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Tully Lake, MASSACHUSETTS
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Cute, clean. People are super friendly. Kind of noisy.

This is a cute campground biking distance from Brattleboro.

The store and ice cream are cute, prices are very reasonable. Staff is fantastic and friendly.

The mini-golf course is in kind of rough shape, ask for a few extra balls because a few holes are going to eat them.

Main detractor is the neighbor blares really terrible music at obnoxious volume for about 16 hours a day. Get a site as far in the back as possible to get away from the noise.

Ranger Review: Grub Sticks at Monadnock State Park

Ranger Review: Grub Sticks at Monadnock State Park

Campground Review: It’s been a rainy, drizzly spring in New England and this weekend was no exception, but I had reservations for Gilson Pond campground at Monadnock State Park, so I headed out. I’ve hiked Mt Monadnock several times), but had never camped here before. It’s a newer campground, opened in 2010. Before I left I received a call notifying me that there was a problem with the water system, so there would be no running water during my stay. So much for a warm shower after a muddy hike up the mountain! Upon arrival they provided me with a gallon of water and a bundle of firewood to compensate.

The campsites are large and wooded; I had a better view of the campsite across the road than the ones next door. The bathrooms/showers are centrally located, but there are pit toilets distributed throughout the campground. The pit toilets are clean and, this early in the season at least, odorless, with waterless hand cleanser available. Because of the water outage, I didn’t get to see the interior of the bathrooms, but they do have a large dishwashing area with coin-operated hot water.

I had a standard site (A13) with ample space for my teardrop camper and a 12x12 canopy; I could easily have pitched a large tent as well. When choosing a site, note that the tent only sites often have small parking areas with 1-2 platforms and are not suitable for an RV/trailer. Only 7 sites are suitable for a trailer/RV, 4 of them with electric hookups (add $10 to the site rate), but none with water. There are 5 remote sites, but I only made it to 2 of them (R1 & R2). The trails were quite wet. R2 is nice, near a small waterfall.

There’s a long approach to Mt. Monadnock that leaves from the campground (Birchtoff), with shorter trails leaving from the State Park headquarters 2 miles down the road. Because of the puddles and muck I encountered when trying to find the remote sites, I decided against hiking the Birchtoff trail for my Saturday afternoon ascent and drove to the Headquarters entrance instead, where my camping pass covered the entrance fee. Pond trail run around Gilson Pond. There is a large playground for kids <12 and a wide open day use area for picnicking. It would be a great place to run around and play games.

If you want a treat after your hike, head into Jaffrey for homemade ice cream at Kimball Farm.

Grub Stick Review:

As a Ranger for the Dyrt I sometimes get to review equipment. On this trip I was testing Grub Sticks Deluxe and Intro kits. My current camping gear includes an assortment of hot dog sticks and skewers, so I was interested in checking out these sets that give you solid handles with interchangeable heads. Here’s how I used them:

1.      Forks: chicken jalapeno sausage and vegetables

2.      Burgcage: hamburger (I pre-mixed the ground beef with hot salsa)

3.      Grubcage:

a.      S’waffles: I made gingerbread waffles at home for a twist on this; also tried waffles with cinnamon

b.      S’mores: standard recipe

c.      Silver clouds: peppermint patty and marshmallow inside crescent rolls

d.      Nutella and strawberry inside crescent rolls

4.      Grubtube: biscuit dough- filled with chocolate pudding; crescent rolls – rolled in cinnamon sugar before and after cooking; filled with chocolate pudding

5.      Grubpocket & bacon clip – fail

The telescoping handles are sturdy and substantial, with a rubbery grip that feels comfortable in your hand. I liked being able to adjust the length and it still felt sturdy; a groove in the extension keeps them from rotating. In addition to the handles and heads, the kits include a carrying bag (drawstring for the intro kit; zippered for the deluxe) and a tool for opening the cages. The deluxe version also contained silicone trivet and fingertip protector, plus a bacon clip (more on that later).

Forks: straightforward, it’s great to have 2 spikes at the end of the stick. It enabled me to cook 2 of the sausages at once and to spike slices of vegetables across both. The sausage cooked quickly and evenly.

Burgcage: also straightforward; the cage closes securely and it’s easy to open while hot with the special tool they include.

Grubcage: Besides shape, the difference between this and the Burgcage is the depth, making it better suited to cooking something thicker/multi-layered like the s’mores and s’waffles. I tried the gingerbread s’waffles the first day and found it held everything securely in place; my biggest challenge was patiently holding it far enough from the coals that it would melt the chocolate and marshmallow and not burn the waffles. It was good! I tried the s’mores the next day and found this a little harder to manage. I used fun-sized chocolate bars, so when I flipped it, one of the bars was not held securely by marshmallows and fell against the cage. I’d love to try these with the new chocolate filled marshmallows that are out, but I couldn’t find any in time! Using a hazelnuet spread would be an alternative.

Be sure to fill the full depth of the Grubcage to make sure your pieces stay together. I tried these with slices of vegetables as well, but they have to be very large to not fall through the gaps between the wires. Some of the suggested recipes with larger vegetables wrapped in bacon, etc. might be a better choice.

Grubtube: Ever make doughboys as a youth camper, wrapping dough around a stick? This takes those to a new level. Wrap the dough around the tube and it slides off effortlessly when cooked. I contemplated mixing dough, but ended up using refrigerated biscuits the first time and crescent rolls the second time. The trick is to ensure the seams are sealed. Two crescent rolls are a perfect fit around the tube. One time I rolled it in cinnamon sugar before and the second time after I cooked it. Rolling it in the cinnamon sugar before cooking it makes a nice glaze. It reminded me of a treat I’d had in Romania a couple of years ago where the dough is spiraled around a larger tube and then roasted, sometimes dipped in cinnamon sugar or coconut. I opened it at the seam afterwards and spooned chocolate pudding into it, making a pudding boat. It was easier than spooning it into the tube as I did the night before with the biscuit dough. I could see filling these with taco meat, string cheeze, or pizza filling, etc.

Grubpocket: I watched the videos showing how to make a bacon pocket, but try as I might, this was a fail. First piece of advice is not to use thick bacon! The bacon clip won’t fit around it. I found the clip very hard to operate; I couldn’t open it far enough and long enough to easily slide it down over the bacon. I was thinking about this and I would have liked a nesting cage (think the two sides of the Burgcage nested) instead, so I could weave bacon in it, holding the bacon in place. I didn’t try this again with dough to form a cup. The downside of making the cups is that you either need to fill it with something cold or heat the filling separately. I think I’d rather have an extra Grubtube rather than a Grubpocket.

I’m a simple camp cook and expect I’ll use the Burgcage, Forks, and Grubtube most often. You need to upgrade to at least the Deluxe kit to get the Grubtube. These are a higher quality than your standard hot dog/marshmallow sticks, but you’ll have to decide for yourself if they’re worth the extra cost and if you’re interested in the windows they open for some more creative meal options. They fill a fun niche, but I wouldn’t call them a need.

Nice campground

Nice campground on a beautiful lake. The camp sites are close but if you are lucky enough to get one out on the island its private but no bathrooms out there. Take a non motorized boat on the lake. Fish and swim.

The best Family campground around

You won’t leave regretting your choice to camp here

Different

Mm

ostly seasonal camping.

Clean and friendly

The owners are very friendly and helpful. The park is clean although it can be a bit noisy with commuter traffic. Easy to maneuver even with a big rig.

No longer open

I called once to make a reservation and was told they shut down operations years ago.

Quiet and friendly seasonals

I have stayed here many times over the years due to work in the area. The owners are always working on improving sites. The pool is ok, the new playground is awesome according to my little experts and there are some nice sites along a brook. It does get busy at times and in one case very noisy. The owners addressed the issue right away and asked the group to leave the next morning. I, sorry for the bad experience another camper had but the owners have always been very friendly and helpful to me.

Our favorite

Beautiful campground. Lush grass meadows. 2 rivers intersect in the campground. Most sites are on or just off the river. Huge volleyball and sports meadow. Nice pavilion. There is a small group of camp sides with electricity and water but most sites have none. The bathrooms are clean. Where the two rivers intersect is a nice sport to put your feet in the water. Kids enjoy tubing the small rapids. We go for 2 weeks most every summer.

Clean

Decent campground. Sites are spaced out. No really good swimming area, unless you go to the other side of the lake to the public swimming area. Bathrooms are kept pretty clean. Campsites are large and are spaced well apart. We like going here.

Clean,quite, peaceful

There's a shower and nice lake with rentals

The best of New England!

The White Mountains, New Hemisphere, is a must, worth the short drive especially if you can go in early October, when the leaves are changing. Boston is only 40 minutes away, and the best of Maine is also very close. If you’re not up for sightseeing, and you want a good pizza take the 7 minute walk from the campsite to Chip Shots, yum. The staff and campgrounds were both very nice.

Friendly is in the name for a reason!

Love the facilities. Clean, well maintained, private bathrooms/showers. Store is best I have ever seen. Well stocked with everything you could need. Stayed in cabin and tented, as well. Only negative is that there transient RV sites seem crowded, and many are out in open area. I prefer trees, but this wont keep us away from trying out RV sites this year.

Old, outdated.

Campground is city owned. Very rundown. City is evaluating the site now to decide whether or not to close it.

Love the nature aspect, not keen on the sites

You're surrounded by beauty here, but you may also be surrounded with neighbors. The sites offer little privacy even though they're spaced well. The lean-to's are a great amenity but I expected more mature landscaping to offer privacy. Still, we did one of the little hikes and ended at a viewpoint. My kind of place for a day trip more-so than a camping trip but if you don't mind the openness in a small campground then there's not really another downside. In addition, Brattleboro is nearby. Enjoy nature and the views and don't forget the bug spray!

Wells State Park

I was very pleasantly surprised by this Park, just tucked away off of Route 49 in Sturbridge. While I didn’t get to explore the entire grounds, I was impressed with how beautiful and shaded the Park was and all the trails it had to offer. Plus, it is practically down the road from Treehouse Brewery, near Sturbridge Village, Hyland Orchard and countless other community amenities.

It is absolutely lovely in the fall, especially on the water at the campers’ beach. Quite calm and scenic. Site 2, right nearby, is a great spot. Fairly large and literally feet away from the beach.

Campground with activities

The campground is connected to an adventure/outing company that provides white water rafting, tubing and other water activities on a nearby river. It’s close to where locals jump off outcrops into the lazy river and hang out on the river side. They don’t allow fired at the campsites though which is annoying and their quiet hours are quite oppressive.

Hands down my favorite place

Love this place. The camp store offers pleanty of stuff. Activity’s for children and adults. Love the pond. The new owners are amazing! And its not glamping. Every site seems perfect. With the hidden gem ones as well. My whole family loves going here! Stayed 2x thos yr. and booked 9 days next july and some in oct. close enough to home so my husband can comuit for work as well. Halloween themed weekend was so incredibly fun. The seasonal sights go all out!

A rural family campground near Barre, MA

We stayed in Coldbrook twice, one on Violet and once on Daisy, both times in June for the Spartan Race. The guests were split between weekend warriors and hard-core seasonals. The roads were all dirt and the initial drive down into the campground is very steep. The amenities are nice, with a 9 hole golf-course, a nice pool and splash zone, a game room, playground, and covered picnic area. Both times we stayed in a tent. Overall, I prefer the Daisy loop because we were farther removed from the main camping area. The second time when we camped at Violet it was next to the playground and the picnic area, and although these were extremely convenient, I would take sleep any day. Quiet hours were not even remotely enforced and drunken partying went into the wee hours of the morning. Otherwise, the campground was ok. The bathrooms and showers were decent. The events that we attended were nice. However, I do not believe I would stay here again.

Quiet, serene. Basic.

A jewel! Quiet, beautiful small lake/pond great for paddling.

Great campground, though hard to find

Savoy mountain campground is a very nice state park camp, but don’t rely on gps to get you there it will put you on the wrong end of the park in the middle of a rural neighborhood. The park is so hard to find that not even a cell signal can get there, if your looking to unplug this is a great spot!Use the directions provided on the website, they are far more reliable. Very clean park, convenient clean restroom/shower building and helpful staff. There are RV sites and there is a dump station/potable water fill station available at the park entrance, but no RV hook ups of any kind. Sites are spacious and many shaded sites have decent privacy though open field sites are also available, bear boxes are provided at each site as this is black Bear country. Ample hiking to be done in the park and you can access the Mohawk trail right from the campground, the Appalachian trail and Mt Greylock is a short drive away.

Friendly, helpful

Staff was very nice, adequate amenities. Very little privacy between campsites even in wooded areas. A smaller operation with a high percentage of seasonal residents. They do seem to offer some interesting activities for kids with weekend fire engine rides, a gem panning center, seemingly well maintained playground/pool and a small haunted house for October. Not fancy but very functional and a convenient location for us, we will visit again.

Really fun place to stay

Great for families and a lot of hiking and great places to see. Well worth the trip there!

A great place for families and friends.

A great wooded location. On the river. Lots of great hiking trails.

Moderate Hike to a super nice camp area

My friends and I did this as an overnight hike, just so we could take our time getting there and enjoy the summit. It's a pretty short hike from the parking area up to the site. I'd guess under two miles, which parts can get quite steep. We brought our dogs as well.

All the sites were lined up down a pretty straight road, on both sides of the road. You can evidently drive up there too but what fun is that? The bathrooms were huge, and had a water pump outside of them or near by. Every site had a picnic table as well which is nice. Lots of trees so we could easily put tarps up over our tent and table. There is a trail at the far end of the camp area, leading to the summit we took after setting up our base.

I loved the trail going up from the camp area, lots of cool picture perfect areas. Nice variety of terrain. The dogs loved it. There were a few spots we had to cross the road where people drive up to the summit. Once we got up there it was more commercial than expected, but cool none the less. You still feel a sense of accomplishment at having hiked up. On the plus s side, there is a small restaurant. If it's rainy or you don't feel like camp cooking have at it!

Views at the top are of course breathtaking for the nature lovers (like us) out there! A bit crowded for my liking but hey, it's crowded because it's awesome. The hike back down to our site seemed to take no time at all. We refilled our water bottles from their hand water pumps (can be a workout!). Abundance of camp wood was already sitting at our site, not sure if that is normal or someone else was cool and left it. We had a great evening, and hiked out in the morning after breakfast. Overnight, we heard owls! All the camp areas looked nice, room for tents and hammocks. Hope to go again before I'm too old to carry all the gear LOL.

Clean, friendly staff, good facilities.

This campground at Gilson Pond on Monadnock State park is only about 8 years old and is very well maintained. Staff is friendly and laid back. Campsites are well shaded but if you have an RV take the time to rent an RV site otherwise backing in will put you in and awkward position as the mixed use “standard” sites are oriented towards tent camping and have narrow driveways. We had to front in and 134 point turn in order to get the tow vehicle back out of the site as the edge dropped off a small ledge of boulders. There are no water hook ups on RV sites and public water faucets are not threaded for RV filling with the exception of one faucet we happened upon on the B loop, so plan accordingly if you plan on filling water tanks on site. Easy access to hiking trails to Mt Monadnock with plenty of day use parking. Bring plenty of mosquito repellent!

great campground but a bit isolated

The grounds were beautiful! nice clean restrooms and showers, a few playgrounds, and nice trails. Only downside for us was bad phone signal and everything seemed far away, like Walmart was an hour away!

Not impressed

Clise and easy access to the deerfield, either for tubing or whitewater, but noisy campground close to the main road, not tent friendly. It has a loud bar with loud people coming and going at odd hours right at the entrance of the campground. Not easy to sleep here.

Nothing exquisite but nice for a long weekend!

Clean & Friendly Campground. Close to home & have spent multiple long weekends here with the kiddos!