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Summer Lovin' Happens So Fast: Time for Folks to Say All Aboard!

May 21, 2009 By:
Roy S. Gutterman, JE Feature
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Summer is creeping up. While your friends are too busy and can't get away, and your married friends are off with their families down the shore, there are plenty of opportunities for singles to travel -- both foreign and domestic.

If you're waxing nostalgic about those simpler days of youth -- with summer camp filled with sports, swimming, hiking, arts-and-crafts projects and toasted marshmallows by a bonfire in the woods -- add a twist of singledom to the formula at a place called Camp Getaway.

Club Getaway in the Berkshires is hosting two Jewish weekends called "J-Weekends" this summer, July 10 and Aug. 7 (www.clubgetaway.com).

Billed as "camp for adults," owner Victor Fink says that the club provides grown-ups, particularly singles, with opportunities for sports, relaxing and socializing at a resort about an hour-and-a-half from New York City -- in Kent, Conn.

"It's a real back-to-basics, back-to-camp place," said Fink. "We have great parties with DJs, bonfires and midnight volleyball games. We have a camp with great cabins, great food and Merlot, instead of bug juice."

Fink's father attended the camp as a kid, and later worked there as a counselor before buying it. Fink grew up at the camp, and has been running it now for more than 30 years after changing its focus from children to adults, particularly singles.

Club Getaway hosts other singles weekends all summer.

"My father bought it in the '40s," explained Fink. "I went to Club Med on vacation, and was so enthralled by a camp for adults that I buried the bugle and brought in the grown-ups.

"People take the train from Philadelphia and the bus from New York," he said. (Camp Getaway offers a direct bus that leaves from New York's Upper East Side Friday afternoons.)

The camp generally draws about 300 people, mostly from the East Coast.

Although Fink stresses athletics, entertainment and socializing over actual matchmaking, he counted off numerous happy couples and marriages formed at Club Getaway.

"When I started this, I was competing with the Catskills and Club Med, and they're all gone now," he said. "It's great fun. We have great programs."

If camp isn't your thing and you prefer traveling, but don't want to hit the road alone, a number of options have a Jewish flavor.

Last summer, for example, I went on a UJA Mission to Israel, which proved quite rewarding. There's another one this summer for the National Young Leadership Division, June 28 to July 8 (www. ujafedny.org).

A Range of Options
Other travel opportunities for Jewish singles are offered by Amazing Journeys, a Pittsburgh-based company and Jewish Singles Vacations from Brookline, Mass.

Last week, Malori Asman of Amazing Journeys was still hoarse after leading a cruise from Barcelona, Spain, to Casablanca, Morocco, and the Mediterranean.

"I lost my voice in Casablanca," she said, describing her 63-person tour with Jewish singles from 18 states and eight countries as a "really great time."

The Pittsburgh-based business has filled up its May tour of Japan, but has limited availability for its annual summer cruise to Alaska (July 10 to July 17) and a trip to Peru (Aug. 2 to Aug. 14). Visit: www.amazing journeys. net.

"Space is extremely limited," she noted. The trip is open to singles in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

The Alaska cruise is a chance to experience nature, and see glaciers and wildlife, while the Peru tour is an exploration of indigenous culture and sites, including Machu Picchu, Cuzco and Lake Titicaca, she said.

"Our trips are all Jewish, all single," she explained. "We hear all the time [that] singles can't find someone to travel with, or someone to travel within their budget, or someone to go with without feeling like a fifth wheel."

Jewish Singles Vacations, in Brookline, Mass., has two trips planned for this summer: one to the Pacific Coast (July 11 to July 19, for ages 40s and 50s), and one to Austria and Switzerland (Aug. 12 to Aug. 23 for 40s and 50s) at www.tourgroups.com/jsv.

"A typical day starts at 8 or 9. We have a local guide and assorted sightseeing, and evenings are free," said Sam Schlossberg, who has been putting together Jewish singles tours for 20 years. "There's a pretty full itinerary."

His tours draw people from all over the United States.

"The common denominators are they're single, Jewish and love to travel," he said.

The tour price includes hotel accommodations, ground transportation at the destination, sightseeing, breakfasts, and both a welcome and farewell reception. Travelers must cover their own airfare.

Bon voyage!

Roy S. Gutterman is a Syracuse, N.Y.-based writer. Contact him at: www.Lrev.com.


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