Make No Small Plans
With a group this large, planning for summer 2020 has already begun!
MARGE AND JACK CONWAY OF CLEVELAND, OHIO started bringing their nine children to Oglebay in the early 1950s. Today their extended family continues the annual tradition of gathering here. This family has watched the growth and development of Oglebay for nearly 70 years.
As the family has grown, so has the number of cottages necessary to house them. As the photo demonstrates at one point during their weeklong stay at the end of July, 63 family members gathered together; Mary Conway Sullivan says, “We’re at 100 family members and growing, but with work schedules there is a fluid number of people in the 12 cottages at any one point during the week.”
While the logistics for this many people is daunting at best, the family’s love of Oglebay is motivation enough to continue this family tradition. Ultimately, bringing everyone together makes the effort worthwhile. The family has reserved their block of cottages through 2022 – the furthest out Oglebay allows!
We asked Mary to share some of her memories of Oglebay. “There were times where the cottages felt like clown cars. I have a distinct memory of my brother Mark sleeping on the picnic table.” Having experienced the continued growth and improvement in Oglebay’s cottages, Mary observed the most significant cottage upgrade in her memory was air conditioning, “A game changer!”
The Conway family observes several traditions including:
* Kids Olympics
* Men’s Golf Open
* Women’s Golf Open * Pool Party
* Dance Party
“Oglebay grocery trips to Kroger stand out in my mind,” Mary shared. “Going is an event unto itself. Each family group is somewhat self sufficient. We each drive down the hill, drop a couple hundred dollars and we’re back a couple days later. We’re used to running into each other in the produce section.”
The park obviously benefits when such a large group stays overnight, but the family’s love of Oglebay has been the catalyst for hundreds of their friends to come, stay, and experience the magic of this place for themselves. There is virtually no way to calculate the extent of this family’s recommendation of Oglebay to others.
Mary observed, “The trees outside of Goldenrod Cottage are huge! I remember when they first planted those back in the late 70s.” She continued, “We’re really fortunate, coming to Oglebay is second nature to us, because our parents created this tradition. Every family should consider traditions. It’s never too late to start one. We recently have started a dance party at the Caddie Camp: just beer, pizza and a great Spotify play list. Our dinner party at the end of the week started as gathering of whomever is still in town: just sweep out the refrigerator and bring whatever food is left so nothing gets wasted.”
In addition to their annual reunion, in 1995 the family made a gift in honor of their parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary. The Marge & Jack Conway Garden is along the red brick pathway just past the Garden Bistro. As the family continues to grow, the fourth generation of Conways is starting to gather at Oglebay to celebrate their family. As the plaque on their garden reads, may their “happy memories truly bloom forever.”
“We all grew up learning to play golf on the professional courses of West Virginia; I’m not saying we’re any good, but my family has always loved playing golf because of the Memories we have made at Oglebay.”
– Mary Conway Sullivan