A few weekends ago, 3 other moms and I went camping without babies, and it was GLORIOUS. Don't get me wrong, I love Chewbacca, but a 24 hour trip in nature, not having to take care of anyone but myself was amazing.
I got the idea of a "moms getaway" from another group of mom friends who are planning a trip to Mohegan Sun in a few weeks (TBD on whether I blog about that trip, because you know what they say, "what happens in Connecticut stays in Connecticut "). While I do love spas and gambling, one of my favorite "pre baby" activities was hiking and camping.
That's not to say that you can't hike and camp with babies, it's just that everything with babies is a lot harder. To be able to jump in the car (graciously loaned to us by a friend) and get away so quickly without all the baby gear was fantastic. The moms and I said multiple times during the trip "wait, it's only XX o' clock, we've done SO MUCH already." It's seriously amazing what you can do when you don't have a baby to slow you down.
Upon the wise recommendation of another mom friend, we booked a cabin at Ponkapoag, which is in the Blue Hills reservation, only 30 minutes from Boston. It's part of the Appalachian Mountain Club and it is a hidden gem. I cannot say enough great things about this place. But I will try.
First, it's only 30 minutes from Boston but it is very secluded. You truly get the feeling of getting away, but without all the hassle of driving 2 hours. They have numerous cabins which all have wood burning stoves, so the location is open year round (yes, you can still go this year if you have a camping craving). I'm a little tempted to go back in the winter because I bet it would be extra beautiful. It's right on Ponkapoag pond, which is really more the size of a lake and is GORGEOUS.
Hello, beautiful, right? And the lake's not so bad itself...zing! (ps- pay no attention to the fact that you can absolutely see my bra thorugh this shirt.)
Each cabin has mattresses, so you can either bring your own sleeping bag, or just bring sheets and a blanket, which I did, because sleeping bags make me feel like I'm being eaten by a boa constrictor. Each cabin also has a fire pit, and there is fire wood available to purchase at the camp. There is almost nothing more satisfying than building a good campfire, and we built a great one.
You can feel the relaxing, right?
There is some great hiking all around the pond that will allow you to do a decent little hike through the woods. There were also horses on the path, which was pretty cool. And dogs, lots of dogs. But somehow, they coexisted in a peaceful manner.
Halfway around the hike is a boardwalk that takes you through a bog with some fallen trees and out to the lake. The woman who runs the camp year round called it a "fairy land". I wanted to make fun of her because, who says that (and also because of the fact that she had like 18 different wind chimes in front of her cabin), but once we were there, I realized she was kind of right. It was just a magical spot.
Fairyland starts here.
My awesome neon green sneakers on the boardwalk.
We ended up taking a hike, and then coming back to the cabins for lunch, and to pump (oh yeah, did I mention that some of us pumped on three separate occasions in the car because the cabins have no electricity and no running water. That's devotion.) After our hike and our pumping session, we took it easy, made our camp fire, and started drinking wine, because WE HAD NO BABIES TO TAKE CARE OF! We then had a delicious dinner of marinated chicken and veggies roasted in the fire in tin foil packets all thanks to Chewie's godmother who is the best cook ever. And then for dessert, we obviously at a LOT of s'mores. It was actually a really exciting moment because one of the mamas grew up in Europe, and she had never had a s'more around a campfire. I was really thrilled that I got to share that experience with her, and also to discuss, at length, the benefits and drawbacks to slow roasting or lighting a mashmallow on fire. I am firmly in the "slow roasting" camp and I refuse to hear any arguments for the "light them on fire" method. I'm really glad that I could share this philosophy with the international community.
After dinner, dessert, lots of wine, and stories of our crazy babies and husbands, we called it a night and got up early the next day for one more hike to the pond/lake.
We then called it a day and headed back to the city and in no time we were back. Some of us (cough cough) didn't tell our husbands that we got back earlier than expected and got pedicures instead. And despite the utterly luxurious 24 hours away from Chewie, I have to say that by the end of it, I was missing him like crazy. Hopefully next year he can join us camping. 1.5 year olds do really well by campfires and with marshmallows, right?
Happy Mamas equal happy babies. I can still almost smell the campfire smoke in my hair. Can't wait to go back.