It’s like camp…but for adults Local groups enjoy weekend sports adventures at Connecticut site

Locals who are tired of the same humdrum shore scene every weekend have been escaping to Connecticut for a weekend trip that is anything but ordinary. Tucked in the Berkshires, Club Getaway offers sports adventure weekends throughout the summer and early fall, some with special themes. Many of them are singles’ weekends, but some of them host local sports groups (like i9 and ZogSports) and groups of friends.

Camp for adults

The 300-acre resort set in the hills of Kent is a family owned and operated camp. Victor Fink, who currently runs the camp, took over operations from his father, who bought the camp in 1946.According to Fink, many of the guests that visit the camp often come back for repeat trips.

“We try to give adults everything they might have missed at camp,” said Fink, “or to re-live the experience.”

As a destination getaway, everything is included in the weekend package price including lodging, food, entertainment, sports instruction and equipment, and more.

Guests can book in groups or come alone as the group activities often inspire new friendships. The club is arranged around the beautiful lake that sits in the center of the resort. The lake rests at the bottom of a hill with cabins set on the side so guests can drink in the view.

With non-stop activities throughout the weekend, whether one is a sports enthusiast or a lakeside lounger, one can hone their skills in a new sport or relax.

Popular with local groups

The multi-sport weekend packages are popular with several local Hudson County groups such as ZogSports, The Hoboken Happy Hour Group, and i9 Sports. On a recent sports weekend that included the said groups, my companions and I booked a cabin and headed off to camp for our own adventure. The weekend trip kicks off with a late night dinner on Friday, where friendly staff members greet guests like old friends.

At every table, a camp counselor sits with guests to break the ice and make introductions as the tables seat parties of eight to 10 people.

Dinner includes a slew of food. We were treated to platter upon platter of salads, cheese, warm bread, pasta, broiled lemon chicken, seasoned rice, steamed vegetables, and more.

Those with big appetites won’t be disappointed with the large selection of rich tasty food, dessert at every meal, and complimentary wine with dinner. The food is prepared on the premises by chefs from the Connecticut Culinary Institute.

After dinner on Friday, guests moved to the boathouse nightclub, where we were treated to live music and dancing and a spectacular acrobatics show.

Sports galore

The non-stop activities on Saturday kick off at 8 a.m. with a group mountain hike, for those who aren’t too bleary-eyed after the late night dancing. Sign-ups for activities are from nine to 10 a.m. for activities that fill-up quickly like waterskiing, rock climbing, flying trapeze, and mountain bike tours.

After my crew and I signed up for different activities, we made our way to the lodge for a buffet-style breakfast. Again, there is almost too much food. Guests can indulge themselves with almost any kind of hot breakfast including eggs, meats, pancakes, French toast, oatmeal, and an omelet station.

In addition, there is fruit, yogurt, juice, pastries, and more. Afterwards, we split up to take on as many activities as we could.

My crew and I managed to try many of the activities including the group volleyball and softball, tennis, flying trapeze, archery, waterskiing, trampoline, and kayaking – all in time to enjoy the jazz happy hour and barbeque at 5:30.

Most of the activities are scheduled for an hour, with some taking less time like the zip line, which gives riders an aerial view of the camp and takes only a few minutes from start to finish.

For those looking for relaxing activities, they can take yoga or massage class, learn how to tie-dye t-shirts, or simply relax in a lounge chair by the lake.

Friendly staff

While all of the staff members are interested in sports, some have particular sports or activities that they teach. According to camp staff member Adam Kishpaugh, activities like basketball and “keg softball” always get the biggest turn out.

Kishpaugh, who was a guest at a multi-sport weekend last summer, became a staff member this season.

Kishpaugh said that while he is an all-around athlete, most of the staff is invited to work at the camp because of their outgoing personalities.

During the course of the weekend, my crew and I ran into the outgoing Kishpaugh, whose main objective is to see that everyone has a good time. (Think activities director Julie McCoy from the “Love Boat.”)

“We are here to make the guests happy,” said Kishpaugh.

Specialty clinics

Those looking for a special instruction can participate in a tennis or basketball clinic or partake in a Scuba Diving course designed with the novice in mind.

Dr. “J” (Jay Marks) is a master scuba diver trainer who instructs students in the basics in a safe, secure environment. Marks first came to the club 14 years ago as a guest and has been teaching for nine years.

According to Marks, many of his students say that they always wanted to try it.

“Where else can you go outside the Caribbean to try scuba diving?” said Marks.

The equipment is provided by Pan Aqua in Manhattan, who also provides weekend certification classes in New York. At the club, divers are in a special enclosed area on the lake that is shallow.

“Someone can always stand up if they don’t like it,” said Marks.

Marks said that he has the divers play games under the water so that they forget that they are breathing underwater.

Campfire boys and girls

Saturday wraps with a huge midnight bonfire by the lake. Guests are invited to toast marshmallows, sing around the fire, and relax. Hoboken resident Kristine Ferrara, who returned for a second season, said that the campfire was one of her favorite parts of the weekend.

“Everyone was singing and laughing,” said Ferrara. “It was so much fun.”

By Sunday, many campers took it easy opting to sun themselves by the lake. The weekend closes with a buffet style lunch and an awards presentation. Awards were given for MVP in the sports categories.

In addition, there are special awards given out like the “Dancing Queen” and “Most Out of Control” award, which went to Steve “Slu” Slusarski.

Slu, who was a member of a bachelor party, provided entertainment for the camp on the dance floor and off. Slu said that his favorite activity was “boogying down” or “frolicking in the water.”

Hobokenite Tiffany Shenman, who runs the Hoboken Happy Hour Group, was enjoying her third season at Club Getaway.

Shenman said that she particularly enjoys the group sports like softball and being able to share the experience with friends.

Locals who join The Hoboken Happy Hour Group are eligible for discounts for certain weekends at Club Getaway. E-mail Tiffany (TiffShen2@aol.com).

There are several multi-sport adventure weekend packages left. For more information, visit: www.clubgetaway.com.

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