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Concord, NEW HAMPSHIRE

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Ranger Review: Red Ledge Rebel Shell Rain Pants at Pawtuckaway State Park

*CAMPGROUND REVIEW*

This campground is definitely a dazzler and I was fortunate to visit on a quieter weekend. I was able to enjoy an especially picturesque sunset over the lake and I would definitely visit this spot again, especially with how accessible the campground is. There is a nice stretch of sandy beach at the campground as well as canoes and kayaks for rent. The convenience store at the campground had essentially everything you would need for a good camping trip. Definitely do your research on the different site numbers because some sites are much more private and scenic than others. Each site is equipped with a picnic table and fire pit as an added bonus.

Pros: 

-Within a short driving distance from the Boston area 

-Lakefront sites available 

-Canoe and kayak rentals available 

-Well stocked convenience store 

-Reasonable cell reception

Cons: 

 -Can get busy during peak camping times 

 -Some sites have a lack of privacy

*PRODUCT REVIEW*

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. During this trip, I took out a pair of Red Ledge Rain Pants. While it didn’t rain during my camping stay (great from a camper perspective, not so great from a reviewer perspective), I was able to try out the general fit of the pants. They have a nice stretch fit to them and a certainly one of the more stylish options as far as rain pants go. As is true for most waterproof gear, they run on the warmer side and don’t have a ton of ventilation so they may not be the best choice for hotter weather. Although I didn’t get to test out the pants in a camping setting, I did wear them a few days ago while making the 1.5 km evacuation route trek from my apartment to the flood shelter during one of the biggest typhoons to make landfall in Japan. After about 25-30 mins of walking in record breaking-ly heavy rain, the pants started to saturate around the knees and the upper thigh area started to get a bit soggy. That being said, this is probably the most extreme possible test setting and they did hold up reasonably well. Due to the aforementioned, I would recommend using these pants as a waterproof option when skiing/snowboarding in warmer weather where you still want a snow barrier but may not necessarily need the insulative warmth offered by actual snow pants.

Pros: 

-Stylish look 

 -Stretch fit 

 -Waterproof 

 Cons: 

 -Trap heat 

 -Not typhoon proof

Best swimming view from a lake

Site wise it’s more of a rv camp but they do have some tent sites. I would recommend mosquito repellent.

[Ranger Review] Gregory Endo 15 Pack at Mt. Ascutney State Park

Intro:

On a whim back in August, our family decided we wanted to camp for a night and discover some new mountain biking trails. I did some research and poking around on the interwebs, and discovered Mt. Ascutney State Park in Windsor, VT. The state park had everything we were looking for: close proximity to mountain bike trails, beautiful hiking trails, available leantos, and less than two hours from our home.

Campground Review

I am going to talk about the positives first, and then lay out the few negatives at the end. Sound good? Great!

The state park is located off of a paved road, about 15 minutes from the closest interstate exit. It is situated on the side of Mt. Ascutney, a 3200+ mountain. There is actually an toll-road that goes up the mountain. The campground has two distinct loops. We stayed in the loop to the left of the entrance in one of the lean tos.  Our campsite was a prime site. It was very large, and quite private.  As a bonus, it even had direct access down a path to a large recreation field that included a volleyball net. Our children and their friends loved biking around the field and exploring it while waiting for meals, etc.  The lean to was very clean, and recently painted. It had ample room for 6, and could fit 8 as well. The lean tos come with a bench that can be used inside, or out by the fire which was a nice touch.

Our site was situated under large pine and hemlock trees, with some small deciduous trees mixed in. This kept the site shady, but rays of sunshine did break through at times.  Our lean to faced east, so we had a view of the sunrise in the morning.

The bathroom was clean, and the shower area was recently tiled with nice tilework. Outside of the bathroom there was a little library book case with books for campers to borrow. Such a fun idea!

The state park maintains its own mountain biking trail loop, which accessible directly from the campground. It is a 3 mile beginner friendly loop, with some nice rollers and moderate terrain.  Down the road  about 10 minutes at the Mt. Ascutney Outdoor Center, there is a whole network of mountain biking trails that range from novice to expert. I checked out some of the trails there, and particularly enjoyed the trails in the Mile Long Field. Beautiful switchbacks traversed an idyllic Vermont field. 

The hiking trails are also pleasant--there is a sweet little nature loop in the campground with signs identifying different trees. There are also other trails that lead to the summit of Mt. Ascutney.  We decided to drive up Mt. Ascutney to see the sunset our first night. Sunset was at 7:30. HOWEVER, the toll road also happened to close at 7:30, which we had ignored on the sign.  Well, the state park staff enforce their rules, and they came up to the top before (sadly) the sun had set to tell us we had to drive back down.  Half of our group decided to stay at the top and watch the sunset and then hike down in the dark.  It was quite the adventure--thankfully we always carry headlamps and flashlights in our car. 

It was a bit disappointing that the auto road closes before sunset, but I understand that the park needs to have rules to keep folks safe. There are 6 cabins that the state park rents out that are partially up the mountain on the auto road. Folks who rent those sites actually do have access to the summit at sunset. So if you are looking for an easy sunset experience, that would be the way to go.

Overall, our experience at the campground was fantastic.  The other campers were quiet, everything was clean, and access to local recreation was convenient.

CONS:

The road nearby is noisy. Because of its location, you can hear both the local highway and I91.  If being in the quiet wilderness is important to you, than this campground might not work out.

Gear Review

From time to time, as a Dyrt Ranger, I am given gear to test out and review.  On this camping trip, we tested out a Gregory Endo 15 3D Hydro Pack.  Gregory specifically designed this pack for mountain bikers.  We chose the one in Carbon Black.  Our first impression of the pack was that it was made out of sturdy, rugged materials, which is important for a pack that has to take the abuse of mountain biking. Our second observation was that it didn't have any external water bottle pockets the way a regular day pack would.  This of course makes sense as water bottles would easily fall out while biking.  The waist belt is unique as it can slide into a few different positions in order to change how the pack rides on your back.  The back panel is lifted away from the users back, which provides excellent ventilation. Inside the pack are sever pockets, including a removable pouch ideal for storing bike tools. My husband really appreciates that feature as it makes it much easier to find his tools on the go.  The included reservoir is easy to fill, and we like that it is also very easy to hang to dry. It seems to dry faster than the reservoirs that we have from other brands.He has also used the pack a few times on hikes, and it is comfortable for that as well. The straps are low profile, so it doesn't work for carrying super heavy stuff.

My husband says the pack is comfortable. He says it does bounce a bit while descending rougher trails, and he wished there was a way to prevent that. Overall, it does its job well, stays out of the way, and holds the gear and water that he needs when biking.  It is great that companies are starting make mountain biking specific packs.

Been here twice now.

Some of the sites are a bit too close to each other but there are some that are nice and private. Mountain biking is awesome here, can ride right off the campground and onto the trails! Will def be coming back

Some sites are awesome and somewhat private others are on top of each other

Some sites are awesome and somewhat private others are on top of each other. We hammock camp so we took a chance and the employees were able to give us an okay site. We drove around and checked other sites out (huge campground!) and are excited to go back

Quint NE Campground

Small but well organized campground. TT members will find all th e comforts of home. Staff is pleasant and helpful. Quiet during the weekdays, picks up over weekends but not to overbearing. Sandy beach by the water has plenty of room to relax out in the sun as well as launch areas to set out in a paddle boat, canoe or row boat, all available on site. Mostly a 5th wheelers park but you can see a 34 foot class A here and there so don't fret, there is room.

Good

Working hard. Wifi is spotty and slow.

One of the nicest

Chuck and Laura are wonderful hosts and always available to help. The campground is clean, quiet, with plenty of open sites as well as sites in the woods. Sites big enough for our 42’ 5th wheel and 2 cars. Sites in the woods have water and 50 amp service, no sewer. Most of the open sites have 30/50 amp service with full hook-ups. River view sites available. Canoe rental available. Clean bath houses, laundry, dump station gameroom, and camp store. One of the best in the area!

And it IS a resort!

Very nice campground, on the lake. We were just passing through and didn’t explore much, but this place is definitely going on the “return” list. Staff is great, sites are spacious and great.

Mixed bag...nice pool and river, but bathrooms could be better

I was looking for a campground near the Suncook Valley Rotary ballooon festival in August and the fact that the Lazy River was just a short drive away and offered a river for tubing and swimming, too, made this my choice. I really wanted to love this place (I've been on a quest for a campground with tubing this summer), but the downsides keep me from giving it 4 stars.

The good: 

  1. location in the middle of the state, so it is a relatively quick getaway from the city or southern NH
  2. a newly built store and game room with a friendly welcome from staff
  3. the river offers a beach and tubing without having to drive anywhere; the water was on the low side late in the season, but there were still people tubing
  4. beautiful pool, very popular with families; there's a kiddie pool, too
  5. All the sites include electric
  6. nice playground with an open field
  7. riverfront sites
  8. Fields and equipment for volleyball, horseshoes, etc.
  9. Laundry

The opportunities:

Folks will tell you that a bathroom makes or breaks a campground and, here, the bathrooms hurt. One of the 3 bathhouses was out of order with a sign directing you to the one in the playground field. That one was clean, but there were no latches on any of the doors on the women's side. To get a shower, you have to journey over to the seasonal loop, which may be a bit of a walk depending on your campsite location. Once there, there's no guarantee a shower will work. The first day I found a shower that worked (coin operated), but the next day none of the 3 seemed to be working (one with an error on the meter, others wouldn't turn). Another camper was there and she couldn't get anything to work, either. Ventilation isn't great in that bathroom, so the ceiling is a bit mildewy. It does have a nice long counter with sinks.

Camp roads would benefit from grading, but they're navigable.

If you're on the river, you may hear some traffic noise from 28 on the other side of the Suncook River. It didn't bother me, but I can sleep through anything!

Some of the seasonal sites look cluttered.

Would be nice if you could make reservations online, but had no problem getting through on the phone.

All in all, great place to hang out on the water, whether the river or the pool, but would be even better with bathroom improvements.

Beautiful campground that the security ruins

We have stayed at Danforth Bay for several years now. At least two long weekends every year. One of these weekends we have a large group of friends that come every year. This is the only time we see each other during the year. We enjoy sitting out by the fire after the kids go to bed catching up. The campground has a rule that fires have to be out at 11:30. We are quiet and no one is around us because we all rent the sites around us. The security people have been extremely aggressive to us. I could understand if they asked us respectfully not to add to it but the woman got right in our face yelling at us and telling us that she wasn’t leaving until the fire is out including the coals. The thing that sucks is this campground have everything else we could ever look for except that rule and the security’s attitude. Apparently we are not the only people to have issues with them. The other campers not with us said they had the same problem with the attitudes but for things. I am giving the campground 1 more chance because we love the campground minus the security but if it doesn’t go well we won’t be back again.

Great campround for water activities

This a a fantastic little camp for if you want to go canoeing or kayaking or boating of any kind! It's set up of three islands and a large majority of the campsites are right on the water

Awesome, family campground!

Very family centric, 7 pools which (include 2 hot tubs, a small 2x2 pool for kiddos, 1 adult only pool and 3 family pools). We went for halloween weekend in August and their haunted house was incredible for a campground! Nicely landscaped although the roads are very narrow. Made it hard to back in our spot. Will be coming back!

The Worst

Owner Ross was very rude to everyone, Pool has a scum rim around it, and there are no wooded sites

Super easy

Super easy hike, will take a few hours! A great little campground like all state parks around! I'd recommend it, downside, no dogs allowed

Great little family campground

Family oriented can ground, has a nice playground. There's a beautiful waterfront with a swimming area and boat rentals. One of our favorite things was an archery walk through the woods and a little pond for fishing! Definitely worth the stay

Fantastic little camp

My girlfriend and I went here on a thursday and stayed till Saturday, so the camp was a little more empty then normal but it was a great little place. Nice views of the lake, swimming, wide open sites, not too over crowded! I'd definitely go back! Close by to Miller state park (NHs oldest state park), Garwin falls (beautiful little water falls you can swim in)

Nice Riverside Sites

This campground has nice, quiet, shaded riverside sites and other sites options as well. Showers are $0.25 for 8 minutes. Modest camp store. Pallets of firewood are delivered to your site and reasonably priced. Nice pool. Port-a potty by the river needs to be replaced.

My favorite

Nice group camping area on Connecticut River with tent and lean to options. Ranger Eric and staff were awesome.

WOW What a view !!!

Had a great hike and lunch at top of mountain. Climbed weather tower and was an awesome experience.

Nice spot for a lakefront vacation

Westward Shores is an expansive resort located on Ossipee Lake. It caters primarily to seasonal campers and those with RVs, but can accommodate tenters as well. There are a couple of camping cabins starting at $70/night shoulder season and cottages that sleep 8-20 (at significantly higher prices).

The campground is so large that many people get around on golf carts. There are ongoing renovations and new areas, so it still looks a little rough around the edges in places. Lots are large and level with pea gravel and hookups; if you are in a tent, you’ll want to be sure to have adequate padding for sleeping. Additionally, you’ll want one of the more basic campsites located near a bathroom. Some of the loops do not yet have facilities (Aug 2019). The bathrooms are basic and clean.

The primary appeal is the location on beautiful Ossipee Lake with beaches, a marina, and kayak and SUP rentals. There is plenty to entertain the children, with playgrounds, bounce pillows, gaga pit, basketball, and tennis to name just a few. Kids were everywhere on their bicycles.

They didn’t offer up prices when we stopped at the office, so I was dreading the worst, but when I checked online, the RV sites range from $50-56 with hookups, picnic table, and fire ring and there are special rates/deals for extended stays. These rates are a significantly lower than a nearby resort campground that starts at $65/night… but then I discovered this is only true during the shoulder season. My fears have been realized… peak season will set you back $87-95/ night and the camping cabin is $117. These are slightly more expensive than a nearby resort that offers a few more/ different amenities, albeit not on Ossipee Lake.

It's not the campsite really but lack of technology

I usually use #reserveamerica to book camp sites ahead of time and I mean months in advance. Which is great you can see the campsites but more importantly if they are taken already or not especially if you want to camp next to friends and family. My problem is you need to call into this campsite Everytime you find something you might want to book just to see if the sites are open or not.everytime!!! If one is open and the others are taken you now need to find all the other families and see if they want another spot. It's just a hassle that you cannot book online when you are coming from several dates away  to meet up with friends or family

Seasonal or RVs only

We made reservations to hammock camp at a site here. Received confirmation of everything and was told I didn’t need to put money down. We drove all the way from Massachusetts and arrived to find out that our reservation was canceled! The lady at the counter was nice and trying to figure out and had the owner come down who turned out to be awful. He said that he was the one that canceled it because I didn’t return his phone call and didn’t put money down. When I tried to explain to him that I talked to someone on the phone two different times about the reservation he claimed I was lying! The site was open so he gave it to us but then sold us wet wood. Got to the campsite and the couple next to us said they had to sleep on the ground because the owner wouldn’t fix the electrical box that night and wouldn’t let them move to the next site over that was free. Def a campground for RVS and seasonal people only

Tucked-Away

We camped for a weekend here in a group of 6 people on Horse Island spread out over 2 sites. Checking in at the park office was easy and we received our parking pass. Each campsite can hold two vehicles.

There are several bathrooms placed all over the campground with toilets, sinks, and showers (no quarters needed). There are also water spigots placed around which is nice to refill containers.

I only give 4 stars due to two issues: One of the showers was unusable as it was FILLED with insects. After scoping out a few other bathrooms the problem seemed to be isolated to just that one.

Secondly, the park office seemed to be out of firewood the whole weekend. We were able to find some at the grocery store ($18 for 3 small bundles), and a random house selling some ($10 for the equivalent of 4 small bundles).

Nonetheless, we had a great time, undisturbed by all around us, and we did a 5 mile round trip hike to the the Pawtuckaway Fire Tower (view from the top attached).

Thank You!

Comfortably Isolated

We went camping with a group of 5 people spread out onto two sites. We arrived after dark and our friends were able to pick up a parking pass for us ahead of time. It was easy to find the campground and our site.

Restrooms are easy to reach throughout the campground and there is a shower house near the entrance to the campground (no quarters necessary). Stores for extra food or forgotten materials can be picked up in town a 10-15 minute drive away. We enjoyed our time here and will be back!

Beautiful campground with plenty of activities

My ongoing quest for a high quality riverfront campground that offers tubing continues, but I have found a great option here on the Pemi River. To think, I can't believe I waited this long to investigate the campground behind the sign I've passed on the highway for decades! They only had a last minute cancellation for a full service pull through, but it was more than i wanted to spend for the weekend. Even so, I stopped by and decided after looking around that this will be on my future list. I'll know to plan well in advance!

There are a variety of sites available, including tent sites without hookups, water/electric sites, to full hookups and pull-throughs. They even offer cabins if that's your preference. The riverfront water/electric site are beautiful, though those with the lower numbers are closer to I-93, which may be a consideration if road noise bothers you. The opposite end is near the beach. The seasonal sites are neat and clean. Bathrooms are spotless. If you stay for a week, you'll get the 7th night free.

Amenities include a terrific playground in a large, grassy area, plus volleyball and horseshoes. Wi-fi is available. There's a well-equipped store, firewood for sale, and canoe/kayak/tube rentals with a free shuttle included. They'll take you up the river and leave you to float or paddle back to the campground on your own time. If you bring your own boat, there's a reasonable $5 shuttle fee.

I liked, family not so much

Stayed here while visiting Salem in Oct 2017. Campground was empty due to the time of year which creeped out my family but I personally liked the peacefulness. Owner was very nice.

Mixed bag, not my first choice

I was looking for a riverfront campground where I might be able to do some tubing, so I stopped by here to check it out. I had called the day before, but didn't get an answer, so I made reservations elsewhere, but they let me take a look around. 

The good: they have a wide sandy beach and volleyball nets along the river. It's also just a short distance from a covered bridge with additional sandy beach and boat access. The river was slow and low in early August, but in early May they have the Baker River Regatta with some quickwater. There's an assortment of grassy and sandy sites, with and without hookups. There is a dumping station.

Areas for improvement: I almost turned around and walked right back out because the first part of the campground is seasonal and there are trailers there that look like they've been in place since the campground opened in the 60s. Seasonal sites can run the gamut from neat and well kept to dumpy…these were dumpy. The bathrooms were in sad shape…there was little to no toilet paper, toilets unflushed (it was early afternoon, usually the cleanest time of the day), and signs warned not to mess with the faucets or they'd take them out, etc. You don't want to linger there! They're also the reason for the 1* review. The showers are in a separate building, coin operated, no frills. If you're in a self-contained unit, this may be a decent place to stay on a sunny summer weekend. Some of the sites were neat, but others were littered with downed branches.

Quiet getaway

This is an all adult RV park run by a very friendly veteran. They can accommodate tents to full hook ups. The prices are reasonable and the park is peaceful, covered with trees, and extremely quiet!!

Nice, clean, friendly staff, small sites.

Great campground, though spaces are small, place is clean, nice pool and staff is very friendly, helpful and responsive! It's only about a mile from the beach. We rode bikes to Salisbury Beach and my young adult son rode his longboard to the beach. We thought the small campsites would bother us, but after one day we got used to it and it was fine. Neighboring campers were all very friendly. We'd definitely go back again!