Vermont - Jamaica State Park

Discussion in 'Vermont' started by NHDalton, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. NHDalton

    NHDalton I camp, therefore I am

    237
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    Jun 30, 2008
    Ayuh, New Hampsha
    http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/jamaica.htm

    The true measure of a campground is not so much “Did you have a good time?” It’s also “Would I come here again?” and “Would I recommend this place to others?”

    In all 3 areas, Jamaica state park answers with a resounding: YES!

    The Place
    The town of Jamaica is located in the lower third of the state and is quintessential Vermont. Don’t bother looking for any wi-fi hotspots, (there aren’t any) and I had no Verizon cell service for miles and miles around and even then, it was only at a high elevation point at Ball Mountain State Park. Even my NOAA weather radio could not get a signal. We’re talking isolation and that is the appeal to the place. You WILL get away from it all. Ahhhhhhhhh

    At some point, you’ll want to take an easy walk into town and enjoy all the local shops Jamaica has to offer or you can hit one of the surrounding towns. They are all pretty much how Jamaica is with absolutely no franchises in sight. The local shops and artisans are a welcomed change from our exploding mega-mart world. The prices at the general store were very fair and on bread, rivaled Shaw’s supermarket (quite a distance away).

    This was my second outing to a campground run by the state of Vermont. Previously I had gone to Stillwater on Groton Lake (waaaaay up north) and while that was good, Jamaica was just plain great.

    First, the sites themselves are very roomy. You can see the other campers from your site but there is plenty of woods between everybody so we’re not at all on top of each other. The place is pretty much broken down by designation: Tenters, campers and lean-to’s and I only saw about 3 or 4 other pop-ups during our stay. Most were tenters and they made great use of their tarps. Especially during the periods of rain we had.

    Bathrooms were relatively good-sized, with 3 stalls in the unit near our site and it also had a coin-operated shower (4 quarters for 10 minutes). They also offer a common play area for the adults as well as a separate playground for the kids and a nature center. The park has a great place for swimming called Salmon Hole and you can go to website to read up on its rich history. Finally, Vermont state parks have no utilities so it’s boondocking time, my friends.

    The Trip
    Boondocking leads to the discovery of all sorts of problems since you are relying completely on all your “internal systems” to keep things going. I didn’t charge the battery prior to going thinking that it would get charged on the nearly 2-hour journey. I get to the park, set things up then lit the hot water furnace along with the 3-way refrigerator. Everything goes great, no problems. Go inside, turn on the water pump and put on the overhead light. Hmmmmm. The light is not very bright at all. I go outside with my voltage meter and the battery is at only 50-60% power. Damn.

    Oh well, it is what it is. Off goes the water pump except for when it is needed and no turning on the camper lights at all. Since we need to conserve as much power as possible, it’s flashlights and lanterns from here on out. I check on the other systems and had to reignite the furnace again and also the refrigerator. After that, the furnace stayed lit but the refrigerator didn’t want to cooperate at all and since I didn’t want to run it off my battery, the fridge was now out of the equation, too.

    Luckily, the last 2 trips of the year will have full utilities available so I’m not in any major rush. The first thing to do is to bleed the gas lines and see if that works to resolve the lighting problems. The most humorous note was we ran out of water immediately after the last dish was cleaned on the last day we were there. haha Too funny.

    DW and I went on a trek up to Hamilton Falls about 3 miles from the campground. The first 2 miles are a steady walk on a very well-maintained road for golf carts the park staff use to maintain the grounds. The last mile up was extremely steep, so wear hiking boots. No sneakers or sandals here folks.

    It was on the way up, that it first started drizzling. I knew a storm was coming in but here in New England, nature happens at will and the front moved in faster than they had predicted. (surprise, surprise)

    We stayed for a good 30 to 45 minutes at Hamilton Falls then the rain started picking up and it was time to go. The walk down was in a consistent rainfall that was not too hard but certainly enough that we were soaked to the bone by the time we got back to the camper.

    We were there for 3 nights and it rained for about a third of our stay. I don’t know about you, but I love the sound rain makes as it hits the popup canvas and the assorted tarps in the area. It’s just music to my ears and relaxes me right to the core.

    I would like to offer a great piece of advice for my fellow campers in VT and NH: buy your wood from a state park if you can. You pay a fair price and get an assortment of both hardwood and soft. Most people and campgrounds (though there are exceptions) will sell you softwood only and if you need a campfire to keep the monsters away, you will go through that (and your wallet) very quickly.

    We paid $20 total for all the wood we used and IMHO, that was more than a bargain. So even if I camp elsewhere, I’ll check and see if a state park is around and get my wood there. It just makes sense.

    Final Thoughts
    My review is pretty obvious. We had a great time at Jamaica State Park.

    So dear reader, if you want a place to completely downshift, relax and just enjoy camping, then schedule some time here. Just do yourself a favor though and stay longer than 3 nights. We wish we could have and when we go back again, plan to make it a week-long trip.

    http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/578309049kBYTor
     
  2. Noni

    Noni See ya' out there !

    1,376
    1
    May 30, 2008
    Herndon, VA
    Great report and detail information. Thank you for sharing. It is a defnite must in our list of places to go. Thanks again.
     
  3. FSHNFOOL76

    FSHNFOOL76 New Member

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    Mar 31, 2006
    Sound Beach, N.Y.
    I've been there twice, and both times were enjoyed. Last time was about 16 yrs ago but it is definitely on the list of places to go back too. It sounds like it hasn't changed since we were there. Thanks for the review to remind me of a nice CG.
     
  4. mercman

    mercman Go Ahead, Be That Happy Camper!

    2,871
    6
    Jan 7, 2007
    Western MA
    I have driven past this SP many times on our journeys thru Vermont but never stayed there. It is now on my list!
    Thanks for a great well written write-up. That's a beautiful area to drive through, especially in the fall!

    -Chris
     
  5. NHDalton

    NHDalton I camp, therefore I am

    237
    0
    Jun 30, 2008
    Ayuh, New Hampsha
    Chris, you are so right. Routes 100, 30 and further west, 7 and 7A are supposed to be very photogenic come fall. I'll be shooting in Lancaster early in the foliage season and am considering a few trips into Vermont as well. [CAM]
     
  6. wanderingpaladin

    wanderingpaladin New Member

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    Jun 10, 2010
    The showers are free - you only pay for hot water.
    Upside: If you are hot, sweaty and just want to hose off the grime - free shower
    Downside: There you are, enjoying a nice hot shower, feeling relaxed... times up! hot water goes off - cold stays on!
     
  7. mercman

    mercman Go Ahead, Be That Happy Camper!

    2,871
    6
    Jan 7, 2007
    Western MA
    I'll add Rt 8 coming out of MA into VT for a must see road to the list. Following 7 up to 9 east over the Mountain back to 30/100 and down is a fantastic day trip, At least from where I am in MA :) Click on my camera icon and check out some foliage shots from the area.

    If your into fall foliage, you ( and everyone else here on PUP should give some thougt into attending the "Fall In Vermont PUP Rally" at Winhall Brook in South Londonerry Sept. 24 -26. It's the peak of Foliage and it's just off of Rt 100. Check it out here... http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=32080.0
    There's still some sites availlable in the CG.

    -Chris
     
  8. NHDalton

    NHDalton I camp, therefore I am

    237
    0
    Jun 30, 2008
    Ayuh, New Hampsha
    Thanks Chris. I'll definitely add it to my photo shoot list. Which continues to grow all the time. [LOL]
     
  9. MandoCamper

    MandoCamper Member

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    0
    Jul 14, 2013
    My wife and visited Jamaica SP this summer. Great place! The best sites, IMO, are 25, 26, 27 and 28, all near the West River.

    The "Beech" and "Cherry" leanto sites are very nice also...leanto structures make good spots for the picnic table when the bad weather comes.
     

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