Category Archives: Campground Reviews

Campground Review: Alpine Lake RV Resort-Corinth, NY

We were looking for an easy, close get-a-way camping weekend and chose Alpine Lake RV Resort campground in Corinth NY which was literally 14.4 miles door to door from where we store our Avion.

2018-07-28 09.16.14

Things went well….till check in….then backing into site……Not for the faint of heart!

Website:  Alpine Lake RV Resort (Note:  this is a Thousand Trails/Encore resort but accepts non-members-like us)

  • Dates of Stay:  July 27-29, 2018
  • Site # 221– “elite” category FHU site, waterfront to Alpine Lake.
  • Price points:  $62-70 per night
  • Arrival time:  around 3-3:30 PM. Friday, (too late-read post to find out why)  Check in rules are 1PM, check out is noon (nice!)
  • Discount programs:  they only accept Thousand Trails or Encore member discounts. They do not accept AAA, Good Sam or Passport America.
  • Pets and kids.…friendly to both, and there are lots of them.

Monday.... we decided the weather forecast looked decent enough for the upcoming weekend to catch a quick camping trip just to relax and so I could finish putting up and installing all the decor goodies, etc. I had purchased over the winter months for our trailer.  Tuesday we went on a scope out mission to tour the campground and to jot down various # sites at this campground.  It is a nice, rural drive about 40 minutes from our home.  We make it a practice to try to visit campgrounds first when possible IN SEASON to get a real feel for what the park is like in full bloom (people and rigs that is) rather than off season when sites are empty, facilities winterized, etc.

So we came up with about five sites that truly interested us for their views, size and privacy to some degree.  The sites we would recommend are:  parallel sites 218-220, 223, back in sites 207, 208, then along the lower south shoreline, back in sites 15, 16, 17- all these having water frontage.    I have only two basic requirements or must haves for most of my camping excursions….water or mountain views or preferably both in the same venue from my campsite!  To me, then it really feels like a relaxing change of pace.  We tried to book our top pick on Tuesday night while we were there,  but were told by a nice staffer at reservation desk that she has to keep those waterfront “elite” sites open until Friday mornings in July and August in hopes of getting someone to book at least a 7 night stay. Ugh…ok, so we were told to call back on Friday morning and if one of our choice #’s was available we could book it for the two nights we desired.

2018-07-24 19.02.16
This is what the site road looked like Tuesday evening during our “scope out” mission.  Our Suburban is on right in site 220. Yes, the Airstream was vintage and from PA.

Friday came around, weather forecast still looked good.  Reservation desk opens at 8 AM.  At 8:03 AM I was dialing.  BINGO!  our site #220 was available!  Yeah! “book it Danno” (those of you old enough will understand that phrase).  We were happy campers….till we got there around 3 PM. 

Hmm….no check in packet was ready for us..a sign all may not be well.  Oh, ok, found us on the computer….site 221.  Ah….no, that is not the site that is on my email confirmation or that we wanted and was told was available at 8:03 AM this morning and confirmed by Susan (who by the way, ended up we find out was the assistant manager).    So now I am upset, I just had my heart set on a water view for the weekend.  In luck!!…says a new and very pleasant young desk worker who was trying very hard to calm me down and doing a good job of it.  She had two other sites in the same locale available and we could have our choice of either one (221 or 223).  So, ok, not prime, but comparable with a few more trees blocking the lake, but livable and not sandwiched in like other parts of the park or among the many, many seasonal set ups that have everything from Tiki bars to 8 person fire pits to full blown landscaped (some nice, some junk) or the topper…the triple length dining canopy with count ’em four picnic tables together end to end right next to the road (whoa, that must sound like a rock concert or a NASCAR Tailgate party when they get ripping on a Saturday night!).

 

So off we go to our site road which is on a narrow peninsula causeway with a pond on north side and Alpine lake on the south side.  We stop shy of the first site, 221 to scope it out and also look at 223 which was to be available.  Whoops…no, someone with a large trailer had already claimed 223 and it was no longer an option.  (still wondering how the computer did not know this and wonder if they actually were supposed to be at another, less priced, site and hijacked the site to be next to their friends in 222)  So, #221 was it, or go home.  Home was not an option for me at that point—but then again I was not going to be the one to have to “thread the needle” trying to back our Avion into our site with TWO HUGE 5th Wheels as bookends on either end.   Wait…it gets better.

We got attitude from the lady in the 5er that was in 222 because she had to fold up her “rear porch” because it literally extended into our site where our tow vehicle was going to be parked.  Mind you, they already had their awning out facing the water and each campsite does come with a very nice cement patio which they already had their dog pen and chairs on.   To quote her, “this is why I wanted lake view so i could sit on the porch and see it”.  Oh well, pack it up folks- which they did with some grumbling.  About this time, a staffer from the campground showed up to assist Kevin with backing in instruction—I am sure it helped that we figured out, he also was the owner of the campground so our 5er figured they better not push things.  Hey, all the campers on the street pay the same price for their sites.  If a huge fifth wheel with 4 slides and towering what seemed like a full story above our Avion needed or wanted a porch (which is like four feet off the ground!)…they certainly always have the option to purchase two sites…then no issue right??

2018-07-28 12.41.20
Us on left in between two monsters!  After Kevin stealthy “thread the needle” back in and got us in position.  A Mighty Midget Among the Monsters is what I call this photo!

As it was, if we had allowed them to keep their porch down, we literally feel like we would be having them for breakfast, lunch and dinner under our awning each meal. Not to mention, we would not have been able, nor any one else save a mini Rpod get in to 221.

The folks in 220 (the site we had reserved) were actually really nice.  They explained they had booked the site back in January.  We suspect that they had actually booked 221 but because that big “porch” 5er was already parked, our nice neighbors could not maneuver their 5 slide huge fifth wheel there either. They let it slip that when trying to get into the site they backed over our sewer hook up.  Nevertheless, they were nice and good neighbors for the weekend.  We were impressed that with four teenagers we did not see them all hunkered down over ipads or cell phones or blaring music.  Instead the kids were out fishing, kayaking or biking–nice job raising kids to disconnect during camping (LOL…wish i could get Kevin to do that—he was on his ipad a lot and I am just as guilty on my phone posting photos, etc. to facebook)!

Well so now to the good part.  The campground is nice (busy…but it is summer afterall) and the amenities are nice.  So many of the other campgrounds in the region are minimal, run down and do not offer much.  There are a couple higher end resorts, this one is kind of upper/upper middle but not quite at the top.  The pool is well kept, there are two of them.  One is only max 3 feet deep.  Graduates from 1 foot to 3 foot. Great for toddlers, our grandkids would have loved it…..we did too because we were the only ones in there for a while and even once some young kids came in it still was less busy than the main pool  The main pool is a little wider, same length but deeper.  Nice thing is this is one campground that actually posts there are “Adult only” hours from 8-9 PM nightly.  Sure wish more campgrounds did this rule!  The chairs, lounges and umbrella tables were plentiful and the entire area was very well maintained and landscaped.  In fact, the landscaping throughout the campground was very good for this region.

2018-07-24 19.43.342018-07-24 19.41.23

The main lodge, which is waterfront has a very decent snack bar restaurant with everything from pizza to quesadilla’s, ice cream to jalapeno poppers.  I had a chicken 2018-07-28 11.49.56Caesar salad, $9 which was very decent.  Kevin had a burger with toppings and chips, again, $9.

They serve lunch and dinner x 7 days per week and breakfast starting at 8 AM on Sat/Sun only. The breakfast special was two different kinds of omelets for $7, add homefries and bacon for an additional $2. Not bad, but we prefer breakfast in camp and relaxing in our PJ’s and bathrobes enjoying the quiet view of the lake.  The pizza smelled good later that night as we took a 7 pm dip in the nearby pool.  The restaurant was packed for dinner from what we could tell on Saturday night.

Other amenities:  The laundry facilities were just OK.  Did not seem large enough for the amount of total sites on property but when we were there on Saturday afternoon, none were being used so perhaps its fine. As I mentioned there are a lot of seasonal sites and I suspect a lot of folks do laundry mid week at their homes, not at camp.  The main shower room was a hike from our campsite and next to the laundry room.  It was decently clean but not spotless.  What i did not like was that the shower stalls only had flimsy curtains for privacy.  They did each have a bench to put your towel, but that was right next to the shower so not sure how dry your towel is going to stay.  I prefer showers to be separate with their own exterior entrance with a lockable solid door rather than feeling somewhat like a high school locker room.  The shower stalls were clean.  Kevin said he tested one of them and it ran 6 minutes before you would have to reach outside the curtain to reactivate the button to turn it on again.  Not a great system but I understand why they must be timed to prevent from being left on by pranksters or absent mindedness.

Beware of visitors! The sites along the lower lake level, southern edge of Alpine Lake are all back in’s and because of their being literally on grade with the lake I would be careful when tons of rain is forecast. You may end up with a very soggy site, or worse, your tires sinking.  You will most likely always end up with two legged visitors….Canada geese.  There is a large flock of them on the lake and while they look majestic gliding smoothly along the lake, they make a total mess with their poop along a lot of the walkways, roads and yes….lakefront low lying campsites.  We could see from across the lake on our high ground, many of the low lying sites having to constantly shoo away the geese who were coming to visit their campsite.  Signs everywhere say please do not feed them.  No kidding-they might try to hop onto your picnic table if you are not careful and put on a bib!

2018-07-28 12.12.38

Beach and fishing areas:  We did not try out the beach area- it is large and roped off so fishing folks do not enter, but one thing is for sure, both lakes (or some may call them ponds) on either side of our site road are good for fishing. We could see the little devils rabidly groping at flies as the sun set in front of our campsite.  Not sure if they stock but there were lots of folks enjoying fishing.  Some put their bass boats in the pond on our north side and could use the beach to pull them up for mooring.  The campground does have kayaks, peddle boats, sail boards for rent as well as golf carts if you are so inclined.  BTW a lot of the seasonal folks have their own golf carts and the roadways are quite busy with back and forth traffic.  I can’t say I blame them.  This is a large park and if you have one of the seasonal sites far back it is a long hike to the pool, lodge and other activity areas which are clustered near the main entrance.

2018-07-28 09.12.59
Roped off beach area.

Other amenities at the site include a few activity pavilions, a camp store (not the best we have seen, but decent) staff is friendly and do their best to make you feel welcomed.   The park does offer a daily trolley ride service ($4 pp) if you want to spend the day in Lake George without bringing your car and dealing with parking meters, etc.  In July and August the trolley also goes to nearby Saratoga Springs in case the horse race track is your thing.  Saratoga also has awesome boutique shopping and really good restaurants in their downtown.  We did not partake in any of their organized activities but could hear the DJ clear enough on Friday night (was on the calendar as a movie night with DJ on Saturday night- so not sure what happened there).  Quiet times appeared to be enforced while we were there however other reviewers have said that noise after hours has been a problem…I suspect they were on that seasonal row with the four picnic table freight train!.

Oh, BTW…yes, they have dinosaurs too….but honestly they are out of place in the ADK’s and they need a bit of TLC at this point.  Not sure why they are here, but could be a throw back to when the park first opened in the early 1970’s when kiddie themed type stuff was big in this part of upstate NY.  (There is a giant chipmunk next to the lodge restaurant too).

2018-07-28 12.36.08

So despite a rough start not getting the site we paid for, we still enjoyed a lake view site, relaxing time and will plan to come again to Alpine Lake RV Resort.  Next time though we are going to hold out for sites 207 or 208 which are opposite the beach, on the high ground (sans Geese) and back in sites.  This will make for a far easier in and out no matter how packed the park is.

2018-07-28-13-42-28.jpg
The park and weekend was also “Reddy approved”.  She loved the nice breeze from the lake!
2018-07-24 19.02.48
This makes my heart sing!  This is view from the high ground sites 218-223.  Each does have a nice sized cement pad as well so no muddy tracks into the RV.

Hope you enjoyed this review!  Let us know if you plan to visit this campground in the future!

One life…Live it!

Campground Review: Normandy Farms RV Resort-Foxborough, MA –Our Inaugural Camping Trip! Success!!

normandy farms cover image

We finally got a chance for a get away from tag sales, house painting, work stress and the like and hit the road in our Pewter Palace to a fabulous resort campground in MA- about 4.5 hours (traveling not more than 60 mph + heavy traffic).

We have Kevin’s sister, Valerie staying with us for a few weeks and this was a great opportunity to do some camping, site seeing as well as do some Mayflower genealogy while we were at it (more on that later).

After researching several campgrounds in the eastern section of Massachusetts and reading traveler reviews, etc. we chose Normandy Farms Campground in Foxborough, MA.  This campground is huge, but the service, cleanliness, amenities and access to where we needed to go where perfect!

2017-06-27 12.38.56Honestly I can say that I have never stayed in such a well run campground.  The bathhouses (with laundry and showers–BTW free showers) were spotless and had A/C.

 

Here are some shots of the facilities around the park.

The activity areas, of which there are many were well kept, groomed, beautifully landscaped and included every outdoor sport one could imagine from fishing, basketball, bocce, horseshoes, pickleball, 4 swimming pools (one indoor heated, one outdoor heated–yes 82 degrees at 10 am was luscious!  3 hot tubs (2 were inside, one was combo with

heated outdoor pool #1), a sauna, a snack bar where you could even get a full New England Seafood Dinner or Boil down to a modest cup of chili or an ice cream cone–and everything in between for very fair and reasonable prices. (hint, to order the larger seafood dinners/lobsters they ask you to give them a two-hour heads up so they can have it ready for you- as i suspect someone is sent out on staff to get the fresh lobster for your order)

We arrived later on Sunday than anticipated due to just plain old heavy traffic on the Mass Pike from all the weekend Bostonian’s heading back to home from their weekend get away to the Berks or our LG area (LOL!)  Sadly we missed the live music and happy hour bar in the adult only loft of the Recreation Activity Lodge (but wow, what a place!).  They have the same again  on Thursday night but we were checking out on Weds.  Check in starts at 3 PM, check out is by noon.

Reservations were easy to make online, their website is fairly interactive and you can get a good feel right away for what is available and in relation to other sites in the campground.  When we go back, we will try to get Site # 311 or A-6-A.  They offer some nice privacy and easy to get in and out of.  Site 311 is on an end, right near where we were but offers a nice buffer of plantings from the road and also still easy to access the nearby bathhouse.  Site a-6-a is on a nice rise and is close to the really awesome playground so if we are there with the grand kids that would be a great spot.  It is also close to Pool #1 which we liked very much because it is heated and has the outdoor hot tub which we prefer.

2017-06-27 11.41.28

Above is site 311 which is a full hook up pull thru and where we will try to get anytime we visit Normandy Farms Campground.  The trees and bushes to the left serve as a really good screen from the road and so you will only have folks on your backside.

We all spent the whole day in Plymouth MA on Monday.  The drive from the campground is easy and about 35-40 minutes.  We visited the Mayflower Society Mansion Museum which was quite impressive.  Kevin and Val got in for free since they are direct line descendants of Wm Bradford and several other Mayflower passengers.  Val is a very dedicated and exacting genealogist who has done amazing work documenting the Sherman family history (and also has done my Craige & Gronemeyer history too).  We did some shopping, ate outdoors on a 2nd story deck (seafood of course) and I did some antique hunting while Val and Kevin visited Pilgrim Hall and saw Wm. Bradford’s original bible which is pretty neat to think that in three more years, it will be the 400th anniversary of that Bible landing in the new world!

Back at the campground (it is large with well over 400 sites) most of the sites are premium and full hook up, but they do also have a couple of Yurts, large tent rentals and several cabin rentals which all looked really nice (about $125-$148 per night in peak season).  But we LOVE our Pewter Palace and she towed like a dream, we set up with no issues and totally enjoyed our time spent here.  The campground is constantly patrolled by staff to ensure rule management, there are lots of young pre-teens and teens but honestly we can say that on many occasions over our three days here we kept having to remark how absolutely quiet the place was.  I don’t know if we just lucked out and had really quiet folks on all four sides of us or what, but whether it was 8 AM, 2 pm or 8 PM you could hear a pin drop outside.

2017-06-28 08.33.24

We loved that and even though we were not thrilled with the lack of foliage screening between sites (they do have very large boulders between sites and a strip of grass. The boulders also serve as your fire back.  A tire rim is provided for fire ring – not quite what one would expect for this high end of a campground (we thought we would have an actual grill) but no worries because we bring our Weber 1200 series portable gas grill.  We did have a very tall, large oak tree between our pull thru site and our neighbor which gave us some very nice afternoon shade.  We also learned from observation that when we are booking sites to be sure that we book a site that has our curbside facing south/south east so that the sun is behind our rig at high noon and late afternoon so that the awning really does its stuff and we are not fighting with sunlight stealing real estate under our awning.  Just food for thought and this campsite fit the bill and made us mindful of this for future.

We used our awning with no problems, i installed my solar powered fairy lights 2017-06-25 22.25.05for the first time–a tip from our full time RV online friend, Courtney on AStreaminLife.com .  I will do a post just on them soon too with where to purchase, etc.  These little babies glow for a minimum of 6-8 hours each night without fail!

The weather was terrific while we were in MA (we kept seeing reports of bad rain and hail back home LOL) but Tuesday late afternoon, a rain and thunderstorm did roll in with very heavy wind gusts which forced us, and our neighboring rigs to roll up all of the awnings.  Our neighbor to the rear learned the hard way, after his cross bar broke and the awning collapsed.  Since our awning hardware is original and over 40 years old we did not take any chances.  As always, the reminder and rule # 1 in camping is –roll up your awning if you are going to be daytripping or away from your campsite for any time….a broken awning is no fun and costly!  PS:  we knew we did purchase awning tie down swivel posts (like the screw in dog posts) but found them when we were packing up to head home…we will put them in a more accessible place next time! They probably would have done the trick but better safe than sorry.  The weather (and shade from the oak tree) was enough that we actually just kept the awning rolled up for rest of the night on Tuesday and all Weds morning before pack out.

Even Anna and Reddy loved their stay at Normandy Farms.  We loved the excuse we had to take them on multiple walks during the day so we could also take a gander at all the other rigs in the campground.  Great exercise for the whole family!  Only four Airstream’s in camp, no other Avions 😦

We will definitely be back to stay again and highly recommend this campground if you want to enjoy the cape without the crowds, visit Boston (train station in town, not far away) and Plymouth.

Thanks for sharing the road with us and our Pewter Palace!