Playground

Camping in the Hamptons, November 2013

It's finally happened: the boys are at the age to rebel against what their parents want, and for us now that means going camping. Sigh. They actually just grumbled a bit about going and of course had a great time once we set off. That was a couple of hours later than we had hoped/planned; we weren't all packed and ready to go till about 5:30. The drive is about two and a half hours without traffic, and we also had to stop for some groceries and dinner on the way. Traffic getting out of the city wasn't too terrible, but we didn't stop until after 8, somewhere between Islip and Patchogue.

Hither Hills State Park (NY)

Drive Time: 
2 hours 30 minutes
Distance in Miles: 
118
Address: 
164 Old Montauk Highway Montauk, NY 11954
Phone: 
(631) 668-2554
Description: 
Hither Hills State Park is almost at the tip of Long Island, just a ten-minute drive from the historic Montauk Point Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in New York State. The campground is right by the beach, and there is a visitors' center with ranger-led programs, a camp store (in season), a large, well-equipped playground, and bathrooms with showers. There is easy to moderate hiking in the park, with trailheads a short drive from the campground.
Year We Camped There: 
2013
Public/Private: 
Public
Type of Site: 
Drive-Up
Type of Site: 
Tents
Plumbing: 
Flush Toilet
Plumbing: 
Pump/Spigot
Plumbing: 
Showers

Bike Trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park

For our second consecutive Sunday of family biking, we decided to check out the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, which we'd only visited briefly in the winter, when it was cold and extremely windy. In June it was the opposite—warm with a welcome cool breeze. Our plan was to bike there, explore, and get lunch from Smorgasburg. Our route, once again planned on the Ride the City site, took us around Prospect Park and down Vanderbilt Avenue.

Belleplain State Forest (NJ)

Drive Time: 
2 hours 40 minutes
Distance in Miles: 
140
Address: 
1 Henkinsifkin Road, Woodbine, NJ 08270
Phone: 
(609) 861-2404
Description: 
Belleplain State Forest is mostly flat and wooded, a mixture of evergreen and other trees but not true pine barrens although those are nearby. It is open for camping year-round and has unheated yurts and enclosed lean-tos with propane heaters as well as tent sites. Some of the state forest land is open to hunting in season. Belleplain is near the Garden State Parkway and Jersey shore. There are hiking and biking trails, a self-guided nature trail, and plenty of interesting geocaches. There is a seasonal swimming area on the lake.
Year We Camped There: 
2012
Public/Private: 
Public
Type of Site: 
Cabin (rustic)
Type of Site: 
Drive-Up
Type of Site: 
Group
Type of Site: 
Lean-To
Type of Site: 
Tents
Type of Site: 
Yurt
Plumbing: 
Flush Toilet
Plumbing: 
Pump/Spigot
Plumbing: 
Sink
Plumbing: 
Showers

Hickory Run State Park (PA)

Drive Time: 
2 hours 30 minutes (Route 80)
Distance in Miles: 
120
Address: 
RR 1 Box 81 White Haven, PA 18661-9712
Phone: 
570-443-0400
Description: 
Hickory Run has a lot to offer. There's a lake with a swimming beach, an amazing giant boulder field, a pond with fishing, and plenty of hiking trails. The area is wooded with rocky gorges and ridges. There's a camp store which saved my neck when I forgot the kids' fishing gear.
Year We Camped There: 
2004
Public/Private: 
Public
Type of Site: 
Cabin (rustic)
Type of Site: 
Drive-Up
Type of Site: 
Group
Type of Site: 
Tents
Plumbing: 
Flush Toilet
Plumbing: 
Sink
Plumbing: 
Showers

Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park (NY)

Drive Time: 
4 hours
Distance in Miles: 
200
Address: 
Davis Road, Westford NY 13488
Phone: 
(607)547-8662
Description: 
Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park is a new, small park that features six beautiful cottages with all the amenities. There are no tent sites. The park offers easy hiking trails, scenic views, catch-and-release fishing, and a day use area with playground.
Year We Camped There: 
2011
Public/Private: 
Public
Type of Site: 
Cottage (with amenities)
Plumbing: 
Flush Toilet
Plumbing: 
Sink
Plumbing: 
Showers

Day Hike at Betty & Wilbur Davis SP, 12-28-2011

Although the park area is not large (200 acres), "Andy's Trail," which runs mostly around the perimeter, offers a nice variety of types of terrain and surroundings. The trail is well-marked and features a "self-interpretive nature trail" with ten observation points created by a local Boy Scout as his Eagle project. The full circuit is about three miles of easy hiking, which can be comfortably done in about half a day, with time for goofing around, picture-taking, and observing nature's details, such as birds' nests, moss, icicles, and woodpecker holes.

Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park

Cabin "camping" with friends at Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park, one of the newer parks in the system. Actually, in NYS Parks and Rec parlance, a "cabin" is rustic without amenities, this is a "cottage" meaning it has heat, water, power, and a full kitchen. Cottages cost a lot more than cabins, but if a couple of families share it's not bad. This cottage is beautiful since it's less than 10 years old.

Last night we had dinner and later played Texas Hold-'Em. Today we had a nice hike in the morning and warmed up inside in the afternoon.

Strange Creek Festival, Greenfield, Massachusetts

This past Memorial Day weekend we camped out at the Strange Creek music festival in Greenfield, Mass. Great site, great weather, we all had a good time, and the kids had a blast!

Everyone tried out the "Orbitron" (see one like it here, lower right photo), except Jambandfan, who had cervical spine surgery in mid-April. It is really cool and fun!