Saw Hapgood Pond was well reviewed so just went for 2 nights. The site across the way ran a generator midday for3 hours each day. One site down and across a large RV ran their generator from 7 to 10 am or so and again from 4 to 9 pm. These folks never stepped outside their RV. 1 mile trail and day use swimming and boating area. Pit toilets. Showers at day use area at pond. No firewood available. No campground office but host volunteer updates tags on site numbers showing free or reserved.
I was headed from NY to ME and decided to make it a two day trip. VT State Parks have a two night minimum but as this was a Thursday I decided to take a shot. Got there in the late afternoon and a couple sites were open so it all worked out.
This was just an overnight stop so I didn't explore much but it is definitely on the list should I get back up that way again.
Site was shaded and private. The bath house was nice. The coin operated shower was a surprise but I had enough quarters for 10 minutes :)
I only spent 1 night, but I wish I could have stayed longer! Checked in late, at 7:45pm (15 minutes before the cutoff) and found the ranger to be SUPER helpful in regards to picking a walk-on site. The lake is beautiful, my site (#4) had plenty of available tinder as well as trees for my hammock and a fair amount of shade. The sites don’t feel super close to each other, but you can easily see and visit neighbors. Unfortunately my fire was too Smokey for nighttime pics. Hopefully I’ll come back to dyrt in the morning to post some that are honestly useful! :/
This was a great place to start our camping adventures. Friendly staff and helpful pointing out places to hike. Site was clean and quiet. Bathrooms were clean and showers were hot. A pleasant treat after hiking.
Beautiful location in VT.
First time staying there. Two tents allowed per site, no alcohol although no one checked. No water or electricity at the sites. You park & walk in but they provide carts. You have to buy firewood from them. Canoe, kayak & padddleboard rental available. Showers & bathrooms by the parking area. Lots of islands & places to explore on the lake. Buggy in June so bring your repellent. Dogs allowed…that’s all I got for now :)
Very clean, quiet and well-managed state park. Exactly what I’ve come to expect from the VT State Park campgrounds. The prime tent locations book quickly but those are definitely the ones to go for, as they have private access to the water. Otherwise you have to go around the lake/reservoir to swim. Firewood is very good; $6/bundle and ice for $2/bag. Helpful staff.
Our family loves this campground. We come here for softball and they are so accommodating. Plus the have an amazing Ice cream stand. I will post a video of their back field. My daughters always make me hit softballs to them here. Here is a brief fly over and a couple photos. Plus one of me chasing my son with my drone.
Clean open and level camping areas. Prime areas are near the water some what elevated but you are able to drag your boat through on paths. Ice and firewood sold at $6.00 a bundle and it is Kiln dried so it burns fast. If it is windy I would move away from the water. Staff was young but were pleasant and accommodating and will deliver wood and ice. Great biking on paved areas.
Gilson Pond Campground is small— just 37 sites nestled into the woods near a swampy, but beautiful pond in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. Most people stay here because it is located in Monadnock State Park at the base of Mount Monadnock. Have you heard of it?
Mount Monadnock is 3,165 feet tall and is best known because of its cameos in writings by both Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. It’s quite a prominent peak in southern New Hampshire, and I’ve heard tell that it’s the second most hiked mountain in the world, after Mount Fuji in Japan. Mount Monadnock may not be the tallest mountain in New Hampshire, but it’s rocky and bald, and provides 365-degree views of the surrounding valley and distant mountains.
We chose Gilson Pond Campground because of its proximity to Keene State College, where we were headed for a college orientation, but we figured since we were camping near the base of a famous mountain, we might as well hike it. First tip, camp at Gilson Pond Campground the night before so you can get up early to beat the heat, if that applies, and the crowds.
This is one of the quietest and most peaceful campgrounds I’ve ever stayed at. The sites are super private, the rangers are friendly, and the mosquitoes are ferocious, but I can’t give a campground a bad review because of the mosquitoes. Just a warning to be prepared. There’s a decent bathhouse with pay showers, a small playground, and a loop trail around Gilson Pond that leads right from the campground. No matter which site you choose you’ll be happy. They’re all really nice.
A few words of caution- don’t bring a large RV- the sites are not meant for big rigs. Also, dogs aren’t allowed anywhere in Monadnock State Park, and while we were sad to leave our goodest boy at home, he would have hated the hike up the mountain anyway- too many rock scrambles.
A Quick Overview of the Hike up Mount Monadnock
The ranger at the trailhead office recommended that we hike up the White Dot Trail (2 miles) and down the White Cross Trail( 2.5 miles) so that we could do the steepest route on the way up and take it easy on the way down. This was a great suggestion.
The White Dot Trail starts off flat, but that’s very short-lived. The trail begins to climb steeply pretty early on. The second half of the trail is very steep with lots of rock scrambles. You definitely have to watch your footing most of the hike because the rocks can be wet in places and very slippery. Once you get above the treeline, follow the rock cairns across the ridge. On a nice day, you will be able to see for miles in every direction.
The White Cross Trail is not as steep, but my knees were still pretty sore after all was said and done. We started the hike at 8 am and finished up at 12 pm. We saw about 15 people in total, but when we got to the trailhead, the parking area was full and many people were starting their hike. I’m a middle-aged woman who does more walking than hiking, and I would consider this a strenuous hike that is totally worth the huffing and puffing.
Gregory Octal 55 Review
As a ranger for The Dyrt, I occasionally get to test out products and gear. For this particular trip, I received a discount on the Gregory Octal 55 Ultralight Backpacking Pack. It’s meant for short treks and can carry a maximum of 35 pounds. I used it for day hiking, and found to my surprise, that it was lighter and more comfortable than any of my day-hiking packs.
This pack has oodles of awesome features, including three external pockets, large hipbelt pockets, an Aerospan ventilated suspension system that wicks away moisture and keeps the pack off of your back, and a quick stow system for your sunglasses.
The Octal 55 is hydration bladder compatible, comes with a custom rain cover, and an ultralight aluminum frame. Oh, and I almost forgot the most important part— it’s designed specifically for a woman’s frame. Not to sound cliché or anything, but this pack was so comfy, I hardly knew it was there.
I had a small issue early on in my hike that I will mention. My water bottles, which were stowed in the two mesh side pockets, fell out on the rock scrambles. Because they weren’t held in securely, they would just slide out whenever I bent over. I realized after the fact that there are small straps that can be tightened around them within the pockets. This solved the problem after I scrambled down several rock faces after my runaway bottles.
All-in-all I’m really happy with this pack and can’t wait to take it on some longer adventures.
This place is pretty awesome. They have an ice cream shop attached to their office/store, mini golf just outside of it too. There is an amphitheater for concerts and shows throughout the summer. RV Spots, tent camping spots, a dog park, badminton, basketball, horseshoe, shuffleboard, the works. The bathrooms are beautifully redone and clean. The laundry room is pretty good too. Its close to Brattleboro and Putney and just across the border to New Hampshire. I'd most definitely stay again when I'm in the area. The other guest were very nice and we could also have packages delivered.
I was here 2 nights. Wasn’t able to make the check in time, wasn’t a problem. They left a envelope on the office door with directions that led right to my site. Bathrooms are clean and nice with hot water. Our site was nice and big and shaded. Overall great campground.
There are some wonderful sites in this campground, but not all of them have privacy. We really lucked out with getting one of a few sites left on Memorial Day weekend - after walking the campground, I think we would have chosen the same one again! #18 is right next to a ravine, so it was wooded on one side, and the two adjacent camps were visible but not on top of us. The trees are primarily pine, which made for pretty comfy tenting. Was a short walk to the facilities, but not close enough for the foot traffic to be annoying.
I loved that there were trails to hike from right in the park; you could do a short one, or a slightly longer loop (2.5 hours depending on your pace) with some inclines and boulders to scramble up and over. We were on foot, but it would be challenging for mt. bikers in some spots.
Nice sites. Very friendly staff, owners are true campers at heart. Very clean restrooms no matter what time of day they were always clean and look newer. Pool area was very nice, kids spent hours there. Will defiantly go back
We did memorial day weekend 2019 here.
A lot of good things to say:
A pretty, wooded, natural looking campground.
The waterfront area, the trail, most of the campground in general is pretty.
It seemed like everyone respected the quiet time, after 10pm it was very quiet and peaceful.
The camp store is one of the best I've seen, very well stocked.
I really liked that it was a gated community and well enforced
The playground and kid area is centrally located and was full of kids
The 5mph speed limit is well respected, and it needs to be because there are kids darting around all over the place.
If there is a chance you'll be coming and going very early or late just get a gate card and save yourself some frustration.
"Heated Pool" is not a lie but don't assume this means "warm pool". Both pools are heated by 3 smallish solar panels on a nearby roof. The large pool was in the low 50's, the kiddie pool was probably mid 60's. I'm sure late July and early August it's pretty warm. Adjust expectations accordingly!
Our campsite was quite large, but there were a lot of trees and getting back out of it took quite a bit of back and forth. The wooded sites make navigating more challenging. If you have a large rig or if you are nervous about navigating in tight spaces, you may want to ask for a pull through (most aren't) or go into the overflow area (no sewer)
The sewer hookup had no cap. Just a rock. It wasn't threaded. This means it smells if it isn't attached. Also you need to use a brick or rock to stay attached with the lack of threads.
Water, cable connections are there but you may have to hunt for em a bit - mine were about 25 feet behind the parking portion of the site.
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.
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.
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
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.
Update 6/30/2019: After using these for about a month, on a camping trip with friends, one of the handles fell apart. There are little clips that hold the telescoping pieces together and these came out. Grub Sticks was great, offering immediate replacement that arrived swiftly. They stated they have a 1-1.5% failure rate, which seems high. The clips are definitely a weak point.
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.