For 25 years beginning in 1975 the month of May meant the beginning of camping season for my husband, Peter, and me. We had a permanent site at Belview Campground in Barton, Vermont. Crystal Lake was so close that we just walked through a field and we were there.
I was reminded of my own enthusiasm for that lifestyle when Kathy, who sits at the front desk of a medical office where I had an appointment, told me how she can’t wait for camping to begin. That triggered a trip down memory lane for me.
Camping means different things to different people. For some it can be roughing it in a tent and for others it means the comforts of a trailer. The latter has all kinds of options. My husband and I started off in a very basic pop-up camper. Peter came into our marriage owning the camper and since I didn’t know any better I thought it was wonderful compared to being in a tent. Anything other than a hotel was a rustic adventure for me back then.
Once I saw other available camping options I wanted to take a step up and get a “self-contained” trailer. That means you have a bathroom complete with toilet and shower as well as either a pull-out bed or a permanent bed. Acquiring one would mean no more trips to the community bathroom and shower!
As fate would have it a friend of my husband told him about a trailer that was being sold due to the death of the owner’s wife. The price was a real bargain as he got lonesome seeing it sitting in his yard and was happy to know that another couple could make memories of their own in it.
It served us well for a few years but after seeing the layout of other trailers in the campground we wanted to “trade up.” We sold it for the same price that we had paid for it. The buyer told us that the trailer would be used as a hunting get-away in the Barton area.
It didn’t take us long to find a trailer we liked that had a permanent double bed, a shower that you could actually turn around in and a toilet on which your knees didn’t hit a wall. Life just got a whole lot better!
I really got spoiled when the campground owners came and asked all of the seasonal campers if we would be interested in getting hooked up to cable TV. The majority of us did and what a treat that was!
We were gradually experiencing life in a summer retreat with a beautiful lake just a few feet away. For my husband it was a fisherman’s paradise as Crystal, Shadow, Willoughby and Caspian lakes were all very close by. He even made a fisher-woman out of me as I enjoyed it as much as he did. In fact the fish often were biting better on my side of the boat and Peter would say he was just the guide that day!
What would the camping experience be like without a campfire? We enjoyed one every night when the weather cooperated. Of course, we had marshmallows! Since there were no street lights nearby the sky looked entirely different than it did in the city. We cooked most of our meals on a charcoal grill but a small gas grill served that purpose toward the end of our long camping life.
We were ready for a change after 25 years and replaced the lake life with a pool in our yard. That got a lot of use until age caught up with both the pool and with the two of us. When it needed a new liner we decided it was time to fill it in. I now have a lot more lawn to mow but we have a nice big backyard in which to grow blueberries and raspberries.
I think the pandemic made a lot of people appreciate the outdoors as the fresh air seemed like a safer place to gather. If you are thinking about giving camping a try, go for it! There is something for every budget and lifestyle. Reconnecting with nature is a lot of fun. Maybe you will do what we did…start with the basics and work your way up to the comforts of home.