I don’t know about you but I was ready for spring to get here weeks ago, so I planned my first camp out for this weekend no matter what the weather was like. Well it was cold and or windy most of the weekend, however I enjoyed myself immensely (and I like to think my family did too!)
For our first camp out of the year, we went to Watkins Mill State Park and Historic Site. We’ve camped here before, and always like to come back for the wooded campsites and the well kempt walking trails and historic sites. Most of the campsites are gravel (there are a few concrete), with both 30 and 50 amp electrical sites available; sewer is not available, but the dump site is easily accessible. All of the campsites have ample trees and several have trees on two or three sides so you have a very private area if you wish.
I think the biggest draw to Watkins Mill is the lake and walking and biking trails. The trail around the lake is accessible from the campsites and is a 3.75 miles trail for walking and biking. Even though there was a chill in the air there were plenty of people and pets enjoying them. The trail is paved all the way around; there are streams and bridges, some rough patches, but otherwise smooth. There are some shorter trails near the Mt. Vernon Church and the Franklin School as well as near the visitors’ center, leading out to the mill. All the trails are pet friendly except for the one leading to the mill.
The area around the mill itself is accessed through the Visitor Center. Inside the center are examples of fabrics made inside the mill, findings from archeological digs in the area, the history of the mill and other odds and ends related to Watkins Mill and the family who ran it.
From the visitors center you can catch a tour of the house and mill (for a fee) or you can take yourself on a tour (which was my option). The trails leading to the house and mill are pea gravel, and to get to the house you cross a tree lined lawn that simply takes you back in time. You can see a historical outdoor kitchen, chickens and turkeys, bee hives, as well as an heirloom garden. All of the plants in the garden were available in the 19th century, so there are some varieties that aren’t seen very often anymore. I must admit, the garden is my favorite part, and I wish that is what my garden looked like. A little further down is the mill, with original equipment and a barn showing common farming machinery from the time period. Oh and sheep, because you can’t have a woolen mill without sheep.
This Saturday (April 20th) they are hosting Spring on the Farm (I apparently went a week too early, stinks for me, great for you). You will be able to enjoy sheep shearing, a livestock display, heirloom garden planting, toy making, woodstove cooking, rag doll making, blacksmithing and more. The event is free of charge and both the Franklin School and Mt. Vernon Church will be open (normally you can only look in the windows).
Weekends from May 25th – August 11th Watkins Mill hosts a Living History Program with costumed interpreters presenting period activities of the late 19th century: gardening, woodstove cooking, laundry, weaving and children’s games.
I always seem to camp at Watkins Mill in the early spring or late fall – I think this year I need to make it again when they are in season.
For more information on Watkins Mill State Park and Historic Site:
I plan on visiting several different local campsites this year, where is your favorite place to camp nearby?
Acclimating your dog for the RV lifestyle!
- Get the pet acclimated with your recreational vehicle before you hit the road. Let them examine the space on their own to make them feel comfortable.
- Carry items that your pet is familiar with, such as their blanket, dog beds, toys etc.
- Use cargo crate, automobile pet harness, pet carrier, or pet booster seat to restrain your pet. This can save your pet from severe injuries or even from being killed during accidents or sudden stops.
- Carry ample amount of pet food while travelling in your recreational vehicle. You would hardly like to run short of foods for your little furry one, as you are enjoying in the RV campground.
- Keep a note of your vet’s phone number. Also, carry the pet’s medical records and consult with a local veterinarian in case there is an emergency.
- Let your pet stretch periodically and for this, take plenty of stops while on road. It is recommended to provide litter training to your pet and carry a portable litter tray. Even though, it would be wise to carry some carpet cleaners, floor cleaner and paper towels while RVing with your pet.
- Be thorough with the RV campground’s pet policies before your check in. Some RV campgrounds may have designated areas for dog walking, and you must only use them for your pet.
- Never leave the pet alone in the recreational vehicle, it is hazardous and the extreme climate inside may even kill your pet. You can appoint a pet day care service if you need to spend time away from your recreational vehicle.
And always obey the RV campground rules wherever you stay!
We are a "pet friendly" dealership - please bring your pets inside when visiting us (we event have treats!).
Thanks to That's Not Camping for this great article!
The cold snap this week has reminded me that it is in fact December, and while I love snow and cozying up by the fire, cold weather none the less leaves me dreaming of warmer climates.
My first thought is to head straight for a semi-tropic climate like Brownsville, TX. In Brownsville you can camp right on the beach as well as enjoy local activities like golfing on one of the many golf courses or fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. To enjoy the nature around you, visit the World Birding Center Resaca de la Palma State Park which features eight miles of trails on over 1,200 acres. If you want to do something in town, go experience the beautiful geometric statues at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art.
If you are in the mood to spend time in the great outdoors, Queen Valley, AZ is an adorable little town east of Phoenix, AZ where you can feel the cold melt away. Nestled in the mountains of Arizona, Queen Valley is filled with trails where you can truly enjoy the magnificence of the mountains. For a change in scenery, you could visit the Apache trail or the Phoenix Zoo, both a short drive away.
In Naples, FL, you can enjoy the Gulf coast any time of year! In Naples, everything is about the water. I love to go on everglade tours; some companies even offer manatee tours that promise, “If you don’t see a manatee, you don’t pay!” You can do almost anything ranging from airboat tours and kayaking, to sailing or just laying out on the beach.
My personal favorite is Palm Springs, CA. Not only are you surrounded by majestic mountains and rolling valleys, but you get the chance to experience some amazing adventures. Palm Springs has some of the most acclaimed mid-century modern architecture in the country. In February, they celebrate modernism week. Not only can you sign up to tour some of the most influential American architecture, but you also have the opportunity to go to a vintage trailer show. You can also go to one of the many scenic parks to enjoy the view or rent an ATV to race around the desert. The Living Desert Zoo represents the desert environments of North America and Africa and has a great variety of species. Visit the Palm Springs Air Museum, home of one of the world’s largest collections of WWII airplanes. The bottom line is that Palm Springs has a little bit for everyone!
Nothing represents winter more effectively than snowflakes and hot cocoa, but the warmth of Brownsville, Queen Valley, and Palm Springs will always continue to call me back!
Where is your favorite place to run to when with weather gets frigid?
Written by Samantha Derryberry, Guest Blogger
Excerpt taken from Larry Troutt's Blog of May 10, 2011...
"Given that gasoline pump prices have climbed over a buck higher per gallon since this time last year, when I left Houston for a trip last month with a travel trailer I had expectations of a much more expensive vacation.
My wife, Janis, and I planned to spend about $1,000 – or about twice as much for a trip which would take us some 1,500 miles on a huge loop from Houston into the canyon’s region of Texas’ high plains where we hoped to witness a full moon’s rise and a meteor shower in pristine, wilderness settings.
After spending an average of $3.75 a gallon for gasoline, we were surprised upon returning home to learn we beat our budget by about 50 percent. We tallied up expenses several times for confirmation, and without deducting for our normal weekly fuel consumption at home it was true -- we spent slightly more than $500 for five nights and six days of travel from one end of Texas to the other and back.
The experience has convinced me that RV travel remains the most economical and exciting way to vacation – especially during uncertain and stressful economic times. In addition to saving money, my experience confirms that RVs provide vacationers with freedom to stay in the best places, flexibility to do more, and the comfort of their own, familiar living space.
For the record: During our RV adventure, I pulled a 20-foot-long travel trailer weighing about 2,800 pounds with a half-ton rated pickup truck. Winds were much stronger than usual on the open, flat landscape and our average fuel efficiency was about 13.5 miles per gallon for the entire trip. We camped in public parks owned and operated by the State of Texas with camping and access fees averaging less than $25 for each 24-hour period combined. Water and electricity were provided at each campsite.
We prepared most of our meals inside the camper, preferring not to eat at restaurants in nearby towns or cities. There was no cost for meals above and beyond what we normally would have spent at home while not on vacation. There were no additional costs for our leisure activities, which included hiking, fishing and kayaking, all within the state parks boundarie."
"Given the cyclical nature of gas prices, I think it is safe to assume fuel will not (emphasis added) stay near $4 a gallon. Even if fuel prices stabilize at much higher rate per gallon than in the recent past, I think many more people will discover the great benefits of RV travel at relatively low cost compared to flying or staying in hotel rooms and eating meals at greater cost than normal in expensive restaurants."