by Paige Nalipinski
My husband Mike and I have been coming to Keoka off and on, usually for only short stays, since I was in middle school and my family would visit Meg and Whizzer Wheeler (relatives by proxy — Meg’s sister Beth Mason is my aunt by marriage). First visits consisted of “Simon Says” in the yard of Rydal Mount on Rice Road, playing house in its old school house barn, and just general happy times, but not so much lake time. Then, in 1999, Beth and Chip Mason bought the Lazott place on Keoka and the focus switched to special time on the lake in both summers and winters. In 2002, we brought our two kids and their friends to stay for February vacation hoping to ski, but there was no snow, so each evening we would watch the Olympics in Salt Lake and the following day reenact the events. Did you know Dr. Pepper is a great way to draw lanes on the ice for speed skating and curling??
In 2019, we bought 91 Woodland Trail (Resting Moose) from the Masons and dreamed we might someday retire there. COVID 19 expedited that process! Happily, we had a place from which to work remotely as our work lives were turned upside down. Mike worked 100% remotely for many months and I commuted back and forth to Boston working 4 days in the city, 4 days off. We found that we really loved the solitude of the winter here and city life was losing its appeal. We took on some renovations that allowed a place to dump snowy boots and a bit more heat and insulation, while working hard to retain the cabin that is what we love so much! This fall we both retired (well sort of… I’m now working at Stephens Memorial and not commuting to Mass General Hospital!) and moved here to enjoy Keoka and Waterford year-round. Because of COVID (one of those silver linings we are all trying to find), we ended up meeting some very special year-round folks who were all working hard to get some form of socialization even with the 6-foot restrictions required with social distancing. We would meet and have beach or driveway bonfires with the Brennans, Tarbells, Eastons, Eatons, Lorrains, Courtney/Orrs and Pendergasts. And friendships were born. Now we cannot wait to be here for a full summer and for many years to come! Our kids (Kai, 28 and Mason, 24) are both in Brooklyn and finally old enough to rent cars on their own, so we hope will be visiting often!