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

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow us on our social media accounts.

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!

Hike More, Worry Less

There is nothing better than getting outside and breathing some fresh air. Checking out beautiful scenery is always a bonus too! Taking a nice walk outside in nature is good for the soul and there are quite a few local trails near Hickory Hollow campground that make for a great afternoon walk.

I went ahead and asked some of our campers, as well as took from my own experiences, what some of their favorite trails to hike/walk or bike on near our campground. They were very helpful and I want to share those trails for you to check out too!

Great Allegheny Passage Trail
This is a 150 mile trail that has mountain views, wildlife, and traces the paths of three rivers, the Casselman River, the Youghiogheny, and the Monongahela. This trail is non-motorized, but is great for hiking and biking. In the winter time, you can even enjoy cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. You can easily plan a trip and have an access point to the trail right in Rockwood! Find out more information or sign up for the next GAP Trail Relay on their website (click name above.)

Laurel Hill State Park Trails
Laurel Hill has multiple hiking trails that have beautiful scenery and are perfect for anyone of any age. They are moderate trails and if you take a look at my photos, you’ll see there are some beautiful sites to see while walking them. If you check out the All Trails site you can check out some of the best hiking trails in the state park.

Pumphouse trail is a personal favorite of mine, and quite a few others. This is a loop trail that is about 5.9 miles that has a beautiful waterfall and other enjoyable scenery.

There are quite a few other trails in Laurel Hill State Park that you can check out too with beautiful views!

Kooser State Park Trails
Like Laurel Hill, Kooser State Park is nearby and has quite a few trails that people enjoy hiking and biking on. According to All Trails again, there are a few top trails that they suggest. Like other state parks, it is open from dawn to dusk and offers some true nature adventures for anyone who wants to endure it.

Hickory Hollow Campground
I know what you’re thinking, obviously the campground is in nature, but why are you including this small area as a trail? Well let me tell you, this wasn’t one I planned on adding initially, but when a camper told me that the walk around Lake Anna was their favorite trail to walk I thought to myself “I couldn’t agree more!” Eventually, we would like to build on our walking/hiking paths, but this one is good for any of our campers and I highly recommend walking it! You get to see the campground from a new, beautiful point of view that you normally don’t get to see. It’s not too short (or too long) and is a fun thing to do on those cool summer evenings.

If you have any local trails that you enjoy and would like to share, leave a comment below. Feel free to share your photos as well on our social pages. We love to see what our campers are doing!

Frozen Hot Chocolate

Ever crave a sweet, cold treat on those hot summer days? I have a super easy recipe that only has 4 ingredients and it will satisfy you on those real hot days! Frozen Hot Chocolate! I know that may sound like an oxymoron, but they are soooooo delicious! Keep reading to find out how to make it.

What you will need: (This recipe makes 1 serving – I tripled the recipe to make more than one at a time for our campers!)

  • Hot Chocolate Mix (1/4 cup)
  • Milk – I used Skim (1/2 cup)
  • Ice – I just eyeball the amount I think I will need. The more ice, the thicker the drink will be.
  • Whipped Cream – A delicious garnish!

Add your hot chocolate mix, milk, and ice to a blender and blend until smooth. Then pour it into a cup, top it with some whipped cream (totally optional), add a fun straw to dress it up and enjoy! This is a super quick and easy treat for those hot days!

I’m always looking for new recipes that are quick and easy, if you have any recommendations feel free to comment them below or send them to Tika on our socials for Hickory Hollow Campground. If you try the Frozen Hot Chocolate, share with us what you think of it!

Campfire Sundaes

Are you tired of the same old boring Campfire snacks? Do you love s’more, but not the pain of having to roast the marshmallow and hope that it won’t catch on fire? I personally cannot stand a burnt marshmallow – YUCK!

If you answered yes to either of those questions, then I have a super easy and extremely delicious snack for you to try out the next time you have a campfire!

I’ve seen variations of this floating around Pinterest and Facebook, but was always hesitant to try it. I’m not really sure why though, because it’s super easy and the messiest part is eating it.

All you need is ice cream cones, we chose sugar cones which are my personal favorite, but you could use probably any type of cone you’d like. You could even go bigger with a waffle cone and include more ingredients! Then your ingredients to put in the cones. We used pie filling fruit like strawberries (cherries would be super good too), mini marshmallows are a must, as well as chocolate. We used Dark Chocolate chips, but you could always break apart your favorite chocolate bars or use any of the variations of chips that they make now! We also used a Sugar-Free Chocolate syrup to drizzle over the top when it was finished cooking, but I forgot to put that in my pictures.

The girls enjoying their sundaes!
Messy but DELICIOUS!

As you can see in my photos these were a huge hit with the girls! After you fill your cones with the ingredients of your choice, wrap them in foil. If you have a grate or a basket to put over the fire it will make it a lot easier, if not just find a warm spot in the coals to set it down. PLEASE BE CAREFUL WHEN WORKING AROUND THE FIRE AND REMOVING ITEMS FROM THE FIRE! It doesn’t take more than a few minutes on the fire for the marshmallows and chocolate to melt.

We used a basket to heat our sundaes. If you use a larger cone, just don’t use the top grate to prevent smashing the cones.

Once you remove them from the fire, unwrap them and add whatever topping you’d like. We realized after the fact that a little bit of powdered sugar would have tasted great too. We were also able to make about 6 at a time, so this was much more convenient then waiting to only roast 1 or 2 marshmallows at a time.

If you try out this recipe or any type of variation, please tag Hickory Hollow Campground on Facebook or Instagram!

If you have any other fun campfire snacks that you want us to try, leave a comment! I’d love to try them out!

Firework Shows for 2020 in Somerset County

Due to the current situation, there have been a lot of cancellations for events and firework shows all over America. Somerset County and surrounding areas have been no different (thanks coronavirus…) But you shouldn’t fret, there have been communities, businesses, and organizations that have come together to keep these yearly traditions of firework celebrations happening! I mean really, what is the 4th of July without fireworks? There are quite a few options this weekend for you to go see some fireworks and enjoy some other great entertainment. You may have to travel a little, but not too far (plus I think it’s worth it for a great show!)

Independence Day at the Castle
Vinoski Winery in Belle Vernon, PA has a celebration planned for Friday, July 3rd. This event will include music, food, fireworks, and of course, FUN! Jukebox Band will be providing entertainment while local restaurants provide the food. They do ask for a $20 parking donation and the owners will be matching the donations for local charities. Check out their Facebook Event (linked above) for more information.

Fourth of July Weekend at Greenhouse Winery
Greenhouse Winery in Irwin, PA is having events the entire weekend. Friday, July 3rd will kick off the events with music by Ruffhouse from 6:30 – 9:30 pm and great food on site for this 21+ event with fireworks to follow! Then on Saturday the 4th, there will be more music by Tim & Stacey from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm. On Sunday there is a Bloody Mary Bar and music by Jim O’Brien. Check out the link above for more information on these fun weekend events!

Here Comes the Boom! Drive-In Fireworks Show
A FREE fireworks show to attend at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds. The owner of Wisneski’s Waste Management decided that the show MUST go on and he will be putting off the fireworks himself. This is socially distanced show where they ask families to stay in, on, or around their vehicles. The gates open at 7 pm, with the show beginning at 10 pm! The fairgrounds are only 23 miles from Hickory Hollow, so this would be a perfect opportunity to get out and see some great fireworks. Facebook event linked above for more information.

Jennerstown Speedway Racing and Fireworks
Click the link above for more information. This racing night at Jennerstown Speedway will include a 200 Lap Super Late Model race and a 100 Lap Pro Late Model race, followed by a giant fireworks display afterwards! Tickets are available at carsracingtour.com. The general admission is $20 for advance tickets or $25 at the gate.

America’s County Freedom Fireworks Show
Even though Somerset’s normal fireworks show was cancelled, our community pulled together and is putting the show on at Somerset Country Club on Sunday, July 5th. Fireworks by Little Big Shots and other local businesses and organizations. The Red, White, and Boom 4th of July Celebration will take place at 9:30 pm, so make sure you find a nice place to watch the show go on!

If you want to get out and see some fireworks, I hope this list gave you some different ideas on where you can go. Each of these places are in relatively close distance to Hickory Hollow Campground, so you can enjoy our weekend activities during the days and check out the other fireworks in the evening.

Beginner Camper Tips

Are you a first-time camper? I only started camping within the last couple years, but I am by no means an expert camper (and I don’t have the luxury of an RV yet, but hopefully in the future). I looked up some good tips for beginners if you’re a tent camper and new to the camping scene. These ideas could come in handy for anyone though. By the way, Hickory Hollow Campground is a great place for beginner campers (or any campers really!)

The tips I am going to share are things that I have taken into consideration while camping and I hope that they can be helpful to other campers as well. This will hopefully make your planning and camping trip less stressful and much more relaxing.

Whenever we camp, we only plan for a weekend. So these tips are directed more towards short stays, but can be adapted if you plan to stay somewhere for more than just a weekend.

Tip #1
Plan Ahead

I am OCD when it comes to planning for trips, even if it is just for a short weekend trip. I don’t like waiting until the last minute, because I know that I will forget something (usually it’s important too.) It’s stressful to wait until the last minute to plan and pack (unless it’s a spur of the moment trip.) So to make it easier on you and everyone else, plan what you will need to take before you leave. I personally love to make lists. This way I can physically see what I need to pack and I can mark it off as I go.

If there is anything that you are able to pack ahead of time, that you aren’t going to need before you leave for the trip, then PACK IT! If you do this the weekend (or a few days) before your trip, that is less you will have to worry about when you are getting ready to head out! Some items you may be able to pack ahead of time are: bedding, tents, bags, cooking gear, and any non-perishable food items you plan to take. Organize it and have it ready to go, so you aren’t scrambling as the last minute. If you are planning to pack any perishable food – try to buy it before the day of the trip so you can avoid stopping while traveling and you can pack them into coolers on the day of. For the items you can’t pack ahead of time, make a list that you will see or even set a reminder on your phone so you aren’t forgetting anything!

Tip #2
Pack Light

I am so terrible at this, but that’s why it is a good tip! Try to avoid packing things with the “just in case” mindset. Take time to think about what you will be doing while you are away. There’s no need to pack extra activities or equipment whenever you won’t have time to use them, so think about what you have time to do during your short getaway and if you have the space for what you plan to do.

Tip #3
Keep Your Menu Simple

If you are planning a trip with a few groups of people, the best option is to share the meal planning. Split the responsibilities up so each group is in charge of a meal (or however you see fit to divide up the work.) That way each family is in charge of packing, prepping, and making a meal and all the work isn’t put on one person. This means less packing and more sharing of the preparation load when it comes to meals and the best thing of all – less work for EVERYONE! This is how we do our camping, each “family” going is in charge of certain parts of our meals and it makes it much easier on everyone and if there is anything specific we want aside from the meals we handle it ourselves.

If you’re camping by yourself (or in a single group), choose meals that you are comfortable making. You’re camping to relax, not give yourself more work to do. Avoid any meals that cause you to slave over the campfire for hours, making it less likely for you to enjoy yourself.

Tip #4
Check the Weather

This is a tip for any time that you are planning to go camping. Weather can be a pain when you’re camping since you are spending the majority of the time outside! I know that it’s not always 100% accurate and if it is bad weather, it could cause your entire trip to change. So always check the weather ahead of time (mid-week before you trip is usually good.) I also check again the day before in case I need to pack anything to prepare for some types of weather that are manageable while camping.

Tip #5
Stay Close to Home

This tip isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s perfect for beginner campers. This is something that I personally do (who am I kidding, I have ONLY camped at Hickory Hollow, so I may be a little biased…lol.) If you’re local to Rockwood, PA then this is the perfect option for you to get away for a weekend too! By staying closer to home, there is much less stress about traveling. You don’t have to worry as much about arrival and departure time, and it makes planning a breeze! You can get outdoors quicker and relax sooner (even if it’s just a short 1-2 day stay).

If you’re not local to Hickory Hollow Campground, then look into campground in your area and if you’re able to book ahead then do that! It makes it easier to secure your spot to ensure that you have a place to stay. If you don’t know exactly where it is located, then take some time before your trip to look up the directions and familiarize yourself, so there is less stress while traveling.

These are just a few tips to hopefully make our beginner campers feel a little less stressed about camping and Hickory Hollow is the perfect place for beginners! We have lots of things to do, plus it peaceful and relaxing here 24/7. If you want to know more about our campground, follow us on our social media accounts and Youtube Channel!