We drove the almost four hours in Boston and Cape Cod traffic to get to the camp site. High hopes in mind, knowing our friends, we rolled into the campgrounds, ready for a few days of heavy relaxation, good eating, and plenty of beach and fireside chats. But the campground was nothing like we expected. RVs stacked one on top of the other, kids riding around on tricycles everywhere…everywhere I tell you. No room for any privacy, or relaxation for that matter. Wooden placards proudly declaring the family name, as if this was their summer home. Something straight out of a Chevy Chase movie.
Which is why, after spending a terrifying half hour trying to find our friends among RVs made to look like log cabins, complete with front steps and house plants, I can hardly explain the relief and excitement at realizing we were in the wrong campground, and finally making it to our friends at the most beautiful campsite I’ve ever seen. Some of the things I’m about to say here might sound a bit far-fetched, but amazingly true.
We drove up to a calm, lantern-lit site where our friends were fixing dinner and listening to music in their just-made camp kitchen, with the fire going in front of a makeshift couch. No joke. Chive knows how to do it right — they brought a futon cushion, found a pallet on the way down, and made a couch complete with blankets and pillows. The stars were out in full force. We had an amazing dinner of striped bass with veggies on the grill, and a delicious dark and stormy. Welcome, welcome vacation…welcome. I think they call this glamping.
This was, honestly, a camping trip of epic proportions. I decided early on to just experience it, rather than spend much of my days looking through my camera lens. Although I’m always eager to photograph, it was really nice to just see, breathe, taste, smell and get the whole experience straight up. Hardly any food shots this week – my priority clearly was eating.
Going to sleep and waking up when my body was ready. Coffee in the morning, reading, beach walks, shooting stars, three delicious meals a day. And somehow, not a hot dog or burger in sight. Chive brought their meat smoker down, which was put to amazing use with wild salmon, bluefish, and marinated pork belly, finished on the grill. Veggies galore. Cooking in the most fun camping kitchen I have ever seen. Actually, not sure if I’ve ever seen a “real” camping kitchen until now.
A solar-powered ice cream truck just appeared at our campsite after the beach, offering homemade ice cream sandwiches with chocolate chip cookies and any flavor you choose. Hello, freshly picked mint chocolate chip, you are the best thing ever. I got really into making compound butters in their mortar and pestle – I can see this is going to become a delicious problem, as I already eagerly made a dill-garlic-parsley-sorrel butter upon my return. And of course, we had to have s’mores and banana boats!
My friend Jen thrives off of problem solving and design, so when a seemingly endless rainstorm showed up, she bought the world’s largest tarp and we teamed up as she shimmied up trees to build shelter from the storm. And I’ve learned that a trip to the Cape isn’t complete without a stop at PB Boulangerie. Sweet and savory pastries galore, perfect for our rainy day, which happily cleared up quickly. (Don, you’d be proud of our spread! Croque Monsieurs for days.)
This sense of coziness and design was also brought to the beach, with plenty of tapestries supported by driftwood to shade us from the sun. Man!