Well, it took 2 years but we actually got some friends to camp with us. It's not that we aren't fun...we are...it's just that none of you think camping is fun. In the minds of many people, camping = bugs, too rustic, too much work, yucky bathrooms, ugh!
Yes, there are bugs..in fact, last weekend I was almost attacked by 5 daddy long legs. Just thinking of it now makes me shudder. Just because I camp doesn't mean I like bugs and I never will. But as long as I have Timmy with me, I'll be all set. He slayed all the big, bad bugs for me.
Yes, camping is rustic. You are typically in the woods, you won't find many comforts of home, and you end up with a fair amount of pine needles in your bed. Our new camping friends brought a lamp...not a lantern. At first when my friend told me she was bringing a lamp I thought, "My camping peeps are going to laugh at me" but you know what...it actually added some ambiance to the screen house. Bring on the lamps, People!
Yes, camping is alot of work. For those that shudder at the thought of lists and organization, you likely won't make it in the camping world. Camping is a lot like living in a studio apartment....you need things that pull double duty (like a kitchen table that doubles as a bed), you need to have a place for everything, and you need to truly bring only what you need. It takes awhile to figure out what is essential vs. stuff you think you can't live without but you'll get there. And yes, my hair dryer is essential.
Oh, and the bathrooms...yes, they can be very yucky. For me, the bathrooms make or break the experience. No one wants to have a "private" moment in a public bathroom...especially one that is not very clean. No one wants to take shower in standing water....from other people's showers...but yes, it happens. It is what it is.
This weekend we stayed at the campground we have gone to the most, Adventure Bound Campground in Truro. You can't beat the location....it's 5 minutes from the National Seashore and you can visit a new beach every day. I don't love, love, love, the facilities but do love the location. We have had our ups and downs with sites...some have been great, and others have been so close to others that it gives no meaning to "reach out and touch someone". In fact, this is the campground that I encountered the Whitie Tightie Strangler (see previous post).
Despite tight quarters, last summer we stayed next to an adorable elderly couple that we wouldn't have traded for anything. For them, we brought back memories of their youth and camping with their kids and for us, it was a look forward to our future. They had a cocktail each night together and held hands. I wanted to put them in my pocket and take them home with me.
But back to the facilities...our friends had to use the restrooms since they were tent camping and they said the bathrooms weren't pretty. Our water hose broke and Mimi & I had to shower in the restroom. We got our own firsthand look at "the situation". Yuck! We didn't take our shoes off...although not sure how much that helped us since we were ankle deep in everyone's dirty shower water. Unfortunatley, their drainage system isn't the best. And then once you dried off and tried to put your clothes on, your feet were still wet and you couldn't let your pants drag in the water. I think after this weekend I could join Cirque de Solei. I now have incredible contortion skills. You know what, though...that's how camping goes. You are in public restrooms...these things happen.
But on the upside, we had such a fun weekend! The first night our friends had arrived before us, chilled the beers, and even had take out pizza waiting. We eagerly made our plans for the next day and decided to check out a beach in Yankee magazine rated "best beach in Truro"...Longnook Beach. We had a great breakfast, made picnic lunches, and headed out. The beach should actually be called Good Luck To You Beach because it is set about 20 feet below the sand dunes. Breathtaking views....neck breaking walk. We made our way down with 5 kids and two jeep loads of stuff. The water was numbingly cold but just a product of the time of year. The weather was so beautiful it didn't matter much. At one point we took great pleasure in watching people trying to get back up to parking lot until it hit us that we would have to do that too. We delayed as much as we could and finally made our way up at about 6 pm. I think snails could have passed us...it was silly "stupit". It turns out, this is why people went down with just a towel and a chair. It took awhile but we made it out alive.
We made dinner at the campsite, played games, and just enjoyed our two families getting together. The next day it was off to a new beach. Little tip for you folks...don't unpack 5 kids and 2 jeeps until you are sure that the beach is good. Turns out the first beach we went to was drowning in seaweed and smelled like swamp water. I'm pretty sure we were the show for the day. The kids were yelling at us, we were sweaty, we had way too much stuff....it wasn't pretty. We ended up at Cold Storage Beach on the bayside which was great! Around 5:00 we packed up and headed back to the campground to get ready for P-Town. The shuttle stops right in front of the campground so we hopped on that, found a great restarant to accomodate our herd (The Waterford) and then watched the fireworks from the pier. When we got back we lit sparklers, put the kids to bed, and played more games. Another great night with great friends.
On our last day we went to the Wellfleet 5th of July parade which was cute although note for next year...get there early to get a spot in the shade. We almost self combusted. We had already decided to spend the day and were glad we did as we heard the Cape traffic was backed up to Orleans at 10 am! We had lunch at Macs Seafood overlooking the harbor and then headed off to the Audobon Society.....such a beautiful place...minus the green heads. This was probably our only glitch in the whole weekend. We got bitten alive and when we walked out to the ocean to take a swim, we didn't think about the tide coming in. We came back to our stuff swimming in the water...car keys, wallets, cell phones, cameras, clothes. Not pretty. But we recovered with some ice cream and by the time we left, the traffic was gone!
I wish we could have friends camp with us all the time. The kids all had buddies and spent more time trying to make up fun rather than asking us what they could do. Kids just need a bouncy ball and some space and they will play for hours. It brought me back to my youth when I would leave in the morning to play with friends and just come back for meals.
We also had friends to play with and we loved it. Nothing better than adult play dates! We played cards, stayed up too late, and had alot of fun. You can't ask for much more than that! Thanks to Karen, Peter, and the kids for camping with us - we loved it!
As for the Outer Cape, I highly recommend the area for camping because there is so much to do. You can try a new beach every day, go riding in your jeep on the dunes (when the darn piping plovers aren't nesting), go to the Wellfleet Drive-In, enjoy the artsy Provincetown community, check out the quaint towns of Truro and Wellfleet, go kayaking on Gull Pond in Wellfleet, and enjoy the beautiful walks at the Audobon Society. It's a very relaxing part of the Cape and reminds me of growing up. It's as if time stood still for this part of the Cape....either that or they have got the simple life down pat. There are two other campgrounds that I hear are nice that we haven't been too, if you interested in checking them out. North of Highland Campground is a tent only campground and you can walk to Coast Guard Beach in Truro from there. Also there is Atlantic Oaks Campground in Eastham that backs up to the bike trail. If you check them out, let us know how they are!
A few of you have mentioned to me that this blog inspired you to camp with your families. Try it out by yourselves...baby steps...and then let's go camping together!