At some point in peoples lives, they are faced with
letting go, and" moving on". Some decisions are not easy to make and some are. To
consciously submit to the very idea of letting go of something one is attached to can be difficult. It also depends greatly on motivation and courage. Most of the time there is "no going
back", and that can be scary, venturing into the unknown. There are
those among us who face decisions head on with confidence and know
just what to do. Such is the case in this wonderful story I am about to
One summer day , as I looked up and down towards the eastern shoreline for the loons, I noticed that there was more than usual activity at the Lone Pine Camp . It appeared that they were moving furniture out of the camp and onto a pontoon boat. They have been my neighbor across the pond for years. I only knew them as the folks that live in that green camp called the Lone Pine Camp. We would wave to each other when I passed by in my boat. They had to have had a good reason to be moving things. Soon I saw the pontoon boat loaded with furniture, moving down the shoreline towards the north. My last thought as I watched the boat fade into the distance was one of concern and wonder. I hoped things were okay with them.
The Lone Pine Camp, also known as Camp
number one, is a place that stands alone and stands
out. It is very unique. And in every sense of the word, a real rustic style camp . A dinosaur still standing today just like it did in the early `1900's.
Records indicate that the lease was purchased in 1927 from Harry Ricker by a fellow named Fred Barteau and the camp was built about that time. It looks the same today as it did then. This place existed before the town road to the south was built from Ricker's Mill. Before route #232 and the Stillwater campground was established. It was there when the hurricane of 1938 came roaring though. It has definitely stood the test of time.
In the early sixty's, Mr. and Mrs. Deane and Laura (Bing) Page purchased the camp from the Winchesters, who had bought it from the Colburn's. The Colburn's had purchased it from Fred Barteau. They leased the land from Milt Ricker, (Harry Ricker's son).
Later Milton Ricker's daughter became owner of that land, after her father passed on. Eventually she decided she wanted to sell. This opened up an opportunity for the Page's to purchased 28 acres of land adjoining their camp to the south and the land they were leasing. that their camp sat on. The camp had already been named, the "Lone Pine Camp", when the Pages purchased it. They decided to leave it named as it was. The camp had one large pine tree growing close in front of the camp. One can assume that is how it got it's name. (see photo below)
The roots of this pine tree had grown under the camp and when the wind would blow, the camp felt like it was moving and would sometimes shake. Mr. Page decided it was in their best interest to have it removed. He had a local logger come in during the winter months when there was ice on the pond, and cut it down.
Mr. and Mrs. Page, lived in the town of Groton and they always had a desire to own their own camp on the pond someday. They were now a family of five, blessed with two sons and a daughter. Owning their own place on the pond would have its challenges and its joys.
The Lone Pine camp has no access to electricity except for a gasoline powered generator. This meant no phone. There was no spring close by and no well for drinking water . It was not insulated at the time they purchased it. And there was no central heating system. A small woodstove would suffice. There wasn't any road to this camp and the only way to access it was by boat. To get there during the summer months they would park their vehicles on the west shore of the pond and travel across the pond by boat.
Every thing they would need, would have to be carried in by boat. They were young and strong. Their dream of owning a camp had come true.
The Page's have spent close to 50 years on Groton Pond at the Lone Pine Camp. Their children would grow up on the pond, learning about nature and how to swim, boat and fish. They were able to explore and experience the joys of living by the water. Life was good.
In the years to come, their oldest son, Kent, who was in college at the time, was involved in a life threatening accident. He was left paralyzed and wheel chair bound with a traumatic brain injury. Without hesitation they became his constant loving caregivers, 24 hours a day. Now faced with many new challenges, one of which would be how to be able to continue to go to camp and take their son in the wheel chair with them. The rough terrain around the camp and the shores of the pond is not wheel chair friendly.
Transporting a grown man, who was totally paralyzed safely onto a boat, then out of the boat and onto the dock, then off the dock over a rocky shoreline and up an incline to the door of their camp would not be easy. With a great deal of love, strength, patience and determination they were able to achieve this. I can only imagine it was not easy. In the back of their minds when they purchased the 28 acres, they had always thought they would give each one of their children a piece of this land, so they could build their own camps. At this point in their lives, due to their sons physical condition, they wanted and needed access by other means than a boat. If a medical emergency ever arose, receiving medical assistance and transporting him to a hospital quickly would not be possible.
They began investigating the possibility of putting in a road to their camp from the south end of the pond. Having a road, would make their lives so much easier and provide them with a life line and solutions that they now needed. The possibility of having electricity, a phone, a well, and a much safer and gentler way to transport their son to and from camp by a vehicle would provide them with many advantages including less worry and peace of mind.
Was a road around the south end a possibility ? With much time and thought, they devised a plan that they felt would be viable. A plan to built a road to their camp around the south end of the pond. Aside from building a road, they would need a right of way to access their property. Eight hundred feet would do it. They moved forward with their ideas.
The State of Vermont owned the adjoining land. A bill was presented and passed into legislature twice, but the senate would not pass it. This proved to be a time consuming effort and a hurtle that couldn't be overcome.
Forest and Parks introduced the Pages to the possibility of a land exchange. In return for their property they were willing to offered them lifetime tenancy of their camp and offered them two lots further down the east shore to the north. With the stipulation that if the time came they were not using the Lone Pine camp, they would relinquish the property and move out.
Sadly their eldest son, Kent passed away in 1989. They agreed to accept the offer from the state in 1993. In the summer of 2012 they decided it was time to say goodbye to their camp. They packed up and moved out. *(see photo below)
Their two remaining children, De-Ann and Tom, now with families of their own, built two camps on the east shore towards the north, on the land their folks had exchanged for them.
Mr. and Mrs. Page now spend their summers enjoying time with their children and grandchildren on the pond, at the new location.
In the end they are content and comfortable with the decisions they have made and how things turned out. Life on the pond is good and much easier now for them as they have grown older and are now retired. They enjoy the luxury of driving back and forth to the pond, spending time at their children's camps, and enjoying all the amenities modern day life can offer there.
Since I have been on the pond this camp has always been there. It was around when the pond was still very fresh and sparsely populated. It is not the oldest place on the pond, but it is a land
mark and has played an important role . It is "Camp Number One "and it is part of Groton Pond. A rugged and stout camp that is nestled into the side of the hill, slightly back from the shoreline, southeast of Jerry Lund Hill.
Now when I look down the shoreline,
I see this place, still standing tall and strong and wonder if it will be left to die a natural death from deterioration over time. That was the point of doing the land exchange, to preserve that area.
The land and shoreline towards the dam is home to resident loons that nest there in the quiet of the backwaters and raise their young every spring. That area is home to an abundance of wildlife, waterfowl and countless aquatic vegetation.
The Page family in the end, gave all of us an incredible gift by making the decisions that they did. This amazing undeveloped area beyond that camp to the south, is one of Groton Ponds finest and most pristine treasures.
I thank them for the part that they played in keeping it that way. Some may not have thought about this, but I have many times. Especially when I observe from a distance, a pair of loons in the quiet of the early dawn tenderly feeding their newly hatched chicks, on the east shoreline, at the southern end of the pond.
A very special thanks to Bing and Deane for openly and warmly sharing their story with me and allowing it to be publish on my website.
The land on the east shore to the south
The Lone Pine Camp
Tom Page on snow machine, in front of the Lone Pine Camp
Note the pine tree in front of the camp which eventually had to be cut down
Photo's Courtesy of Bing and Deane Page.
A day at the Lone Pine Camp, family celebrating Grandpa Page's
80th Birthday~Aug 1987
Photo D Sprague.
New location, down the shoreline.....
" M O V I N G O N"
Newly hatched chick on the south end
Early morning wake up call
video Darlene Sprague
The Page's Grandchildren at the Lone Pine Camp
Groton Pond, Keith Page, Andy Page who proudly
holds his catch (a bass) and Stan Welch~1996
Deane Page at the helm, making his move ~2012
D Sprague Photo
D Sprague Photo
Celebrating close to 50 years of a time well spent
Lone Pine Camp
Camp Number one
and Dean riding off into the sunset