Pillsbury State Park is a great place to get away from it all. There are great hikes that you can get to right from your campsite, connecting to the Monadnock-Sunapee greenway(a 48 mile trail connecting two of NHs beautiful mountains). The park also has great little ponds for exploring by kayak or canoe. Don’t expect major accommodations at the park, there are spots for campers but smaller ones, and there are a few outhouses but no bathhouse.
Good level site water and electric (full hook ups also available) electric box a little far from parking site had to use an extension cord. Plenty of activities and friendly staff. To early in season to use pool. Conveniently located to Boston about 30 minutes. Bring bug spray especially if it’s humid or raining
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.
This was my first visit to the campground. The staff and everyone was friendly. I stayed in the woods and it was great being out in nature. I went in 2018 and this year I am being my sister and nieces. Love the Segway tour and the adventure zip lining and the coaster it’s a fun place and I can’t wait to return.
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)
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.
This is a small campground. Some are first come first serve sites. A couple are walk in. Most are right along the loop and have easy access. Small campers and tents are best here. There are pit toilets around the loop. There are showers at the bathhouse at the beach. There is two pavilions for rent. There is a small pond with beach area where you can swim or boat in non motorized boats. There a trail around the pond. Fishing is also allowed here. Very nice clean park.
Ayers lake campground in New Hampshire is a well kept secret. Small and family owned and operated, this campground offers some of the greatest vistas of a small New Hampshire pond we have seen.
Amenities such as camp fire wood are available but if you really need anything, you can hop over to Rochester, NH in a heartbeat.
Few (if any) organized activities, this is a quiet, family campground which is perfect for reflection. That is why we keep going back.
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.
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.
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.
Unkempt, potholed roads, "river" for kayaking was blocked by downed branches, and was barely a "river" by definition. Pillow, bounce pad costs extra ($8) for maybe an hour. It was only open for a couple hours a day. Some seasonal sites looked like they hadnt been touched for years…almost like a horror flick. Maybe they should turn this into a haunted destination. We rented a cabin, and it had mouse poop all throughout. It was definitely rustic, which we honestly didnt mind, but the mouse droppings, and the sinking floor next to the tub was a bit too much.
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.
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!
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!
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.