Camping has been on our radar for a few months now (shout out to a good friend, Steven and his girlfriend, who are constantly outside enjoying nature camping, biking, you name it). When COVID-19 sent us all home from months we weren't sure when we would get to use all of the gear we had previously purchased.
After hearing that the New Jersey state parks would be re-opening we immediately took inventory of everything camping related we already had. Knowing we would need to make a few purchases we brushed our hair, got dressed, left the couch for the desk top and swung by Amazon to do some shopping. We had been saving up our credit card points for travel that, as luck would have it, is much further off than we anticipated, so to camping gear they went.
A grill, an air-mattress (for the hint of glamping we wanted),new tent steaks, lights, a two person sleeping bag (because they do exist) and a cooler were all on our list. We were pretty pleased with the selection online, and got everything we needed. TIP: A quick trip to Walmart before we hit the road offered cheaper prices (go figure) but also more variety than what we saw online. We picked up a 'gas stove' there for just over $30 that did not end up being used but will certainly come in handy when we do end up in an area where a charcoal grill is not provided.
FINDING A PLACE TO CAMP AMIDST THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
It wasn't easy finding a place that allowed tent campers. The State Parks were all a very direct 'no' when we called to ask. There were a few private campgrounds that looked promising based on what we could see online but found, after calling, that their websites had not been updated.
When we came across Brookside Campground, we loved what we saw! They had a reservation form we could fill out online that promised a call back within 24 hours. We did receive a call the very next morning and were so excited to hear we could come camp.
The owner shared with us that we were the fist tent campers they have seen coming back out since the lockdown. I guess they really missed having Tenters (is this a word, if not, it is now) because they were kind enough to give us the best campsite they have, called The Point. It was exactly what we were looking for!
The spring green engulfed every inch of land right up to the waters edge. We pitched our tent right beside the stream, or brook if you will, leaving just enough room for me to lay out my yoga mat next to the water.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE GRILL
Serkan has so much fun with the grill. We recently put one on our balcony, he hangs out with the grill more than me now. My belly is not complaining!
While we were only able to camp for one night this time, Serkan spent a good 70% of the time standing by the grill. He kept us all well fed and coming back for more! We had burgers, hot dogs, Italian sausage, flank steak, then fried eggs in the morning with home fires and smoked sausage! (Don't mind the paper plates in the picture below, haha, fire starter anyone?)
Do you ever really have enough food when there is an open BBQ? We had more than enough food for the 6 person group we had at Camp Makers, and none of it went to waste. To help you understand the importance, before our tents were up, the charcoal was on the grill. We are truly so blessed to have the opportunity to do this. To discounect from the way things have been the past few months and reconnect with what really matters. Fresh air, warm food and companionship.
APPRECIATION FOR ANOTHER WAY OF LIFE
We knew we would love camping and this very short trip has fueled our fire. Living in the New Jersey/New York area we have access to such wonderful areas. The weather is finally starting to turn and there is nowhere else we would rather be.