Me My Life

Camp Wandawega Getaway

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Last week, I spent a couple of days here.

Camp Wandawega

I’m lucky to have this job of mine. Banana Republic wanted to work with me to promote their new Milly line, and asked that I invite a few people for a summer outing. Inviting bloggers wasn’t a requirement, but I wanted my friends Jess, Kim, and Heidi to come. Then I crossed my fingers and sent an email to the owner of Camp Wandawega, hoping to rent a cabin. You know — that place in Wisconsin with the paint-by-number nursery?

Camp Wandawega's Paint-by-Number Nursery

That’s the one. I’d seen the place in magazines and photo shoots for years, and was thrilled when Tereasa was able to accommodate us. Kim was familiar with it too, and was equally excited about going. Can you tell we were into it?

Kim Vargo and Nicole Balch

We were all pretty into it. (Plus we all got some cute new clothes, so bonus.)

Kim, Jess, and Heidi

Jess decided that we were glamping. I don’t know if that’s technically accurate, as we did have beds. The showers were communal, so I guess there was that. And we probably could have slept in the camper, had any of us wanted to.

Camp Wandawega Showers

Camp Wandawega Camper

Anyway, we slept in beds, in a sweet little 3 bedroom cabin. This was my room.

Camp Wandawega Bedroom

Brace yourselves, because this place was amazing and I have approximately 2,042 photos of it.

We lazed, we swung. We took photos, and we arched. (I assume there’s a better way to say that.)

Tree House Hammock Lazing

Watch Your Step


Photography and Archery

Nicole Balch, Heidi Gustad, Jessica Lively, and Kim Vargo

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We drove into town the next morning and brought breakfast back to the tree house. We explored the grounds a bit more before calling it a day and heading back home.

Breakfast of Glampions

Camp Wandawega felt a lot like Brandon’s family lake house, but it’s only two hours from Chicago instead of six, and a lot more Wes Anderson-y.

I mean come on.

The Fox Den

This is real. This is a real place. Can you believe the cuteness? Every time I turned a corner, “oh, cute.”

Camp Wandawega Grounds

Camp Wandawega Kitchen

Camp Wandawega Bedroom and Bath

Yeah, I may have posed in front of a painting, with the intention of editing the photo and turning it into a painting. I should have tucked in my shirt, and added a red bandana and suspenders. Had I found an axe, the effect would have been complete.

Me and Abe

Let’s forget that I did that. Here, more cute Wandawega.

To the Pier

Camp Wandawega Equipment


Camp Wandawega Cottage and Teepee

It was a crazy time for all of us to pick up and leave, but I’m so glad we were able to do it. And we all felt pretty foxy.


p.s. Blogger footwear of choice in the woods? Wellies. (It was actually raining, and when the trails proved muddy we were glad we’d brought our boots.) This last photo was the result of propping my camera on a log and using the self-timer.

Bloggers Love Rain Boots

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  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I can’t believe how well designed and decorated that place is. It’s just perfect. How cool that you got to go!


    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      June 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      It has been eight years in the making, so it’s perfectly layered and wonderful.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 11:34 am

    beautiful photos! definitely reminds me of moonrise kingdom!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Just read Dooce’s camp/resort post yesterday. Banana R. sure is going all out! LOVE that striped dress!

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      June 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      I love the striped dress too! Heidi had me wishing I’d chosen it for myself.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 11:43 am

    it was so fun having you up! come back soon. xo, camp

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      June 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      I’m pretty sure we’d all like to take you up on that.

  • Reply
    Kim @ Yellow Brick Home
    June 11, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Aw, love your shots! I’m going through my photos today (and also dealing with server issues – YBH is down right now, boo!). Jess and I look so cozy in that hammock. Let’s go back!

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      June 11, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      I want to go and nap in one of the hammocks. Let’s go!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Incredible pictures! What an awesome spot. I wonder how far away that is from Indianapolis

  • Reply
    Jess Lively
    June 11, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I still feel like one of the luckiest people ever to get invited on this trip, Nicole!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! : )

    • Reply
      June 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      Jess, I have the same coloured Hunter’s as you do! You guys all look fantastic! Looks like a wonderful place to visit.
      Is it south or north of Chicago? I have a friend in Sheboygan, maybe I can combine a trip?

      • Reply
        Jess Lively
        June 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm

        Giulia, Hunter twins!

        I’m not sure where it is to be honest. (Nicole and Kim took care of driving.)

        It’s in Elkhorn Wisconsin, if that helps!! : ) Not sure it could be a trip, depending on how much you’d like to drive??

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    HA! I’m so glad I found that spade. Thanks again for inviting us on this trip. Holi cannoli, it was a blast. ;)

  • Reply
    Marie-Pier | Four Seasons at Home
    June 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Wow, this place looks so charming! Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    absolutely adorbs, the lot of you.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Oh my gosh I am dying of envy! I really really want to go check that place out it looks so fun. You all look super cute in all those photos and love the wellies!

  • Reply
    christine w
    June 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    i want to go to there!!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Wes andersn, indeed

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    But where are the elephant print shorts? I went to the Banana Republic site, but they didn’t have them, or the printed shorts you wore. Great post!

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      June 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      I noticed that they weren’t on the site too. They were Banana, from the new Milly line. Maybe they’re sold out already? Or just haven’t been listed yet?

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    So fun! I love reading about Camp Wandewega – Teresa book chronicling the moving and decorating of a cabin is one of my favorites – It would be so much fun to have a space that was completely “theme-y”, wouldn’t it? (Love the Banana Republic clothes, too – and the painting photo is cool!)

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I’m jealous. I’ve wanted to go there for a long time and picture it to be the ideal blogger retreat :) It looks like you guys had so much fun! Love the wellies.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I live not to far from you ,in Elmhurst,and have never heard of this place. But of man now that I have I sooo want to go. I say that even though I am so not a camper having grown up in a family that camped tooo much when I was younger. So planning a trip here now.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Wow – this place looks like it’s straight out of a movie! Glad you ladies had fun!

  • Reply
    amy purple
    June 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    This place looks awesome, Nicole! And it seemed like you ladies had a blast too which is most important!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    what a charming place!

  • Reply
    Staci @ My Friend Staci
    June 11, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I’m swooning–over ALL of this.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2013 at 9:29 am

    very cool local, but those patterened shorts on you…..not a good look. you werent doing banana republic any favors there.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Wow. I think I need to go there. I’ll even drive the 5 hours one-way from Des Moines. So beautiful!

  • Reply
    Ceci Bean
    June 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Magical! I looove it all!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Camp Wandawega looks so charming! Would you return with your kids? I smiled at the Holi Cannoli reference. I’m from Chicago, but dined at Holi Cannoli this winter during a weekend in Lake Geneva. We loved it :)

  • Reply
    Beautiful Wandawega – Hands Occupied
    June 13, 2013 at 12:05 am

    […] “I found this spade,” via Nicole. […]

  • Reply
    Andrea Howe
    June 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    this is amazing. I LOVE this kind of stuff and these kind of posts. Favorite of mine for sure!!!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    I have lived my entire life about 30 min from this camp and always wanted to visit. Jealous! Looks awesome!

  • Reply
    June 17, 2013 at 8:16 am

    That place looks like heaven to me!! Loved the photos! :)

  • Reply
    June 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    How is this place in Wisconsin and I don’t even know about it?! Consider me insanely jealous right now! This was the best blogger/brand collab post EVER.

  • Reply
    Laura Beth / Perched on a Whim
    June 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Wow, I’m officially charmed. By this post and by the blog entire…I’ma subscribe!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    I was JUST looking for an old resort near Chicago (lodge and all) yesterday. Perfect timing!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    The trip looks like it turned out well, bright clothes and all. Looks like you had fun and it’s a darling place. (Michelle from CPC)

  • Reply
    June 24, 2013 at 1:50 am

    […] was getting multiple updates on Instagram for Nicole of Making it Lovely when she went to Camp Wandawega with a bevy of other bloggers and documented her time there.  This may be the only time I ever […]

  • Reply
    Honor Roll – Making it Lovely
    November 18, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    […] of Camp Wandawega and the brand retreats it hosts. And hey, I took a few friends up there with me a few years ago! Loved […]

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