Camp Idlepines


Bow Lake, Strafford, New Hampshire


Remember who you are and where you're from... is the place to go if you're an alumnus, where past campers and staff from around the world remember and share their experiences through text, song, poetry, and photos.

From 1954 through 1985, Jan Adams and Jane Fall were co-directors of Camp Idlepines on Bow Lake in Strafford, New Hampshire, where they touched the lives of almost 1,400 girls and boys, men and women.

While the traditional camp summer schedule included two four week all-female sessions, during the last few years Idlepines also offered a shorter day camp experience to boys as well as girls in the area. As in the resident camp, staff and campers came from around the world, including Australia, India, China, Norway, England, Ireland, Mexico, and Canada. 

Every day began with reveille and the raising of the flag. Morning activities followed Morning Chat, where the entire camp would sit on the stone wall below the badminton court and Aunt Jan would read inspirational literature to jump start the day, ending with the familiar phrase "Up and at 'em." Daily activities included swimming, sailing, hiking, canoeing, volleyball, tennis, archery, art and crafts, drama and horseback riding. Movie night, Capture the Flag, Skit Night and Commandos were after-dinner favorites.  For the older girls, camp dances were held with the area's boys camps, including Camp Kooaukee, Trinity Church Camp, Camp Graylag and several more on Lake Winnipesaukee. Johnny Mathis' "Chances Are" transports many of us back in time whenever we hear it...

Each night wound down with "Evening Circle," when the camp would stand in a circle on the badminton court, link hands right over left, and sing three closing songs: For Father Time, Day is Done, and Now Run Along Home.

Aunt Jane labored behind the scenes keeping the everyday minutia in order, but is best known for her day and multi-day hiking and white water canoeing trips around New England, which included most of the Presidential range, the Pemigewasset, Androscoggin, and Saco rivers.

Campers also took part in community activities, including the Sesquicentennial parade and fair, restoring the dam-houses, the dedication of its area flag pole in 1970, the first 4th of July town celebrations, and initiating the All-Camps Talent Shows at the Bow Lake Grange. A familiar Sunday sight was the long single file of campers in their green shorts and white shirts walking to church.

In June 1991, a new building addition on the Bow Lake church was dedicated as the "Idlepines" room, recognizing the camp's long years of association.

A Brief History of Camp Idlepines
In 1919, artist Mrs. S. Evannah Price purchased what was then known as the Pillsbury property. Her artistic talent was widely known in the medium of decoration on porcelain, charcoal, oil and watercolors, from her studio in Manhattan. Later as an art teacher in Springfield, MA, she was able to combine both her worlds with outdoor education here in her native town of Strafford, New Hampshire. Each camp catalogue described ballet, French lessons, tennis, music and art. Riding was offered behind her summer cottage which is now the home of Jim and Sue Stiles Barnes.

"To satisfy the roving spirit of youth there are several all day motor trips," was advertised for the young ladies as well as the slogan "An atmosphere of quiet refinement is maintained." Aunt Evannah was a pioneer in offering camping for girls. She was owner and director for thirteen years. There followed a few years in the '30s when Idlepines was directed by Joe Fay, but it was then sold to Claire and Dick Gordon of Long Island. After the war, Dick Gordon returned for a brief period of leadership.

The property was purchased in 1953 by Burt and Lillian Foss Cooper, and Jane Cooper and Janice Cooper Adams began as Idlepines directors in the summer of 1954. For over 32 years, Aunt Jan and Aunt Jane carried on a family tradition of camping. Their grandfather James Henry Foss and Uncle Newell B. Foss donated land on the shores of Willey Pond in Strafford in 1923 for Camp Foss, which is still in operation to this day. Jan and Jane have both been active over the years in the development of organized camping with the American Camping Association and the New England Camping Association.

For more information, contact Jennifer Adams at

Picture Day

What is Camp Idlepines?


Infirmary, Trinity Camp, Bow Lake, NH R Photo PostcardIf you went to Trinity Church Camp across the lake, please visit


Local places to stay:

The Bow Lake Inn right in the center of town, a block from the Bow Lake Church. Sorry, full.

The Northwood Motel about seven miles from Camp on Route 4. We already have three there.

Camp Graylag for a parallel camping experience in their camp cabins. Remember camp dances there?

The Cottages at Harvey Lake a five-bedroom house 5 miles from Camp on Route 4, plus smaller 1 and 2 bedroom cottages. We already have one there.

Lake Shore Farm, a little further down the road, but still in Northwood.

Under the Elm Historic B&B, also in Northwood.