Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life-and travel-leaves marks on you.
----Anthony Bourdain

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Cumberland Mountain State Park

Cumberland Mountain State Park is located between Knoxville & Nashville, Tennessee, near Crossville.  The Cumberland Mountain State Park Friends Group webpage reports that this park is one of 14 original state parks.

The park is very well maintained; we arrived in a thunderstorm that made some branches fall onto the road. The next morning they were all picked up.

The sites have electricity, water, and full hook-ups. We were able to turn on the hot-spot for internet (to watch Netflix at night before we went to sleep), and had decent cell service. Each site is equipped with a fire ring, grill, picnic table, and lantern pole. There is also a garbage can at each site. The sites we saw were concrete with gravel attached to it, and all of the sites looked fairly level.

 Some of the bathrooms have recently been renovated. The one closest to us had not been, but it was still decent. The shower was hot and had really good pressure.
One thing I really liked about the shower was the number of hooks. There were 2 attached to the door, and then 2 more next to the actual shower.
The only thing we found lacking at the campground was a place to wash dishes, which is important to us since we don't have water in our camper. Well, the washing isn't really important, the getting rid of the gray water is, though.
Within the park, there is a nice swimming pool with a snack bar attached to it.
There is a "campstore", but be aware that it is almost empty, except for some t-shirts. It could be that they are waiting on more supplies, but it was almost empty.

On the other side of the campstore,there is a red-tailed hawk and barred owl in captivity.
If you're looking for some hiking to do, there are plenty of trails available, as well as a swinging bridge. I have heard that the restaurant is very good, although we didn't have a chance to check it out. The restaurant is on Byrd Lake, which is also the site of a dam built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The dam, completed in 1938, is the largest masonry structure built by the CCC and is also considered the largest non-reinforced dam in the world. There is a nearby quarry that supplied the sandstone to make the concrete. The plants that were on the floor of the lake were dug up and transplanted for use in landscaping the park. 
If you don't want to camp, there are 3 different cabins available: Standard, Timber Lodge, and Luxurious.
Overall, we were very impressed with the park. We're putting this one on the list of places to return!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Frisco Woods Campground, NC

When we decided to go to the Outer Banks, Robert initially said he wanted to camp at a National Park Campground. There is no electricity or water at the campsites, and we went in July. So, I was able to convince him that we needed air conditioning. We began online searches to find the right spot, and we're certain we found it.
When we first got there, we registered and went in search of our site. We had a spot reserved right on the Sound. Our little trailer fit, but there was no place to put our canopy, plus the jockey wheel wouldn't come down due to a hole. We rode back to the office and explained our predicament. The Office Staff couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating. (*Note: it is their policy to not give refunds if  you change to a less expensive site.) Within 10 minutes, we were given several sites to take a look at. We ended up with a large site backing up to the marsh.

(View from our site)

Most of the sites are a good size, with plenty of room for even the bigger rigs to put out a canopy.
Did you notice the trees? This is the only campground we saw (beside some of the sites in the Frisco National Park Campground) that has this many trees. Definitely a plus when you're camping in July!
Frisco Woods has sites for every camping need. Sites with full hook-ups, sites with electricity & water but not hook-ups (like ours),  tent sites without water or electricity:
They also have cabins with electricity and air conditioning, but no water:

Included on-site is a canal and a pool (the pool can be seen in the left side of the following pictures).

The pool. The bath house at the pool has been renovated. I didn't take any pictures, but it is pretty nice...and air conditioned!
The other bath houses have decking as the floor. Not nearly as nice, but it gets the job done! They were clean and conveniently located throughout the campground.

There is a dishwashing station (very important to us!) at the bath house.
Pets are welcome. There are "doggie stations" conveniently located through out the grounds. Most of the campers were very conscientious about picking up after their dog.
Frisco Woods is a very family friendly campground. There is a very small playground. (I didn't get a picture because when we went by there were children playing on the swings.) There is also a pavilion of sorts right next to the playground.
There is an amazing camp store. It has almost anything you could possibly need from souvenirs to wine & beer to bug spray to sunscreen to snacks to ice and grocery essentials.
If they don't have it, there's a market just down the street.
Other amenities include laundry facilities (coin-operated), gas refill, kayak rentals, and free air refill (which is great for refilling your tires after you get off of the beach). There is also wi-fi, but it was really slow. We were able to get 4G on our cell phones, so our hotspot was on a lot.
Every night, some of the campers went to "the point" to see beautiful sunsets.

Of course, some campers didn't have to go anywhere to see the sunset!

 We were extremely happy with this campground. In summary: good-sized sites with options (electricity, water, hook-ups...all as needed), pet-friendly, family-friendly, nice clean bath houses, amazing camp store, trees, and a place to watch beautiful sunsets. All this, and it's conveniently located to Ramp 49 which gives you beach access!
If you plan on camping there, the only recommendation we would have is to make sure you take bug spray and tiki torches. We took citronella candles & citronella stakes but couldn't use was too windy.
To view their website, click here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tremont Outdoor Resort

Typically, we steer clear of any campgrounds that have "resort" or "RV Park" in the description. But, when you wait until the last minute (literally) to find someplace to camp over Memorial Day Weekend, you take what you can get. We ended up with an "okay" spot.

The $55/night we paid was a bit overpriced; it would have been worth it if we had one of the sites right on the river.

Even though the sites appeared to be rather close, I didn't see any of the larger travel trailers have any difficulty getting into their spots.

 A Pet Walk is available; however, I didn't see very many dog owners taking advantage of this spot. In fact, I had to walk carefully in the grass walking near the bridge. Apparently people thought that was an okay place to allow their dogs to do their business without picking up after them.
 In the office, there is a small store with a few items in it. The "resort" is close enough to a grocery store, so even if you run out of something, it's no big deal to make a quick trip to the IGA.

 There is a decent sized playground for the kids, with a small basketball court on the hill, just next to the building in the picture below.
A pavilion is also available for groups.
If camping isn't your thing, there are cabins for rent.
 The bathroom in between the tent & one of the loops was small but clean. The shower was just a trickle...literally. Luckily, this "resort" is close enough to our house that we ran home & showered on Sunday. There is a code required to open the door to keep tubers from coming off of the river and using the facilities. However, the doors didn't close all of the way, so all you really had to do is push it open.
 One plus was a place to wash dishes:
There is a separate tent area.

Amenities include electricity, water, and hook-ups, as well as cable. There is wi-fi, but I could never get it to connect...and stay connected. Cell service is extremely spotty.
There is a nice pool on the premises.

Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 8 am, but apparently they're different for the KOA that is right next to here. There are KOA cabins that are just across the river, and there were a couple of cabins that were just getting started around 10:00 pm.
Tremont Outdoor Resort is just at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so we heard quite a bit of traffic noise, especially motorcycles. We would stay here again if we weren't able to get a spot at another campground (like Cades Cove, Elkmont, Smokemont, Mile High, or a state park).
Seeing this guy definitely made it worth it:
The view of the river from the bridge was quite nice as well:

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