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November 24, 1995 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-11-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

.1.141110011.110. ■

he crowd filing into
the Chuck Wagon for
is gabby,
b
even though it's 7:30
a.m. and dancing at
the Wagon Wheel
ended just a few
hours earlier.
It must be the pris-
tine air. Or a sound sleep in the qui-
et night. Or the promise of romance
that sparked at the dance the night
before.
Or, quite possibly, guests can't
help but be shocked into wakeful-
ness by the early morning clanging
of cowbells,
The Double JJ Resort in Roth-
bury, northwest of Muskegon, is a
rustic, frill-free place to hang up
one's pretensions and pass the day
in languid activities like horseback
riding, golf, archery, horseshoes,
paddleboating and strolling worn
paths throU JAhe 1,500-a
spread.
The grub is served family st ,
; ;.:.- - .:
at tables that seat at least four.11;i0
pine cabins, which bear names like _-
Hopi House and Hitching Post,:
have no televisions, no radios. Only
the strains of laughter and conver-
sation carry through the hills and
woods in and around the ranch.
Aside from a sky full of swirling
stars, evenings might feature a corn
roast followed by country-line danc-
ing or a musical revue at the Wag-
on Wheel. A fire blazes in a corner
of the hall and staff, many of them
from England, Australia and New
Zealand, mingle with the guests.
The Double JJ is most often re-
ferred to as a camp for adults.
"It's wonderful. There are things

Fri

to do if you want to. If not, there are
other places to go," said Kim Wood-
house of Chicago, who spent a week
at the Double JJ in September with
her husband, Larry.
"It doesn't feel like the hours
raced by. We did a lot," Mr. Wood-
house said.
Annabel Cohen of Bloomfield
Hills carries a bullet in her pocket
from the ranch's shooting range, to
remind her of her recent weekend
with a friend. She compared the
ranch to summer camp.
"I loved it. I was expecting noth-
ing because it was fairly inexpen-
sive, and I was thinking, 'How good
could this thing be?' Initially, it was
weird because we didn't know any-
body. We woke up the next morn-
ing (after their Friday night
arrival), had breakfast and sat at a
table with eight other people we

Opposite: A wrangler/cowboy relaxes at the
Double JJ barn.

Above: Brian, a wrangler, pauses before
another trail ride.

didn't know. All of a sudden we
knew these people.
"Immediately after breakfast we
went horseback riding. Some of
those we had breakfast with were
also on the ride. By the time we did
line dancing Saturday night, we
had lots of friends. It was just such
a friendly atmosphere. It was like
being at summer camp, but because
we were adults it didn't take a
whole summer to get to know peo-
ple. It was bonding with strangers
that was a lot of fun," she said.
Ms. Cohen and her friend al-
ready are planning a weekend at
the Double JJ when the season be-
gins again next May.
Although it's not a dude ranch,
the Double JJ takes pride in its 75-
horse stable, tended by a gang of
tight-knit wranglers whose bow-
leggedness is testament to their
ease around horses. Ranch guests
may sign up fiery morning for as
many rides REAhey can stand, but
if the ranch is ull — it can accom-
modate 300 gilests — that might
mean only one each day.
Still, the riding is satisfying.
Even novicwWill get a chance to
trot.,,anlleverybody may gallop to
their hearts' content.
Nobody wants the place to
change. That's the message Bob
and Joan Lipsitz heard loud and
clear after buying the place seven
years ago. The West Bloomfield cou-
ple, who met as Camp Tamarack
staffers in 1975, envisioned running
a family camp, a retreat where chil-
dren and adults would collapse hap-
pily at the end of a full day of
activities.
"I recognized the potential here,

A riding
ranch in
west
Illichigan
offers
supreme
relaxation
for the
world- -
weary.

JULIE EDGAR STAFF WRITER

45

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