I have to admit, before a few weekends ago, I had never truly been camping. Sure, I’d slept in a tent in my backyard and stayed overnight in a friend’s airstream. However, I had never really roughed it- slept out in the woods with nothing but a tent and a hatchet. That being said, I’m not one to dive in headfirst. Plus, Emily and I have listened to one too many episodes of “My Favorite Murder.” We know all too well the dangers of really camping. I’m talking out on the Appalachian trail with no cell service and a serial killer who wanders into your site. Yeah, that’s definitely not a story I want to be telling on “I Survived.”
Our version of roughing it was, to be fair, quite tame. I found a site on a little farm in Royalton, Vermont listed on airBNB. It was the first time I’d booked personally with airBNB, actually, and I’m pleased to report the experience was terrific.
Ginny, the owner of the farm, met us on arrival and gave us a quick tour. The property is a working farm with chickens, pigs, goats, and a six month old cow named Stormy. Everything was open for us to explore and we had a perfect little campsite, just a short walk off. It was private and secluded, but we could still see the lights of the farmhouse if we really tried. There were also small cabins available for rent on the property, which I would have loved to have seen.
Once Ginny wished us luck, Emily and I embraced the true camping experience. We pitched our tent (which was too large for the wooden platform provided) and made a fire. Now, I swear, I’ve made a fire at home in a fire pit when I’m cooking s’mores with friends many, many times. I thought I was pretty good at it. I know you need a triangle/pyramid shape to allow air to feed the fire. I know you need kindling to get a flame to catch.
My first fire attempt caught, but wouldn’t stay lit. The second was just as bad. I was getting angry- we had hot dogs that needed cooking! But, like I would tell my kids Tuesday when we were back at school, persistence paid off. Finally, after scouring our site and creating a huge pile of small, thin sticks, we got our third fire to light and stay burning.
Emily and I had a great night cooking up hot dogs and baked beans. We made friends with the little farm cat (who only liked us because she got into our hot dog buns) and roasted marshmallows before finally turning in. Unfortunately, a storm during the night soaked our cabin and we woke up with a few puddles at our feet. It wasn’t too bad cleaning up, though, and it made for a misty, dreamy morning in the mountains. I swear, I had never seen anything like the view we had. Some of the pictures Emily took are my favorites, ever.
In the end, we made it through the night unscathed. We had a huge diner brunch on Sunday morning and continued on. It was an hour north-west to Burlington, to our cousins’ house, where a big hug and a very warm shower were waiting.
Emily and I just kept saying, we need to come up here more often. It’s crazy to think we’ve lived in New England all our lives and only visited a handful of times. My new goal is to travel closer to home, knowing just how accessible so many beautiful locations are. I know we’ll be back, and my bet is that it will be sooner rather than later.