The Quiet, Forested Campgrounds of the South

Today’s our final day at this state recreational area near Raleigh, North Carolina, and it marks the end of a string of really lovely campgrounds we’ve visited in the south.

When we left Florida, we moved up through Georgia, then across South Carolina, and now up through North Carolina, and every single campground has been a delight (with the exception of our one stop in South of the Border, which I guess I can call a delight in another way).

We’ve stayed on a quiet farm, directly on a couple of lakes, and here in NC, in the woods. All of these campsites were large and private, with very little of the vacation craziness of previous campgrounds. I am guessing so many people go camping in Florida that even the nicest state park campgrounds need to make the most of their space so cordon off small campsites right next to each other. As soon as we crossed the state line, though, those campsites became larger, private lots. (I would have said oases but I’m not sure that’s how you spell it.)

Falls Lake State Rec Area

Here right outside of Raleigh is a huge series of campground loops around a long lake, and all the campsites are surrounded by forest.

I think one reason campgrounds here are so quiet is that they are lake-oriented, so folks leave their campsites during the day to take their boats out, and then they must be pretty exhausted when they get back, because we haven’t heard a peep. I’ve probably been the loudest one around, playing the ukulele and trying to learn to sing “Look at Miss Ohio” (Gillian Welch) at the campsite, during the day. You know there’s no one around when I’m willing to do that.

I did mark this location on my map with a person icon because I had the pleasure of friends visiting the campsite, but no photos. You know that my friend Marie unexpectedly died last month. Her older son lives here, and he and his wife came out to the campground for a couple of delightful hours. We got to talk about Marie and go through the social part of grieving that’s been hard or impossible during Covid. Plus apparently they’d read up on all the things you’re supposed to say as you look inside someone’s Airstream, because they were full of compliments on design and style. Smart friends. 🙂

Path to the Lake

There’s not much to do here other than boat, but there is one path through the woods that leads to nearby camping loops around the lake, plus to a boat launch and a beach.

Of course I managed to pretend that the imported, rough sand along the lake was more like my memories of the Keys and spent a couple of hours in the sunshine. I’m getting the knack of creating mini vacations for myself!

Prepping to Leave

I consider this last day here as kind of the quiet before the four-week party we’re about to enter when we hit Virginia and Maryland tomorrow. We’ll have travel days and a few days on our own, of course, but there’s my son’s graduation to look forward to, plus many reunions with friends we haven’t seen in a year. So I’m soaking up this last bit of quiet “Tracy and me” camping that’s been our life for so long.

Today it’s raining on and off possibly with severe storms, so yesterday we packed up the tent and most outside stuff while it was all still dry and spent the evening under the lights of the awning. Banjo panicked when we packed up the tent. This means it’s time to go, right? She pranced around like she had to go pee in the woods, but when I leashed her, she ran straight to the truck and asked to get in. No, we’re not leaving yet, Banjo.

So she insisted on spending the evening inside the trailer, thinking there’s no way she’d get left behind there. She missed out on cards and music under the awning lights.

Tiny House Update

I recently did a makeshift job connecting all the wiring to the battery pack in the back to see if the lamps work, and they do! Unfortunately, the scotch tape I used got stuck on the wires in places, so that when Tracy went through with electrical tape to secure the wiring for real, some of it was screwed up.

I think six of the seven lamps now work, though.

I’ve learned a ton about what not to do with this house (what a messy lamp, below!).

And I’m planning on applying what I’ve learned to another house when I’m done with this one.

I expect I’ll finish it today while it rains, so I’ll post final photos soon. And my new house kit is waiting in my friend Lucy’s mailbox in West Virginia. I can hardly wait to see her and so many friends and family coming up!

One thought to “The Quiet, Forested Campgrounds of the South”

  1. Adorable! You must be practicing patience for those (very few) terrible travel days.