Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nickerson 2011

Kettle Ponds

The best part of Nickerson could be the Kettle Ponds, with their sandy beaches and beautiful water for swimming or boating.
Duck in Kettle Pond

Ranger Programs

When you arrive at the park, pick up a copy of the events schedule. There are guided hikes, such as the orienteering workshop that I found somewhat helpful in combating my 180 degree sense of direction. If you'd rather just sit, there are also campfire programs with folk tales and star gazing.

Both my daughters liked filling out their Junior Ranger books. The elder daughter completed her Junior Ranger requirements during the week of our stay, and was awarded a Junior Ranger patch. This is a great program that the State Parks, as well as the National parks, run for kids.

Ranger Todd collecting fewmets
Ranger Todd grew up in Cape Cod, and he seemed to know every single plant and animal around. He was really interesting to listen to and unfailingly polite. All the rangers were friendly and helpful.
Ranger Todd explaining animal bone

The Campground

There were actually campsites still available in August, if you didn't mind moving around every few days.  The rangers at the main station did not handle reservations at all. You had to connect to the Internet or call ReserveAmerica to reserve a spot, even if you were at the campground already.

It would pay to bike or drive around with the campground map to scope out where you'd like to stay the next year. There was a lot of variety.  The campsite that we thought would be walk-to-the-shore from the website map wasn't, since the map didn't show the steep dropoff between the campsite and the kettle pond.

The sites are somewhat close together, but not unusual compared to commercial sites. There were often empty sites, probably from people who reserved but couldn't make it.  The bathrooms were OK. Some were more modern than others. We brought quarters but didn't need them. The showers were free, when they weren't being cleaned.

There was a "pavilion" that would have been improved were there something to sit on within it.

There are folks who stay in the campground for the season and help out. They were good at their job and helpful if you need any sort of information about the park or surrounding area. One lady would put bouquets of wildflowers on the bathroom sink to brighten up the place. That was a nice touch.

The camp store sells firewood, which is the only firewood you're allowed to have in the park.
The canonical camping hot-dog supper
(Two years earlier, Nickerson was booked solid, so we stayed at Sweetwater Forest Campground, also in Brewster.)

Just outside the Park

There is a calm ocean beach, and grocery stores, and pizza places, and other restaurants.  You don't really need to bring a large cooler or worry about packing food.
Finding shells and hermit crabs in the ocean

Waiting for fish & chips at the Breakwater

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