I still can’t believe it’s been a solid month since I left on vacation with my sister and dad to return to our beloved family camp on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire after an eight year hiatus. Post-college, it seems like time passes a whole lot faster and so I’m still in disbelief that a month has already passed between now and then (my partially still-packed suitcase can attest to this. Sorry, Mom). I’m still trying to get over the fact that I moved away from Boston over a year ago and that I can’t really use “Well, I just recently returned to the area” for an excuse for anything anymore.
One of the best parts about returning to Lake Winnipesaukee was picking up where I had left off with old friends, eight years later. Last time we had been at camp together, we couldn’t even buy our own booze. Gone were the days of relying on older siblings/friends to pick us up a case of Sublimes and nonchalantly shoving them into duffel bags.
Another highlight of returning to our camp on Lake Winnipesaukee is seeing all the familiar landmarks. There are the actual landmarks on the grounds, such as the ice cream store, the beach, our special hidden beach, the barn, the White Mountains, and all of our secret pathways. Then there are the landmarks along the highway. The McDonald’s at the edge of a hill, JoJo’s Country store, and Funspot.
Funspot touts itself as the World’s Largest Arcade. The kind of place where kids beg, plead, and bargain with their parents to take them and parents pretend they don’t hear their children’s cries of “Please take us to Funspot! Can we go to Funspot?!”
Even as twenty-somethings, my friends and I still possessed a deep yearning for someone to please take us to Funspot. We wanted to experience the world’s largest arcade and we wanted the prizes to prove our adventures. One rainy evening, towards the end of the week, it dawned on us that we had the power within us all along to take ourselves to Funspot.
Take ourselves to Funspot we did and we experienced the depths of the world’s largest arcade. First, we bowled with adult beverages (but not in the actual alley, thanks to New Hampshire state law). Then, we turned our twenty-dollar bills into coins and played as much Skeeball as we possibly could manage. Another treat was the archaic arcade games area which allowed us to play Duck Hunt and other old school Mario Brothers games, and the original Pac-Man. Unfortunately, some of the machines hadn’t been repaired since their glory days, so coins were lost.
One of the unlikely favorite machines of the night was the ticket dispenser. We put our stacks and stacks of tickets into the machine which would count all the tickets and spit out a receipt with our ticket count. The anticipation of how high that number was so exciting that we found ourselves chanting, “Machine! Machine! Machine!” in hopes that it would give us a high count of tickets.
When we returned to the camp with all of our prize rings, souvenir Funspot pint glasses, bracelets, and a little bounce in our step, a young child could not help but notice all of our new loot. Her curiosity leading the way, she asked us, “Where did you get all of these things?”
My dear friend replied, “Why, we won them at Funspot.” Her eyes widened at the mention of the sacred arcade.
“You went to Funspot?! No fair!” Many people know of Funspot, few have actually set foot in there. Especially kids without their parents.
“Well you see,” my friend began. “When you’re an adult, you get to do kid things.” Dumbfounded, she bumbled off to bed as we went to enjoy our Swedish fish under the stars.