We just spent several days at Lake Carmi State Park in northern Vermont and got to experience summer camping – with all the warts as well as the positives. We had reserved site 16, one of the nicest ones along the lake, and found it a challenge to enter with our 25′ Airstream. We ended up heading down the one-way road the wrong way so that we could angle into the lot.
The weather was muggy and the first day/night was pretty noisy and smoky. Of course, everyone has to have a fire and the combination of charcoal lighter and wood smoke and country music made me wonder why folks bother to come to a beautiful site — but to each his own.
The lake is shallow and has a mucky bottom so the swimming areas are great for kids but not much for adults who swim. This was the first days after school let out so kids were everywhere — and enjoying themselves. It’s a good park for kids — very light traffic and safe swimming sans lifeguards.
Vermont state parks are not set up for rvs with lots of leanto sites and many tent arrangements. There were a few dozen rigs but many of the sites could handle only small units. No Vermont parks have hookups. In the case of Lake Carmi, even the dump station seems like an afterthought. It’s on the right side of the road which means, when leaving, you have to turn around and back up to use it.
There were a number of sites with a conglomeration of tents and popups and three of four carloads of people — generating a lot of noise and seemingly there for the summer. It was a lot different from camping in the winter in warmer climes where you tend to get quieter couples (such as us.) The kids amused themselves at night by shiny flashlights on our silver Airstream, stirring up the dog big time. It reminded us of the stuff we’d be likely to do when we were kids.
The birding was great — lots of yellow warblers, American redstarts, and other warblers. The park has some lovely features and has one pet-free camping area (what’s up with that?) and many forested sites that are hardly used and thus pretty private.
We plan to go back — probably in the Fall after school starts. With less activity, it will be a great place to kayak and bird.
photo courtesy of Vermont State Parks