Local (near Keene, New Hampshire) Campsite Research – Day 2

Much better today from a communication standpoint and the weather was beautiful, but it still took overall roughly about an hour per site (8 campgrounds in 8 hours) and we did get lost a couple of times, but not nearly as much.  When you get lost, using good old-fashioned street addresses works great btw.  We went old school 🙂  The reviews are listed below.

Tree Farm Campground –  53 Skitchewaug Trail, Springfield VT

The campground has decent signage and a super friendly  group of folks were hanging out with  their dogs when we pulled in.  The sites are only $33 a night ($600 for a month) and all of them have Electric/Water/Sewage.    A lot of seasonals but also many open sites with lots of space between them .  Lee characterized it as “extreme separation” between sites which is great for us.  Numerous  pull throughs some as double the size of other sites we have seen.  We saw no kids at all, which for us was a bonus… not that we don’t like kids but it was cool that this appeared largely adult only.  The campground was super quiet, we could hear lots of birds in the trees.   We saw several large RV’s or  5 th wheels fitting comfortably on sites and got  super excited.  Lee said he could see being seasonal here and liked that each site has two mounted metal trash cans on it.  We drove around, picked our favorite sites 19, 22, 23, and 17 in order and then booked a weekend.  The campsite is cash only and required a deposit but it was only $30 (one nights stay) because we are Good Sam members.   Another nice benefit is check in is at noon and  if no one else is booked in your site you can stay a little later on Sunday.  Perkins Rating: Reserved a site

Caton Place Campground – 2419 East Road,  Cavendish VT
Things were going so well so we of course had to get completely lost.  Somehow the wrong address was entered (ask Lee my version was just fine)  and we ended up on a dirt road where I kid you not some coon dogs saw us and ran after the car for about half a mile.  We finally asked a woman for help and her accent was so thick I couldn’t understand the directions.  Lee did and they took us under a railroad bridge, over a railroad track, and past numerous ramshackle houses.  Finally we got back on the main road and made it to the right location.  The signage wasn’t very good to the spot (even after we had the correct address) and there was no full-time person at the office.  Doug ran up and helped us, he was very friendly gave us a map and told me to make a circle and then go up to “snob hill”.  This was not a good sign to me as that kind of division in a small campground did not bode well.  They had a big meadow area and several smaller sites which were wooded and would work well for electric/water only campers.  Most of the seasonals were on the hill and they seemed to have all the best sites.  There was a pool which people were using and a swimming pond which looked pretty gross.  Overall not a friendly vibe.   Perkins Rating: Not for Us – Your Mileage May Vary

Crown Point Camping Area –  131 Bishop Camp Rd,  Perkinsville VT
The campground was near a very nice reservoir with nearby state park trails.  The signage was pretty good and there were several “please excuse our mess” signs as they are trying to improve the campground.  Wood was $10 and it was unclear  how much you could take but it looked like a lot.  There was a big carved eagle in the campground which was nice and it is  next to a cemetery.  This doesn’t bother me in the slightest but I know it might creep some people out.  There were very few full service sites but they were large sites and pull-throughs and Lee felt they were “gigantic”.    Site 117 was our favorite  although 112 and 114 would also work.  Overall it was very quiet although we did hear one barking dog for a little while.  The town of Perkinsville is 4 minutes away but there were no stores or restaurants so it would be a bit of a hike if you needed something.  Perkins Rating:  Worth Trying

Running Bear Campground 6248 US 5,  Weathersfield Vt
The campground had good signage and was close to the main roads.  Surrounded by a nice community  with local restaurants  and a grocery store.  We saw  beautiful views of hills and when we pulled in the stop sign said “WHOA”, which I liked.  They were also Good Sam Club members so I was feeling great.  It all went down from there.  First an elderly woman parked her car right behind us and blocked us in even though there were tons of parking spaces available.  When we drove through the campground we saw the campers were all right on top of each other. Literally about 8-10 feet between them. Honestly I don’t get that why for the same price people would be packed in like sardines.   There was a huge meadow area and the back was wooded but it butted up against the interstate and we could clearly hear and see the cars going by.  One thing I did like is since many of their sites have no sewer they were pulling a dump tank around with a tractor and people could dump into it. There were many permanents with extra cars which I can see as a benefit if you have family in the area, but it made the overcrowding problem worse.  There was a pool and we saw several large groups of people so I can see how it might work for a family gathering of some sort.  Perkins Rating: Not for Us – Your Mileage May Vary

Crows Nest Campground – 529 S Main St,  Newport Nh
The campground is near a big golf course outside of the small town of Newport  which has several local restaurants.  The location has a pool and a big meadow field with lots of campers. When we pulled up to the office a sign said “Please wait we will be right back” so we did and only had to wait 5 minutes or so.  The campground has a huge play area and a fishing pond.  There is a wooded section with several very nice river view sites unfortunately these were water and electric only and a bit on the small side for our camper.   The people we saw seemed to be cranky and the lots with sewer in the wooded area are right on top of each other. Perkins Rating: Not for Us – Your Mileage May Vary

North Star Campground – 43 Coon Brook Rd,  Newport Nh
This campground had good signage and was relatively easy to find.  Unfortunately it only has three rentable full service sites and all of the rest are seasonal.  The three sites 22, 21, and 20 (in order of our preference) were spacious and in a wooded area.  There were some great sites along the Sugar River but these were unfortunately for a smaller camper and water/electric only.  Although the woman at the front desk seemed annoyed to be bothered, we stopped a man who “helped out there” to ask a question and he was very friendly.  I also liked that you could get an “armful” of wood for $4.  The campsite is only 15 minutes away from Sunappe Mountain which has all kinds of great activities in the summer like zip-lining, excursions, and an aerial challenge course.  Because the sites were good and it’s proximity to the mountain. Perkins Rating:  Worth Trying

Tippicanoe Campground – 1295 Brook Rd Gothenburg NH
Outside of a nice little town with its own tiny grocery store  and very close to Keene.  I love the cool name personally and gave it extra style points for the name alone 🙂  It has  summer and winter camping on Rand Pond and their were lots of smiling people  and a very helpful person at the desk.  They are in the process of adding new sites right along the lack so it was a bit challenging but we did see three sites with a lake view that could be rented for a weekend.  All of the locations are full hookups and it’s  mostly seasonal with some very expensive trailers on the sites.  Terrific beach and the pond has sailboats, canoes, and kayaks.  There’s also a beach playground and a nice swimming platform.  Although the sites are very close to each other, I really wanted to try something with a view, thinking it wouldn’t matter so much how close you were if you were facing the water.  Overall it was a very creative use of space and they were trying there best to create many premium sites.   We finally picked a site (they weren’t numbered yet so I can’t really help there) when at the last-minute she mentioned they were completely non-smoking.  This made us change our mind…not just because we are smokers, (although obviously this was a big part of it), but I could see all the improvement was part of a larger plan to create a seasonal community.  That’s not really what we are looking for so we passed.  If you are looking for a nice seasonal (around $800 per month) this might be your place though.  One thing to keep in mind is I had absolutely no cell phone coverage there…which is another deal breaker for me,.  Perkins Rating: Not for Us – Your Mileage May Vary

Woodmore Family Campground –   21 Woodbound Rd Rindge NH
We decided to try one more even though it was getting late and since Rindge is close to Keene and in a very nice area, Woodmore seemed like the perfect stop.    The GPS  had trouble finding it, there is a S. Woodbound Rd which gets you to Woodbound Rd which the campground is actually on.  The campground is in a nice neighborhood and has a nice store.  The office was incredibly busy, but they had two polite young women working the counter and they were helpful.  There is gate access to enter and the place was packed on a Sunday at 5pm.  Lots of kids, lots of campers (both seasonals and not) and unfortunately they were right on top of each other and the trees were thin enough you could see into the neighborhood house from the sites.    Huge playground and a pool made it kid friendly and they allowed multiple cars on the sites which didn’t help with the congestion, but I think added to the appeal.  It is $5 to visit per person and that fee was strictly enforced.  They had more remote sites down near the boat dock but only had electric and water.  Those would be great for a pop up or tent camping but unfortunately too crowded for us.  One cool thing is you can buy a “bucket” of wood for $7 and they deliver it to your site.   Perkins Rating: Not for Us – Your Mileage May Vary

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Local (near Keene, New Hampshire) Campsite Research – Day 1

Lee and I didn’t have any camping arranged this weekend, which made us sad… so Lee had the idea for us to visit local campsites and see for ourselves what was in the area.  Great idea in concept, really tough to execute.  We spent from 8:30am until 7pm and only saw 10 sites.   Of the 10 sites only one was an absolute winner. The others were a mixed bag.  Along the way we struggled with navigation (despite two iPhones, and Ipad, and a GPS), did a pretty lousy job of communicating, and generally got on each others nerves.  Keep that in mind when you read the reviews, we definitely weren’t in the best frame of mind.  That being said, we didn’t give up, and the very last one we visited was fantastic. So we are going to try it again tomorrow (Clearly we are gluttons for punishment and slow learners.-Lee) but I am going to route our map this time 🙂  The reviews are as follows and they are in the order we visited them. 

Hinsdale campground – 4 South Street, Hinsdale NH
Hinsdale is an old mill town and the campground is outside of the town on the back side of a trailer park.  The campground is separated by a manned gate and Passport America is accepted at the site.  The area also is monitored by CCTV cameras and the amount of security made me believe there had been issues in the past.  The big draw of the site is numerous ATV trails and there were numerous campers there.  The sites are all level  and clean and every one has a lamppost in front of it with the site number on it, which makes it like a little neighborhood.  Tons of very friendly seasonal people  who were talking to each other in the common areas.  There is also some tree division between every site. It is right across the street from the Connecticut river although there is no direct access from the campground  If you are looking for a reasonably pried seasonal ($2100) or are into ATV ing this might be the place for you.  Perkins Rating: Not for Us – Your Mileage May Vary

Forest Lake Campground -331 Keene Rd, Winchester NH
Gated entrance for after hours.  We received some unfriendly stares when we first pulled in but others were overly friendly.  I say overly friendly because as one guy noticed one of our headlights was fogged up and discolored, and told Lee he could fix it with toothpaste.  We were definitely being “checked out” by the residents.  The campground is right on a nice lake  with many seasonal sites with semi-permanent structures attached to them. There is a small meadow perfect for a large group  and some nice lake view sites if you are ok with just water and electric.   Tons of golf carts and most of the sites are really on top of each other although most are at different elevations so you get a bit of a view.  Visitors have to have a code when they are leaving to stop guests from taking advantage of the lake and not paying their day fee.   Perkins Rating: Not for Us – Your Mileage May Vary

No Name -100 Athol Rd Richmond NH. Big field,  no office,  wooded on the edge and open in the middle.  We saw several tents and some RV’s but where you would pay I wasn’t sure.  Power hookups but no sewer.  Perkins Rating: No Way 

Laurel Lake Campground (No website)  – 340 East Lake Rd Fitzwilliam NH
Fitzwilliam is a little spit of a town whose big distinguishing feature is that John Wayne used to vacation there.  The general store was closed with a paper sign on the door, but we also saw a sign for canoe race on beautiful Laurel Lake .  This campground was a huge disappointment.  It is a beautiful piece of property with terrific lake views that has completely fallen into disrepair.  The website is tremendously misleading, showing the only piece of the property that was somewhat well-kept.  The permanent trailers are falling down and scary looking, and there were numerous big pieces of equipment strewn throughout the campground which is being over taken by weeds.  It reminded me of a nice big piece of property in the country where the owner had cars up on blocks in his front yard.  The caretaker was polite and  let us wander.  Unfortunately none of the sites have sewer unless you’re seasonal and all the paths and roads are overgrown.  Again such a shame because it was a mostly wooded piece of property.  If I had a ton of money, I would buy it and fix it up.  Sadly that is not an option so … Perkins Rating: No Way 

Cold Springs Camp Resort 62 Barnard Hill, Weare NH

On the drive to Weare, I saw a man walking a horse down the side of the road…gotta love that, it’s always a good sign.  Weare is a nice country town with locally owned restaurants and businesses.  The campground is close by and has a nice entrance sign and three very nice pools (one with a kids fountain and another for toddlers) right at the entrance.  There were hundreds of  golf carts and a hayride was pulling out as we pulled in.  Also there was a DJ at the pool and he was announcing the day’s activities.  By the time we pulled into the store area, Margharittaville was playing poolside and I was entranced.   It’s very clean and obviously family oriented and the place was packed.   Tons of professional staff and many very nice seasonal sites.  What appears to be the older section of the campground has lots of  wooded sites although they were a little on the small side for us.  Our favorite site was W14A  although W14 would also work well.  In addition we thought we could make 149 and 151 work as they were on the larger side.  This campground would be great if you are a grandparent and want to bring your grandkids as they have a lot of activities and wonderful seasonal spots.  Their prices are on the high side $60 for Super Sites and a seasonal rate of $3,400 but if you can afford it and needed a kid friendly place this would definitely be for you.  Perkins Rating:  Worth Trying

Autumn Hills Campground  – 285 S Stark Hwy Weare, NH
Nice sign with a  nice entrance.  Large  group play area for kids and they were playing some water balloon games and there was a decent pool.  There are  several non-seasonal full hook ups at the campground and huge lots that are not right on top of each other.  Very wooded as well.  A few of the lots have a water view and our favorite (94) was very close to the lake entrance which would be perfect to launch kayaks or a canoe.  Unfortunately a metal chain link fence separates the sites closest to the water from the lake so you can only gain entrance in one central location.  Not sure what the purpose of that is, but really cuts into the experience.  Other sites that would work for us were T5 (elevated with a lot of trees), 90 (smaller site but with a view of the water), and 14 and 11 which are close to the kids area but nice big lots.  Essentially a nice basic campground without a lot of frills reasonably priced at $42 a night.  This was my second favorite site  Perkins Rating:  Worth Trying

Mile-Away Campground 479 Old West Hopkinton Rd, Henniker NH
A small Book store with 30,000 books close by the entrance got my attention and the sign stating 2 cars per site really sparked it.  I would like my daughters to be able to visit me and the second car could come in handy.  There is a heated saltwater pool which seems to be a big attraction and the campground is made up of mostly seasonals who seemed nice.  The camp allows no outside wood, which is a huge drawback since I am looking for something local and there were only two sites that could work for us since most of them were very small.   Nice miniature golf course, numerous golf carts, a beach with boats for rent and sites 20 and 21 are pull throughs right near the beach.  That being said most of the sites were very small and kind of on top of each other.  One site we liked, Lee pulled out a surveyors wheel and showed me how much room the trailer would take and it left little to no room on the site for hanging out.   This was Lee’s second favorite of the day but I am on the fence about it.  Perkins Rating:  Worth Trying

Sandy Beach RV Resort 677 Clement Hill Rd, Contoocook NH
All sites are full hookup and the people are very friendly.  Lots of seasonals and any of the sites can be seasonals or rentals if there is no seasonal currently in them which I like because the weekenders aren’t all batched together in the “crappy” part of the campground.  Neat, clean and tidy sites with a lot of trees but the sites are very close to each other.  Almost all the sites close to water are taken by seasonals but we saw several large sites are favorites being D30 and D35.  There’s also meadow parking if you prefer and the beach is nicely laid out and there were a ton of people in and around the water.  This campsite seems less communal than others, although it may have just been the time of day we toured it and we wouldn’t want to try it unless we got one of the larger sites.  Perkins Rating:  Worth Trying

Keyser Pond Campground 1739 Old Concord Rd,  Henniker Nh
The address wouldn’t work in GPS and  google maps took us to the wrong place also.  We called the campsite and got not great directions and finally flagged down a very nice policeman who showed us where the site was.  Once we found it we thought the people seemed nice.  It has a great playground and mini golf  and a couple of the sites have water views.  Site 82 is great but has a steep incline and would be very tough for us to get our 32 footer into.   Most of the sites were wooded, the seasonals were a bit run down but it was quiet and the small beach looked nice.  Essentially if you had a smaller camper it would be a nice place to go especially if you like to canoe or kayak.  Perkins Rating: Not for Us – Your Miles May Vary

Oxbow Campground 8 Oxbow Rd Deering, NH

Just when we were about to give up, we decided to try on more and it was outstanding.  By far the favorite of the 10 sites we looked at today, the campground has a little bit of everything.  Good signage,  nice people at the desk , and a lot of seasonals but interspersed throughout the campground.  There is a side meadow if you prefer that type of camping but numerous wooded sites, some near a dam and others near a babbling brook.  It was spacious, neat, and clean, and most importantly the sites are not on top of each other.  The sites have really nice fire pits, a swimming pond,  fishing pond, and a boating pond.  There was a party house and a graduation party was happening and the people seem to know each other and are friendly to each other.   There are several level sites either in the middle or on the edge away from folks.  Like I said a little bit for everyone.  Our two favorite sites were 121 and 118.  We liked it so much we rented 118 for a few weeks from now.  120 would also work fine and if you wanted something different site 62 has a babbling brook next to it and site 38 has a great view of the landscape.   Really like the campsite and can’t wait to give it a try. Perkins Rating: Reserved a site

Time to make the route for tomorrow…hopefully we will see more like Oxbow.

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