It’s Ladies Only @ Camp Out VA
When I felt it was time for another solo camping trip this past 4th of July weekend, I was stuck. By the time I started contacting campsites to reserve a spot, I quickly discovered almost all of the national parks and private campsites were already reserved.
It wasn’t until I remembered somewhere near Charlottesville, there was a women’s only campsite.
After a quick Google search, I discovered it: CampOut VA. I called the number listed on their site and spoke with Billie, one of the workers who cheerfully let me know they had available sites and they’d be happy to have me camp.
Only 50-something miles west of RVA in Fluvanna County, I was blown away at the short drive, since I took my dog (his name is Grant) with me, it was perfect. Once Siri announced I had arrived (on one beautiful cloudless day) I called up Billie who swooped in on her 4-wheeler to help me register and show me the grounds. This is when I quickly noticed a rainbow flag waving in the warm summer air, a few horses grazing in the pasture, and a sign that read, “Take only memories. Leave only footprints.” I felt transported to a grown-up and lesbian-friendly version of Girl Scout camp.
CampOut VA has been around for 22 years and is known for hosting Virginia Women’s Music Festival which brings in hundreds of women from all over the country every May. In addition to the festival, CampOut offers several cabins, campsites, and RV hookups to women April through October. The grounds and facilities were spotless and maintained with care, from the clean and airy outdoor showers to the perfectly stacked firewood at each campsite (free firewood, too. Pretty nice, huh?). Most nights, workers gather around a bonfire in the middle of the main field which is open for all campers to mingle and enjoy the fire.
I set up my tent (while Grant patiently watched) in a perfectly wooded area equipped with a fire pit, wood, and a hammock. After breaking a mild sweat, we wandered the grounds to Lake Towanda (yep, Towanda!) to catch some rays.
At the lake, I found the beach area that can accommodate any kind of lake-goer by providing a paddle boat, kayaks, canoes, and floatees. I decided against carrying a kayak to the lake all by myself and decided to get in the water then cool off in a hammock under trees with a cold beer. There’s nothing like some good hammock swinging and a cold one.
I stayed here for two nights and my experience was wonderful. There’s something nostalgic and perfectly minimal about this place. The women who work here had something to do with it – they genuinely take pride in keeping the grounds pristine and campers happy.
Luckily, I got to know some of these women. As we sat on rope hammock swings, overlooking an open green field, we immersed ourselves in conversation about almost everything – the history of the camp, stories of the Women’s Music Festival, love, heartbreak,and personal tales from their own lives that brought them to where they are today.
These women seemed natural at the whole “great outdoors” thing but for me, camping was something foreign. Hey, I mean I was in Girl Scouts and went to Colorado every summer but I was a dainty kid – I hated bugs, heat, and the idea of camping in a tent was something I would happily pass on. However, over time and through a recent life change, I’ve come to find the outdoors, solitude, and minimalism the most comforting thing possible.
With such a great experience (and not far from home), I’m already planning another weekend trip next month that’ll include hitting up nearby breweries, a day trip to Charlottesville, and of course, plenty of hammock-swinging.
More Info: Check out CampOut here … http://www.campoutva.com/ To camp here, you need to become a member which is reasonably priced at a $25 one time fee and $5 to camp or $15 to rent a cabin per day. This is a steal compared to other grounds.
I adore good food; the restaurants that serve it, the energy around it (even the hoopla), and telling others about it. When I'm not grubbing down on a great meal or writing, I'm mixing aromatherapy oils, letting Jillian Michaels kick my ass, and discovering new indie music that eventually goes mainstream (sigh).
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