Staying Connected during Quarantine

Even though we are to be keeping our distance (6 feet or more to be exact…), it is important to stay connected to our friends, family members, and even the campers sharing the campground with you. We know how important these people are to each of our lives, so we should be checking in on them (and hoping that they would return the favor). It is so hard not to go stircrazy at a time like this and feel alone, but you aren’t! There are tons of people out there in the same situation as you, so why shouldn’t we work together and keep each other sane?

At Hickory Hollow Campground, we are working on our activity schedule. I know, sounds crazy right? How can you plan activities that will follow guidelines of social distancing at a campground? Well that’s exactly what we are working on. Finding ways to keep our campers engaged and interacting with each other, while continuing to be safe and healthy! There are a lot of ways to communicate and interact with others, without actually being near them. So whether you’re camping or not, try out some of these ways engage with others. Then tell us what you tried and if it worked for you (or give us ideas of your own!)

  1. Group Chats/Groups (i.e. Facebook, snapchat, messages, etc.)
    Make a group chat with your closest friends or family members and make it a point to at least do a “check-in” with them once a day. It will make you feel better and make others feel cared about. This is important for everyone in order to avoid feeling so isolated at times. Set an alarm and send a little message. It doesn’t even have to be elaborate or super specific, just a “Hey, how’s everyone doing today?” message will be plenty to get the conversation started. Even if someone doesn’t feel like chatting, you still put forth the effort to make them feel important. There are also tons of great apps that have come out to play games with friends from afar like Houseparty or even on snapchat or iphones!

    A camper from Hickory Hollow made a suggestion for us to start a private Facebook group for our campers to post and talk, and I loved the idea! This group is for our campers to talk and share ideas and activities to other campers. I felt like this was such a great idea to get more of our campers talking to one another and show that we are #camperstrong during this time. I am also, personally, a member of a group called Power of Positivity which is used just for people to post positive and inspirational posts to lift each other up. These are both great environments to be engaged in and show that no one is alone right now.
  2. Facetime/Zoom
    I know some of you are craving that face-to-face connection and reading words on a screen just doesn’t do it for you. Trust me I get it! There are ways to get around that too without even leaving your home (or RV)! Anyone who has a smartphone has the capability of using video calls or facetime. There is also this great meeting tool that I’ve used personally (and have seen/heard about lots of others using it too!) that gives you the opportunity to see, chat (written or verbally), and screen share too! There are probably tons of other great uses, but these sold it for me when I used it. If you haven’t used Zoom yet, you’re missing out! (Skype is also a very similar platform.) Sometimes it’s nice to see a smiling familiar face, so I promise you won’t regret doing this with someone you care about and they will appreciate it too. Houseparty works like this as well!
  3. Movie Streaming
    This is something that I am excited to try at the campground. There is this great app called Netflix Party which allows multiple people to watch the same movie together wherever they may be. So talk to a group of your friends, pick a movie, get your favorite quarantine snacks and watch your favorite movie together! It even includes a group chat, so you can talk to your friends while watching the movie. I seriously cannot wait to try this as an activity at the campground since our movie nights were such a hit last year!
  4. Letter Writing
    I know this sounds old-fashioned, but this is such a simple and sentimental way to reach out to others during our social distancing. Find some fancy paper (or really any paper will do), use your neatest handwriting, and write a letter to someone you know! I love this idea for the campground, especially since we are in walking distance of one another (if you aren’t at a campground do this for your neighbors!) People will appreciate the thought and effort you put into a letter and it can be saved as a keepsake – I’m a sucker for memory boxes.

    If you are concerned about spreading germs this way, please be informed that porous materials, such as paper, only holds the contaminates for about 24 hours, so if you are concerned you can leave your mail “quarantined” for that amount of time and you will be good to go!

These are just a few ideas for you to stay connected with others while continuing to social distance! There are so many different activities that people are creating to help everyone during this time, you just have to figure out what you want to do! If you have any other ideas, leave a comment below.

We will be doing videos on our Youtube Channel with different crafts and activities, who knows maybe your thoughts and ideas will end up there too! Make sure you’re subscribed and following our socials for Hickory Hollow Campground (buttons at the top of this page).

Self Care While Social Distancing

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.

Social Distancing in the Great Outdoors!

As each of us try to find our way during these uncertain times, it is nice to think that the great outdoors is still available to us (depending on your circumstance it may be easier for some than others, but there are always options!) I hope this post can bring some ease to anyone willing to get out there and enjoy everything that the great outdoors still has to offer.

Before I get into any tips for social distancing, there are some precautions you should take prior to venturing outside. Please be sure to follow any official guidelines put in place by the CDC, and your state officials. Some of the general rules are staying at least 6 feet apart from others, avoiding large groups (10+), wash your hands regularly or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer, if you do not have access to running water. We want everyone to have a good time, but stay safe and healthy in the process!

Tip #1 Avoid areas that are popular
Try going somewhere near home (if possible) that is not largely populated. A lot of State parks have a large amount of trails which is great, however during this time a lot of people tend to flock to those areas. Try finding a less taken trail if you plan on going to a park. If this is not an option for you, hang out in your backyard or any wooded area near your home (be sure to be prepared for bugs though! especially ticks!!!) If you don’t have a backyard or a wooded area nearby, just take a walk around your block. The fresh air and scenery will do wonders for your mood!

Tip #2 Limit what you touch
If you are out an about, avoid making any unnecessary stops. If you need to stop somewhere make sure you take the time to wash your hands regularly. Try to avoid going to any stores or anywhere that could be populated with people (much like tip #1).

Tip #3 Stick with your immediate family
The best people for you to hang out with right now are those who are within your household. For their safety, as well as others it is better to limit being with people outside of your home. This is the best time to find things to do with the people in your home that you don’t normally get to do. Plan a picnic in your backyard or go on a scavenger hunt. As long as you are following guidelines, you can do all kinds of activities with your family. This is a much safer option for you and your family.

Tip #4 Be Aware
Make sure you are staying up to date with any closures or regulations being put into place. Do you research first. There may be areas near you perfect for getting out and social distancing, but please be considerate of others who may be doing the same. Check into some of your favorite places to see if they have any options for you to do without putting yourself or anyone else at risk.

Tip #5 Plan ahead
If you don’t have the option of getting outside, this is the perfect opportunity for you to plan your next vacation. Do some research and look into areas you have always wanted to go and see. You may even have some virtual options to check out that give you a lot of information or that let you tour the area you’re interested in. You may not be able to reserve places and activities, but it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead so that your future endeavors can be perfect and fun for everyone!

Now I understand that not all of these are possible for every person, but even if one person gets anything out of this it is a plus. The most important fact is that everyone is healthy and safe during this time. We hope that the circumstances get resolved sooner rather than later, but we never know what the future may hold.

Tractors, Trucks, Crowns & Steam – Come on out to the New Centerville Jubilee!

Do you enjoy that fresh country air? The incredible taste of fresh apple cider? What about spending quality time with friends and neighbors? I know I do, and I know many of the campers at Hickory Hollow do as well. But did you know there’s a jubilee that happens only a mile up the road from the campground? And it is happening NEXT WEEK! How exciting right?

This year the New Centerville Volunteer Fire Company is holding their 67th annual Farmers and Threshermens Jubilee beginning on Wednesday September 4th and continuing through Sunday September 8th. If you’re familiar with Hickory Hollow, just make a right out of the campground and it’s only a mile up the road, on the right-hand side. If you’re not familiar with the area, you can still come and check it out. Just take Exit 110 – Somerset off of the PA Turnpike and take Route 281 South, 9 miles to New Centerville. The Jubilee is part of the “4 Fall Festivals” of the Laurel Highlands, so you know it’s going to be a fun time.

As a former Jubilee Queen (Queen XXXI in 2009), I like to think that I know a good bit about the activities that occur and not to mention it’s the mark of the beginning of my favorite time of year…fall. I mean how can you not think fall when there is fresh apple cider being pressed right on the fair grounds?! That’s definitely not all that the Jubilee has to offer though.

Kick off the fun with the annual parade that takes place on Wednesday evening (Sept. 4) and delivers the crowd right into the heart of the Jubilee. There’s so much to see during this parade from floats, to firetrucks, and they even bring out the Steam Engines to ride through the parade. It’s an incredible experience you don’t want to miss. Bring your kids out and let them get some candy from the other attractions in the parade. And who knows, you might even get a sneak peak of our Haunted Hollow actors too!

Photo taken from NCRVFC website

As a former queen, you can imagine that one of my favorite parts of the Jubilee is of course, the Queen contest. This takes place at 7:45 pm Wednesday, so follow the parade into the main Jubilee grounds and head in to the stage to watch these girls turn into young women. Aside from being local or volunteering at the Jubilee, these girls must have knowledge about the history of the jubilee, be able to answer questions with ease in front of an audience, pose themselves with poise and grace while walking the stage, and most importantly be able to be a good role model that represents the local fire department and Jubilee. And these girls are only between the ages of 15 and 18! That seems like a lot to handle for such a young girl, but believe me they have incredible talent. So even if you don’t make it to the contest, make sure you stop and say “hello” to the queen and her court sometime during the week as they attend the different jubilee activities. This is an incredible memory that they will never forget, so help become a part of that journey!

2018 Jubilee Queen & King
Lexi Knopsnyder & Jason Johnson

Don’t forget though, the jubilee fun isn’t only 1 night, the fun lasts clear through Sunday. And trust me, you’ll want to come back more than once. There is so much to do and see every night, but it’s okay if you can’t make it more than once. It is still a great experience no matter how long you can stay. Just to give you a glimpse into the Jubilee fun, there’s truck pulls, tractor pulls, broom making, wood carving, there’s animals, including a dog that churns butter! Even if you think you’re not “into” any of these things, I can promise you it is still a great time. Just being able to spend quality time with people who I don’t get to see as often as I like (and trust me you will run into lots of people) is my favorite thing to do at the jubilee (well aside from eating my apple dumpling…yummm).

Photo from NCRVFC website

If this is you’re type of thing, but you aren’t sure what you can do to get involved there are contests that are held and there is something for EVERYONE! Just of few of the contests include: the photo contest, apple pie contest, the scarecrow contest, even a pumpkin painting contest. But if you don’t want to actually make anything, just taking time to go and appreciate the creativity that people put into their art is enough to entertain you.

Honestly though, out of everything that is going on, yes even checking out the dog-powered butter churning (because you know how much I love animals), the absolute best part of the jubilee is spending time with friends and family. Even when I run into someone from my past or even that is on my social media accounts that I don’t see much, I enjoy catching up with them face to face. Our lives are so busy all of the time, this is the perfect opportunity to slow down and enjoy what is happening around us.

Photo from Jubilee Contest fb page

So if you get a chance, make sure you go to the 67th Annual Farmers and Threshermens Jubilee, get some good food, check out the dog churning butter (ok I might be obsessed haha), walk around see all the vendors, and the handy work of the wood carver and broom maker. Then take some time to just walk around and enjoy the commotion. Who knows, you may even run into me there. 🙂

As you all know it’s not free to hold activities and fairs like this, so they do ask for a small $5 donation for adults, but children 12 and under get in for FREE! So not only is it good, wholesome fun, but it’s inexpensive too. If you want more info, or to check out the schedule for the week, go to the NCVFC Website here.

Life is Best When You’re Camping

Camping means relaxing…right? But who says you can’t party and have fun while doing so? Hickory Hollow campers know all about this (and I have the photos to prove it…hehe).

Even though we are a small and quiet campground located in the beautiful Laurel Highlands, that doesn’t mean that we don’t know how to party and have fun when the time comes. This summer we really amped up the weekend activities, but of course our annual favorites are always the showstoppers for the campground. Our campers come out and show us what it’s really like to have some fun!

Jimmy Buffett Beach Party
Randy Myers

This past weekend we had our Tropical Paradise weekend which included huge groups of campers for our Campground Flea Market, kids crafts, a wagon hayride, and of course our Jimmy Buffett Beach party that featured acoustic music from Randy Myers!

These aren’t the only activities we have at the campground! We celebrated Christmas in July with Santa and his elf delivering gifts. There was the soaking wet Water Wars that had all the campers dripping with excitement! We have also done tons of other fun activities like the annual Poker Run, Wing Fling, and Local Wine, Spirits, and Beer tasting! This year Hickory Hollow Campground even sponsored a race car, driven by Matt Ruffing with AMA Motorsports at Jennerstown Speedway and Matt was nice enough to bring his car out and sign autographs a few times during the season. These are just a few of the activities we have and each year we hope to grow and add more throughout the camping seasons. Check out a few pictures from the activities throughout the season!

Local Wine, Spirits, & Beer Tasting
Jungle Yoga
Santa delivering gifts for Christmas in July
Father’s Day Fishing Tournament
Hickory Hollow Sponsored Car – Matt Ruffing with AMA Motorsports
Poker Run
Water Wars!

Those are just a few highlights from the activities and fun that happens at Hickory Hollow Campground! We are always looking for new ideas to add to our activity list, so feel free to leave any ideas that you have in the comments below.

Don’t worry though, we aren’t done for the season. There are still some great things planned for the remainder or the season, like our Labor Day Picnic, and more! Plus in October, you cannot forget about Haunted Hollow which is located right across the road! For our campers we even offer a Lights On Tour of the haunted house during the day. Make sure you come out and enjoy the rest of the camping season here with us at Hickory Hollow!

Thanks for reading! If you want to see more pictures from the activities we have make sure you like our Facebook Page. And if you are interested in scary activities for fall go and like the Haunted Hollow Page too!

How Much Do You Know About Camping?

Have you ever gone camping and felt overwhelmed with so many things to do, when you should be taking that time to relax and enjoy the scenery around you? I know I have.

Especially in the Somerset County Area, there is so much to do and things to see, but you get overwhelmed with the fact that you have to set up camp and figure out everything you want to do and what you want to eat. You shouldn’t be taking your relaxation time to worry about the tiny details involved in camping.

I stumbled upon an great resource that I feel would be beneficial for any and all campers all over the world. I wanted to share it with the campers at Hickory Hollow as well. I hope that you find it helpful and use it as a reference for any adventure you take. It may even be beneficial for when you’re not camping.

Okay, I know you’re wondering what the resource is… so here you go. The webpage is called 50 Campfires and you wouldn’t believe the amount of information that is on this site. You can find almost anything you can imagine and it is all related to camping (not that you couldn’t use these tips any other time though) and it is organized very well. Based on the reading that I have done, there is everything from recipe ideas for all meals, different camping gear that you could use, and it even tells you great camping locations all over the United States. It even has articles about the best hills to go sledding on – who would have thought about that? So it’s not only summer ideas, but all year long.

There are other great perks to this site. I know that I hate when I forget where I found an article or when I find something I want to save and it is such a hassle to find a way to do that. I then screen shot it and it ends up in the mass of photos I have on my phone and it eventually gets forgotten. 50 Campfires is set up similar to a blog page, this way you can comment and discuss with other campers, like, save, and even share these posts on your social media sites. That makes it easy to find and also give your camper friends ideas too!

So if you have a chance, I highly recommend checking out 50 Campfires. You won’t be disappointed, and who knows you might find something you wouldn’t have thought of before.

If you find anything you’d like to share, please feel free to share it to our Facebook page. If you know of any other great resources, comment them below and I will check them out too!

Thanks so much for reading and happy camping!

Jump on the Wagon!

Our new Conestoga Wagons that is.

So I decided to stick with my big theme this week for this post, especially with all of the great reactions I’ve received over our new wagons! (ok they aren’t new, we use them for the Haunted Hollow too, but this is new for Hickory Hollow!) This is a new feature for the campground! Of course we have used the wagons for our traditional wagon rides through the woods, but now we have the whole old-time camping experience with our Conestoga Wagon campsite.

Before I get into describing the new site, I wanted to give you a little background on the “Conestoga” concept and time era. For those of you who don’t know, a Conestoga wagon is a broad-wheeled wagon. Now we pull ours with trucks and tractors, but they were pulled by 6 horses and according to good ole Webster Dictionary, the wagons were used for transporting freight across the prairies. Britannica Encyclopedia also says that these wagons were made in the 18th century in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania – another great concept created in good old PA!

I know what you’re thinking though. What is so special about staying in a covered wagon? Well let me tell you everything that is so awesome about them! So since it is new at the campground, we haven’t quite worked out all of the kinks. With that being said we have two, yes I said it, TWO wagons for your comfort on one site. That means there is plenty of room for you to spread out and you are up off of the ground. These wagons are 8 feet by 14 feet, which is enough room to sleep 4 people, and they are covered! What’s that mean to you? You don’t need to set up a tent – you can just set your bed/sleeping bag or whatever you choose to sleep on inside the wagon and you are protected from the outside elements. There are also screen doors to keep those pesky bugs out and provide you with a nice cross breeze while you’re relaxing. This site is also equipped with a picnic table and a fire ring for your camping experience.

We still have time this season if you want to come out and camp at Hickory Hollow Campground! This is a perfect way to spend some time relaxing outside. Being that there is only one site available, you shouldn’t wait too long to make your reservation for the remainder of this season. You can find more information about Hickory Hollow and what we have to offer at our website here.

Thanks for reading! Make sure you hit the follow button and put in your email address to see my weekly posts.

Slow down, relax, you’re here now.

In this day, it’s really hard to take time to enjoy the small things in life and relish in the little moments of our lives that we tend to take for granted. I am no different. As someone who has worked multiple jobs (a lot at the same time) since I was old enough to have a job, I am guilty for looking past the beauty of life and the nature in this area.

Somerset County is known for it’s rural beauty. I’ve lived here my entire life and that’s how it tends to be for most of the population, but how many of those people take the time to really appreciate the land and all that is included with it? Not very many. Everyone is so busy on their phones and glued to social media (not that it is always a bad thing) that they forget to look around and see what is right in front of their face… or phone screen. I am just as much to blame for this, but lately I’ve began to realize that life is short and beauty is everywhere, as long as I am looking for it.

Maybe since I started working at Hickory Hollow Campground, that is when I started to see the beauty in nature. I grew up not even ten miles from the campground, but didn’t realize how breathtaking this area truly is (if you don’t believe me, check out the pictures – they are all taken at Hickory Hollow). This job has helped me take an extra moment to enjoy and appreciate everything that is around me. I have more time for myself too – which helps me feel like I am able to relax and enjoy my life. Everyone should have the opportunity to do that.

Even if it’s a few hours once a week, once a month, or even once a year, take a few moments out of your busy life and look around. Life is passing by so quickly. Children grow and change, animals grow and change, and you are going to grow and change. You don’t want to miss out on the little moments and the beauty that is surrounding you. You don’t even have to go far. Sit outside for a few moments and breathe some fresh air, get some Vitamin D and just reflect on the good parts in your life. There are so many negatives and problems that drain us and make us forget the positive aspects of our lives, but we shouldn’t spend our precious time dwelling on the things that we can’t control. Especially when we can control this.

So I challenge you, it doesn’t have to be today or even tomorrow, but find time for you. Put down your phone, go outside, and relax. Find at least 5 things around you that are beautiful and just reflect on the positives. If it’s difficult to do that where you live – get out for a day. Go on a walk, go to a park, just go do something! You could even go camping, that’s a perfect way to relax and Hickory Hollow Campground is one of the most beautiful campgrounds (in my own personal opinion). But seriously, slow down, relax, you’re here now, enjoy it while you have the chance.

I truly hope you find the joy and beauty in nature, even if it was just from looking at these photographs. Thanks for reading – make sure you put in your email address to follow our blog and to get notified whenever a new blog post is made.

Camping Tricks

Have you ever went camping and found some tricks that helped you survive a little easier? I’ve been doing some research (and there’s tons of info out there) on some different tips and tricks and I found quite a few that I personally have tried or need to try. Maybe these will help you too! Leave a comment at the end if you have tried any of these or if you have any other suggestions that you have learned from your own camping excursions.

Trick #1 – Make a Checklist: I know this sounds simple, but it is a huge time saver! When you’re packing for any kind of trip, you should always make a list beforehand. I am an avid list maker. I have to be organized and I’m always nervous that I am going to forget something that I will need while I’m away from home. There are some important necessities that you will need when camping. Here are just a few things to be sure to include when you are packing for camping: lighter/fire starter, cookware, lamps, bug repellent, sleeping items, and of course a first aid kit. Another item that I could make as it’s own category, but I’m going to just list it here, is a portable charger! Lately we all know that some electronics are a necessity, so you should be sure to have some way to charge them if electricity is not readily available. We personally have a Halo charger, and you can find them on Amazon, which is linked here. These are great for a variety of reasons and are definitely helpful during camping.

Trick #2 – Microfiber towels: These are a lifesaver whether you’re camping or at home. Microfiber towels are lightweight, so not much to add to your packing list. They are also extremely absorbent and quick drying, which is great for when you are packing up to leave as well. These towels also help our environment! They reduce the amount of waste when you are using paper towels. So not only are you benefiting yourself, but you are doing something small to help the environment too. You can find microfiber towels at most stores.

Trick #3 – Lantern: Lanterns are important for a few different reasons. Even if you don’t personally own a lantern, you can make one! Headlamps are an inexpensive item you can purchase at most stores, in the outdoor/camping section and they can be easily turned into a lantern to light up an entire tent! Attach your headlamp to a gallon jug of water and there you go! You have a light to shine and brighten up your area in the dark.

Trick #4 – Meal Prep: This is something that we do before we camp and it saves so much time and effort. When you’re camping you don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing your food, you want to spend your time eating that food. So anyway, preparing your food at home before you leave will save you time and a mess to clean up, plus you won’t have to pack as much if you prepare it before! One of the easiest ways to prep your food is to cut up all of your ingredients before you leave. This saves you time and the mess. There are other things you can do like putting your spices into smaller containers (tic-tac containers are great for this) or other small hacks. But preparing your food and items before you leave your house will save you time.

Trick #5 – Veggie Peeler: I know what you’re thinking, you already talked about meal prep so why would I suggest a veggie peeler after that? Well let me tell you, it’s not for your food (although, obviously you can use it to cut your food up before you leave too). This time I’m talking about using this for your soap, yes your SOAP! If you either chunk your bars of soap or use the veggie peeler, you can make single use soap leaves. I know how much of an inconvenience it is to carry a huge bar of soap and then when it’s wet, it’s such a pain to figure out what to do with it. I personally don’t like putting it in plastic bags, it feels messy and annoying to me. By making single use soap leaves, it’s much better for you and you also don’t have to over pack either!

Trick #6 – Sage: We all know that one of the most irritating things about camping is the bugs, especially mosquitoes! I personally cannot stand them and hate having bug bites. Sage is a simple fix to this. If you burn the sage over the fire, it makes a natural bug repellent and will save your skin, as well as your sanity when it comes to the irritating bugs involved in camping.

Trick #7 – Deodorant: Obviously deodorant is something you want to have when you are going anywhere, but did you know there are other things that deodorant is good for? With all of the research I did (which wasn’t as much, because there is tons of info out there), I could honestly do an entire blog on deodorant hacks! But the one hack that I found went well with camping. Along with the sage (tip #6) deodorant will help in the aftermath if you happen to get bit by an irritating bug. Deodorant helps stop the itch! Try buying a travel-sized just for this reason! This is something I will keep in mind for any time that I get a bug bite.

Well like I said before, there are so many other camping tricks and hacks out there. These were just a few of my favorites that I wanted to share and that I have tried or want to try too. If you have any other suggestions, leave them in a comment below! Don’t forget to put in your email address to get notified every time I post a new blog. Thanks for reading!

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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