Friday, September 15, 2017

Normandy Farms


We had arrived in Lebanon, New Hampshire for a quick overnight stay at the Elks before moving on closer to Boston. But before we took off we had two things on our list to see. First, we drove through Hanover, home to Dartmouth College. I just love a cute college town, and this one did not disappoint!

This cool looking barn is the Elks Lodge in Lebanon.

Second, we headed for the King Arthur Flour flagship campus in nearby Norwich, VT. This beautiful campus houses a café, bakery, store and baking school. Honestly, if I had been at all forward-thinking, I would have registered us for a class or two, but I wasn't. Next time for sure! We spent most of our time moseying through the store but, shockingly, we walked out without a single purchase!


King Arthur Flour store and on-site bakery.

We said goodbye to New Hampshire and made our way to the Elks Lodge in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, northwest of Boston. Again, we were only there for an overnight. We had reservations at Normandy Farms in Foxborough but they only do weekly stays from Sunday through Saturday. That left us with one night before our arrival, so Elks Lodge it was!

The Lynnfield Elks has a HUGE parking lot. We enjoyed our overnight there.

I did not realize that by staying at Normandy Farms we were smack dab in enemy territory. The New England Patriots Gillette Stadium was just four miles away. Yuck. I hate the Patriots. We put Toadie's Seattle Seahawks flags on her window and drove right by the stadium, just because we could. :)

Toadie showing off her flags like a boss!

Normandy Farms is the second most expensive campground we've ever stayed at (the most expensive being Liberty Harbor in Jersey City) and I can't say we'd ever return. There is nothing wrong with it, per se, it's just everything we don't like about a campground. It's gigantic, maybe the largest we've stayed in, with hundreds of sites. The roads are dirt, so it gets pretty dusty and at any given time there are at least 1,000 kids riding their bikes in the middle of said dusty roads. There is a big activity center and multiple pools, lots and lots of never-ending family activities. We don't partake in any of those activities, but we pay for them anyway.

Our site at Normandy Farms. It was great to have full hookups but we didn’t avail of anything else on offer.

Even just trying to get out of Normandy Farms each day was a process. We felt imprisoned!!

In spite of being activity central, believe it or not, on the day of the eclipse? Nada. Even though we could only see a partial eclipse, it was impressive enough that you'd think there would have been some kind of gathering. But you'd be wrong. We ended up having a great view right from our site, and not another person around us was looking up. We offered to let our neighbor take a look through our glasses and he was eager to do so. When we had seen enough we gave our glasses to a father with two young girls camping on the other side of us and he was so happy! He had rushed back from the pool to try and make something so his girls could see it, and we saved him some time. We asked that they pass them around so others could see as well, and the girls delighted in sharing with their neighbors. That was fun!.

Not one mention of the eclipse in all their activity literature!

This is the full extent of the eclipse we observed from our campsite.

One thing we've noticed about New England campers is that when it comes to camping, they go big or go home. Even if they are only staying for a weekend, they bring so much extra stuff it just boggles the mind. They have grills, smokers, bundles of wood for the fire pit, bikes for their 16 kids, extra tents to set up next to their travel trailer, swimming gear, awning lights, tablecloths, tons of chairs, outdoor televisions, musical instruments and the list goes on and on. It looked like a shanty town with multiple families in each site. In fact, campers are allowed up to 10 people in their sites and it looked like a lot of them pushed that limit. All this at just under $75 per night, and that's the weekly rate!

Shanty town or summer resort? You decide.

All that said, we weren't unhappy at Normandy Farms. In retrospect, I would describe our week there as "forgettable". About the only touristy thing we did there was take a day trip to Hyannis Port on Cape Cod. We did enjoy the small but interesting JFK museum, but the rest of the place is the worst kind of tourist trap.

IMG_2319_thumb5  normandy_farms-1_thumb6
The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum was chock full of interesting photos and tourists :)


We weren’t all that impressed with the JFK monument down by the seafront. Seemed more of an afterthought to us.

There is one big thing we scratched off our To-Do list. You may recall that Steven's parents, Paddy and Elizabeth, are arriving in Boston on September 20th to travel with us north up the coast of Maine. The last time they camped with us we took them to Yellowstone in our pop-up camper, Alfred Hitchpop. At the time I had a pair of orange Crocs that Elizabeth adopted because, of course, Crocs make for great campsite shoes. Easy on, easy off, right? So we had been wracking our brains about where we might find a pair of orange crocs for her. We did a Google search and guess what? There was a Crocs OUTLET STORE about 10 minutes from us!! I didn't know Crocs Outlet store was even a thing!!!! So off we went. I didn't find orange, but a cute red pair was on sale, so the purchase was made. I wanted to get Paddy Camo Crocs, but Steven said no. He can be such a killjoy :) So anyway, scratch Crocs off our list!

Red Crocs waiting patiently for Steven’s mom!

One good thing about Normandy Farms was we adopted a new friend! Left behind by careless campers.

It is kind of funny that some places that we think are going to be great end up being a big nothing burger while others we're not necessarily excited about turn out to be fantastic. That's exactly what happened with Normandy Farms and our next stop, Rhode Island.

NEXT UP: Beautiful, surprising Rhode Island


  1. Ooh! I know why you couldn't find orange Crocs! The company stopped making them, and first called Mario that is what he lives in. He bought 200 pair, so he wouldn't ever run out. :)

    Best watch your tire pressure around Gillette Stadium, Linda. I think I see Brady peeking through those windows up there above Toadie!

    1. Well now it makes sense why we didn't find orange! The red is cute, tho. Toadie fears no one! :)

  2. We didn't even look for the Patriots' stadium while in the area - petty probably, but we really can't stand them either.
    Can't believe that line to get out of the park! What a nightmare. You made the eclipse real for a couple little girls and rescued a green shark - buckets of good karma!!

    1. Little Sharkie was hanging out behind Scoopy, staring at us every time we walked by. Rescue and adoption was inevitable. :)

  3. Okay, so we're definitely never going to stay at Normandy Farms. A line to even get out of the park? That's crazy! I'm curious....why are red Crocs for mom okay but camo Crocs for dad are not? Despite their dork factor, they really are perfect for quick trips in and out of the trailer. We both have them, but in boring neutral colors. My next pair are going to be zebra. :-)

  4. There are so many other wonderful places to stay, Normandy Farms should never be on your radar. When we return to the East Coast, now we know where to go. And I am going to look for a Zebra pair of Crocs. That would just be too awesome!