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Fly Your Camp Spirit

Hickory Hollow Campground wasn’t around when the United States American Flag resolution passed on June 14, 1777, or even in 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day but we are as Patriotic as they come.  We thought it would be fun to test your knowledge of the American Flag as we recognize this special day.  Even though Flag Day is not a federal holiday, like Memorial Day and July 4th, it is still recognized in the states of PA and New York as a state holiday.   The observance originated in 1885, when a teacher from Wisconsin placed a flag in a bottle on his desk and asked the students to write about the significance of the flag.  Wouldn’t this be a great family exercise to try this weekend when you’re camping at Hickory Hollow or even in your home, to see if the kids really understand the importance of what the stars and stripes stand for? 

Go ahead and fly that American Flag proudly and show your patriotism while camping this weekend or any time you’re at Hickory Hollow. Here is a little bit of trivia to get you started with the discussion. 

  1. What time of day should the flag customarily be displayed?
  2. If you choose to keep the flag up 24 hours a day, what do you need to add to the display?
  3. What type of buildings should always have an American Flag flying above them?
  4. How should the flag be hoisted up and down? 
  5. What color is the stripes on the top and bottom of the flag? 
  6. Was the designer of the American Flag a high school student?
  7. Shipwreck Kelly, was famous for this flag craze started in Baltimore Maryland in 1929?
  8. Six American flags have been planted on the Moon by US Astronauts, how many are still there?
  9. What year was the fiftieth star added to the American Flag, and for what state?
  10. Which state became the first to honor Flag Day as a state holiday?   Answers at the end of blog
Young boy walking in the woods and holding an American Flag.

Flags can be fun, so whether you choose Old Glory or a fun personalized RV flag, there are endless possibilities to show off your individual style. There are lots of creative flags and spinners to uniquely display the message you want to proclaim to fellow campers.  Maybe it’s a happy garden flag that says “Welcome to our home away from home” or “Home is where we park it” displayed outside your RV.  Take a walk through the campground and you will often see “husband and wife camping partners for life”, or “making memories one campsite at a time” flags. If you’re a seasonal camper, warm up to your new summer neighbor by gifting a beautiful personalized travel trailer flag offered as a RV-warming gift. After all, camping friends often become friends for life…. oh this summer is going to be so much fun! 

Personalizing your own little corner of the woods can be so much fun…and flags make perfect gifts that are great for just about anyone.  If you’re looking for a fun Father’s Day gift – check out the cool options available in the local stores or the internet. What dad wouldn’t like a flag outside the RV that says “This is how we roll” or “Welcome to our campfire – where friends and marshmallows get toasted”, or “I go camping to burn off the crazy”.  If your family is new to camping and Dad is still learning the ropes “What happens at the campground gets laughed about all year long” would be a fun flag.  If you’re camping and catching up with some friends for the weekend make a statement with “Welcome to camp Chugabrewski” or “Camp Wanabetipsee”, but remember Hickory Hollow is a family campground so please use good judgement.  The grandparents would get a kick out of receiving a flag stating “Camping grandparents – like normal grandparents only much cooler” or “Camping – is our retirement plan”.

Seasonal flags are great for targeting specific seasons, holidays or themes. They usually hang from a small metal frame and measure about 13” x 18”, and are a popular addition to many homes and campsites.  If you want to make a big impact with your theme, go for the larger house flags that measure approximately 28” x 40” and hang it proudly from a pole attached to your campsite.   Windsock spinners are pretty fun and are usually made from weather and fade resistant fabric that become animated in the wind, they are easy to hang and create a fun atmosphere around the campsite also.  Hickory Hollow certainly won’t be upset if we see flags with “Happy Camper” flying around the grounds, so go ahead and get creative and let’s see how each of your unique personalities shine this summer at the campground.  Share a picture of your campsite flag with us on Facebook…and let your uniqueness fly proudly this summer!

Flag Answer Key:  1: sunrise to sunset  2: a light shining on it 3: government offices 4: briskly  5: 7 red alternating with 6 white stripes   6: Robert G. Heft was 17 years old when he designed the flag  7: climbed his 1st flagpole at age 7, then set the world record in 1930 sitting on top of the Steel Pier in Atlantic City for 49 days  8:  five  9: July 4th, 1960 the 50th star was added for Hawaii- the 50th state  10;  Pennsylvania

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Cooking in the Great Outdoors

Hickory Hollow Campground makes camping easy, but it takes a bit more planning if you are going to be cooking in the great outdoors.  Cooking over an open fire is great but can be an entire adventure in itself, but one definitely worth the effort. With the proper planning and prepping, a scrumptious meal can be easy, and enjoyable for everyone.  It’s important to remember the best food for camping is non-perishable, sturdy enough not to get squished in the cooler, nutritious, and filling. 

Unlike your kitchen, the open fire doesn’t come equipped with a 350 degree oven and a timer set for 30 minutes.  Instead, this form of cooking requires gauging and controlling the level of heat for the best results.  Prepping is key, the less chopping and mixing that needs to happen at the camp site the better.  This will present less opportunities for cross contamination or foodborne illness, and definitely less mess to clean up.  Heavy duty aluminum foil can be a camper’s best friend when cooking over the open coals, so make sure you’re stocked well. If not, check out the camp store for a wide range of non-perishable camping necessities.   

Outdoor cooking can be experienced in many different ways, you can make it quick and simple or plan it as a family event for the day.  Most people agree, no matter how you cook it, the food cooked at camp always taste delicious. With so many methods to choose from, maybe you want to try and experiment with a few different methods to see what kind of fun creations you can come up with.  Everyone’s familiar with the propane grill, but have you tried using charcoal lately, or a wood fire? You can’t go wrong with the purchase of a Dutch-oven, long handled cast iron pie maker or extendable skewers. If you’re on a budget, teach the kids a new trick and try foil cooking or the tin can method for a tasty layered meal. Get creative with your cooking, try various seasonings and BBQ sauces, and don’t be afraid to experiment with something new. Use the pie iron to make tasty tacos. Just spray the iron and fill with small tortillas then add 2 tablespoons each of prepared taco meat, refried beans and shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese. Add jalapeno peppers for a little zest, then trim off any excess tortilla with a knife after closing the iron, cook over the open fire and voila, Mexican made easy.  Try it with fish for a healthier fish taco alternative.   For a breakfast alternative try making some French toast in that pie iron also.  Just dip bread in egg batter and cinnamon then spray the pie iron with nonstick cooking spray and heat over the coals left over from the late night campfire. So easy but so delicious.  Check out the recipe attached for easy campfire doughnuts, something else you may never have tried but worth attempting. 

Taste of Home recommends foil packet meals as one of the best camping hacks because they taste amazing and cleanup is a snap.  Individual meal packets can be prepared at home prior to camping and stored in the cooler until ready to cook.  One of my favorites is grilled sausage with potatoes and green beans, try it using the recipe from allrecipes.com

Use your grill and an old muffin tin to make simple poached eggs. Coat the muffin tins with cooking spray and crack an egg into each hole. Place on the grill and grill over medium high heat for 2 minutes or until desired doneness.  Try adding some chopped peppers and onions to spice them up a bit.

Treat the kids to banana splits before bed in place of the traditional s’mores.  Cut a whole unpeeled banana halfway through from end to end. Place marshmallows and pieces of chocolate bar in the slit. Wrap banana in the foil with the cut end up. Place in coals for 10 to 15 minutes until chocolate and marshmallows are melted.  Open foil carefully and scoop from the banana peel the delicious treat.  For an even faster dessert try Skillet Bananas.  All you need to do is melt some butter in a skillet, add some frozen orange juice concentrate, and some cinnamon and stir to mix. Slice some bananas into the warm sauce and toss gently.  Yummy!!

I’m sure you have roasted a marshmallow, but have your tried roasting an apple over the fire? Place an apple on a cooking stick and roast over hot campfire coals until the apple peel splits and ‘sizzles’. Carefully peel away the skin (adults should help kids with this) and roll the apple in cinnamon-sugar for a tasty alternative.  Instead of the traditional graham cracker and chocolate bar s’mores, be a little creative and try fudge-stripped cookies with a marshmallow in between. Or how about using peanut butter cups in place of the Hershey chocolate bar layered between chocolate graham crackers instead of the plain ones.  

Outdoor cooking can really be a fun adventure for the entire family but with the right equipment, it can be so much easier.  Don’t be fooled into thinking you need a bunch of fancy gadgets to cook delicious treats while camping, but Shekitchen.com recommends starting your camping journey off with one or more of these handy essentials. Campfire tripod and Dutch Oven and lid lifter, cast iron skillet or loaf pan, pie iron, campsite popcorn popper, portable grill, and extendable skewers, and of course a good cooler  —  packed correctly.     

How to pack a cooler to keep food fresh longer according to allrecipes.com* 

  • Chill all food and drinks before packing them.
  • Seal food in waterproof container to keep it dry and uncrushed.
  • Pack food in layers, with ice between the layers
  • Keep the cooler as full as possible.
  • If possible, have a separate cooler for drinks so the cooler doesn’t lose its cool every time someone opens it to get a drink.
  • Keep the cooler in the shadiest spot you can find.
  • Don’t drain melted ice water – it actually helps keep food cool longer.

Hickory Hollow Campground doesn’t care what your preferred camping cooking method may be, but we would love it if your shared some of your favorite camp recipes with us on our Facebook page. 

Julia Child once said “the comforts of life’s essentials are food, fire, and friendships”. 

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The Mountains Are Calling

Hickory Hollow Campground

Family camping takes a little bit of effort, but the payoff is huge.  Family camping at Hickory Hollow Campground allows you to come face-to-face with nature while offering a dynamic, ever-changing canvas for campers of all ages to explore and create memories for years to come. Over the last year, we have all experienced far too much screen time, whether you were participating in zoom meetings for work, online virtual school or just trying to stay connected through social media, you are probably ready to get in touch with nature and enjoy a digital sabbatical. You may not realize how scarce fresh air has been in your day to day life recently, but let me assure you, Hickory Hollow has enough to go around and last all summer long. 

Along with fresh air, Hickory Hollow also has a fresh new face working with us this summer.  We are proud to welcome Abbie Mack, a familiar face at the campground, as the new Activity Director.  Abbie is the daughter of seasonal campers, Kevin and Anna Mack and is looking forward to assisting with the children’s activities, crafts, and the many events being held this summer.  A certified lifeguard, Abbie is looking to creatively keep the kids engaged with some cool new activities while enhancing some of the traditional favorites for all ages. 

Memorial Day weekend kicks off with a corn-toss tournament, and the much-anticipated chain saw demonstration by Bill Schaudt Wood Creations. If you are looking for sasquatch, a friendly little black bear, eagle or even a gnome don’t miss this really cool demonstration from one of the industries best carvers.  After the demo, go ahead and fire up the grill and get those BBQ aromas filling the grounds, then get ready to try your luck with golf-cart/lawn chair bingo, a favorite from last year.  This Memorial Day, as we remember the fallen hero’s and those who fight for our freedom, remember “it takes the best in each one of us to make a better world for all of us.”

Hickory Hollow knows the importance of building strong relationships and that’s why we offer fun activities that the entire family can participate in.  Studies show that outdoor experiences make children more environmentally conscious, help them manage stress, and reduce restlessness and boredom. Spend some time exploring the beautiful mountains and lake surrounding the 75-acre campground as a family, or visit one of the many local attractions to learn more about the beautiful Laurel Highlands. Just imagine the look on your child’s face when they reel in their very first rainbow trout caught proudly on Lake Ann. Or see the gleam in their eyes when they come back to camp with some beautiful photos taken while participating in the nature scavenger hunt being held on June 12. This is a great opportunity to study bugs, learn to identify trees and flowers, sing a song while hiking, identify animal prints, and just enjoy all nature has to offer together.  Family members can all join in on the fun under the pavilion for DJ dance nights and compare your era of dance to the new generation.  DJ Poosa will be happy to play all genres of music so maybe we can get a dance off going this year.  Grandma can show us her mambo, dad his cool funk moves, and the teens the newest Tik Tok move.

One of the best and most relaxing camping activities is stargazing.  At Hickory Hollow we have the perfect environment to settle in and explore the night skies.  A clear sky, blanket, and a nice warm fire is all you need to enjoy this camp favorite.  If you are into astronomy and the celestial stars you might want to check out one of our local wineries called Vin De Matrix, located about 10 miles from the campground and inspired by the star Vindemiatrix, the third brightest star in the Virgo constellation.  The rustic tasting room is filled with some amazing photographs of the night sky along with some beautiful pottery, jewelry and prints from local artists. Schedule your individualized tasting during the week or you can pick up a bottle of their local wine Saturday mornings at the local Farmers Market located at Georgian Place in Somerset to bring back for your star gazing activity.  

When a family makes memories together, it’s an experience they will never forget. From a day or week spent exploring everything the campground and the local area has to offer, to an evening roasting s’mores around the campfire, these memories will last forever.  Hickory Hollow makes this activity easy too, just swing over to the camp store and pick up a ready made s’more kit along with any other essentials you may have forgotten.  While visiting the store, check out the new shipment of t-shirts that have just arrived.  Maybe you want to purchase one for Santa to deliver when he makes his annual visit to the campground in July. 

There are endless opportunities to reconnect with loved ones while camping, so whether you’re fishing, hiking, or teaching the kids a new skill like cooking over an open fire, adventure awaits you at Hickory Hollow Campground.  Abbie, and the entire Hickory Hollow staff are looking forward to s’more fun with you this summer!

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Millennials Choose Camping

Seasoned campers joke that stress can be caused by not camping enough.  Camping is in their blood, they look forward to the day Hickory Hollow Campground opens and scowl when the campground closes just after Halloween.  These camping enthusiasts understand the importance of being close to nature.  Their stress levels are reduced, they have better overall emotional and physical health, and at the end of the season have many new friends to help get them through the long winter months. 

Generations have always been defined by specific stereotypes and characteristics that make them unique and wonderful in their own way and at Hickory Hollow we see a wide variety of age groups camping with us.  Camping statistics are showing that Millennials, an interesting collection of about 80 million people born between 1980 and the late 1990’s are the newest group of people taking an interest in camping.  These adventurous, wonderful young adults love experiences, they are inquisitive, sharp, sensitive, passionate and curious.  Many are starting new businesses and raising young children.

A recent KOA camping report shows that approximately 6 in 10 Millennial families have tried a camping experience since 2017.  This new generation of active explorers are taking camping in new directions and revolutionizing the camping world.   

Many Hickory Hollow campers like to disconnect from the outside world, kick back, relax and enjoy the peaceful serenity of the night skies and the beautiful Laurel Highlands.  Statistics show that millennials are changing the camping thought process of disconnecting and find comfort in the fact that they can stay connected while enjoying their time away.  At Hickory Hollow we know the importance of being connected to loved ones back home while on the road and we do offer Wi-Fi and Cable TV, as well as an ATM machine on site. Currently, we are investigating new technology options and look forward to enhancements in our current system in the near future.

The staff at Hickory Hollow are always safety conscious and we understand the importance of staying in touch while on the road.  We love it when our campers share their fun adventures at Hickory Hollow with their friends back home through social media.  You can follow all the fun events throughout the camping season, like our first Kentucky Derby Party that kicked off the season on May 1st, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Remember to log onto our website for a list of all the cool activities scheduled, as well as our blog.     

The Millennials may be revolutionizing the camping world, but their habits begin to transform into preferences held by older campers as well.  Technology certainly makes booking your RV site, rustic or premium log cabin much easier, but please remember that sites book very quickly so make your reservations now for the summer months.  A quick click of the button at www.hickoryhollowcampground.com and we can have that favorite site or cabin reserved for you in no time.

Glamping, a phenomenon defined as a fusion of glamour and camping introduced by the Millennial, generation about 15 years ago.   Hickory Hollow Campground offers our own unique version of glamping with the “Conestoga Wagon” rustic camping experience.  All the fun of tent camping without the bugs and water leaks!

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Camping Is The Answer -The Question Isn’t Important

One of the best things about early mornings during the month of May, is that it starts to smell like a camp morning. Each morning you wake to a new spring growing louder and louder, the mornings are full of light, the birds are singing, color is popping up everywhere, you have a head full of dreams and a heart full of hope, and beyond the door the sun beckons you to come out and play.  As we kick off a beautiful new spring, listen to your heart and let the road lead you straight to Hickory Hollow Campground.

Hickory Hollow Campground officially opened on April 15th and that means taking the RV out of hibernation.  If you took the proper steps to winterize the RV, it should be ready to go with minimal preparation.

RV Spring Cleaning Checklist

Follow this handy checklist to ensure your RV is as ready as you are and won’t let you down.  

  • Check the unit for any damage – tree limbs that fell, or rodents that may have enjoyed the warmth over the winter, etc.
  • Check the outside components for cracked side vents, missing light covers, baggage door operation, turn signals etc.
  • Check to make sure the license plate, insurance and registration is current.
  • Check the tires for proper air pressure and cracks in the sidewalls. Don’t forget the spare.
  • Make sure the carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, LP detector, and fire extinguishers are all in working order. 
  • Make sure the water level in the battery is correct and terminals are tight.
  • Flush and fill the freshwater tank to check for leaks.
  • Clean the air conditioning filter
  • Give the inside a thorough cleaning and evict any unwanted visitors like bugs and mice.
  • Make sure you have an up-to-date fully supplied first aid kit.
  • Air it out and make sure all windows and vents are in working order.
  • Restock with fresh towels and linens that may have been removed last winter.

Okay, the family is ready to start their fun camping adventure in southwestern PA after being cooped up with a mask on all winter. You have reviewed the spring checklist and the RV is ready to go straight to the beautiful Laurel Highlands to breathe some of that fresh mountain air as well, so what’s the next step to enjoy all the wonderful amenities camping offers? 

To enjoy the great outdoors…the way you like it, just go straight to the Hickory Hollow Campground website https://hickoryhollowcampground.com, take five minutes and make those reservations for the summer.   With 75 acres of beautiful rolling hills, a lake, and many wooded areas, Hickory Hollow Campground offers the serenity you are looking for. RV sites are pull-through with water, electric, sewer, Wi-Fi and cable TV.  New or first-time campers may enjoy renting one of the beautiful premium or rustic log cabins available overlooking the lake, while seasoned tent campers keep coming back to enjoy the shaded sites and hammocks overlooking the entire campground.  

The Laurel Highlands, a beautiful summer destination, is easily accessible and offers numerous adventures and experiences for the entire family. Your itinerary will easily fill up with unique and thrilling activities for everyone in the family.  Activities in the Laurel Highlands range from water parks and petting zoos for the toddlers; cave exploring and escape rooms for the teens; thrill seekers can check out the oval track on a Saturday night, axe throwing or whitewater rafting; and for those inclined to relax, don’t miss the local farmers market, live music and spirit sampling; we have history buffs covered too with the 911 memorial, museums, and so much more.  Visit https://www.golaurelhighlands.com for experiences available in the area.

So, the next time you are in a ZOOM virtual meeting, looking like you are listening…but really thinking about how much better life is when you’re camping, remember what Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” The campfire, the stars, and Hickory Hollow is calling out to you for some much-needed outdoor therapy!  We are looking forward to seeing you this summer.

Self Care While Social Distancing

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I know, I know it sounds ridiculous in the current situation, but there is one thing that is extremely important during this time (and at all times for that matter) and that is SELF CARE! Your mind, body, and emotions should be your number 1 priority and honestly what better time to focus on yourself than during a stay at home order?

These are such trying times and everyone (literally everyone) is having to deal with the changes and uncertainty that goes along with it. Every person that I have talked to during the last few weeks has been dealing with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and so many other concerns that threaten our self preservation. The best way to prevent these issues from taking over our lives is by practicing self care DAILY (yes, these are things you need to take the time to do every single day.) I’m going to go into a few different areas of self-care that I feel are important for every person to do.

Body
Our bodies need taken care of during this time, that’s no lie to any of us. I’m sure some of you are feeling sluggish and exhausted from being stuck at home and limiting your activities (trust me I am too), but there are solutions to taking care of our bodies from the comfort of our homes (or RVs). The most important task are really just the basics that every person needs in order to live. Make sure you are eating, drinking water, and moving your body. These don’t have to be daunting tasks like they may have been before. You can make them specific to what you enjoy. When it comes to food, I know it’s tempting to eat all of those quarantine snacks (I am bad for this) but usually it is solely out of boredom, which I am sure is the case for a lot of you too. So in order to change this action to something that keeps you busy. Read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk (safely social distancing of course), play a game, color, draw, seriously I could go on and on with different activities to help you. So put that junk food down and go do something else! -If you want ideas for social distancing outside, go read my last blog Social Distancing in the Great Outdoors.
The next thing our bodies need is water. I am so bad about drinking enough water, especially while being at home, but our bodies NEED it! I know most of us our using our phones regularly, so here’s a challenge for you: every time you pick up your phone to check social media or answer a text or anything really, take a drink of water. This will make you feel so much better in the long run and your body will thank you.
Along with drinking water, we need to make sure we are moving our bodies. It’s so easy to get into a slump sitting on our couches, binge watching the latest Netflix series (I bet Tiger King came into you mind, don’t be ashamed I watched it too), but this isn’t good for your body, mind, or emotions. It’s okay to watch it on occasion, but maybe get moving while watching and eventually you’ll find more reasons to move your body. I personally love doing yoga (and plan to incorporate some into my activities this camping season) and I found that it helps me relax. It also makes my body feel great. I mentioned a few activities that go along with this idea earlier, but it is so important. Trust me, if you make sure you are eating better, drinking enough water, and moving your body, you will feel so much better!

Mind
Personally, I feel like this is one of the hardest parts to work on during this time. There is an abundance of information being put out there for people, some of it being helpful, but a lot of the information is causing a lot of stress, anger, and frustration. I, personally, try to avoid the news and social media that is revolving around the current situation. This does not mean that I am not informed or aware of the changes occurring, it means that I am limiting and researching the information that I am taking in. I wish more people would do this, but that is hard to control. So instead of trying to control it, I am offering some advice on how to go about it. Be careful of the sources you are getting your information from. Limit how much you are reading that is related to the situation. Make sure you are getting a variety of sources to compare and do your research! The reason I try to avoid social media during this time is because this is a HUGE concern. You cannot believe everything you see on the internet (or on tv for that matter) and the ability to share false information has gotten out of hand. There are fake news sites that are being shared and information that people claim as facts that may not be the case at all. All I ask is that you do your research first before believing (or reposting) anything you see on social media. Make sure your sources are legitimate and beneficial. The hearsay on socials is a major cause of stress and anxiety.
Along with these tips, your mind needs taken care of in other ways too! A way to help this is to give yourself a schedule. Times are hard right now and we find ourselves diving deeper and deeper into our electronics, the news, and tv right now, so break those habits. Make your life feel somewhat normal again and make a schedule. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or go into detail with every single thing you should do in the day, but a basic schedule will help you (and your family) survive the stir craze that I am sure is consuming your lives. One thing I will suggest to add to your schedule is that you cut out any type of technology (or just cut out your research/social media intake) before you go to bed. This is easily something that can help improve your sleep in general, which who doesn’t like getting a good night’s rest?
Another suggestion for improving your mental state is making sure that you are connecting with others. There are so many ways to go about this with technology and it is so beneficial for everyone. We are in a state of isolation and so are others. Take this time to reach out and check on the people you care about, it not only helps you but will help them feel better too. Be intentional, and reach out to others. Even if it’s just to see how someone else is doing, I’m sure it will make both of you feel so much better and not so isolated during this time.

Emotions
I know it seems like emotions should go hand in hand with mind, but I feel like our emotions are something we need to focus on specifically at times and can also be one of the hardest things to control (especially right now). One thing that everyone should be aware of is that we may not be able to control the current situation, but it WILL get better. Find some positive aspects of the current situation. Change is inevitable in any situation, it is a part of life, which we are all aware of (even if we don’t like the idea of it.) Look at the bigger picture of the stressful situation and remind yourself of the good that is happening. People are working together and being more helpful. You’re able to spend more time with your family at home having family dinners, playing games, and making memories that you may not have had time to do before.
During all of this, make sure you are paying attention to your needs and feelings. Everyone has them and is entitled to them. You’re allowed to feel what you want during this time, but that doesn’t mean to push it onto others either. It’s okay to get your feelings out, but you should be considerate of other people’s feelings as well. A good way to get your feelings and emotions out is by writing them down. I try to journal regularly to get thoughts out of my head. That way I am not dwelling on them and I can move on to other thoughts. Use this opportunity to discover yourself. Self-discovery is important. You may learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before and you can try things that you haven’t had a chance to (within reason of course.) So why not listen to your emotions and thoughts in order to find out things about yourself. This can be liberating and help you grow as an individual in so many ways.

We take self-care for granted and it is so important to make sure we are happy and healthy in every way possible right now. That means taking time for you and making sure that your needs are met.

Welcome Back!

The campground officially opened for the 2021 season on April 15th and we know you are as excited as we are to get back outdoors! The familiar signs of Spring are already popping up around the beautiful Laurel Highlands as the snow melts off the mountains, the ducks are finding their way back to Lake Ann, and the black angus cattle can be seen grazing peacefully in anticipation of better days. 

Better days are on everyone’s list after a long winter and a very challenging 2020.  People throughout the country have been sheltering in place for many months and as restrictions start to loosen up, families are looking for safe ways to improve both their mental and physical wellbeing.  According to CNN Travel, camping is still ranked among the safer forms of recreation. It falls on the scale of low risk activities along with golf and getting groceries when following proper protocols.   The biggest thing in camping’s favor is the fact that you’re outdoors, so go ahead and start planning that soul-cleansing getaway without worry. 

A year of lockdown has everyone anxious to start doing fun things again, but it’s still important to keep safety in mind when thinking about your next adventure.   Proper planning is key for a great summer retreat in the mountains and if 2021 is anything like last summer you should make your reservations early to ensure availability.  Reservations are easy to make on the Hickory Hollow website and we are booking up fast, so we encourage you to book now for the summer. 

Whether you are looking to just kick back and relax or looking for some fun activities to participate in, Hickory Hollow makes camping fun and easy.  The beautiful camp store is fully stocked with anything you may have forgotten to bring along with delicious smore kits, comfortable t-shirts and hoodies, custom designed camp masks, firewood, and so much more. If shopping in the store tires you out, take a break on the benches overlooking Lake Ann and enjoy the young goslings that will be hatching soon around the lake or see the fish jumping up for their dinner. 

Lots of the annual events and some new activities are already scheduled for the season so remember to check out the Activities tab on the website prior to your arrival to ensure you come prepared for the fun.  If you love a good horse race, or maybe just a really cool party, check out the Kentucky Derby Watch Party scheduled for May 1st.  I’m betting you are going to have a great time, win or lose!  You will probably see more golf cart/lawn bingo this summer, it was a big hit last year with the social distancing regulations so it’s back on the schedule. 

The summer of 2020 saw people experiencing the great outdoors in different ways, some for the first time in years.  Folks of all ages started to embrace the more rustic and earthy getaways like camping and visiting state parks.  I’ve been a frequent visitor to the local state parks for years and never remember seeing so many visitors enjoying everything the parks have to offer as I did last summer. 

There are fifteen state parks within 60 miles of Hickory Hollow Campground that offer a wide array of outdoor activities for all ages.  Take the kids and the dog to Laurel Hill State Park located just 8 miles down the road and let them play in the stream and enjoy the cool waterfall.  Or drive 24 miles south and check out Ohiopyle State Park, one of my favorite destination spots to entertain guests from outside the area.  Treat yourself to a double dip of old fashioned ice cream at the famous Falls Market after you’ve experienced everything there is to see and do at the falls.  While in that area, don’t miss the opportunity to discover Fallingwater, the architectural masterwork of Frank Lloyd Wright, an experience that’s been delighting guests with its natural beauty for over 50 years. 

Check out the calendar of events for the local state parks by going to https://events.dcnr.pa.gov and you’ll find activities ranging from hawk watching and owl prowls, to lakeshore hikes, kayak and bike rentals, and even bluegrass festivals.  With more than 39 trails covering over 4,000 miles, you will have no trouble finding a bike or walking trail to explore around the local area, so bring your bikes along to cruise the campground and get to know your fellow campers or to explore the Laurel Highlands on your own. 

As we get ready to welcome the Spring equinox and the start of the 2021 camping season the staff at Hickory Hollow is anxious to welcome back old friends and are looking forward to making new ones.   “Then came the healing time, hearts started to shine, soul felt so fine, oh what a freeing time it was.” Here’s to a great summer filled with adventures, great friendships, and beautiful sunsets.   

2020 Hickory Hollow Recap

It’s no surprise that the world took a drastic turn this year and left everyone with a lot of uncertainty about what was going to come about 2020 in every sense, and camping season was no exception. There were a lot of campgrounds that were not able to open on time (in some areas they may not have been able to open at all), but thankfully Hickory Hollow was not impacted quite as much in that sense. Our campground opened in April, with quite a few restrictions that we had to follow due to the different guidelines that were brought about during the global pandemic. Our staff did a wonderful job keeping up with cleanliness and making sure our campground was a safe place to be for all of our campers.

We welcomed so many new people into our campground this season! Camping turned into being one of the best activities for people to do in a time where social distancing is important. This makes sense since most campers come out in their own little “home” and activities that take place while camping are held outdoors, which gives people the perfect opportunity to social distance. It’s also a fantastic way to relax and escape the harsh reality of what is happening out in the world. We weren’t expecting so many first time campers to come and find us at our little campground in Rockwood, but we are so happy that they did.

Along with all of the new campers that we invited into our campground, we also were fortunate enough to continue holding a lot of our annual activities (plus some fun new ones) that, even though we had to adapt for the current situation, we’re extremely successful! Some of the biggest highlights this year were having Bill Schaudt Wood Creations make some amazing pieces of art that our campers loved, the Puzzle lights that one of our campers teaches how to make (see what they look like on our Facebook), our yoga weekends led by myself (Tika), the 13th annual Chili Cook-off that included tons of delicious chilis made by our campers, an adapted version of our Wet & Wild Water Wars that incorporated the coolest foam machine ever (thanks Doug!), the annual Poker Run even if there were some mix ups (we love you Lori!), the Jimmy Buffett Beach party with the awesome Randy Myers performing some hits, the annual Labor Day Picnic, a variety of kids crafts, all of our fun Halloween activities like trick or treating and of course Haunted Hollow (this weekend is the final weekend Oct. 30 & 31) right across the street, and so much more! If you want to see what any of these activities entailed, check out our other blog posts, Facebook page, Instagram page, and YouTube channel where we highlight lots of our activities pretty frequently. Each of these pages are linked below for your convenience.

Father’s Day Fishing Tournament
Golf Cart/Lawn Chair Bingo
Decorated Golf Cart Parade/ Poker run
Christmas in July

With that being said, we want your input for next year’s camping season! What activities did you love this past year that you’d like us to continue to do and what would you like to see us add to our schedule? We would love to know what your thoughts are. We will start planning next years activity schedule right around the new year, and I’d love to have as many ideas as I possibly can get so that we have a successful season that our campers will love too. Feel free to comment your ideas below or send us a message through our Facebook or Instagram pages. Also if you have a recommendations on how we can better our campground in general, we would love to hear from you.

Thank you all for being a part of our camping season! We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without all of our wonderful campers and all of their support. We will miss you all during our off season, but cannot wait to see you all next year! We wish everyone safe travels, happy holidays, and a wonderful winter season!

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Every Fall leaf is like a Spring flower

As our camping season starts to come to a close, it’s no surprise that Fall is the prettiest of all the seasons, especially in our area. The Laurel Highlands are known for the changing of colors during this season and Hickory Hollow Campground is fortunate enough to be surrounded by the beauty of the trees. I hope you enjoy the photos of our lovely campground in this blog post. Feel free to share it with your friends and recommend them to stay with us. We have been booking fast all year, so if you want a campsite next season be sure to book it as soon as possible. Also, don’t forget the other fun fall activities such as Haunted Hollow right across the road. It’s open every Friday and Saturday for the rest of October. Book your tickets online HERE so you get a chance to get spooked too!

If you have pictures of our campground and would like to share them, feel free to send them to our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram @hickoryhollow_campground We love seeing photos from our campers!

Poker Run & Fun at Hickory Hollow!

Not gonna lie, sometimes it’s way more fun hanging out with the adults than it is the kids. Our campers at Hickory Hollow know how to have a good time, whether it’s putting boobs on the front of your golf cart (pictures to follow), runaway golf carts while no one is looking, or just sitting back and watching the parade of decorated carts make their way through our campground. We not only had a blast with the parade, but we also had some fun celebrating a birthday of one of our campers (even though their was so much talk about her being 119 years old!) While the riddles were confusing at times, and sometimes our card dealers didn’t know what the heck they were doing (Lori is never going to live this one down…lol), there is nothing better than getting out and spending some quality time with the people around you. We have such a great community of people here and are always welcoming more into the fold (wow a poker pun that was completely unintentional…)

I hope you enjoy and get at least a slight chuckle out of some of the photos from our weekend at Hickory Hollow Campground. I also hope this might entice you to come out and stay with us in the future. If you want to see the video of the Tropical Golf Cart Parade, just go to our YouTube page by clicking the link HERE! Make sure you like & subscribe to our channel to see more!

Tracy, Jim, & Landon’s decorated cart
Jim & Christa’s Hula Cart (winner of best decorated cart!)
The masked cart by the Mack ladies!
Tropical Pup Cart
Coming around the bend to the next stop
Happy Birthday Della, You look great for 119!!! LOL
Tika & Missy

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Camping Fun for Everyone

Are you trying to figure out what to do while you’re camping? Here are 10 ideas that are simple and perfect (especially if you’re staying at Hickory Hollow!)

Enjoy Nature
The whole point of camping is being outdoors, right? So take some time and enjoy the scenery around you. Watch the clouds take shape. Look for insects and wildlife that live in the area you’re in. Check out the beautiful plants and flowers that decorate nature with their beauty!

Go on a Walk or Hike
Not getting enough nature from your campsite, then get out and walk around. I highlighted some of the favorite places for campers to hike around our campground in my last blog post. Read it here. We are located in a beautiful area where there’s always places to go to enjoy nature’s beauty.

Enjoy Nighttime Peacefully
One of the absolute highlights of camping, in my opinion anyway, is enjoying the peaceful and serene evenings. Looking up at the stars is so relaxing and fun to do for everyone. Try to find each of the different constellations that surround our world and forget everything else that is happening for a little while. This isn’t something you can do in a busy city, so appreciate it where and when you can.

Follow Bill & Kelly who camp with us to see some lovely pictures of Hickory Hollow

Play Games
It doesn’t take up much space to pack some cards or board games that you and your family can enjoy. This is a great way to spend some quality time together without even leaving your campsite.

Outdoor Games
Some campgrounds have places to enjoy some outdoor games as well, like basketball and volleyball (we do at Hickory Hollow!) You can always check out what your campground has on their website before you go or you can pack your own outdoor games too. There are lots of inexpensive games like frisbee, catch, or football. Our campground also holds Cornhole tournaments, but I know lots of campers who bring their own boards too!

Swimming
Hickory Hollow has a small poll that is for campers use, but even if you’re staying somewhere there isn’t a pool, I’m sure there are other options. Look into local beaches at State Parks (Laurel Hill is beautiful) or even Rec Centers that offer pool hours. I know this is a favorite of the kids in my life, as well as the kids that camp with us!

Ride A Bike
If you enjoy riding your bike, then bring it along camping. Our campground is perfect for a leisurely ride, but we are also located near the bike trails in Rockwood.

Fishing
Again, Hickory Hollow has a beautiful lake that our campers can fish at while they are here. There are also lots of local fishing areas that are available to fish at and aren’t far away. This is always a fun and relaxing activity for anyone.

Read a Book
This one might not be as fun for all kids, but it’s definitely one of my favorite pass times whether I’m camping or not. There’s nothing like sitting down with a good book and escaping reality for a short period of time. Pick out your favorite book and just relax. If you want any recommendations for books, I’m a book nerd! I’ve posted some of my favorite titles on my personal Facebook page, Instagram, or my own blog. You can click the links to check those out too!

Make a Campfire
This one is a must for any camper. You need a campfire, so why not get some enjoyment out of it other than just the warmth it puts off? Make some s’mores (try out the different kinds that I have here), make some campfire sundaes or other yummy dishes over the fire! Then just hang out and talk, tell stories, reminisce over the past, talk about the future, just enjoy being together during this time. It’s the best thing anyone can do.

If you liked these ideas, or have more of your own, leave a comment below. Feel free to share this post with your friends. You can share it on Pinterest, Facebook, or wherever you see fit! Drop some ideas of what other blog posts you’d enjoy in the future!