Where do we even begin? 2019 was far and away the most unreal version of our communal camping experiment we call Camp Nice. It’s truly hard to believe that what started as a mellow group camping trip 6 years ago has transitioned to what it is today – an autonomous woodland community of creatives supported by a perfect tapestry of brands, living, learning and loving life together for ten days off the grid.
Leaving the city for an extended period of time is always a good idea but doing it in the familiar and not so familiar company of 75 people with whom you must sustain life in the forest is on another level! Which is why Camp Nice is all about the people. This year’s campers were the most diverse, committed and fun group we’ve ever hosted. Since growing to this size we wondered if the strength of the group fabric might possibly be weakened as less people would know each other outside of camp. What we found was the exact opposite, that the initial unfamiliarity led to increased bonding and an even tighter sense of community. We were a tribe!
New friendships were made, old ones were renewed, and every single camper at Camp Nice 2019 had the time of their life! Of course a major part of Camp Nice 2019’s success is due to our partners. With a group of partners as diverse as our campers, we were able to include the elements that made Camp Nice completely unique. From the welcome packs filled with adidas Slides, Raen Sunglasses in custom Camp Nice packaging, Custom Mizu x Camp Nice Camp Mugs and Utensils, Darn Tough Socks, and Accessory Kits from Topo Designs and Burton , to our fully stocked Camp Kitchen featuring Miyoko’s Creamery, Beyond Meat, Sir Kensington’s, Schaller & Weber, Barnana, Rickaroons, Super Fat, Cabot Cheese, Four Sigmatic and Ace Coffee. Of course our custom built Camp Nice pop up Max Fish bar was filled to the brim with as much Austin Eastciders, Founders Brewing, June Shine Hard Kombucha, Aperol Spritz, Wild Turkey, Espolon, Ilegal Mezcal, and Radeberger as anyone could drink. On top of that we had portable pizza ovens from Ooni for nonstop pizza madness and Blue from Red Hook Snack Bar helping to put it all together.
Then we topped everything off with a Camp Nice edition of the Blackberry Stardust Twilight Slide Show by Ricky Powell. Like we said, Camp Nice 2019 was unreal! Without further ado, let us present the CAMP NICE 2019 SUPER DUPER PHOTO RECAP BONANZA in film photos by Craig Wetherby and words by Tim Brodhagen. What a long, strange, amazing trip it was!
Beautiful Lake Talcott looking like she was waiting for us to arrive.
Time to set up camp!
First things first. Ranger Larry building the Max Fish Bar Camp Nice outpost!
There was mad rigging to be done. Vlad and Pat were on it!
Of course we needed fire. Marcus led the charge. Fire badge earned!
The Camp Nice Pop Up was fully stocked!
And the staff was outfitted in custom Burton Fleece, perfect for warm days and cool nights!
Siggy came to hug trees and hang hammocks.
Chef Blue got right to it. With laser focus fueled by June Shine Hard Kombucha it didn’t take him long to reel in a keeper!
A party soon followed!
While Sophie went for a float.
Another crew got on the lake.
Chenoah the Sun Goddess.
Paula the Kayak Queen.
Pat paddled out.
Fully refueled, it was time for some archery and Austin EastCiders, the perfect combo!
Akira lining it up.
Kelsey had the form.
Pretty soon Fitz got it too.
Maze said “stay low and keep firing!”
Sam gave it her best shot.
Mecca even came in to coach.
But at the end it was Ranger Larry who nailed the apple. We got a real William Tell ova heah!
After a full day it was time to really start cooking. Steph surveying our Miyoko’s vegan cheese stash!
Ah yeah, wheels for days!
Cheers to the chefs!
Steph + Chach = Vegan lit!
Blue made fries!
Chen loves fries! Sir Kensington’s ketchup is next level btw.
Round 1 wasn’t enough so Blue hit the grill for Round 2!
Plant based perfection!
Time to get the bar open! Rocky overseeing things as Max Fish’s Marc Razo and Hana look on.
Straight from his shift at the Fish on Orchard, James came up to man the Camp Nice Max Fish grand opening!
Ranger Larry and Marc behind Larry’s masterpiece. (Yes he built that bar by hand!)
Following the proper amount of Wild Turkey he was ready for his Ranger presentation.
With a detailed explanation of the coveted Camp Nice merit badges!
Todd made it up just in time! He rode all the way from NYC for the 2nd straight year. Bike badge definitely earned!
The night owls kept it lit.
But morning came quickly, the fog unwrapping another day like a gift.
And with it came the early birds with a dawn stretch session held by Marcus.
Followed by Ace Coffee!
Time for breakfast, Schaller & Weber style!
They make the best bacon too!
The vegans had options too. See we CAN all get along! Of course the Mizu cutlery coming in clutch…
Time to follow Chen over to Arts & Crafts. Our custom Priority Camp Nice Cruiser was perfect for all kinds of missions!
Peep the details!
The Arts & Crafts crew was waiting.
Time to get crafty! Vlad ran point on the screen printing.
While Pat kicked off the tie-dyeing.
Chen explained the technique.
And everyone started whipping up that work.
Lisa making some magic.
While Lily made bubbles.
Blotto made art.
And Vlad and Jessie made a chair!
With a lil table to match!
It was about time to slide back into the lake.
Christina decided to man the guard tower.
Willy Soul went out and promptly snagged a fish!
These guys had a mid lake cerebral cypher.
As Sophie paddled through the golden hour.
What a day!
Night time meant more cooking and this crew kept the clan fed.
But with this many hungry mouths to feed…
The cooking never stopped!
George was the grilled cheese sandwich master!
Larry became the bar master!
While Willy B handled bar back duties.
As we once again took it late into the night.
The next day had something special in store – a lakeside lecture on the history, uses, and power of mushrooms followed by a deep woods foraging expedition led by Danielle Ryan Brioda RH (AHG) on behalf of Four Sigmatic!
Danielle immediately had the whole camp mesmerized. We could have listened to her for hours. Did you know that every single breath of air you breathe contains mushroom spores?!
Danielle in her element.
She wouldn’t find the mushrooms…
The mushrooms would find her!
Yasmin and Sable learning that tree mushrooms are generally more edible than ground mushrooms.
Last Suspect found one.
Kelsey did too.
Weston was looking.
Pat looked lost.
Akira found a Founders.
Then Timbo found the ears of the forest!
The mushroom mother lode!
After foraging it was time to hand out some merit badges.
And of course eat some more. Red Hook Snack Bars‘ famous Banh Mi and chick pea salad made with both Beyond and Schaller & Weber Sausages!
Followed up by Tiffany’s cast iron apple cobbler!
Look at that sizzle!
With the mushroom vibes still in the air it seemed like a good night for a hike to the haunted cabin!
The scene of an unspeakable act in the 70’s, the cabin has crazy energy, bats, and THIS CREEPY PAIR OF BOOTS!
Gathering the courage to go in.
We did it! And made it back alive.
As the morning fog drifted in again we knew we were in for another special day.
Even Uncle Rick was up early!
First we set up the Aperol Spritz bar.
Then we started making pies.
And more pies!
Cause today was Ooni Pizza Day!
Over bottomless Aperol Spritz’s and games of bocce, we made pie after pie on the Ooni Koda and Ooni 3 portable pizza ovens. They are game changing ovens that fire a pizza in 1 minute! Loaded with either Miyoko’s or Cabot cheese, the pizza’s went all day!
And into the night!
So did the bocce.
And the Aperol Spritz’s!
After the pizza’s, Dave took over the Ooni.
And made some Schaller & Weber pork chops.
And oven baked grilled Cabot cheese.
Finally it was time for the Camp Nice edition of the Blackberry Stardust Twilight Slide Show by Ricky Powell! Between Ricky’s immaculate delivery and Tono’s psychedelic tweaks on the visuals, it was probably the most epic slide show ever!
This party wasn’t stopping.
Not with The Ladies of the Bar running things!
Even Willy and his doppelgänger were sending it.
The fire got bigger and bigger.
So we let that muthafucka burn!
Quin raged until the end!
And then, like that, it was over.
Was it all a dream? We’re still not really quite sure. Thanks to everyone that came to Camp Nice 2019! See you next year!