American Getaway: 100 Years of Saints and Sinners at Camp Wandawega, WISC.

CLIENT: Tereasa Surratt and David Hernandez for Camp Wandawega and The Wandawega Historical Society, Elkhorn, Wisconsin / 2014 and 2015.

PROJECT TYPE: Limited Edition Book / Non-Fiction / Historical and Biographical / 100 pages.

ABOUT: American Getaway chronicles the first one hundred years in the life of the Wisconsin lakeside resort property known today as Camp Wandawega. Camp Wandawega is currently listed on the Wisconsin State Register of Historic Places and is in the process of being listed on the National Register.


Indians. Bootleggers. A Swedish Madam. The Feds. A Murderer On The Lam. Refugee Priests. The Ghost Of The Lake. Kids In Canoes. A Russian Gangster. And A Cheeky Racoon Named George. This is the very strange, very true story of Camp Wandawega, Wisconsin: an American getaway since 1925 (from the dust jacket).

The story you are about to read reaches back into faraway decades. It is populated by real people—both heroes and villains. The facts of their lives and times have been meticulously gathered, thoughtfully considered, and sketched here with as much journalistic integrity as we could muster.

In these frozen moments in time, a family gathers around a Thanksgiving turkey, teenagers goof off in row boats, and sunny young women pose for the camera in their best homemade dresses. A proud father holds up his son, old friends drink bottles of Wisconsin beer at a picnic table, and couples dance to the sound of summer songs that have long since faded into history.

It was a nostalgic whim. An outlandish idea. An expensive fancy. What could David possibly do with a faltering, ninety-year-old resort property situated on a lake no one has ever heard of? Certainly it was a place irretrievably past its prime. Everyone agreed, the old magic was gone forever. The golden era of Camp Vandavega was over. Or was it?

FROM THE CLIENT: 'Collaborating with Austin on American Getaway was a great experience. We found that he doesn't just stop at the assignment at hand, but became fully vested in the creative process; far beyond the scope of the original project, which helped to make every component better than we could have imagined. The end product is something that David and I are both very proud of.' Tereasa Surratt [2014]


Read The Full Text of American Getaway

Camp Wandawega 

The Wandawega Historical Society

Tereasa Surratt