S’more fun!

Campfire at Hickory Hollow

I don’t know about you, but the one thing that I look forward to the most when I’m camping is sitting around the campfire making s’mores. Actually, any time of year, anything that is flavored like a s’more is something that I have to at least try. I’ve had s’more flavored drinks, candy, cereal, you name it and I’ll try it!

I’m definitely a sucker for the original Hershey’s chocolate, Jet Puff marshmallows, and honey maid graham crackers, but I’m definitely not afraid to branch out of the norm. Have you ever thought that s’mores had a “norm,” well they do! Sometimes, normal is boring so you need to change it up and try something new.

First of all, we have found these awesome marshmallows that are made specifically for s’mores! They are square, which makes it much easier to stack your goodness. Second of all, did you know that they make different flavors of graham crackers too?! #mindblown There is vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, and of course the traditional flavor! These two things were not our biggest experiment though…. that was the chocolate.

Personally, I am a candy addict. Anything chocolate and sugary I LOVE! (makes sense as to why I love s’more so much) I have tried a few different candy bars, which I will tell you about, but I will also tell you which ones were my absolute favorite ones to put into a s’more.

The first candy bar we tried was a KitKat, which has always been my favorite chocolate bar to eat. This one turned out to be absolutely amazing. I always like to consider things when I try out new food and the good thing about KitKat’s was that the chocolate was perfect in the s’more and the wafers didn’t take away from the taste. It melted just enough with the toasted marshmallow to make the treat super yummy! After that I tried a Reese’s Peanut butter cup, which is also another one of my favorite candies. This one I don’t recommend for a s’more though. Mostly due to the fact that the chocolate didn’t melt as well and the peanut butter was not the right consistency. It just didn’t mix very well.

I am not one for anything that has coconut in it, but my boyfriend and his mom loved using the Mounds and Almond Joys in their S’mores. This is usually their go to chocolate bars for s’more. The other one that I am not usually a fan of normally is the Cookies ‘n Cream Hershey bar, but in a s’more it is absolutely fantastic. This one melts just right (well it is a Hershey bar), and even tastes really great with the marshmallows and graham crackers.

These are just a few that we have tried, but if you have tried others or have any suggestions, leave a comment below! Hopefully, you get some ideas and try out some different kinds of chocolate bars in your s’mores (we won’t judge you though if you are a traditionalist).

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A Small Town with a Big Heart

For those of us who were born and raised in little old Somerset County, we are used to the small town atmosphere. Sometimes we don’t realize what we have here that entices people to come (or come back), but there’s something about that small town feel that brings people in. Even though we might take it for granted at times, there is a lot to see and do around here and Hickory Hollow is located in the heart of the Laurel Highlands. A perfect location to make your rounds to all of our exciting attractions, landmarks, and local entertainment.

Tower of Voices – Flight 93 Memorial

One of the big attractions that I hear about daily at the campground is the Flight 93 Memorial in Stonycreek Township, north of Shanksville. It’s rare to find someone now who doesn’t remember the tragic events of 9/11/01.

The memorial is honoring the passengers and crew members of Flight 93. There was a temporary memorial made soon after the crash and it has now been replaced by a permanent memorial that attract tourists from all over the country. It is a must see if you are in the area. Along with this memorial, there is also a small memorial in place at Quecreek for the Quecreek Miner’s Rescue site.

Fallingwater – Frank Lloyd Wright house

Aside from the memorials, there area other attractions that draw in people from all around. There are three Frank Lloyd Wright homes within an hour of our campground (why not check them all out?!) that are absolutely incredible. Fallingwater, my personal favorite, is built partly over a waterfall (crazy right!). There is also Kentuck Knob and the Duncan house, both of which encase Wright’s breathtaking architecture. All of which are a must-see if you are in the area.

Beetlejuice at Haunted Hollow

Even Hickory Hollow Campground has an attraction right across the road, which is owned by the same people! Haunted Hollow is a haunted house located right across the road from the campground, but sadly is only open on weekends during the Halloween season. It is a personal favorite of mine, not only because Halloween is my favorite holiday, but because I have worked there for the last 10 years (I know that is a super long time!) So if you are a halloween enthusiast, you must come let the actors scare the yell out of you! If you are as obsessed with everything halloween like me (and you’re at least 16 years old) you can even get a job there! We will begin recruiting at the end of July and we always welcome new comers – so make sure you watch the facebook page for any information!

This is only a small portion of what you can see and do in good ol’ Somerset County. There are always places to go and people/things to see. Some other attractions include checking out the local rivers such as the Yough and Cheat rivers, Ohiopyle, multiple wooden covered bridges, the Laurel Caverns, the Farmers’ and Threshermans’ Jubilee in September, Idlewild Soakzone, Somerset Historical Society, and so much more! Make sure you come to Hickory Hollow Campground and we can lead you in the right direction. You can also see a more in depth list of attractions on our website here.

I’d Rather Be Glamping

Okay, so I might be a little high maintenance, but the idea of laying on the cold, hard ground in a tent isn’t as appealing to me now as it was 15 years ago. Thankfully there are other options now that are still a part of the camping experience with more of the comforts that I enjoy. It’s called glamping.

Glamorous and camping are not two words that I would normally put together, but it’s a real thing! When you want to enjoy nature, but still have some of the luxuries that we enjoy in our every day lives. We have become dependent on our amenities like running water, clean bathrooms, and soft, comfy beds with blankets. As much as we love to enjoy nature and have a vacation outside of our home, we don’t want to give up those things for relaxation.

Campgrounds all over have adapted to our lifestyle choices and added these amenities to our camping excursions. Anywhere from the mountains to the forests, to the beach our traveling has changed over time and we are no longer just witnessing and becoming a part of nature, now we are bringing our own luxuries too. Whether that means staying in cabins or other special areas or even bringing an RV out to stay, it is past the normal tent camping that happened in the past.

Hickory Hollow Campground is no different! We offer cabins for our campers to stay in that have all the normal amenities that we have in the comfort of our own homes like apartment size refrigerators, beds, couches, tables, bathrooms, and yes even a TV. There are premium and rustic cabins (premium has a few extra amenities for our extreme glampers…lol). The campground is primarily RV, but we still have the good old tent sites for those traditionalists… even though that’s where I camp at, I still bring an air mattress to stay off the hard ground and prefer having running water. Plus the campground has Wifi, which in this day in age that is a necessity for almost every single person in the campground, so we gladly accept glampers with our normal campers. Even though we all know RV campers are glampers too ;).

Premium Cabin
Rustic Cabin

So if you want to experience traditional camping or glamping, Hickory Hollow is a great, quiet, and enjoyable place to come and relax. AND if you want to check out our Premium or Rustic cabins, we have a great deal happening for July & August! It’s a weekday special (Sunday through Thursday), pay for 2 nights and stay a 3rd night for FREE! This is not a deal you want to miss! You can call or email the campground for reservations. Come out and meet me (Tika) and check out our lovely campground!

Camping with our Furry Companions

Personally, I know I don’t like to do anything without my dog if I can help it, so why can’t we camp with them too! They deserve a vacation as much as the rest of us, but we have to remember to take some extra precautions when we are camping with our beloved pets. Hickory Hollow Campground helps our fellow animal lovers when it comes to camping with pets at our lovely location in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Lydia

Before you even leave for your camping excursion, make sure you have what you need packed and ready to go. First aid kits are a must for any trip you make, for you and your animals. It’s always better to be safe than sorry in case of an emergency. Make sure your pet has a collar and ID tags on. It’s a terrifying thought of our furry loved ones running from home, but even more scary when they are away from home and they decide to go exploring without you. Reflective collars are also a good idea for when you are out and about with your pet at night. We all know that it’s relaxing to camp and take a stroll when then sun goes down, but think of the safety of your pets too.

We also know that food is a staple when it comes to camping, so make sure your pets have their food too. It is never a good idea to let your pet indulge on food that isn’t made for them (just because s’mores are the best camping food around, our animals shouldn’t eat them), so make sure you have your pet’s food (but it’s okay if you slip them a fire-roasted hot dog every once in a while too).

Animals love to catch some z’s as much as we do, so make sure your pet has something to sleep on too. They may be used to laying on the ground at home, but when you’re camping it may not be as comfortable. Plus it always helps to have something your dog is familiar with, that way they aren’t worried about not being home. A bed is a good way to do this, or even a sleeping bag. We expect to be comfortable, so why shouldn’t our 4-legged family members be comfortable too? If you can’t bring their bed, make sure you bring something that is familiar to them like a blanket or even a toy to entertain them while you are relaxing.

Pet Olympics at the off leash dog park

Does your campground have an off leash dog park? Hickory Hollow Campground does! This should be something that you look into before you go camping with your pets. Make sure that you know the leash laws for the area, if the campground permits pets and what their rules are for pets at the facility. Hickory Hollow has an off leash dog park, which campers and their pets love! It also permits pets throughout the campground, as long as they are on a leash and that you clean up after them properly. Also, you should never leave your dog unattended outside. If you have tie out stakes that is great for when you’re around, just make sure that it is put at a safe distance away from fire and/or garbage that is harmful to our pets. You never know what is out in the wild and leaving a pet out alone is never a safe choice to make, we don’t want them to be afraid or get hurt in any way. If you’re in a campground, there are typically people near by, they need to be safe too. You may have the friendliest dog ever, but for everyone’s safety keep a safe distance when introducing pets to new people. Some people don’t like animals as much, so it’s best to keep a safe distance for your pet’s sake as well.

There are a lot of tips to take into consideration when you are taking a pet camping, just make sure that you and your furry friend are safe and having a good time. If you would like to see some of my other Summer Safety Tips for Pets please check out my vlog channel and subscribe to see more from me. You can also leave comments below if you have any tips as well!

Thanks for reading 🙂

-Tika, Hickory Hollow Campground

5 Summer Kick-off Safety Tips

Lake at Hickory Hollow Campground

With summer being, literally, right around the corner, everyone has a lot of fun things planned outdoors. There’s lots to do at the campground too, however, we want our campers and friends to be safe while they are out and about frolicking in the sun (or rain in our case most days). So I have prepared a list of some good summer safety tips that can be used while camping at Hickory Hollow Campground, or well, pretty much anywhere else for that matter.

So let’s kick off summer with some safety tips!

Hickory Hollow Campground – photo from camper

#1 Know your surroundings – it’s important to know what is going on around you, especially when you’re outdoors. Look around for landmarks or familiar areas to avoid getting lost. Also know where shelter and help is located at a campground. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry!

#2 Avoid wild animals – I know, I know, I’m one of the worst people for this because they all just look so cute and cuddly!!! But don’t let that you fool you. I love animals, but wild ones usually don’t want to be bothered. If they are in their own habitat, it is better to just observe from afar. And please don’t feed them, that is just a recipe for disaster!

#3 Protect yourself from bugs! – Those pesky little biters can be quite the annoyance, but we all know most bugs have a purpose on the planet, even if they are annoying to us. Take precautions and use protection like bug spray, bug repellent jewelry, or even special bug repellent clothing! If you do come in contact with anything like a tick, make sure you have the bite checked by a doctor.

#4 Fire Safety – We all know that we need fire while camping, but you need to be smart and safe about it. Never let the fire burn throughout the night, someone should always be able to maintain a safe fire area. Avoid the low hanging trees when building have fire and make sure children know how to be safe around a fire. We love those s’mores so let’s make sure we know how to enjoy making them safely.

#5 Know your plants – Just like the bugs, there are some plants that aren’t that pleasant to be around. Make sure you know what the bad ones look like: poison ivy, poison oak, and nightshade. Do your research before you’re out and about in the wilderness! Also it might help to know how to treat anyone who comes in contact with these plants.

There are tons of other tips that are useful when camping, or just being outside this summer. With that being said, this weekend Hickory Hollow is having our Summer Kick-off Weekend. There are fun activities planned like crafts, volleyball, a wilderness scavenger hunt, pool party, and an outdoor movie! We want to make sure everyone at Hickory Hollow has a fun and safe time this summer during all of our fun camping activities.

Please feel free to add any other tips or tricks that you have in the comments too!

Welcome to Hickory Hollow Campground

Thanks for joining me in this new adventure!

Tika Hetrick – Operations Associate

As some of you know, my name is Tika and I have worked for the Huston family for the last 10 years at Haunted Hollow. This year, I have the opportunity to work at Hickory Hollow as well! I will be doing a variety of things such as activities, marketing, social media, and even blogging, some of which you have probably already seen on our other pages. You may see me around the campground getting to know the campers, taking pictures, and leading the different activities that we plan to have throughout the season! I have a lot of exciting activities planned for campers of all ages -even the furry ones!

Some of you who have camped at Hickory Hollow before may have noticed some other changes around the campground too. We moved the tent sites to a new location and made our old tent sites new, full hook-up sites for our RV campers who wanted a little shade for their camping experience. The only thing about these sites that some people may not like is that they are only back-in sites, but don’t let that discourage you! They are beautiful and full of shade!

Pooch enjoying the Pet Olympics

We have also started the season out with some fun activities! Memorial Day Weekend was a blast for our campers (despite the terrible weather we’ve been having). Our furry, four-legged campers had some fun at the Pet Olympics. We also had the honor of having Bill Schaudt Wood Creations come out and show us his skills with his chainsaw.

The following weekend we held our 12th Annual Chili Cook-off, which is a camper favorite. We had 3 participants Jerry Klodowski, Kelly Murray, and our winner this year Vince Grabosky. There were also 22 taste testers who got to enjoy the savory chili that was prepared.

I apologize for the abundant amount of information on this blog. Since I just started it I wanted to get our readers caught up on all of the exciting things happening.

This weekend we will be celebrating the dads at the campground for Father’s day! There is a fishing tournament, an autograph signing by our own sponsored racer of Jennerstown Speedway – Matt Ruffing, some yummy chicken barbeque and even a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning! We can’t wait to see the dads and their families.

We are also planning a Summer Kick-Off weekend for next week and we can’t wait to see everyone there to enjoy all the fun activities planned. But in the mean time, check out our social media accounts (linked at the top of the page), give us a follow and a like! Also, comment below if you have any suggestions for the blog, the activities, anything! We would love to hear from you!

The Great Outdoors…The way you like it!

Hickory Hollow Campground