Some of my fondest memories as a child were my visits to Blooming Grove. Blooming Grove is an exciting and beautiful place that sits on 35,000 acres of exclusive hunting and fishing grounds. It has five lakes and portions of two rivers throwing through it. There is a skeet/trap shooting range, a twenty-five room club house, four tennis courts, a bathing beach, boat house and over twenty elegant cabins. It’s a members only club and can hold up to thirty permanent members with seventy plus visiting members over the summer. My Great, great, great Grandfather was one of the first members to help found this extraordinary place. Its sole purpose is to provide a private hunting and fishing retreat for the city business elite.
Often we would visit Blooming Grove with our Great Grand Parents, Grand Parents, Parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. We would all stay in a four-bedroom cabin surrounded by woods. It had a hammok in the front and a screened porch in the back. I remember a huge thunderstorm came through one time and my family and I all sat on the covered porch to watch and listen to it. My cousins and I would play pick up sticks for hours in the bedrooms or build lego ships and block castles. At dinnertime we would all gather around a massive oak table and gorge ourselves on wonderful and delicious food. Afterwards i would get a hot cup of cocoa and sit by the fireplace. Sipping and enjoying the warmth of the fire and coco i would gradually doze off to sleep.
I remember going to an exceptionally good cookout on a river. My dad instructed me on how to fly fish and in no time i was catching trout out of the river. The river was a calm, smooth running one, with a path following close beside it. It had dense foliage on either side of it, teaming with birds and chipmunks and all other sorts of life. Combined, it all made a wonderful and peaceful place to fish. The food was delicious and in the evening we all got sparklers and traced our names in the air while the adults kept a watchful eye on us. Eventually we had to go back to the cabin, and in my drowsiness I pleaded, to the best of my abilities, to stay a little longer in this peaceful place. In the end however my sleepiness was too great.
My Grandma would take my cousins and I on trails to go exploring. We would always have a competition to see who could catch the most salamanders or gather the most berries. We would then build castles for our little subjects and give the berries to grandma so she could make a pie. At dusk my grandma would take my cousins and me on deer hunts. We would pile into a car and drive around the property and count how many deer we saw.
One day my cousins and I walked down to the beach for some fishing and fun. The rest of our family soon joined us and in no time we had a fun game of horseshoes going. Afterwards I decided to try some bass fishing. I chose to try my luck at a nice calm spot under some trees. I was ankle deep in the water and all I had with me was a small Snoopy rod with a five-pound test line, one lure and a determination only a six year old could muster. After about fifteen minutes of getting nothing but weeds and a 1-pound bass I was just about to give up when the extraordinary happened. Three feet away from me was a beautiful tulip growing out of the water, my lure was sitting right beside it and just as I was starting to be entranced by this flower a huge explosion broke the spell. My lure was engulfed by a huge five pound large mouth bass and so started our epic fight. In the end I won and the great fish is now mounted in our hallway!
Blooming grove will always hold my greatest memories. It is a place of fun and family. Soon I hope to revisit this marvelous place and relive old memories that are still vivid in my mind, and make new ones.
— Boaz Michael Rogel, early 2000’s