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  • WE ARE…

    ... THE PERKES. We still consider ourselves newlyweds [we've been married for almost 5 years]. Our firstborn, Jace, is now 2 years old, and became a big brother when Sofia Rain joined our family in November 2012. We are from the East Coast [Luisa is from MA and Nate is from NH]. We are Bronco's Fans [We've lived in the Boise area for almost 5 years]. We are travelers. We are athletes and we are dancers. We are enthusiastic about food. We are spontaneous. We are addicted to the sun. We are in love.

    Most importantly... we are HAPPY. We are the Perkes.

Not Disney…. Thendara!!

It may not be an amusement park. There aren’t any rollercoasters and Mickey Mouse does not frequent. Even though my parents were kind enough and sacrificed enough to assure their children DID have the opportunity to see Disney World, the place where MY childhood dreams came true was NOT in Cali and most definitely not in FL. It was in Vergennes, Vermont.

In a 120 year old mansion called Thendara, my family would spend a week together in the summer every year. My father worked for the family who owned it and they would leave it at our disposal. Complete with ALL antique furniture, servants quarters, a library, fireplaces in every room, a haunted basement and a bat filled attic, this was a place fit for the wild imagination of children. Aside from the house itself, the surrounding area has SO much to offer: BLUEBERRY picking, Dakin Farms [specialized cheeses and meats, but my favorite part was their bee farm, honey sticks, and rock candy], the Teddy Bear Factory, Ben & Jerry’s Factory and the von Trapp Family Lodge.

It JUST so happened that the stars aligned and Nate AND my brother AND his fiance were all going to be back East AT THE SAME TIME! It didn’t take me long to get a ticket myself; we made plans to make a trip up to Vermont and we invited much of my extended family for the event. I don’t really have any images of Thendara itself, but it’s the people there that make it home and even if I didn’t get to go ‘HOME’ while I was back East, I still felt AT home with my family surrounding me and being in a place so beautiful and so full of memories.

Without further ado, this is My Family:

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From top left to right: Cousin Sebastian, Brother Alex, Uncle Alex, DADIO, Uncle Luis, Nate & Me, Cousin Javier, Abuela, Sister Shannon, Sister Melanie, Soon-To-Be Sister Danella, Brother Andrew, MOM, Aunt Lecy, Niece Brooke, Nephew Cameron… I LOVE THIS PICURE.

But this picture below, I feel is a more accurate depiction of the Morales Family:

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And my dear sweet Nate, although he was supposed to be on vacation like the rest of us, took my baby sisters Senior pictures. Hah. Not so ‘baby’ anymore. I love this little girl and I can’t wait to watch her life. She is radiant. OFTEN I say to Nate that one of my biggest regrets is having missed so much of her life and the life of my little brother, Alex. I moved away to college 8 years ago [Eck... she's not the only one getting old] and haven’t really lived at home much since. : (

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AND he took these adorable pictures of my big sister Shannon and her little kidlets. I love those two little ones. They are SO bright and intelligent and vivacious. Nate and I caught two beautiful bright red and orange salamanders for them. Brooke’s died within the hour. Too much ‘lovin’.
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Of all the pictures that Nate took this trip, I think that this one has to be my favorite. I have always felt a deep love for my Grandmother, my Dad’s mom. I was named after her mother and that might be part of the reason I feel so attached to her. She is strong and vibrant and beautiful and intelligent. She develops her talents and her passions and she LOVES to learn. She sews, paints, cooks, and embroiders. But MOST importantly, she is a survivor and SUCH an example to me.

La quiero, Abuela.

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More Things I Love About Thendara:

~There is a huge wrap around porch with lawn chairs to enjoy the view of the lake with a cup of hot chocolate or iced lemonade [depending on the weather] and a good book [a GOOD book is at the top of EVERY Thendara packing list].
~There are hammocks, rope swings, a volleyball net and a large field for croquet and other sports.
~There is a huge ‘dinner bell’ that is rung at each meal to get everyone to gather.
~Every day ends with games or reading books around the fireplace in the family room. One by one we all drift off to sleep and are sent to bed by the last surviving readers.
~There always seemed to be a puzzle that everyone could work on, one piece at a time in passing.
~The attic is full of bats and so there aren’t very many bugs [occasionally, one gets loose in the house. As kids, we LOVED that!!]
~You can sleep in as long as you want… and you can take as many naps as you want.
~The TV was off-limits… ALMOST 100%.
~Thendara rests right on the shores of Lake Champlain and we would spend whole days swimming in the water, taking boats over to the New York side or collecting buckets full of frogs.
~Every room has its own assigned letter. My favorite room was the ‘G’ room for Granny. It’s the only bedroom downstairs and was dark and quiet and cool. But my second favorite was the ‘A’ room because it’s theme was ‘ships & sailing’, complete with portholes, anchors and model ships.
~Thendara is notorious for ‘feeding’. My family NEVER eats more, even at holidays, than they do when we visit VT. The kitchen is HUGE so it can fit everyone in there for dinner prep and cleanup, and most evenings we take our dinner outside onto the porch.
~Whenever someone leaves Thendara, everyone remaining gathers outside the back door and waves until the car is out of sight. The ‘departee’ has to honk. Its called the “Thendara Goodbye.”

show hide 6 comments

Betsey Stewart Benton - I grew up on the lake, at Fort Cassin, just north of Otter Creek. We spent hours traveling up and down the lake and what I remember most about
Thendara was how majestic it looked atop those stairs leading from the dock to the house. It’s setting, among the trees, was beautiful, and despite it’s size, it still radiated a sense of warmth. You are so fortunate to have such happy memories of your summers there, and your writing captures those times beautifully!!!

Jane Belle Clark - I was so happy to come across your blog. My grandparents, John and Belle Clark owned Thendara in the late 1940′s and 1950′s. My Grandma Belle sold it in about 1959. I have so many fond memories of summers at that house.
At one time there was a butler’s cottage and a tennis court. During my grandparents era, the house was pretty much furnished as it was when the original owners had it. There was an interesting collection of primitives in the living room.
Someone even wrote a book with Thendara as the backdrop.
My grandparents had 15 grandchildren and the house was magic for all of us.
I am so glad that the special experience of Thendara lives on.

Thanks again for posting about it.

Jane Belle Clark Lituczy

Claude Spaulding - pretty place

Debbie Bushey - So beautifully written and lovely photo’s of your family. One thing I’ll never forget about Thendara it’s grand size as once I cleaned it for Elizabeth before her spring arrival. I thought I’d never get out of there but finally I did. Amazing place!

Thanks for sharing!
Debbie Bushey

Joe Carman - I can’t believe I stumbled across this! Our best family friends own Thendara. We stayed there a few summers ago and we might go again this year. Awesome pictures you guys, looks like you had fun!

Rodney Smith - I am almost certain you reference the same Thendara I remember so fondly as a young boy. I believe my Father’s great aunt Agnes Cowap owned Thendara at the time (late 50′s early ’60′s) and we spent several summer weeks there. My two brother’s and I would spend endless hours down at the lake fishing or swimming off the stone dock and boating. I remember Dad painting the porch.

DO you have any more photos of Thendara?
Rod

Kat and Andy Bartholomew - Such great pictures of your wonderful family.

Ken and Jen Perkes - Luisa: I love the way you write; I love your passion; I love your love for the people in your life; and I now love Thendara. Somehow, I think there is a book inside you, and perhaps Thendara will be a prominent "character."

In any case, thanks for your beautiful sharing of this magical place from your childhood!

–Pops

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