This story begins with a summer vacation in the small town of Tutter, Illinois, where the protagonist was born and raised. These are the adventures of the boys during their summer holidays. Many events revolve around the Woodlawn Bay Hotel and the old Windmere House, which stood side by side on the south bank of the river, each with about fifty acres of forested land around it. It was a new hotel, with its modern amenities, which put the old Hotel out of business. Now, after many years of idleness, the old hotel was demolished and its lumber and equipment were sold.