Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Highlights From the Campground

I spent my Memorial Day Weekend (or six-day promo trip) at Avalon Campground which is where (as you'll see in my book) I spent my summers as a kid. It's a fun alternative to the crowded beach towns. It's not too far from the beach, but tucked away in the woods enough so that it's an escape. I spent a good deal of time on the islands this weekend, and as much as I wanted to participate in the 'hey, it's summer' festivities, I needed a break. I don't think I would have done well on a jam packed Memorial Day weekend.

That's not to say that the campground was empty -- quite the opposite. The weather was perfect for camping, whether to you camping means tents and bath houses or trailers with air conditining (I'm the latter). Here's some highlights:

1. I went trail running for the first time, and by that I don't mean on the campground streets (which are paved anyway). I ran back in an area that is marked private property. I wasn't a very adventurous kid, but I used to sneak back in that direction anyway. Probably the 'worst' thing I ever did as a teenager, and it was thrilling to do it again, though I think the thrill was more from running next to two deer than being where I shouldn't be.

2. Poolside. Avalon Campground has two pools, and on Sunday when I didn't have enough time to go to the beach, me and my sister spent a few hours by those pools (doused in suntan lotion of course). Some things never change. One pool is still the 'cold pool,' and kids jump in it as a dare. The girls and boys still flirt, but not obviously so, and parents still watch to make sure those kids don't get into any trouble. Someone tries to set up chairs on the shuffleboard only to be kicked off. And the lifeguard keeps telling people not to run. Doesn't usually work, though.

3. Strawberries. One thing about being down the shore is that I don't hit the Collingswood Farmer's Market. I was more than pleased, then, with the Clinton Conover farm on Route 9, which is the same place we got produce as a kid. Those strawberries were perfection.

4. Campfire. My hat still smells like campfire smoke. I didn't cook anything (I'm going pretty much vegetarian these days), but sitting by the campfire with a good glass of wine was a great tonic to a busy week. And to the person who stole my kindling: Do you know what it's like to spend a half hour picking out the perfect assortment of small to medium-sized wood, then go outside to start your fire and have nothing? I'm glad you got caught red handed swiping firewood. Bah.

5. Teddy. Teddy was a 12 year old Corgi vacationing across the street from me this weekend. For the first leg of the trip, she was accompanied by a rather jumpy (and puppyish) white dog, and even though Teddy's an older gal, she could keep up -- or run away, whichever she felt like. Teddy was so short that her legs got lost in the leaves. A little boy followed her around saying "Hey. Hey. Hey." Today, Teddy sprinted across the street to greet me, then played hide-and-go-seek with said young boy and his older brother while the rest of the family packed up. It made me miss my dog so very much (you can't have dogs in rented trailers/cabins). I was more excited to see her than anything else when I got home, and she seemed happy enough. She's spent the day following me around the house, which she doesn't usually do, hence why I was startled to get out of the shower and find a dog keeping watch on the bath mat.

Is it good to be home? Yes. Did I have a good time? Absolutely. Am I ready for more? Of course! I'll be writing about the shore all week (and not just on the blog -- for stuff that actually, um, pays the mortgage!)

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Trish Ryan said...

Wow, that sounds so great! I'm excited that summer is finally here, and your blog always reminds me why :)

Jason Nark said...

Jen, I'm not sure I can forgive a glass of wine by the campfire. Just kidding, I hate camping snobs who want you to eat bark and filter water from the local stream. I wrote a camping rules blog post once. I'll tweet it to you when I get a chance.

I used to vacation in a similar campground (Ocean World?) just outside of Sea Isle City. I remember catching thousands of toads at night.

Jen A. Miller said...

Thanks Trish!

Ha, Jason. I'd just made a big buy of local wines, so I figured I'd drink what I had. I'm usually about burgers and hot dogs washed down with cold beer.