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Ascutney, VERMONT
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Our favorite campground!

, Spacious, wooded sites, super clean…friendly, helpful owners and gorgeous setting! Lots to do too

Lake St. Catherine in the heart of the Slate Valley recreation area.

Lake St. Catherine state campground is located in the heart of the Slate Valley. There are 50 tent/rv sites and 11 leantos.  This lake is known by anglers and boaters alike. Plentiful mountain bike trails are being developed all over this area. Pine hill in Rutland, and the Endless brook trails top the list of systems in the area to check out. The campground in secluded on the lake and has an excellent beach. Facilities are well maintained, and there is a nature center. People looking for a good place to hang out and grab so food should check out Castleton, situated atop the lake. This college town is bustling with life. Need more? Rutland is a half hour drive east, with Killington another half hour past there. Lots more to do here too. Come check it out.

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.

Amazing campground.

First off the store is phenomenal. You could forget anything and they would have. Excellent camping store. Lots of fun things to do for the kids. Very busy

Small campground

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.

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.

Different

Mm

ostly seasonal camping.

Family campground

Owners are very friendly and helpful. Has seasonals, tent sites and RV sites. The swimming pool is very inviting and the bathrooms are always attended to. The one thing we loved the most was that the kids could ride their bikes around safely. We also found out that one weekend each summer they close the campground down to the public and fill all the sites with military families. They treat these families to free camping, activities to keep the kids busy and all of their meals for free!

Primitive, woodsy full hookups!

Awesome owners with a small campground! Swimming pond and pool. Small Playground. Pull through, back in, tent sites.. we go here every memorial day for their 1 set of awning to awning sites with our camping buddies!

Very clean

All kinds of sites

Secluded and quiet

Nice place to get away from it all. Very wooded and private sites. Many have lean-tos and brick ovens.

Mix of nice tent sites and an RV area

I stayed right on the river in site 14 with a small popup. The river is beautiful and the site was huge. We did some fishing and swimming. I get the feeling the other end of the campground with the RVs is not as nice and can be loud, but you can avoid it by staying on the tent side.

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,quite, peaceful

There's a shower and nice lake with rentals

Clean, quiet

Nice sites. Clean bathrooms

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!

Boat in & Hike In Camping Along Squam Lake

Simple, but gorgeous. The association maintains about a dozen campsites in the Squam Lake area -- some hike-in and others boat-in only. There are some with tent platforms and all have fire rings (camping fee includes 1 bundle of firewood). There is a composting toilet in each camping area, but no picnic table or drinking water. Come prepared with your own water…or a filter.

We did not camp here, as we came across these campsites while hiking and canoeing with some friends who have a cabin in the area. The sites are pricey and fill up quickly when reservations open for the year on Feb 15, but the money supports the conservation of the area via the Squam Lakes Association.

The area offers water sports of all kinds, amazing views, spectacular hiking and backpacking in the White Mountains and some cute little villages along the local highways. Nearest town is Meredith, about 10 minutes away, and has all that you need for your camping trip.

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!

Quiet, serene. Basic.

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

I'd live here

Easily my favorite campsite in the Northeast! Operated by the Green Mountain Club caretaker who lives onsite, this campsite costs only $5 per person per night. There's a big 3-wall cabin with room for at least 12, several tent platforms, and there's even a composting privy (#2 only)!! The pond is surprisingly warm for its altitude and it's home to two Common Loons. Water is available at a creek and a spring nearby. There's a huge jumping rock on the far side of the pond.

Really fun place to stay

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

Wonderful location

A very scenic place to stay. We will be going back here next year!

Beautiful campground among rolling hills of Vermont

Although many of the sites here are set up to accommodate large RVs and other trailers, there are also more secluded sites up the hill with trees. This campground has more of a resort feel, with a small pond for swimming, basketball, volleyball, etc. This is a terrific place to enjoy the dark sky and fall foiliage. The bathrooms are exceptionally clean and comfortable.

I chose to stay here while I was finishing up the VT 4000-footers because it was midway between the trails for Mt Ellen/Abram and Killington.

One note of interest: this campground requires RVs to have an RVIA certificate; that excludes different homemade campers and school-bus conversions.

A great place for families and friends.

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

Quiet and Private

Before hiking Mount Ascutney, we camped in the state park of the same name. We hiked the Weathersfield Trail (2.9 miles from trailhead to summit). It was a challenge, but well worth it. There were several lookout points with spectacular views. I highly recommend it!

We arrived around 7pm for a weekend stay. The ranger station was closed, but the rangers were kind enough to leave a note on a whiteboard for all the campers with reservations arriving late. The note reminded everyone of their campsites, and included a map that showed where each specific site was. It was very helpful! The campground is very wooded and dark, so without this map it would have been even more difficult to find our site!

Due to the looming threat of thunderstorms, we chose a lean-to site. Each sturdy lean-to was equipped with a broom to sweep out any leaves/dirt/debris that had accumulated in there. All sites included a fire ring and picnic table. There were some dated, but clean restrooms. There were coin-operated hot showers that were reasonably priced ($1 for 10 min). The campground also sold firewood ($6 for a good-sized bundle) and ice ($2 for a 5lb. bag) which can be purchased at the ranger station.

One aspect of this campground that I loved was the privacy. Due to the spacing between sites, and all the trees, it was quiet and peaceful. The campground couldn't have been more than a third full, but I bet it would still be quiet if it were more populated.

I really enjoyed my stay at Mt. Ascutney State Park Campground, and would love to return!

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!

This is a great place for the whole family

This is one of our favorite places to camp in Vermont. The sites are fairly private without being built too close together. Lake is clean and has a great concrete dock that the kids love to jump off. They have boat rentals and nature tours on the lake led by the state park faculty. When the kids get tired from swimming they're a nice beach area and playground.