Every time I go through my closet there is a section of dresses that I don’t wear but I keep anyway. It’s not because I have problems getting rid of things. At this point I probably have the opposite problem; I end up purging things I should actually keep.
It’s because they are my “Scott’s dresses”. These dresses were normally worn just once a year on vacation, at Scott’s Oquaga Lakehouse in Deposit, NY. Earlier this year, we found out Scott’s is closing and won’t be opening this summer. (2020 is legit the worst, right?) I know that means next closet clean out I really should reduce the amount of dresses I keep, but this purge might be harder than others.
Scotts was magical. It was somewhere we only went one short week once a year, but it always felt like you were home when you arrived. When I’m feeling anxious, I think of Scotts. It is quite literally my happy place. The first time I heard the term hygge I thought, “THAT’S MY SCOTT’S FEELING!” If you’re unfamiliar with the term hygge, it comes from Danish culture and the definition is “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”) And that is exactly how Scotts made me feel.
My whole extended family on my mother’s side began going to Scott’s in the 1970s, long before I was born. My Grandmother took a senior bus trip there and enjoyed it so much she wanted all her children and their families to go back, and the rest is history.
It was always a difficult place to describe, but usually I would start by saying, “It’s kinda like the place in Dirty Dancing”. However now I can start with, “It was the place they went on vacation in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, because in 2018 the Amazon series used Scott’s family resort as their backdrop for the filming of the fictional “Steiner Resort”.
But the real life Scotts was even better then the one in the show.
Your day at Scotts would begin by awaking and heading down to the antiques-covered lobby. As you made your way past the old fashioned barbers chairs, the player piano, telephone booth and the “Love is Spoken Here” plaque, you’d arrive at the front desk and grab your itinerary for the day. After securing your schedule, you’d sit enjoying a cup of coffee as you chatted with family and other guests about your plans for the day.
“Ohhh Painting with Chuck! I want to do that again!”
“ I’m definitely going to the line dancing lessons with Papa Scott!”
“Did you see there’s karaoke tonight at Patty’s pub? Thats my favorite!”
You’d make your plans to go on a nature walk, play tennis, and attend ballroom dance lessons, while making sure to leave ample time to sit by the crystal clear lake to read, swim and go water skiing.
After enjoying your lake time in the afternoon, the Show Boat would cruise around the lake. The guests would all climb aboard grabbing an old timey song book on their way to a bench. Gary would play the keyboard and lead you all in song, stopping every once in a while to tell you some history about the lake.
After your tour of the lake, you’d head back to your room to freshen up and change into your “Scott’s dress”. While dressing up for dinner wasn’t required, many of the guests would, and it was a fun tradition that we loved to carry on.
Next up was Patty’s Pub. Nestled in the building by the lakefront was a small bar, where everyone would gather before dinner for a drink, hors d’oeuvres and good company. Pretty red flowers in hanging baskets lined the patio. You could grab a table outside and soak up the sunshine and beautiful views while listening to your family and friends attempt to sing hits like New York, New York during karaoke. You always needed to be careful not to stay too long at Patty’s Pub, because no one would want to miss dinner.
As you walked down the stairs to the dining room, you would smell delightful aromas and hear a pianist playing music that would add a special classiness to you meal.
All the meals were served in the dining room and the menu changed each day. There was always something delicious, especially the house made deserts. Sometimes there were novelties on the menu like “Scott’s Shrub” which was just juice and sherbet, but because it came from the Scott’s kitchen we acted as if it were a delicacy. After your meal, you’d enjoy coffee and conversation before heading up to the “Playhouse”.
The “Playhouse” housed a dance floor and stage downstairs and contained an old fashioned bowling alley, billiards and ping pong tables upstairs.
When you arrived at the Playhouse the house band known as the Lakeside Four would be playing live music for you to dance to and enjoy. After dancing wrapped up, there would be a show. There were all sorts of amazing acts that performed at Scotts: magicians, musicians, comedians, and the host family themselves. They would put on a show, called The Scott Family Revue, full of their talented family members singing and dancing.
After your long delightful day you’d head back to your room to rest and prepare for your next long day. Scott’s had many amazing qualities, but the rooms were not one of them. They were always clean, but the beds were usually lumpy, the showers dribbled a stream of lukewarm-if-you-were-lucky-water, and the was furniture outdated, but everything about it was absolutely perfect. Yes. Perfect.
But why? If it had been just any hotel, we probably wouldn’t have been happy.
No AC in August?!
“A skunk just walked down the hallway past my room.” (Yes-this literally happened to me.)
But it wasn’t just any hotel. We dreamed of this place all year long. What made it so special? Was it the abundance of fresh air and beautiful lake views? I’m sure that didn’t hurt, but no, that wasn’t it.
It was the people. Isn’t that what always really matters in life?
It was being there with family.
It was our Grandmother’s memory living on in a tradition she started that lasted for generations.
Most of all, it was the amazing hosts, the Holdrege family. They are truly special people. They were able to welcome travelers into their space and make them truly feel like part of the family. They are the type of people our world is lacking, people who make everyone feel welcomed, valued, and loved. That sign in the lobby, “Love is spoken here” wasn’t just a random decor item, it was Scott’s mantra.
While I am sad that Scotts won’t be open for us to gather this summer, and I will miss the beautiful lake and activities, what I will miss most of all is seeing the Holdrege family every year. And that feeling of hygge.
I’m glad there’s now a piece of Scott’s hidden for us to enjoy in the TV world. When the next time comes for me to clean out my closet, maybe instead I’ll throw on a “Scott’s dress”, put on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, make myself a Scotts Shrub, and give myself some time.