Vacation Wonderland

For as long as I can remember I’ve been going to the river. My mom would yell at us from the rocky shore to keep our faces out of the water & we’d dive in anyway, coming up for air in the middle of giant black rubber inner tubes with metal valves that would scrape our legs. We’d sleep on the deck at night, adding mosquito bites to mix.

In my teens & early 20’s (who are we kidding also just last year), we’d get tipsy on warm beer & crash our canoes. We’d bring 17 adults to watch over 5 children because it’s hard to tell who is really the “grown-ups” when you’re there.

Summer has a strangeness in this area of the world. It feels like stepping back in time… especially now as an adult. It smells like BBQ smoke & sunscreen. In just a few steps, the temperature flips between the baking, black pavement & the cool, mildewy smell of the redwood floor. Somehow there seems to be only classic rock stations on the radio & all your shoes disappear.

It’s old & falling apart. It’s magical & completely crappy. It’s a natural resource & a nostalgia that’s so worth saving & that’s why I’ve been documenting it all these years. Welcome to Vacation Wonderland…


Photography: Meg Messina Photography | Film & Processing: Richard PhotolabKodak & Ilford

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