I think I’m in love.
The kids loved it too…although for different reasons. Or maybe not so different reasons. One thing that makes or breaks a place is how well it’s received by everyone in the family. I loved it because they had an absolutely wonderful time. Even when it rained it was fun!
We went camping with our friends Doug and Andrea Caruolo this holiday weekend up near Boone, NC. They have been camping there for many years and invited us to tag along for a final hurrah before we head out on our more permanent trip. The campground was on the Blue Ridge Parkway halfway between Boone and Blowing Rock. It’s a federal park called Julian Price. Now, before you all make a beeline, let me tell you it has no hookups and no shower facilities. They have bathrooms and that’s about it as far as amenities go. So if you are fine with that, then head on up! It’s about a 3.5 hour drive from Raleigh…but be forewarned: if you have a bladder like a 3 year old, it takes more like 5 hours! And just in case you don’t know, we DO have a 3 year old! But it does have some amazing hiking trails, a lake where you can canoe or kayak, amphitheater, and of course Boone and Blowing Rock!
Parking the trailer was a bit of a hoot…the roads and sites are narrow because it’s about 60 years old…and I guess trucks just weren’t as big back then 🙂 . But with Doug’s help we managed to get it done and settled in for dinner and meeting the other folks that came to camp too. There were 2 other couples who came that have known Doug and Andrea for years.
Lola and Roy were a hoot. Lola is the type of woman…well…let’s just say that I found my shy little Annalea sitting at her table eating eggs and biscuits and gravy talking up a storm with her. And Roy…man oh man! I’m really sorry that Carl missed hanging out with this gun loving bear hunting joking mountain of a man. Sylar took to him like a fly to…ummm…how about like a boat to water!? And Jean is a momma…she treated us all like her kids. And her hubby Rick made THE BEST BREAD EVER! I really enjoyed sitting around the campfire with those good folks and just talking and joking. And I love that the kids were included. They were listened to and indulged in and just made to feel like a part of the group. Now, THAT’S when you know you have good people!
I think Blowing Rock was our favorite for two reasons. There was a lovely central park with a ton of things for the kids to play on, volley ball, basketball, and a rock climbing wall. And then there was ice cream right across the street at Kilwin’s. If you have never had ice cream at Kilwin’s you should get up, get your shoes on and go right now. Leave the kids, forget the spouse…just go. Now. For those in Cary there is one on High House just past Davis I’m pretty sure. It’s out of this world.
Boone is where I found my favorite shop. It’s called The Art of Oil. They have a wide variety of fine oils and vinegars. Some are flavor infused and you can mix your own creations as well. The best thing about this store is that you can taste everything before you decide to buy anything…for those of you who like a fresh baked artisan bread dipped in oil and vinegar, this is the place for you! I walked out with a box of 6 small bottles to try.
We really did have a wonderful time. I know that part of it was the company…but since they all met camping many years ago it gives me hope that we are going to make some lifelong friends on our journey! And the more I camp, the more I see the good in people. As it was pouring cats and dogs, a man got out of his truck to see if I needed help hooking up…and another one offered to give me a hand at the dump station. The helpful spirit of the camping man is something that I’m beginning to see across the board. It’s almost as if getting back to basics is opening the doors to a time where people helped each other because that’s just what you did. And I have to tell you, I am really starting to like it. I love saying hello to other campers, stopping for a chat or joining together for a meal and a good visit. The slower pace of life, sitting and eating and talking, enjoying the blessings that God has provided us…yeah…I think I like this.