The Cove Connection
I had only crossed the Virginia/West Virginia state line a few hours earlier, but I was already desperately trying to find a cell phone signal. I was singularly focused; I needed this text to go through to my husband.
It read: “This is amazing. You have to come with me next year. See you on Sunday.”
Thanks to the generosity of Burgundy leadership, I, along with two of my colleagues, attended this summer’s Adult Weekend at the Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies (the Cove or BCWS). Initially, I petitioned to be considered for the scholarship because I felt that spending time at the Cove would enable me to better tell its story. I am the Communications Manager at Burgundy, and I often find myself instagramming, tweeting, and writing about the Cove having had very little personal experience of it.
Today, on the other side of Adult Weekend, I do, indeed, have a greater understanding of just how special the Cove is and why it is so central to Burgundy. What I didn’t realize prior to my arrival, however, is just how much I would enjoy it!
I grew up camping, and there is not much I love more than waking up in a tent under the trees. I don’t particularly like, however, the production that camping can be—the endless lists of things to bring, the unpacking and repacking, the tediousness of setting up camp, and the difficulty of keeping food contained and out of reach from animal neighbors. But this is the beauty of Adult Weekend! I got to sleep in a tent (which you do not have to do if you opt to sleep in the dorms), hike, stargaze, read in a hammock, and eat really great food, all without the hassle!
The BCWS staff members were hospitable, knowledgeable, and talented. Upon arrival, they helped unload cars, set up tents, orient guests, and answer questions. Every meal was delicious and served to us with grace and plenty. They offered pastimes ranging from a morning-long Canopy Walk and swimming in the pond to mushroom foraging (I learned so much!), watercolor painting and bird spotting. For an introvert like me, it was a relief to realize that there was no pressure to actually do anything unless I wanted to. With that said, I surprised myself and participated in more activities than I had planned simply because the staff were all so interesting and fun.
The last dinner was spent at the Bald, where the views of the Appalachian mountains are unsurpassed and the sunset is breathtaking. We drank wine, sang songs, toasted marshmallows for s’mores, and walked back down to the Lodge guided by flashlights and the sounds of laughter coming from those ahead.
I had to leave early on Sunday morning to return in time for a friend’s baby shower and was genuinely sad to go. It only took a couple of days at the Cove surrounded by the beauty of a truly natural environment and cared for by the generous BCWS staff to remind me of what I value most—connection. Connection with the earth, with others, and ultimately with myself. I am grateful to Vini et al for the gift of Adult Weekend and cannot wait to return with my family and friends next summer!