What a weekend! New Jersey is a long way from North Carolina for just a weekend. I would only consider it to visit with some special friends, my classmates from the class of 1967, Drew University. So it all started in New Jersey.
We had our first mini-reunion three years ago when Karen invited us to her house in Charlotte, NC for the weekend. I live the closest, so it was an easy trip for me. This time she invited us to her summer cottage in South Seaville, NJ. For years I had heard her tell of summer in South Seaville, at the Camp Meeting. Karen's late father was a Methodist Minister, so it was easy to imagine summer revivals at a place on the coast. I thought "Camp Meeting" was an event. It turns out that "Camp Meeting" is also a place. It dates back to the 1800's when people came together on this camp site and pitched tents and had a revival. The tents evolved into cottages, and the revival tent is now an open-air Tabernacle.
We stayed at Karen's cottage, that was built by her father when she was a little girl. Her parents retired there. Only a few of the cottages are approved for year-round occupancy, so the tradition of a summer place continues through the generations. It's like a little village that surrounds the Tabernacle. Children play in and around the cottages that resemble a miniature Martha's Vineyard. Everybody knows everybody else, and we were welcomed as Karen's friends.
One of the requirements of ownership in the Camp Meeting, is membership in a Methodist Church. Methodism is strong in that part of New Jersey, as well as in Delaware across the bay from Cape May. Many of the Camp Meeting people have a connection to Drew University as well, since Drew is associated with the Methodist church, and has a Methodist Theological school. We did some Drew reminiscing with the new people we met.
We didn't stay through Sunday, so we missed the Camp Meeting in the Tabernacle Sunday night. But it was a full weekend all the same. We laughed a lot, played 60's music, and ate too much. It was a bit chilly at 75 degrees to go into the ocean but we did go to Boardwalk at Ocean City nearby.