A space to post my thoughts and musings about anything. This includes but is not limited to community, politics, current events, dating, GLBTQ issues, favorite things, and stuff that would make your dead relatives blush. I am not afraid to go there, as some can attest.

October 23, 2008

Review of The Woods

What made me decide to go up to The Woods in the first place was because a few friends I know in DC have been there and recommended the place. I checked out their website and what I saw sounded good, there was stuff to do on the weekends, they had a pool and a small private lake as well. Besides that there were hiking trails to go walking around on, and when you wanted to relax, there were hottubs available to unwind in as well. Along with that their rates for sites were very reasonable. What I would have spent for a hotel in Virginia Beach in the off season, I would spend the same to get a campsite that had electric available. It was worth the price, though I could also get away with just camping out in their field, simply because it's what I'm used to for camping. From what I hear, the place gets crowded enough during the summer months that unless I reserve a site in March, I'm sleeping in the field. I will point out that the rates double for a holiday weekend, but that would happen anywhere you go.

Besides the electric sites and the field, there are also sites with electric and water; electric, water, and sewer hookups; cabin sites; and a luxury trailer that can be rented as well. Also, there are a number of campers who have a permanent site so they have brought in trailers and built additions on them. So whether you want to rough it or not, there is likely a place where you can stay. I'd consider renting a cabin if I was bringing a few friends up here to split the cost.

Amenities are nice to cover the basics. Besides the pool and hottubs, there is a cafe where you can take your meals if you don't feel like cooking during the weekend, and some theme weekends will offer free food or drinks at some events, depending on the weekend. There is also a supply store if you forget any camping stuff. I bought a small wax log for fire starting and a long fork for roasting marshmallows or hot dogs for a very good price. There are two comfort stations that have toilet facilities and outdoor shower stalls, along with sinks to groom and a sink to wash dishes in. If the weather sucks or you're feeling self-conscious, you can head to the clubhouse, which has separate indoor men's and women's bathrooms and showers. There is a large deck with picnic tables and lounge chairs, and music playing throughout the day. It is a good place to kick back and read a book. Behind that is a sand volleyball court if that is your sort of thing. I'll have to get in on a game next year.

The lake is a bit further back, it is a 5 acre lake, and there are a few paddle boats available and a canoe or two. I am not sure what the rules are on swimming or fishing in the lake, I just know they definitely tell you not to drink the water. There is a walking trail that runs around the lake with a few park benches you can sit at and watch the views. It's all shaded so you will stay fairly cool during those summer months.

The staff that run the place are friendly, they know what they're doing and are willing to help out if you have any questions. The owner himself leads hikes into the area around the campground, to me that's good to see an involved owner. As for the other campers, you will encounter a very friendly bunch of people. There will always be other people walking around and most of them will give you a wave and say hello and exchange a few words. You can ask many people questions about the grounds or for help if you need to borrow something, and they will usually oblige. One camper offered me a chair after we were hanging around their fire for a while, which was cool considering that we had met maybe an hour before. Throughout the weekend I would meet many new people, including a few I still keep in contact with. The general attitude I got from the other campers was that they were willing to look out for one another with no strings attached. What a change from the city, where it seems that help tends to come with a price.

The other big thing about The Woods is that it is a private campground. You fill out a form and pay a small fee ($10) a year for the privilege of staying there. If you break the rules, you're outta there. Add on that there are police officers that stay in the camp, and you know you won't be messed with. However, what it also means is that your privacy will be respected, they dont allow outsiders to come wandering in. Most people you meet you will basically know on a first name basis. I don't think any more than 3 people that weekend learned my last name. In fact, there were a number of people who are not out that stay there because of the fact that their privacy was respected. Also because it's private, it's also clothing optional. Yes, there is the potential to see people walking around with nothing but shoes on, especially during hotter summer months. It doesn't mean you have to, everyone has their own comfort level on that. However, you might want to remember that ahead of time so there are no surprises when you get there. Besides, it is more fun to go naked into the hottub ;-) Just because the place is clothing optional, that doesn't mean you can just have sex anywhere you want. Public sex is not allowed on the site, and if you get caught, you will be banned from the place for life. If you're fooling around in your tent or trailer, that's another story, have at it, but don't screw around in the pool, hottub, or lake, unless you like having your name on a blacklist.

Next year I will know more about activities, but from what I saw in the end of the year slideshow, there is a lot to do no matter what weekend you want to come up, but no one says you have to do them. If you want to hang out in a chair by your tent and enjoy a drink while reading a book or watching eye candy, you can do that. No one is twisting your arm to do anything, unless you have a boyfriend that doesn't like to sit around.

Overall, I found my weekend at the Woods to be a great experience. It enabled me to get away from the city for a few days and I could have both quiet time and social time as well. Thanks to the friendly attitudes of the people who come out to camp, I got to make a few friends as well. If that's one thing I liked, it was that people were actually approachable. The camp itself not only had everything I could have wanted, it exceeded my expectations. I also like that it is a private campground because it seemed to put some people at ease about being who they are. It's a worthwhile place to check out and consider spending at least one weekend at. Also if I want to satisfy that roller coaster junkie side of me, Dorney Park is only 30 mins away, :-D

I have already put in my application for membership in 2009, and when reservations open up next year, I will definitely be planning for a few weekends. In my mind, it's worth