First Time Rv’ing in Columbus

It was a full week this week with lots of friends visiting.  Ted and his family stayed the weekend and then Brian and his family came as well.  Lee has been friends with Ted since he was 14 years old, and it was very nice getting to know his kids.  Ted and Julia have adopted two children (Hailey and Nathan) and since we have lived in New Hampshire since they came into their lives, we haven’t gotten to see them as much as we would like.  Brian and Susan have two beautiful daughters (Maggie and Sydney) and we really enjoyed spending time with them as well.  Sydney and Hailey are only one year apart in age and quickly became fast friends.  Hailey even bought (with her own money) a two piece necklace set that said “Best Friends” so they would have a remembrance of camping together.  So sweet, and I think us grownups could really learn something in how the kids treat their friendships.  At the end of the weekend they did exchange email addresses (we couldn’t do this when we were kids) and I really hope they stay in touch!

 

Ted, Julia, and Nathan at their site

Ted, Julia, and Nathan at their site

Awesome view from Ted's campsite

Awesome view from Ted’s campsite

Walking the nature trail with Susan and the girls

Walking the nature trail with Susan and the girls

Sydney and Maggie

Sydney and Maggie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ted's Camper is a 1980 Shasta that he fixed up. The Taj Mahal came with it!!

Ted’s Camper is a 1980 Shasta that he fixed up. The Taj Mahaul graphic came with it!!

Brian's camper

Brian’s camper

 

Sydney and Hailey with their necklaces

Sydney and Hailey with their necklaces

Great pic of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird that Lee got

Great pic of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird that Lee got

 

Ted, Julia and the kids left on Sunday morning but Brian and his family stayed through until Thursday.  It was really sweet that they went to such an effort to see us.  Brian and Lee worked together at Mills James Productions before we moved to New Hampshire, and have remained in contact through the years.  Even though the kids had almost daily activities at home, and Brian and Susan had to work the weekdays, they left their camper at the campground and then came out whenever they could.  Had a wonderful time getting to know them all better and I really appreciate the effort they went to.  Sunday during the day I went to see my mom and Bud her husband (who just finished a 10 day vacation in Ireland) and after spending time with my family Lee and I hung out with Susan, Brian, and the kids and played Yahtzee.  Oddly Lee has never played in his life and we all tried to teach him.  The rules are pretty complicated when you take strategy into account.  It was great fun and I barely beat Sydney who had great rolls.

My niece Elise with the dress and purse I bought her for her birthday

My niece Elise with the dress and purse I bought her for her birthday

More baby time with Lex

More baby time with Lex

 

 

 

 

Mom (who is letting her hair go gray also) and Lex

Mom (who is letting her hair go gray also) and Lex

It was great to see my Aunt Diane

It was great to see my Aunt Diane

 

Kyrston and Lex

Kyrston and Lex

Mom had Bud build her a fire pit intheir back yard...maybe she has campfire envy lol

Mom had Bud build her a fire pit in their back yard

 

Sidney pooped out during the Yahtzee game

Sidney pooped out during the Yahtzee game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday  we  just chilled and watched some Game of Thrones…we are very behind.  Tuesday, Brian and Susan got their parents to watch the kids and they came over for some grownup time. It is really great hanging out with people who are really interested in the lifestyle.  Their kids are intrigued by it also and asked some great questions including Maggie’s “How do you get your mail” (from a mail service) and Sydney’s “Why do you have work clothes in your closet if you work from the RV?” (because sometimes I work in one of our offices).  I thought their questions were awesome and loved sharing a little bit of what we are doing with them.  I also loved catching up on what’s been happening at Mills James.  Lee worked there for  years and it has undergone some major changes including becoming an employee owned company.  Brian is their Director of Technology now, and I was so happy that he has been so successful there. We also got to take a trip to see the new house they are building and it is absolutely gorgeous.  Have to say I have no idea what I would do with all that space though.  Everything we own at this point would probably fit in the kitchen. It’s great to see them doing so well and again I can’t say how much their hanging out with us meant to me.

Wednesday and Thursday I drove to Louisville and spent some time working with the manager of a major project I am working on.  One of the things I like about moving around is sometimes I can visit offices without huge travel expenses.  Had a great couple of days including a bath (always a luxury now that we only have a shower) and an hour long conversation with Kay my youngest who is doing great in her Air Force linguistics program.  When I got home on Thursday, Cory and Emily were here to visit and we had a nice time catching up.  Cory and Lee have been friends since they were 11 years old (when Lee makes a friend they stay friends) and we had never met Emily in person.  She was as awesome in person as she is on Facebook and we had a great time catching up.  Cory, who has been a diabetic since he was a child, shared that he is on the insulin pump now and it was absolutely life changing.  It was so cool to watch him dial in what he was eating and instantly receive his shot.  Emily is a nurse and works part-time at the Columbus Museum of Art, plus they are both active in local theater and we loved hearing the story of how they met.  He played a patient in a mental hospital with PTSD and she was the nurse who was also his wife and even though he didn’t recognize her she stayed so she could be close to him.  During the play they fell for each other in real life…I mean seriously how romantic is that story??

Mom and her husband Bud tried to come on two separate occasions since Bud has not seen the RV yet, but both days it thunder stormed so they had to cancel last minute.  Neither of them is comfortable driving anymore in the rain due to health issues and while I understood it was a shame that Bud didn’t get to see my new home.

On Friday my friends from college, Sandy and Michelle, came to visit.  When I asked what they wanted for dinner they volunteered to bring something which I thought was incredibly sweet.  I did chill a bottle of wine I’ve been saving though and Michelle brought another and we had a wonderful time catching up.  They were very curious about what we were doing and had a list of questions which I loved.  I have known them since we were in the same dorm freshman year at Miami University.  That year of my life was a pivotal moment, not unlike this year of my life has been.  I met people during a major life event and since we were all going through the same thing at the same time we formed deep bonds that at least in my case last until this day.  Despite a 30 year span since we first met (and limited contact throughout the years), I feel very close to them and was so grateful they went to the trouble of coming to see me.

Sandy, me, and Michelle

Sandy, me, and Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

So I could just leave things here on a high note, and maybe I will write all of this down and delete it, but I’ve been struggling over the last two weeks with some serious emotional turmoil and since I want to be as transparent as I can stand to be in this blog, I am going to try to write down what I am feeling.  It’s another 4:30am morning and those generally happen when I have something to get off my chest so here goes.  It’s been a rough couple of weeks here for me emotionally because of the lack of interest in what we are doing (in general) from the people in my life.  There have been exceptions, of course, and those have been wonderful, but the percentage of people I know here versus how many people took me up on my offer to come see the camper is a bit depressing.  I get that people have lives and I certainly don’t expect anyone to drop what they are doing for me, but  here I am with this huge and unusual life change and I can’t share it. I’m really not sure why there appears to be no interest (truly I would have expected curiosity at least because it is so unusual), but I have spent a lot of time thinking about it.  I have narrowed it down to a couple of alternatives.  Either because I have not lived here for the last 14 years and didn’t put in the work in maintaining the long distance relationships  or  people are just busy and the timing is bad.

So here is where this writing becomes dicey so bear with me.  Let me start by saying that I understand  relationships are not an entitlement.  I’ve struggled with them my entire life.  I’ve always felt like an odd ball even as a young kid and leaving Columbus allowed me to finally grow into myself.  So why does this matter so much to me??  Maybe because there are a few seminal moments in people’s lives that you can look back on a see CHANGE and this is one of them for me.  There haven’t been many; marriage, birth of my first child, and uprooting my family to take a huge professional risk in moving away to New Hampshire.  Selling everything and moving into an RV would absolutely be the  fourth.  So please understand I am not standing over here going “look at me…look at me”…although I am probably botching this post and it probably sounds like that. What I wish had happened is that people would have reached out and expressed that they see something is going on with me and even if they don’t get it they are glad that I am happy.   Whatever that says about me as a human being I will own it.  And I am choosing to write about it, because that’s what I do now.  I am trying to be honest about how I am feeling and share it…so this is my attempt to do that.

Alum Creek State Park 3615 S. Old State Road Delaware, Ohio  3 out of 5 pine cones

The sites at Alum Creek State Park are large, well separated, and very deep.  The campground has private access to a lake, nature trails, and it’s own small beach.  The downside is the sites (we three exceptions) are 50 amp electric only and the AT&T cell service is very poor.  The campground has no wifi and it was very difficult to use our AT&T hotspot because the signal was so weak.   Although there are camp hosts there was minimal supervision and on the weekends the campers were very noisy until way past two.  The area and campground have a lot of potential but I wouldn’t make a point to stay here again.  It was $21 a night and we stayed in site E18 which was very nice.

Last Time at the Keene Pumpkin Festival

This week was absolutely amazing.  Our rally friends Cori, Greg,  Deb and Steve were all here in Keene to spend time with us and see the Keene Pumpkin Festival.  (It turned out that was not as good an idea as everyone thought it was. That’s foreshadowing. Read on. #pumpkinriots. – Lee) Deb and Steve were here on Monday and we got to spend Monday and Wednesday night with them.   Lee was super busy as his whole week is spent in preparation for live coverage of the Keene pumpkin festival, but we still had lots of evening time to spend with them.  For those who don’t know, Lee runs the local community television station here in Keene.  He’s been the executive director for many years and actually started the station with a very small amount of funding and a very large dream 10 years ago.  So, although we are ready to move on with our lives, it has been bittersweet.  Giving his 30 day notice to his board of directors was very emotional, and it was great to have friends from our new life here to support him.

Cori and Greg came into town on Friday and all six of us got together for a night of steak dinner, campfires, and lots of laughter.  Things have obviously been chaotic for us over the last 30 days, and the laughter was exactly what we needed.  I have to say Greg is incredibly funny so he would get us rolling then Steve would chime in and between the two of them I laughed until I cried.  Lee said it took so much of his stress away…laughter really is the best medicine.

002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone loved the leaves here and the quaintness of our little New England town. (Little did they know what was coming……)  It is peak leaf season and since the summer was so wet the colors were particularly vivid.  Greg said he had never seen such vibrant reds and he is absolutely right.  I’ve seen some beautiful foliage in other parts of the country, but nothing beats the fall in New England after a wet summer.  Lee was up at 5am on Saturday (his annual pumpkin festival coverage is a dawn to dusk event) so I took the team on a tour of the city.  In  Keene once a year they close the downtown and try to set the Guinness Book World record for most lit carved pumpkins.  Last year we set the record with over 30,000 and I couldn’t wait to show the group everything.  It’s a really terrific event for the local business owners as they do a months worth of business in one day, and all of the food is provided as a fund-raiser by local non profits such as Volunteer Fire departments, Lion’s Club, etc.  Not only do you feel great  about donating to charity but the food is phenomenal.  Greg and Steve ate their way up and down the aisles 🙂

The center of Keene has all the pumpkins carved by local school children

The center of Keene has all the pumpkins carved by local school children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg, Cori, Steve, and Deb in front of the large pumpkin tower

Greg, Cori, Steve, and Deb in front of the large pumpkin tower

 

One of my favorite parts of the festival is the kids costume parade and every year I get to provide color commentary as the kids walk by in their costumes.  Over the years I have done the event with my mom and my girls but this year I shanghaied Cori into being my guest co-host.  Cori has never been on TV before so she was a little nervous, but she quickly got into the spirit of it and did a great job helping me.  It was bittersweet because I knew it would be our last year at the event and it’s been such a huge part of our lives I really was feeling a bit sad about it.

Cheshire TV at the Keene pumpkin festival

Cheshire TV at the Keene pumpkin festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lee was having a blast though, because for the first time he had a whole cast of professional media people hosting the event all day.  Over the years Lee has had a variety of hosts, but this was the most professionally produced event for him ever and he was having a blast.  So while he was working I walked the main street with my friends and showed them all the people and places I have grown to love over the last 13 years.  Keene has been a wonderful place to raise our children and since it is a small town (about 25,000) we have grown to be a part of the community.  Since Lee runs the local television station he knows everybody and by extension many people know me.  I walked the gang everywhere and they were good sports, even buying shoes at the best shoe store I’ve ever been to: Ted’s Shoe and Sports.  I like to support local businesses and it was great to see them so busy!

As a local I like the morning the best, but as the day goes on it always gets super crowded, so we all ended up leaving in the early evening to go back to the camper and hang out.  Lee of course stayed as he would be there until midnight or so, but I am just not a fan of the crowds.  Plus things get rowdy with all the local college kids after dark, so I always try to be out of there before then.  Well this year I am so glad I did.  Some of you may have heard that the college students actually rioted about two blocks away from the event.  They were starting fires, flipping cars over, throwing beer bottles at each other, and generally making a menace of themselves.  The police department did a good job of containing it to off the footprint of the actual pumpkin fest but at one point there were over 4,000 kids making asses of themselves.  Usually the pumpkin festival coverage is very folksy, but the host Jared felt he needed to get some footage of what was going on so he took Lee as his camera man and they went to get some coverage.  Lee said it was crazy.  Kids were throwing beer bottles at them and the behavior was much worse than anyone ever expected.  Jared got a couple of interviews with kids who said the police were using tear gas to break up the gatherings and shooting them with paintball-like pepper pellets.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen the video and these kids were completely out of control and the police did the best they could, but the thought of tear gas and riot gear in our small town is not a pleasant one.  Plus my husband is down there with a camera right in the middle of it.  I was glad that they didn’t stay long as the situation was really not safe.

Back at the camper though Cori and Greg and I were hanging out when Steve and Deb came down to tell us to turn on the station.  Apparently the person who produces the pumpkin festival was displeased that Cheshire TV was covering what was happening at the campus and threatened to “pull the plug” on the television coverage.  It takes a special kind of hubris to march onto a live broadcast and try to grab the microphone out of the hand of the host of a show, but hey, that’s Keene. The downside of living in such a small town is the “movers and shakers” think they own the place and the rest of us work for them.  Lee is VERY serious about the First Amendment…it’s practically his religion and censorship of any kind is a big no-no in his book.  (Scratch that. It IS my religion. It’s the most important amendment, that’s why they wrote it first. – Lee) I get she was trying to control the message and since running this annual event is her full-time job for the entire year her livelihood depends on its existence, but there are lines you just don’t cross.  One positive thing that came out of the entire scene though is the melancholy from the morning evaporated.  Again it’s been a wonderful place for us to raise our kids, but it’s definitely time to move on. There is a whole wide world out there and this is just one tiny little town that sometimes takes itself waaaay to seriously.   🙂

For those who are interested I have provided a link.

So, we had tons of drama but the group were really good sports about it.  They found the whole thing pretty hysterical (riots aside) and thanked us for the entertainment.  Family members, bosses, and friends from Texas, California, and Virginia were texting them throughout the day saying they saw the riot on their local news and wanted to check in with them.  Don’t get me wrong, the riots were NOT funny, but since they were contained to a pretty small area of town (good job police!!) it was a non issue for them.  Plus it gave us all lots to talk about.

Sunday we had another great day together.  Lee woke up to requests from network affiliates and had to run out first thing in the morning and provide footage of the on-air altercation to some of them (CBS, NBC, NECN) which was kind of exciting, but the rest of the day we just hung out together.  More laughter, sharing of stories, and getting to know each other better.  One of the best weekends I have ever spent with friends in my life!!  I don’t know if all camping people are this cool or we just got incredibly lucky at the rally we attended, but I love love these people and feel so very blessed they are in our life.

Greg and Cori

Greg and Cori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve and Debbie

Steve and Debbie

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  Search Amazon.com here

First Time Having Guests at the Seasonal Site

 

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks since we got back from the rally.  I have worked out-of-town both weeks and the weekend in between we finished getting our house ready to sell.   We definitely did NOT want to miss the Memorial Day weekend house hunting traffic, so we scheduled two open houses; one on Saturday, and one on Sunday.  The downside was no camper time while we got it ready for that.  Lee snuck out a couple of times and setup some basics and he put the new reclining love seat in and removed the original couch, but there was still lots of work waiting us when we hit the campsite Friday night.  The first day and a half was spent squaring things away and it was weird unpacking for a seasonal stay versus moving around all the time.  When you’re on the go everything is placed for ease of packing up and making sure it’s secure.  When you’re stationary you can put anything you want wherever you want, which is nice, but totally different from the rally arrangement.  While I situated things Lee worked on the support box under the couch.  In the pictures below you can see we bought a love seat with zero clearance so each side can tilt back and out.  It’s SUPER comfortable but does look pretty weird in that small a space.  That being said I don’t regret the purchase at all and until we can get to Amish country and buy a custom couch I am super happy.   I started down the path of thinking where would guests sit…how it looked etc, but as Lee quickly mentioned guests will mainly be outside and “Do you want to be comfortable or not?”  The man had a point and once I sat in it I was sold…slightly weird looking or not.  One last note Lee built a box for below the couch because the new one sticks out a little farther than the old one, so it needed something to rest on. The box didn’t look very good until he removed the padding and leather from the old couch and used it to upholster the new base. It looks great.  The man is a genius!! (It’s true. I am a genius. – Lee)

Here's the wooden box he built

Here’s the wooden box he built

Finished box on the bottom

Finished box on the bottom

My daughter Kay curled on the couch

My daughter Kay curled on the couch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was the other thing..my daughter who is 18 gave up her Friday night and came out to visit us right after work.  It was so fun, we had hot dogs and marshmallows and she kept us entertained all night with weird facts from an app her phone has. She’s a good girl and it was sweet she came to hang out.  The lack of wifi was a bit of a bummer for her though.

One of my other favorite things was I got my rock collection sorted out.  I like rocks and have collected neat ones in all my travels.  I really thought I was going to have to give up my rock collection…partly for weight and partly because vision of rocks flying around the camper was giving me nightmares.  Lee and my in-laws all threw themselves behind solving my rock problem though (so sweet) and helped me find these very nice plastic containers at The Container Store.  I will be able to strap these in when we move and I now have three different rock carriers with plenty of space for more to come!!  I don’t know about you, but it’s the little things in life that give me true joy…so thanks to Lee, DeDe and especially Denny for helping me make this happen. (If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend The Container Store. It’s my personal mecca. The have anything you need for putting anything into anything. They even have little boxes you can put littler boxes into. – Lee)

My rock collection...left to right Gold...Black...Red

My rock collection…left to right Gold…Black…Red

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally on Saturday Lee hung my Audrey Hepburn picture (which I fretted would not work and make the room smaller and turned out to be perfect) and covered the cabinet mirrors with Artscape Window Film.  I really hated the fact that the cabinets across from the bed had mirrors for a variety of reasons…not the least of which is that I am not that crazy at looking at myself all the time. (I am not nearly as happy as she is about it. Who doesn’t want a wall of mirrors facing the bed???  Bow chicka bow bow, baby. – Lee) So I did some research and found a window cling at Home Depot.  We weren’t sure what it would look like on a mirror since it’s made to go on a window, but Lee, ever practical, said buy one roll and if it doesn’t work you’re only out $22.  Not only did it work…it completely surpassed my expectations…LOVE LOVE  LOVE it.   And, again, the room does not look smaller which was a concern.  So here’s my updated bedroom thanks to my great handy-man hubby. (The Artscape window film is really easy to work with, and looks great on windows, and apparently, mirrors, although the more colorful and detailed patterns probably wouldn’t look as good on a mirror as a simple etched or frosted glass look. All you do is rough-cut it to fit, spray the glass with water that has just a few drops of liquid soap in it, and then position it and squeegee it until there are no air bubbles or water left. There’s no adhesive, it just works based on the laws of fluid mechanics. Or magic. Then you use a very sharp razor knife to trim the edge, and sit back and enjoy the adulation and kisses from whoever you did it for. Hanging a picture is even easier and hardly ever requires squeegeeing anything, so the work-to-kisses ratio is more in your favor. – Lee)

 

My Audrey Hepburn poster

My Audrey Hepburn picture

Before and after with mirrors

Before and after with mirrors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lee at work

Lee at work

Finished product looks so much better

Finished product looks so much better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday night we had our friends Georgia and Jim over.  They had not seen the campsite yet and we were happy to be ready to share it.  I went with hot dogs and chips but I did make my Mom’s amazing potato salad.  Usually I’m lazy and buy a vastly inferior product at the grocery store, but making a small batch for just the four of us was super easy and it lasts well in the fridge.  I have the recipe at the bottom if you want to try it out.  It’s truly yummy delicious.  I also have been looking for years for that hot dogs that mimic those of my childhood memories and I finally found them.  Jordan’s Ball Game Treats are very inexpensive and taste just like the hot dogs I ate when I was a kid.  I am sure they are terrible for you…but I’ll take a good ole basic hot dog over one of those fancy ones any day. (Fancy hot dogs??? What the hell are fancy hot dogs? I don’t think she knows what hot dogs are made of. – Lee)

Oh I also keep forgetting to mention Lee put up a bird feeder on the window that Dede and Denny gave us and a hummingbird feeder.  We have had friends in both along our travels and since they are right outside my desk window I can sit and watch without scaring them away.  I included the hummingbird feeder mixture in the recipe section because it’s easy to make but I keep forgetting the ratio.

 

Bird feeder and hummingbird feeder outside my desk window

Bird feeder and hummingbird feeder outside my desk window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Georgia and Jim (two of our best friends) came over and we had a great time.  Their son worked for Lee and he is the son we never had.  He chose the same career field as Lee and is doing very well in it so we had a very enjoyable night talking about our kids, our plans for the future, and of course showing off our new camper 🙂  It was also cool that despite having intermittent rain all weekend it was perfectly dry all night.    Thanks so much Georgia and Jim for helping us kick off our seasonal summer!!  Look forward to many more nights by the fire.

Speaking of the campsite here are the pictures of the campsite and our friends Georgia and Jim.

Campsite at night

Campsite at night

DSC01811

 

 

Kay and Lee hanging out by the fire

Kay and Lee hanging out by the fire

Big rock on our site

Big rock on our site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very well wooded love that...we have neighbors but can barely see them through the tress

Very well wooded site.. love that…we have neighbors but can barely see them through the tress

 Connie’s Best Ever Potato Salad

1.  Peel potatoes and cut into 4-5 pieces

2.  Boil covered until you can easily cut through with a butter knife but remove before mushy.  Rinse with cool water

3.  Boil eggs and allow both eggs and potatoes to cool

4.  Use a fork to mix egg yolks, mayo, mustard, and good seasons

5.  Mix potatoes, green onions, and egg whites

6.  Mix dressing into potato mixture gently stirring.

7.  Refrigerate until served (best if made the night before)

Connie's Best Potato Salad Ever

Connie’s Best  Ever Potato Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hummingbird Feeder Solution

  • 1 part sugar (must be the real deal)
  • 4 parts water

Stir well prior to filling up the feeder

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  Search Amazon.com here

First Time Staying on a Farm

Tuesday we drove to Luck, WI, which is a very small town of about 1000 people. Our daughter Katy’s boyfriends family lives outside of town on a farm and offered to let us stay on their land. I was a bit nervous as this would be our first time camping on someone’s property. As we got off the interstate, Katy had warned us to be careful of deer and she wasn’t kidding! At one point 3 deer crosses the road in front of us and we had to slow to a crawl. The sun was setting which made visibility poor and we were navigating by GPS coordinates so things were a bit tense. Then I saw a bald eagle on the side of the road eating a dead deer. Amazing, it was so huge and I wanted to stop and get a picture but we were seriously losing the light at this point and pushed on. When we made it to the long driveway it was country dark… With no moon but lots of stars. Katy and her boyfriend Micah and his parents Jim and Linda rushed out to greet us and it was hugs all around. What a wonderful welcome after a long day on the road.

Jim offered to park the trailer next to his barn and Lee quickly took him up on the offer. He parked it neatly and in no time we were hooked up to their water and power and partially deployed. Linda held dinner for us, so we ate pork roast, potatoes, carrots, and bread. I have to stop here and say Linda and Jim are the most hospitable people I have ever stayed with and they fed us WELL. Almost everything they cook is raised on the farm and there is nothing like fresh, wholesome home-grown food. Plus they are serious foodies and everything was spiced with farm grown herbs. All I can say is wow. We stayed up talking until I was so sleepy I had to call it a night and was sound asleep in about 2 seconds flat.

The next morning we woke up before the roosters. In the field next to our site, they have game hens and a pen on laying hens with 4 young roosters so were forewarned about the farm alarm clock. Lee’s an early riser and was proud he beat the roosters. We finished setting up and enjoyed the beautiful morning sunrise. Katy came over as soon as we were up and we spent some time catching up with our beautiful and feisty daughter. Linda came over and let us know she was making breakfast and French toast and sausage followed. So good. I started to feel a bit guilty about all the meals, but Linda really wanted to feed us and we were more than happy to keep eating 🙂

Jim took the day off work (a rare occurrence) just to hang out with us and gave us a tour of the farm. Jim and Linda have 27 acres, and his brother Mike and his wife Barb work the acres next door as part of a non-profit sustainable farm they run. The farm is called Ananoth Community Farm and supplies vegetables for a local co-op. The brothers also have 4 cows, 4 pigs, and tons of chickens which they use for their own needs along with selling the excess to friends and neighbors. One of the coolest thing is Mike and Barb have interns from nearby colleges come and stay and work the farm. There is a separate bunk house for the interns and they work and learn about sustainable farming. Barb was also teaching some of them how to can and make homemade Applesauce … Yum. Even thought they were deep in the potato harvest, Mike took the time to answer my million questions about how he kept the plants so healthy without pesticides. One of the neatest things was that they plant eggplants as a throwaway crop to keep the bugs off the potatoes. I guess eggplants taste better… Genius.

It was a lovely 3 days with great conversation, great food, and capped off by an impromptu concert by the brothers and their wives around our campfire one night. Beautiful music sung by absolutely beautiful people and I am very grateful that I got to experience it. It truly was difficult to leave and I can’t wait to come back for a longer visit in the future.

Lessons Learned

  • Staying with friends is great
  • Water and electric from a barn works perfectly
  • Farm fresh food really does taste so much better
  • Fresh herbs are amazing

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  Search Amazon.com here

First Time Camping with Friends

Some friends of ours from Columbus, Ohio (our original hometown) were on a two-week camping trip through New England and we met up with them.   The couple have two daughters aged 12 and 8 and camping with kids is fun but a totally different experience.  We ended up meeting them in Acadia, Maine at the KOA Bar Harbor Oceanside campsite.   Just through good luck we ended up getting to the campsite within minutes of each other, which was great, and we all proceeded to set up.  They are in an ultra-lite, which I thought was very nice but took them very little time to set up, mainly I think because they were in the camping mode already, plus we had a new mattress topper for the bed (down alternative because feathers make me sneeze and VERY comfortable) which I had to wrestle into place.  I don’t really notice the lack of space on either side of the mattress until I have to make the bed and wrestling the mattress topper into place was a challenge to say the least.  At one point I was kneeling on the mattress and trying to lift it at the same time to slip the cover sheet under.. pretty comical I am sure.   Anyway, my point is that apparently I have gotten pretty darn used to my setup routine because trying to quicken the pace, to hang out with friends sooner was stressing me out 🙂  All self-imposed but it’s funny how quickly we can become used to a routine.

The campsite is different from any we have been to before, wide open with RV’s as close to each other as you can possibly put them.  Our spot faces a little spot of the ocean bay, though, and is on a corner which is pretty great.  They have some great  sites right on the water if you don’t need sewer hookup, but really the whole point is to use the campground as a jumping off point for going to Acadia National Park, so it’s not designed to spend tons of time there.  My major disappointment was the lack of the sound of waves crashing, because it is a bay it’s pretty sheltered, but the kids enjoyed walking down to the shore and picking up shells and they saw some crabs.  The bathrooms were very clean, the family uses the campground showers instead of the tiny one in the camper which they have turned into an additional storage area.  Pretty ingenious 🙂  and unfortunately the showers routinely had no hot water.  There were several complaints from both cabin users and campers.  It wasn’t an issue for us though and I have to say we had a great site 105 which has a great view of a little sliver of ocean.  There were some other wonderful sites on the water, but I guess they book up really quick and lots of sites where folks are seriously on top of each other with no view whatsoever.  The view from our site is below which was great.

DSC01444

The people who run the campground were nice if a bit harried.  It was incredibly busy and because of the tight fits on the campground, every camper is escorted and helped to pull into the correct spot.  Lots of French Canadians at the site, and folks were incredibly polite.  Lots and lots of big dogs, we saw a couple beautiful huskies.  Overall I liked it. Don’t kid yourself, though, this is not ocean side camping like you are picturing in your mind, but for what it is (a place to use to visit Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park) it is a fair value.  The shower issue and extreme closeness of sites requires a downgrade though and I rate it at 3 out of 5 pine cones.

One of the best parts of camping with friends is getting to sit around the campfire with them. The 12-year-old and I spent a very entertaining hour trying to create the perfect toasted marshmallow  (she managed to pull it off; I was close but not quite) and we all chatted into the evening. For the first time I had to worry about when the quiet hours were, which was funny.  We never make any noise when it’s just the two of us.  This time we got to sit at the fun campsite!!

The next day Lee and I went to Acadia Park which although crowded was really fun.  This is a great place if you like biking as there are 42 miles of carriage paths which were changed into bike paths.  We also saw lots of little kids hiking with their parents as there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails.  Since we weren’t really into doing either, we drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain (which is free) and took some great pictures of the ocean.

DSC01449

Next we took the park loop road ($20 for a 7 day pass) and stopped at various scenic sites along the way.  Did you know that seniors 64 and older can purchase a lifetime National park pass for $10 that gains entry into all National Parks in the country??  Say what you want about our government but there are some things they do right.   My favorite part of the loop was when we stopped at Thunder Hole and got down on the rocks and watched the ocean come crashing in on the rocks.  It was great, and you could get as close to the water as you wanted.  All and all a lovely day.

DSC01505

We also visited Bar Harbor which was pretty touristy but fun as the harbor was fogged in and seeing all the boats amid the fog certainly added to the experience.  A great family style steak dinner at night and more time around the campfire capped off the experience.  Great time hanging out with friends and we are now e packing up and headed to inland Maine and they are branching off to Cape Cod.

Lessons Learned

  • Walkie talkies are a fun way to communicate when you have two vehicles and it’s great for kids
  • When camping with a group allow plenty of time for folks to do their own thing, but make sure you meet up at night for  campfire and adult beverages

 

Perfect Lemonade

(Taste tested by an 8-year-old and declared pretty good)

  • 5 cups of water, divided
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar or Splenda

1.  Combine 4 cups of water and lemon juice

2.  Chill 30 minutes

3.  Peel lemons leaving inner white pith on fruit (reserve lemons for another use)

4.  Cut lemon rinds into strips

5.  Combine rind, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan

6.  Stir over medium heat until sugar melts

7.  Bring to a boil and boil for 7 minutes; stir frequently

8.  Let cool

9.  Mix with lemon juice/water mixture and chill 2 hours before serving

 

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  Search Amazon.com here