According to my dad I am a MM camper. Medium Maintenance. I’ll take it. I hadn’t been camping in 30 years so why this summer? Maybe it was the economy. Maybe it was finding any excuse to spend time in the Finger Lakes. Maybe I just really wanted no possible way to check my email. Maybe it was a combination of the three, plus, more importantly, my family is a lot of fun.
Keuka Lake State Park is near the town of Branchport on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lake region of upstate New York. We all had different expectations before we arrived at our campsite (I was picturing the vast treeless field in Cooperstown that we sat in to watch induction ceremonies) but I am pretty sure that we were all ultimately happy with it.
There are over 100 sites in the park, each one the same basic size and shape with a few variations. Ours had a tree! And the path up to the showers. That was actually quite convenient for someone who wakes up in the middle of the night at least once. I did run up and down that path a couple of times in the pitch black with a flashlight, dodging the skunks.
Two tents fit nicely: one was a 5-person (that comfortably fit 3) and the other was a 3-person (that comfortably fit 2). Most of the campers had RVs (I want!) that they drove right up on the site with plenty of room to spare.
The bad part: this trash wasn’t emptied once from Friday when we arrived until Monday when we left. We talked to the park ranger on Sunday and he said that they contract that work out and that company had not responded to their requests. He didn’t seem all that concerned. We told him that we were concerned about the wildlife it would attract and the health hazards. Not to mention that you could smell it at the campsites closest to it. Poor people.
The good part: The town of Branchport is just a short ride down the road and on one corner (aka, The Town Center) were two markets and a hardware store that carried everything you could need or want, including beer. Beer in a market–what a novelty for someone from Pennsylvania!
If we ever went camping in upstate New York again, it would be a 50/50 chance that we would stay at Keuka Lake State Park. The bathrooms were low quality and not clean (even for camping, according to my mom) and the garbage really turned us off, but the campsites were pleasant and it is close to all of the amenities (read: wineries). It’s a toss up. We’ll see.