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Camping with the Stars in Naples

Aug 25, 2021 | Travel | 0 comments

It’s that time of year again, the one where Tammy and I make our “girls only” pilgrimage. Originally begun to prove to ourselves that we were perfectly capable of surviving in the wilderness alone, we have now camped in five states and have both the battle scars and stories to prove it! This year we decided to stay closer to home, returning to one of our old favorites, Ontario County Park. Located on Gannett Hill Road in Naples, NY, this rustic, low-key campground has a small RV area, tent sites, and several cabins. Bathrooms are clean with hot showers and it’s cheap-$16.00/night for two tents. OC park never feels crowded, there’s plenty of shade, and the noise is minimal, even on the weekends. There are places to bike, hike, and fish and plenty of other outdoor recreational opportunities nearby.

As one of the highest points in Ontario County (2,256 feet above sea level) you are so much closer to the stars there. Light pollution is practically nonexistent, so the night skies are mesmerizing. In normal times, the University of Rochester Department of Physics and Astronomy hosts free tours of the CEK Mees Observatory (right down the road) on Friday and Saturday nights in the summer months. Sadly, they were not happening in-person this year.

Ontario County Campground

We divided our time between exploring Naples, relaxing at our site, and creating 2021 vision boards! For me, a prequel of the trip was a stop at Cindy’s Grape Pies on Academy Street. I’d heard a rumor, which naturally I wanted to investigate, that her pies were even better than the competition’s which I was quite fond of. It turned out that the original Cindy (Trzeciak) retired in 2019 after passing her nearly fifty-year-old recipes on to Matt Cadrette and Lisa Drumheller. I got two small tarts (raspberry and purple grape) for our Sunday night dessert. They were delicious, but what I really wanted to sample was the pie described as “out of this world”, hence its name “Heavenly Red Grape Pie”. Lisa managed to unearth the last one left in her freezer for me to take home. Made entirely from scratch, using lard in the crust and Agawam grapes in the filling, this pie totally lived up to its reputation! Cindy’s pies are also available during the annual Naples Grape Festival, held annually in September since 1961.

Cindy's grape pies, Naples

Our mini-vacay officially began with brunch at Roots Café, an immensely popular, farm-to-table restaurant. Surrounded by lush green hills and vineyards, both the restaurant and the adjacent Inspire More winery are brightly colored with a relaxed vibe and a pleasant waitstaff. As with most restaurants in 2021, its best not to arrive there either starving or pressed for time. Luckily, we were neither and happily sipped our Mimosas while we waited for our Bostrum Farms sausage gravy and herb biscuits (me) and Breakfast Poutine (Tammy).

Bostrum Farms sausage gravy

We would definitely return again, but not on a day when we actually had to work afterwards. After that breakfast, setting up camp seemed to take forever! 

camping at Gannett Hill Road

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