3 Methods for Campfire Cooking & Favorite Recipe for Each!

Camping is for enjoying nature – but enjoying nature includes enjoying great food!

Campfires have been used for cooking since the beginning of time. There are a number of creative techniques in most cultures to prepare food outdoors which have been carried and refined through time for recreational use! We’re exploring a few of our favorite methods for cooking over a campfire – and a recipe for each!

Before we begin – we must build a good fire for cooking – build your fire early to give it a chance to build a nice bed of coals.

Roasting on a Stick

The most traditional way of cooking, perhaps the oldest form of cooking known to humanity involves direct heat – roasting food on long skewers that can be held above the flames. This might bring up an image of a hot dog or a marshmallow for s’mores – which are awesome, but skewers can deliver so much more! Non wood stick products are available, including metal.

Favorite Recipe: Garlic & Black Pepper Shrimp Skewers

Salt, pepper, garlic, acid, and a bit of heat are all you need to punch up this easy shrimp skewer recipe.

Chef’s tip – use two skewers through your shrimp, which prevents them from twisting and turning when you rotate them on the grill, and ensures even cooking.

Find the recipe here courtesy of Bon Appetit

Baking in Tin Foil

With a sturdy tinfoil, the options of packets that can be prepared are endless. A packet can contain a single item — seasoned corn on the cob, seasoned sweet onion, or a salmon fillet in a lemon marinade. But the best part of tin foil packets are the flavors of various items that cook together for similar cook times – a full meal in a packet. You can even prepare wrapped burritos with all of the fixings for a quick easy camping meal.

Favorite Recipe: Summer Vegetable & Sausage Tin Foil Packet

This recipe makes use of all your fresh summer vegetables – zucchini, tomatoes, green peppers – and you can add your favorites! All marinated together with great seasonings and your favorite sausage.

Find the recipe here courtesy of Taste of Home

Fireside Pie Iron for Sandwiches

A Small Country favorite is making use of the heavy square cast iron pie irons with long handles and stay cool wooden handles. You can put one of these devices into the coals to cook toasted sandwiches, hot dogs, even breads and desserts.

Favorite Recipe: Breakfast Hobo Pie

This recipe for scrambled egg, cheese and sausage on toast, made in a pie iron over fire and followed by toasting on coals adds a number of top tips for how to avoid burning.

Find the recipe here courtesy of Pocket Change Gourmet

We hope you enjoyed our top three methods for camp fire cooking – and will enjoy their use through the summer! Keep your eyes open in July for upcoming campfire cooking recipe contest where we will be asking all of our facebook fans to share their best campfire recipe – winners will be included in a Small Country Campground Cookbook!

Three Types of Camping Trips & How to Plan Yours

We’re all tired of being cooped up for the winter. If you’re anything like our family, you turn towards planning summer experiences when you’ve had enough! As you plan your quality time to enjoy the outdoors this season — here’s what you need to know to plan your best camping this year!

Avid outdoor enthusiasts are more than ready to hit the road and check out new & favorite camping destinations during peak camping season.  The benefits of camping in our region are plentiful! We feature a variety of terrain, cultures and scenery all available within a relatively short distance of each other.

Peak season is different for each region you visit. The north east has a short camping season, and as you move south down the coast, campsites fill up rapidly as winter approaches since the weather stays warm year round.

The east coast is covered in great campgrounds like Small Country, and all will offer their own special reasons to stay. We like to treat all of our campers like family, and welcome everyone year round. We host multiple family friendly events throughout the seasons! Check out our upcoming events HERE.

The below are the most important things to remember when planning your perfect trip.

The Experience Driven Trip

You might be the type of family that comes to Small Country to bring our your cooler, beach chairs and lake toys and enjoy getting sun all day at the beach of Lake Ruth Ann. In Virginia, our lake is swim ready late April or early May and remains lovely for getting out on a boat through fall.

The experience driven trip is set around your favorite way to play — check out our great ways to play and reserve your time!

The Event Driven Trip

Another type of family plans each year to visit Small Country on holiday weekends like Labor Day weekend. The family – two siblings each with spouse and three kids, and two grandparents, all book their stays months in advance and the festivities each year. The campground serve as a background for something of a family reunion! Not to mention the kids are instant friends with our regular weekenders and other Labor Day families.

The event driven trip can be based on one of our awesome events each year, or another event nearby – like a nearby performance, an anniversary or a birthday!

The Natural Phenomenon Driven Trip

Our family has been thinking through summer travel plans the moment we discovered an upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21st – and we decided what a better way to experience its full potential than planning a camping trip around it!  

The natural phenomenon driven trip can be set around a place like a visit to one of our nearby natural wonders, or a specific time like the eclipse, or just to enjoy the night sky and do some planet watching! Just a heads up, eclipse weekend is filling up fast… so plan your stay today!

How to Plan Your Perfect Trip

No matter which type of trip is driving you as set your plans, here are a few steps you need to consider:

Decide Your Way to Stay

There are lots of ways to enjoy Small Country to accommodate any number of group size and experience desires – from a tent site, to spaces for your RV’s, to RV’s for rent. We have for rent cabins, park models with various numbers of bedrooms, and of course our historic three bedroom Manor House! Decide the number in your party and how you want to stay and check availability!  

Decide Your Date Options

Whether it’s an experience, event or natural phenomenon driven trip, your dates will begin to form and you will begin to narrow down your ideal trip options.

Lock In Your Reservation in Advance!!!

Make your reservations as far in advance as possible. It was after we started researching options for the eclipse weekend we realized how quickly sites are reserved in advance!

We look forward to seeing you at Small Country Campground soon, whether for a carefully planned trip, or just for a quick getaway! Feel free to check out our site for more information on ways to stay, ways to play, our upcoming events, what’s near us and availability, and don’t hesitate to give us a ring on any questions!!!

 

Benefits of Camping: Health, Wellness & Relationship

Enjoying the outdoors may have more long term benefits to your health and well being than you realize!With the fantastic weather we have been experiencing this February, our campers need no additional motivation to get outside and enjoy the outdoors already this year. What you might not realize is camping can help you live a longer, healthier life. 

Health benefits are not usually the motives that guide our families to pack up for the weekend and escape to Small Country Campgrounds. The reasons we hear most frequently are the desire to escape, get away, spend time with family and rest.

Whatever your reason, your experience may  be all the more rich knowing these additional benefits your health when you come visit us.

 

A Breath of Fresh Oxygen

When you spend time among trees, you take in more oxygen. The first breath of fresh air when you arrive at a campground is more than you might know — the rush of oxygen releases serotonin from the extra oxygen resulting in happiness. This supports the reduction of stress.

Body and Mind Happy

The oxygen and lack of pollutants can add up after a few days outside – and over time you can see benefits in improved blood pressure, digestion and a boosted immune system. Further, the happiness benefits last days into your return. The sunlight can even out melatonin levels — the chemicals that make you feel tired, depressed. Not to mention that sunlight creates Vitamin D an important component for  your body to absorb calcium and phosphorous.

Connection to Nature

Not just being in an enjoyable environment, but developing an appreciation for nature and respect for the world around us. A dose of fresh air is exactly what is needed to reset our bodies and prepare us for what’s next. The physically and intellectually stimulating activity have a great effect on brain health.

Escape from Technology

With devices every where you turn, meaningful relationships, quality sleep and stress levels suffer. Leaving the devices behind creates a space for reflection, for your spirit to refresh and for quality time.

Fitness

When you spend time outside, you are also being active! Swimming, hiking, building a fire, or even grilling – all the activity adds up! And we definitely agree that when you take play as seriously as we do — you are always moving! Even fishing is an activity that requires more movement than sitting at an office.

Reflection

It’s hard to find a moment of quiet in the daily grind. Getting away in nature can offer you some much needed rest, reflection and time for some peace and quiet. A campsite offers a special kind of quiet — under the stars, beside our lake, and listening to your crackling fire and our birds and cricket friends. The meditation may improve serious medical conditions like depression, fatigue, or even allergies –  by increasing self awareness and stress-reduction,  camping can improve your overall health.

Quality Time with Friends and Family

Bonding around a campfire is a safe, family friendly experience that cannot be duplicated. Quality conversation can be rekindled while you are nurturing that campfire. Quality time with friends and family can extend your lifespan and delay memory problems.

We hope you are having a fantastic end of the winter season and as excited as we are for the camping season to ramp up! Take a look at the upcoming events and the many way to play! We look forward to seeing you at Small Country Campground soon!

Camping With Pets – Campground Pet-iquette

 

 

“Pets are welcome” at Small Country Campground and many other campgrounds throughout the United States and Canada. It’s a welcome sign for pet owners. But welcome does not mean that pets are allowed to do anything and everything. A few rules and tips are in order while camping.

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1. A campground is community property so all the rules that apply in your town or county apply in the campground.
2. Dogs must be on leashes or tethers at all times. You dog may be well behaved, but someone else’s pet might not be. And keep the leash short if your dog is temperamental or fast afoot. Kids love to pet, so don’t let your pet bite or scratch.
3. When making a reservation, always ask whether the campground is pet friendly and offer information about the breed of your pet and whether it has a vaccination. There are no bad breeds but there are bad or careless owners, so some dogs can misbehave just like some children do.
4. Offer your vaccination papers upon check-in. Offer a copy of your RV insurance too. That should have at least $10,000 in personal liability coverage to cover you and your pet should an accident happen.
5. Clean up after your pet each and every time it poops. There is no excuse for anyone to step in a pile! Small Country sells pet poop bags and they are available at every supermarket and hardware store.
6. Barking is strictly prohibited at Small Country and most other campgrounds. Barking disturbs your neighbors and often the entire campground. If your dog is a barker, bring a shock collar or put the pet inside.
7. Many campgrounds – including ours – do not allow pets in cabins or other rental units. We charge a $200 fine if guests bring pets into the units, or smokes in the units. Pet odors and tobacco destroy the pleasure of camping for folks who do not have either pets or nicotine habits. And pets can introduce fleas, mites and ticks to the units. Also, dander on some pets is an allergen to many folks. So always ask before you book a camping rental unit.
8. Follow the same rules with cats, monkeys, snakes, birds, or other pets.
We hope these guidelines help you out when bringing your fur babies out to camp with you!

Mosquito season is here.

 

 

 

Mosquito season is here – How to keep them away!

 

Mosquito season is here and there are several things YOU can do to help control these pesky and dangerous bugs while camping (or at home).

  1. If you have a boat, chances are it collects water…just where mosquitoes breed. Flip the boat and leave it in a position it will not collect water.
  2. If you have a bird bath or pet bowls on your lot, please dump them every time you leave and turn them upside down to prevent collection of water.
  3. If you have any other product or receptacle on your lot that might collect water, please get rid of it or turn it over.
  4. Burn Sage or Rosemary in your outdoor fires, those little buggers hate it and will stay away!
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    Sage
    Rosemary
    Rosemary
  5. If you are at home, plant fever few, citronella, catnip and lavender, they are four of the most effective plants for keeping away mosquitoes. Bring some with you when you camp!
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    Fever few
    Catnip
    Catnip

 

It’s not just the bite but what mosquitoes carry that is the danger. Several varieties of Encephalitis are carried by mosquitoes. Older diseases have been Malaria, Dengue, Yellow Fever and a variety of encephalitis including West Nile (WN), Eastern Equine (EEE), Western Equine (WEE), Saint Louis (SLE), and LaCrosse (LAC) viruses. More recently in the news is the new Zika virus which causes micro-encephalitis in new-born babies. For pet lovers there is Dog Heart worm which infects all breeds of dogs and cats.

So be alert to standing water in flower pots, old tires, boats and bird baths. Dump them out. And if you see standing water in your yard or your campsite, take actions to drain it or fill it. We don’t want anyone catching any of these diseases.

Oh, yes, did we mention Chikangunya? Yet another virus carried by the mosquito species Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and the Yellow Fever Mosquito (Aedes aegypti). Genetically, it appears that viral strain currently spreading throughout the Americas is more easily transmitted by Ae. aegypti. Both species lay their eggs in containers such as cans, discarded tires and other items that hold water close to human habitation, but Ae. aegypti is more geographically confined to the southeastern United States. Traditional mosquito methods of truck-mounted and aerial sprays are ineffective in controlling these mosquitoes. Removal of water-bearing containers and sanitation are key preventive strategies. The name “Chikungunya” is attributed to the Kimakonde (a Mozambique dialect) word meaning “that which bends up”, which describes the primary symptom – excruciating joint pain. Although rarely fatal, the symptoms are debilitating and may persist for several weeks. There is no vaccine and primary treatment is limited to pain medication.

 

We hope you find this information useful!

Protecting your food while camping

Protecting your food while camping

 

One of the best parts of any camping trip is the fire cooked or grilled food, snacks, and cold drinks enjoyed with family and friends. Thanks to all of the hazards that could affect your food, and therefore your fun,  we have compiled a list of tips to help any and all campers keep their camping food safe from the outside elements, and safe to eat!

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  1. Freeze water jugs or bottles to place in the bottom of your cooler. This way you have ice, water, and little to no mess.
  2. Make sure your cooler is air tight so smells don’t get out, alerting bugs and animals to your goodies.
  3. Keep meats, fruits, and vegetables in their own separate containers to avoid cross contamination.
  4. Keep nonperishables in their own separate air tight container so smells don’t get out, alerting bugs and animals to your goodies.picnic-coolers-1571315-1599x1429
  5. Bring 2 thermometers, one for the internal temp of your cooler (41 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal temp to keep perishables fresh) and one for meat if your cooking chicken or pork.
  6. Cook only what you know you and your group will eat. This way you have less food out at one time, and less waste.
  7. Speaking of waste, make sure to dispose of all of your waste in a designated area away from your camping site.
  8. If you are in an area where large animals are a threat, keep your food away from your sleeping area during the night, like up in a tree or locked in a vehicle.

We hope you find these tips helpful during your camping adventures! If you have any other tips that have worked well for you, share them with us on Facebook and we will feature them!

Mini Golf

 

It doesn’t get much better than a weekend or vacation camping and golfing. Whether you are coming out to the campground to relax, or take advantage of multiple amenities, we suggest taking a moment to practice your mini golf skills. Play a game for fun with the family, or take on some serious practice time and build your skills.

The best new mini-golf course in Virginia is right here at Small Country Campground.  Built just two years ago, our mini golf course has hosted many great family games, annual charity tournaments benefiting fantastic charities, even senators have putted here. We are excited to provide all of our campers the opportunity to get out on the course during their stay with us.

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Even if you are not camping, you can still join in on the fun with a day pass. Our day pass provides entry to all of our fantastic amenities, including our mini golf course, the sparkling blue pool, Lake Ruth Ann and all of the giant water toys, and of course the playgrounds for the kiddos. Don’t forget to stop by the Sugar Shack for a snack!

This 18-hole championship course is also 100% ADA accessible. It is important to us that everyone who wants to golf has the opportunity to do so. There is an accessible route to the entrance and exit of the miniature golf course, and all 18 holes are accessible as well.

This year’s mini golf charity tournament takes place over the first weekend in June. To date we have raised over $20,000! We hope to see many guests and visitors on the golf course again this year. Entry is only $10.00 and the money raised is split between the wining team and charity.

Come out and take a swing, there is plenty of fun for the entire family at Central Virginia’s Funnest Campground!

Camping or Glamping?

 

 

Camping can seem intimidating or maybe just too involved for those who really want to relax on their vacations. In reality, you have the best of both worlds when you camp at a place like Small Country Campground.

Tent camping under the stars, next to a beautiful lake, is what comes to mind when most people think of an enjoyable camping trip. With multiple tent sites, some providing water and electricity, Small country Campground can meet the needs of anyone who is interested in simply popping a tent and enjoying the outdoors for their camping vacation.

For those who are not interested in unzipping their front door, we also offer cabin camping, which provides a door, roof, and beds! There are no bathrooms in these units, but we have full bathroom facilities on site.

Still looking for more luxurious accommodations? Go all out glamping in one of our Park Model Bunk Houses. These units include bedrooms, kitchens, living area, and decks to provide the ultimate comfort and livability during your stay at Small Country Campground. We also have a convenience store on site, so you never have to travel away to pick up items you may run out of.

The benefits don’t stop there. Those interested in upscale camping in an RV have the option of trying one out at our campground. Our Park Model RV’s provide a separate bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and dining area.  They also have a large deck with table and chairs, picnic table, fire pit and outdoor grill. Get a feel for RV camping before you decide to make one into your choice lodging.

Those who own their RV’s already can take advantage of our multiple RV hook up sites.  Small Country Campground offers both full and partial hook up sites, and we have 3 dump stations for disposal from sites without hook ups.

The gem of Small Country Campground is the Manor house. Rent this for the ultimate camping or glamping experience. The 1800’s log cabin was built in 1823 and used as a field hospital during the Battle of Trevilian Station during the Civil War. Added onto in 1893 and then again in 1996, this old house is enchanting with its old antique furniture and furnishings, but also modern with soaring glass windows overlooking Lake Ruth Ann from the kitchen, dining room, and upstairs balcony.

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No matter how you want to spend your camping vacation, Small Country Campground offers the right accommodations to suit your needs.

What is the best time to book a camping trip?

Answer – Anytime, at Small Country Campground.

Camping is a great vacation for people of all ages. At the right campground you can rough it while tent camping, or enjoy a more modern stay in a park model cabin or RV. You can also camp any time of year!

Small Country Campground is located in Loiusa County, Virginia, which boasts the best of all four seasons, and a rich history. Offering more lodging options than most campgrounds, we are able to accommodate camping at any comfort level. We also take reservations all year! We enjoy camping any and every day, but we want to share some of the overall best times to camp with us throughout the year.

While still considered off season for camping, here at Small Country Campground, we kick off our events in March with a St. Patricks’ Day celebration. We offer a traditional St. Patricks’ Day dinner for our guests during the holiday. We also host a Swap Meet over the final weekend in March.

As our guest in April you can enjoy our Easter event and the first weekend long NASCAR party of the year.

May 2016 marks our 40th anniversary, and of course we are celebrating with a weekend full of events, including a pig roast. We close out May with our Memorial Day Weekend celebration, offering games for campers of all ages, fire truck rides, hayrides, face painting, horseshoe and corn hole tournaments, and more live entertainment. Visitors during the 2016 Memorial Day celebration will be the first to visit the new Small Country Sugar Shack, offering specialty hot dogs, ice cream and great coffees.

Camp with us in June to take a part in or Mini Golf Charity Tournament, Water Wars, and the Pig Pickin’ & Potlickin’ BBQ Fundraiser for Senator Bryce Reeves.

Kick off July at our Independence Day Celebration, followed by Float the Lake Weekend, Drive in Movie Night, Island Weekend, and finally Christmas in July.

August is home to even more of our favorites including our Summer Concert, Mardi Gras Parade, and of course our tiki party themed Ice Cream Social.

As summer comes to a close in September, campers will enjoy our Labor Day Extravaganza, NASCAR Party, Fish Fry and Block Party, Backyard Games Tournament. The biggest show stopper is the last weekend in September when we host our Que & Cruz BBQ competition, Antique Firetruck Show, and Fall Festival.

October does not disappoint as the leaves turn the campground into a colorful escape. We welcome campers to join us for Oktober fest, and Halloween.

From November through February, campers can enjoy our rental units while experiencing the crisp and chilly fall, or the scenic woods and snowfall in the winter.

No matter what time of year you decide to book your camping getaway, it is always a good time to camp at Central Virginia’s Funnest Campground.

Plan your camping vacation now!

virginiaThe great outdoors are waiting for you and your family! Experience the thrills, the fresh air, and everything that Louisa, VA has to offer.

 

Two pleasant beaches run along the perimeter of 25-acre Lake Ruth Ann, where you go dive into fishing, swimming, or boating. Our massive 16’ trampoline will propel you into orbit! With rental boats on-hand, a fishing pier, mini golf, a swimming pool, and playgrounds for the kids, there is literally something for everyone, regardless of age, to enjoy in the heart of Old Virginia.

 

For a unique camping endeavor, select from a variety of cozy rental locations near the Manor House. Built in 1823, the Manor House has an intriguing history dating back to the Civil War. Our Park Model Bunkhouses are fully equipped and waiting for you to fill them up with laughter and memories. Check out our cabins for a classic camping experience.

 

We also host special events throughout the year. Contact us now to learn how we can host your wedding, corporate event, reunion, or festival and make it a divine occasion. Our annual events add another layer of fun to your trip, like our barbecue competition or mini golf tournament.

 

We’re also minutes away from history locations like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Madison’s Montpelier, and Zachary Taylor’s Montebello. Uncover the history of a nation by visiting these landmarks, and then coming back to our camp grounds for a relaxing evening. Take a day trip to one of the natural wonders of Virginia, like the Natural Bridge and Natural Tunnel, or Walton’s Mountain.