just down the street, and across the creek. And since we share a shoreline with Seafarer, we get front row seats to their awesome stunt plane and fireworks shows!
After a year’s hiatus, everyone is anxious to welcome campers back to our area for what is sure to be a “family” reunion of sorts, two years in the making. We sure have missed hearing that classic camp bugle in the distance and looking off our shores and seeing 100 colorful Sunfish sailboats decorating the river.
With an interesting school year coming to an end, camps will be opening their doors in a few short weeks. And those familiar sites and sounds of carefree merriment will once again be part of the magic of Minnesott Beach.
There’s just something special about a place where traditions run deep… a place that you can leave, but no matter how far away you are, it never leaves you.
A huge thank you to Camp Seagull-Seafarer and Matt McCotter for the use of your images that paint the picture of camp life so perfectly!