Never Judge a Campground by a Glance

When we pulled into our last campground near Manassas, Virginia, we were pretty pissed about the place. We were paying $50/night, and yet our site was merely feet from the campground road, with a rough gravel clearing beside it masquerading as the tent pad. Not what we’re used to.

Turns out that that large gravel area made for easy entertaining, and the trails behind it were great for walking Banjo. I’m glad we were wrong. As we were with this place.

We booked this private little family campground in Williamsburg, Virginia, so we could be near the campus for Finn’s graduation, hoping we could ride our bikes to the ceremony and skip a parking nightmare. I was so excited by this idea that I didn’t do any of my usual research: reading campground reviews, comparing it to others nearby, even looking for a bike trail to campus (hint: there is none). I just booked it for a week and checked it off our list.

When we visited Williamsburg before our reservation, on Mother’s Day, we drove through the campground just for a looksee, and man what a bummer. It’s tiny, the campsites are narrow, and it’s chock-full of kitchy, family-fun type stuff. A far cry from the secluded, wooded state parks we like to stay in, that’s for sure.

And it’s true, our campsite is narrow—this is our view from the kitchen window, right into the “yard” of the camper beside us. Just like at the Keys, but without, you know, the Keys.

But we do have room to open our awning (unlike at Collier-Seminole State Park in Florida), and we have room to set up lots of chairs right under the awning (unlike what I think of as the worst campground we’ve stayed at, Shawnee State Park in Ohio).

There’s also a path nearby to a lovely county park, with biking trails and a lake for kayaking (that’s the top photo). Banjo doesn’t seem to mind the short walk through the dog-overrun campground to get to the path, either.

So far my biggest complaint is that the ice cream in the camp store cooler is frozen solid, and the pool isn’t heated. Think I’ve gotten spoiled much with this lifestyle?

And you know what, the whole reason we’re here is to see Finn, so who the heck cares what the place is like. Here we are just a few minutes after he finished his last final exam.

I have no need for my usual sign-off with a ukulele segment or a tiny house update: all I need is this set of smiles right here.

I hope you’re out there hugging friends and family for the first time, too.

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