After my awesome blogger events at Metro Fitness and Zoe's Kitchen on Saturday, I arrived home to find my husband furiously packing our car. We had discussed possibly going camping, and I left it up to him to decide if we were going or not. Obviously, he had decided we were going.
Now, here's the thing about me and camping. I've actually never been before! I'm embarrassed to admit that, as a self-proclaimed outdoorsy kind of girl that grew up in fairly rural New Hampshire! The extent of my camping experience would be sleeping in a tent in my best friend's yard while playing Monopoly by flashlight and running in and out of her house as needed all night long when we were little kids. I hardly think this qualifies as "real" camping.
My husband was alarmed when he found out this fact about 5-6 years ago and we promptly went to Costco, purchased a tent and two sleeping bags, and then that tent sat in our basement for the next 5 years, while our camping trip was went unplanned (the sleeping bags were used, but not for camping).
Finally, this weekend, the never-been-camping streak was officially broken and our tent was finally taken out of the box!
When packing, I quickly whipped up some pasta salad for us to bring.
Eden veggie pasta
frozen green beans
red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
a shake of Italian seasonings
I threw it all together and put two servings in containers for us for dinner later.
I also made some quick artichoke hummus.
Then off we went!
Well, actually, I needed some java.
So we stopped at Dunkin Donuts for that first.
We also got munchkins. It was totally necessary.
One thing I do know how to do is pick apples. Growing up in New England, apple picking is a staple of fall activities. Since moving to the south, it's been much harder to partake in this pastime due to lack of orchards down here in close proximity. A few weeks ago, my friend Kelly went to an orchard in North Carolina that looked much like my beloved New England orchards. I teased Kelly, that I wanted to recreate her trip, but I was actually kind of serious! She went to an Orchard called Altapass. Greg ended up planning our camping trip around the location of Altapass so that we could involve visiting the orchard in our plans.
He chose a campground on Lake James.
It was totally gorgeous! BUT, it was full! This almost resulted in a total meltdown by me after 2 hours in the car and darkness getting closer by the minute. My lack of experience camping had me totally freaked out at the prospect of potentially having no location to actually camp!
Greg quickly recovered from his foul by checking a map, finding an alternate location, calling and reserving us a spot. Crisis averted!
We headed to the Linville Falls Campground. It was busy, but we quickly found our site, and wasted no time getting set up since it was getting dark. We worked together and got the whole tent up in about 20 minutes or so.
We also had Clyde's tent with us!
He had fun going in and out of his tent when we put it out for him.
After the tent was set up we ate our pasta salad and hummus and chips for dinner, then turned in pretty early.
It got kind of cold! Luckily I brought fleece pajama pants, fleece socks, a thermal undershirt, and a big sweatshirt. The PJ's plus my sleeping bag kept me warm all night. Also, Clyde was burrowed in with me as my personal space heater :)
My biggest camping fear has always been the lack of security and being hacked up by a killer in my sleep. What can I say, I'm paranoid! I check my doors religiously at home every night!
I'm happy to say that we survived sleeping in a tent unscathed! Camping success!
Clyde really liked the sleeping bag. We had trouble getting him to come out of it this morning and he shivered and whined when we did!
We had a breakfast of bananas, peaches, and munchkins from yesterday.
Then it was off to find Altapass Orchard.
We let Clyde sit in the sleeping bag and my sweatshirt in his own warm mound of fluff in the back seat of the car.
We headed out on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped at one of the lookouts for a photo op.
A lady from Miami pulled in and offered to take a family shot of us :)
Then we continued down the road to Altapass.
The orchard is actually on the Blue Ridge Parkway and slopes down the side of a mountain. Pretty neat. So the view from the orchard is not unlike a lookout.
Part of the reason I wanted to come here was that Kelly had said it was dog friendly, and obviously we planned on taking Clyde.
Clyde LOVED the orchard. He bounced around like a bunny jumping everywhere and exploring. It was great!
Greg and I were having an ugly jacket competition. I think he won. He's had this jacket since high school and proudly sported it. He calls it his "Christmas Light Hanging Jacket", but apparently it's now making appearances at camping and orchard events as well ;) Mine is actually a rain jacket, but it was so cold out today I had it over my sweater to keep in some heat.
We got a peck of apples and also two kinds of fudge at the Altapass shop- pumpkin pie and chocolate.
Wow, soooooo good!
I look forward to future camping and return trips to the orchard in fall seasons to come :)