If I have one constant memory of Echo Valley, it is waiting in that long line that spilled out of the humid kitchen before each meal, crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t get the banana plate. This was the old ranch house, the one you’d file through, filling up your plate before heading back outside to find a seat amidst the rows of picnic tables. Yes, you waited in line and you ate outside.

These days, meals look a little different in the Canyon. Not only are meals served indoors, but they are served family style. I’m generally old school and resistant to change, but my all-time favorite conversations take place around the table, usually 30 minutes after the forks and knives have been laid to rest. There is nothing like lingering over half-eaten cold rolls because you are busting a gut laughing or are so engaged in another’s story that it would take the power going out to budge your chair. That’s how meals at camp are –and you get three doses per day! And, with family style, everything you need is right there in the center of the table. It’s how I would do things if I were the perfect mom.
Today, campers are eating, nay, breaking bread together and partaking in nourishment for the body and soul. Community is happening in the Ranch House and family style is facilitating and encouraging the conversation. Singing Hills was doing this back in the ‘90’s. I’m glad Echo Valley followed suit!

For more on the value of meals in the Canyon, check out these beautiful words from Laity Lodge Chef, Tim Blanks. http://www.laityrenewal.org/pdf/1344888642.pdf

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