I spend so much time thinking about camping, looking at pictures of other people camping, helping other people camp, and planning camping that sometimes I forget to actually…camp. I forget that it doesn’t have to be a huge Thing. I have two fantastic opportunities to raise little nature lovers, who often get to go party with their grandparents while their dad and I are off on a non-child-friendly adventure. We had a free weekend and no plans, so we tried a few new things:
- Overnight tent camping with the kiddos. We hadn’t done this since last summer’s attempt.
- Booking a campsite via Hipcamp.com instead of sticking with the national, state, and local park systems. We’d hoped for a more spread out campground and I was really looking for a camp/farm with some animals that the kids would like.
- Winging it instead of planning everything into the ground. What I love, in theory, about camping is that once you have the essentials, you can just toss them in your vehicle of choice and then go. What ends up happening often (as anyone who checks out the packing highlight on my Instagram can attest) is that I still go nuts planning and we end up with twice as much food as we need. Can’t win them all, I guess.
I killed an evening checking out every relatively local listing on on HipCamp, and there were some really cool places! We ended up at Grins & Pickin’s CampFarm and we could not have been happier. Christy and Pat were friendly from the moment we walked in, and gave us tips on which campsites might be the best for us. We ended up with a site at the back of the alfalfa field, for maximum stargazing and lightning bug watching, and easy trail access.
The campsites are spacious, level, and ours was thickly grassed which made for very comfortable sleeping. Firewood is available for a small fee, or you can pick your own in the woods. We opted for the latter and my son and husband had the best time bringing back wood and breaking it down for the fire. Before we got a fire started, we took a walk to say hi to the chickens, ducks, and guineas in their coop, and Christy showed us their frog pond, full of tadpoles and all kinds of frogs. The animals were a huge draw for us and they did not disappoint!
We started a fire and roasted some marshmallows, and played until bedtime. The kids are still not great at sleeping in tents – my son likes to talk all night and my daughter gets confused when she wakes up outside of her room. The next morning, we helped Pat pick duck eggs, chatted with the birds, and paid another visit to the frogs. The alfalfa field made a lovely place for us to spread a blanket and play cards, kick a soccer ball, and generally just enjoy the outside.
We absolutely loved Grins & Pickin’s and would come back again any time!