September 24, 2009
One of the more adventurous aspects of our journey is staying places we have never been to before. So far, our stops have been equally split between state parks and private campgrounds. We determine our route and then research options based on ease of access, rates and information provided on websites. Parks tend to be more natural settings while private grounds are more open and provide services like stores, wifi connections and, in some places, restaurants. They each have their niche and are equally comfortable in their own ways. But no matter how much research we do, we just never know if the places we choose will equal their promotional information; they all promise to the the Promised Land of RV campsites. As expressed several postings ago, this is not always the case. Happily, we did find two locations last week that proved to be the Promised Land of RV stays in more ways than expected.
We left CT early morning on the 16th and headed West on I-84 for a surprisingly panoramic drive through the upper Hudson River valley of NY into eastern PA. At S.R. 390 we headed South for a two night stay at Promised Land State Park. About 3,000 acres in size, the park is surrounded by 12,464 acres of Pennsylvania's Delaware State Forest and is one of the most remote places we have stayed to date. It is deep into bear country with thick forests of beech, maple, oak and hemlock trees. There are two lakes and several small streams throughout the property and an impressive array of hiking trails. Although it rained steadily for most of our time there, this park had a peaceful feel that left us regretting we couldn't stay longer.
What set this stop apart from others was the near perfection of its campground and facilities. We drove along roads and parked in a site paved with new, smooth asphalt. The grounds were exceptionally clean and the bathroom facilities were like something out of Star Trek; ultra-modern lighting triggered by motion sensors, spacious showers with slanted drains, low-flow plumbing fixtures and ample hot water. It was a true pleasure to stay in a place that not only met, but exceeded our expectations. It is a "must return" place for us whenever we are back in the area.
Reluctantly, we headed West again on the morning of the 18th for a very long drive to Ravenna, OH. The Fall scenery through the Pocono and Allegheny mountains was beautiful, but between ascending very steep grades, slowing down for numerous construction projects, stopping for fuel and supplies and just simply covering a lot of miles the day ended up being a 10 hour grind that left us exhausted. Even the rig sounded tired when we finally shut off the engine and collapsed into our chairs for a few cold ones.
Thankfully, we found a great place to recover at the Country Acres Campground; a private property offering 175+ RV sites surrounding a small lake in the middle that is occupied by numerous geese and a swan (pictured above). There are a large number of seasonal residents and the atmosphere while we were there was very festive. They were hosting a Halloween party that brought in a large, family oriented, crowd who went all out with decorations and costumes. The weather was gorgeous, the grounds well-maintained and it was a pleasure to watch children of all ages enjoy the day. This was another place that exceeded what they promised.
The one thing we learned from these short, but very pleasant stays, is the need to slow down and enjoy areas for longer periods of time. We are currently relaxing in the South Bend, IN area for a week while visiting with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson. Will update on this stay in a few days. Until then, Happy Trails to everyone.
copyright 2009 Lane A Geyer
photos by Deb