I spent all summer at Colonial Woods from 8 years old — about 3rd grade in the US — until a few years after I graduated high school. I met and made some of the best friends I have ever had during those years, even if they moved in and out of the campground over the years. And every one of us lived about an hour from the campground and we were all of a similar age.
I did some work for the owners. I cleaned bathrooms (I hate doing that now, and not just because of the campground — there have been others). I collected trash. I mowed grass. Heck, I helped put in a new road and sites. I fished the lakes. I caught frogs. I got stung by hornets. I played on a campground softball team that played other campgrounds in the area.
When I got older, I moved away for awhile. A lot of the people I had known who were also permanents has stopped going, too. Life away from camping demanded attention — a failed college attempt right after high school, several years of working odd jobs before I went back to college. Working retail while going to college left little time to get to the campground.
There came an engagement that was not meant to be, and then one that was.
There was time where my (now)wife and I stayed in my mother’s camper. And then my wife and I had kids and we still stayed there. And then we decided for one or more reasons it was time for us to get our own camper.
So we have what amounts to an apartment on wheels — a long, narrow apartment, but still. And our trips up there give us the chance to visit farmer’s markets and local food merchants, and now brewers and distillers. There are far fewer, though still a few, people I grew up with there. I have become more home-bound and spend much more time at my site rather than going to every one else’s.
It is a great thing to do with kids, camping is. In the past few years, the areas around the campground have become great spots for local food and crafts. When I was my childrens’s age, I rarely left the campground to go places — Dorney Park (and later, Wildwater Kingdom), a local roadside eatery that is far better now under new owners, riding in inner tubes down the Delaware River, a bowling alley two towns over. It seems still to be a very economical choice of things to do with kids.
Camping helped make me who I am.
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