It’s been a while, but like you I’m sure, this end of summer stuff has had us particularly busy.
I’ve never camped before but my kids have long been curious about the experience, so this spring we decided as a family we’d give it a go.
Back in March we had troubles securing a campground reservation in late August and it wasn’t until we finally found a date that we realized the difficulty: the upcoming Eclipse.
Speaking of which, how about this pic, taken by a friend of a friend on a farm about an hour away?
We’d been invited to a couple different places in Oregon inside the Path of Totality but with our inaugural camping trip less than a day away, we didn’t want to drive out there and then risk huge traffic jams or big hassles upon our return (although now I wish we’d persisted. Alas).
Instead, we decided to watch the 98% Eclipse right here in Portland.
We headed to Grant Park in our neighborhood alongside a couple hundred watchers. We set up blankets early morning waiting for the transformation to happen.
Charlotte and I were ready to go in our matching black and white outfits
I’d made Eclipse-themed (black and white) banana chocolate chip muffins early that morning to enjoy as we waited.
We had our glasses ready while we played cards
and goofed around.
Did you see The Eclipse?
We didn’t get the amazing experience those did within the path of Totality, but it was so interesting, still.
It suddenly got so dark, like dusk, and the temperature dropped about fifteen degrees.
And then it was upon us.
And then before you knew it, the sun re-emerged and the lightness returned.
As did my goofballs.
All that was left to do was to finish up the packing and get everything ready for the camping trip early the next morn.
I was ready — I’d been planning for this trip for over a week and I’d hit both Amazon Prime and friends for everything I thought we’d need.
Plus a good part of my pantry.
We ordered air mattresses, a tent and a car carrier to hold all our stuff.
I borrowed a couple of these spendy but swoon-worthy coolers from a pal.
These coolers are amazing — they are solidly built and keep food icy cold for days.
And then the next morning we headed out to the Coast in search of our camping Valhalla.
Our campground was a state park in Nehalem, one of our favorite parts of the Oregon Coast.
It was busy but there were so many pretty nooks and crannies, with playgrounds, bathrooms and showers just nearby.
It was chock full of campers who’d come to see the Eclipse, and everyone was so friendly.
We took that empty camping space and went to work.
Charlotte and I in particular really wanted a cozy, happy place to stay a couple nights, so the four of us had our work set out for us.
The boys set up the tent and we made it cozy with bunting and warm pretty blankets and pillows.
While Charlotte made a twenty one foot long tissue garland to frame our space,
I set up the camp site, complete with an organized prep kitchen
and a grilling station/cleaning area on our car carrier.
Last up was transforming the natty looking picnic table turned into our alfresco dining area.
We outfitted it mostly with things from our house
with a last couple things found the day before in a free box a block away.
Someone had left all painted milk glass jars, perhaps from a wedding?
I grabbed a couple dozen of my favorite jars and brought them with us.
They looked so pretty filled with roses that I’d bought in Manzanita — one of my favorite towns on the Oregon coast and less than ten minutes away from where we were staying.
With our campsite officially set up, we were ready to enjoy the next forty eight hours together.
The weather was mild and the beach was just a seven minute walk through a wooded area, and up and over a bluff to a barely occupied stretch of sand below.
The kids played on the beach and we spied horsebacks riding into the sunset.
The light was so lovely.
I knew the quality of the food was important for all of us, and we ended up eating so many delicious foods together.
Each morning I was the lucky recipient of a warm latte brought in from an amazing cafe just ten minutes away in Manzanita.
Once fueled, I set out to make a hot breakfast for everyone: toast, eggs, hashbrowns and either smoked bacon or apple breakfast sausages.
And the kids got enamel mugs of warm hot chocolate.
Of course even Bailey got warm chicken sausages or bacon each morning in addition to his regular dry food and eggs.
We found so many fun things to occupy us during the day.
We played cards.
We visited some of our favorite antique shops in nearby Wheeler.
We had picnics in Manzanita on the sleepy, gorgeous beach.
The kids played games outside all day
and I made a hearty dinner each night.
The Turkey Burgers with Avocado, Bacon and Sharp Cheddar were delicious, but my favorite meal was the jumbo scampi and asparagus (alongside sausages, hash browns and basmati rice).
Cooked up in my enormous cast iron pan, the garlicky shrimp were so delicious.
At night, we lingered over our dinners, playing long games
and just at dusk every night a little truck would come around and sell five dollar bundles of firewood. SOLD.
Every night we made S’mores (even better with Oreos as the holder) and used Glow sticks by the fire.
And sometimes we’d even have a little extra something at the end of the night.
(I brought eight chocolate bars with us, and I even gave away a few to our camping neighbors as we left.)
Are you curious as to the family verdict on this kind of outdoor adventure?
With a little organization, the right items and a willing and helpful crew, glamping is fantastic.
I can’t wait to do it again — but with the end of summer upon us, it might be a while.
See you in while, camping gear.
And now, with just a couple days left before school, there’s a lot of catching up to do.
Paperwork. Cleaning. Laundry.
More home cooked meals with neighbors tomatoes (like these pan-griddled polenta cakes with pine nuts, grated Pecorino and tomatillo salsa).
And zzzs — lots of them.
And what it seems like my crew needs most now is lots of time in Snoozetown.
On the comfiest beds we can find.