By Cheryl Borchardt
I was dreading Spring Break this year. My children kept coming home from school asking where we were going, telling me elaborate tales of the trips their friends were taking. Honestly, I hadn’t given much thought to it. With a new 10 week old baby, traveling was the last thing on my mind. My husband gave the kids a choice, the beach or camping. Camping won.
Now, this mamma doesn’t tent camp. I’m scared of bears, creatures and night noises…mostly bears. I won’t sleep on the cold ground, or even an air mattress. Been there, done that. I need a bed, climate control (for said baby) and of course, enough room for 6 of us to spread out.
I recalled seeing some super cute cabins at Hanging Rock State Park. We discovered the cabins during one of our hiking trips a couple of years back and said we should stay in one sometime. We reserved a darling little two-bedroom cabin which includes a small kitchen, bathroom, screened-in porch with rocking chairs, heat and a/c. Each bedroom has two twin beds. The couch in the main living space had a sleeper sofa for me and my husband (I even took my memory foam mattress topper), all for around $80/night!
For two glorious days, we explored and observed the miracle of springtime with our children. No cell phones, no television, just focused family time, doing things we might normally not do. We listened to the birds sing, watched deer walk right by us, met a new friend and his father at the lake while we were fishing and shared our fishing poles with them. We watched our kids catch salamanders, witnessed the final molting of several dragonflies, our children tending to them as their wings unfurled and prepared for their first flight.
Our three older children, 9, 8 and 4, hiked with dad to several waterfalls. We roasted hotdogs and marshmallows, made s’mores, grilled hamburgers, drew pictures with The Original Sidewalk chalk, aka rocks! We enjoyed morning coffee on the screened in porch and played a few games. We went to sleep when our children did, except for one night, when my husband and I found one of the kid’s books, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever”. We spend a while reading it together, laughing hysterically. I highly recommend doing that sometime.
There is so much to do and see in the park, I suggest visiting the website to plan your visit to the park to make the most of your time: http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/haro/main.php
A few tips…
Since cell phones don’t work in the park, there is a pay phone located in the camping area for emergencies.
The gates to the park close at 8pm in spring and 9 pm in summer.
A community hospital is located about 10 minutes away from the park. We know this because our 8 year old son became sick with strep throat while we were there, requiring a trip to the ER.
You must bring your own linens and towels and toiletries. Toilet paper is provided.
Don’t forget to go shopping and bring your own food! The closest store is about 20 minutes away, though you are able to find a few convenience stores within 10 minutes of the park.
There are several fire rings located on the road with the cabins. You may want to bring some wire hangers for roasting hotdogs and marshmallows.
We brought our bikes and our bathing suits for the waterfalls.
Don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray!
For more tips & fun ideas to enjoy at Hanging Rock Park, check out our previous blogs:
Beachin’ It In the Triad
Day Trip Idea: Hanging Rock State Park