Sycamore Island is my refuge. It is timeless, it is basic, and it is welcoming. Nonetheless many of us have a condition called Sycamoreislanditis. Symptoms are a longing to go to the Island followed by pejoratives such as errands to be run, household tasks to be performed, and the conclusion--no spare time for the Island.
Remembering the joy the island brings to visitors is always enriching. Several times we brought groups of NIH visiting scientists from Japan to Sycamore and enjoyed their appreciation of the remote beauty of the Island within our metropolis. The revered senior member of one delegation had never been in a canoe. He delighted all of us by trying it.
We have convened office retreats on the Island and have come away with the workplace product we were seeking and much more -- a shared experience in a unique environment. We forget that a number of our friends and relatives have not been to the Island. On Thanksgiving Day we took my niece and her family to visit the Island after dinner. Although they have lived in the Washington area off and on for 15 years, they were amazed. Their seven and nine year old children especially loved the ferry.
All visitors are intrigued by some of our history, such as the canoe pool that commuted to Virginia from Sycamore, the height of flood waters on the Island, and the early use of the Island as a site for weekend overnight stays from Washington. I also enjoy describing the picture of a float plane parked at the Island and Ken Fassler's transition from living on a houseboat up river to becoming our caretaker some years ago. The thought of the job of the caretaker particularly sparks escape fantasies in both members and guests.
|Up in the air, Junior birdmen! Islanders: this could be you.|
|Uhhh... letís see... that Cabin John Bridge|
has to be around here somewhere...