Blogs > Millennial Traveler

New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'll let you in on a little secret...

…You don’t have to pay for campgrounds in order to go camping.

For example, there is amazing state-run land on the eastern side of Lake George which is completely free and somehow has been unaffected by the budget, or the lack thereof.

Shelving Rock Area is a bit rustic and just has the bare essentials, but I have made some amazing summer memories there.

This was my second year going to this wildlife area, as part of one of my friend’s annual party called Campingpalooza (and I’d say the name pretty much sums up the frivolity of the weekend).

The sites are just well-known enough, mainly to locals in that vicinity, that you may need to start camping on a weekday so you will have a better chance of getting one of the 12 sites. My friends this year got there on Tuesday to secure site #12 for our group for that weekend.

It’s not exactly a drive-up and camp type place, though. There’s no indoor plumbing, no electricity outlet, no paved road, no running water (well there was a stream and a little waterfall), and no KOA gift shop.

But, in my opinion, it was an even better experience without all of that stuff.

The parking area was large enough for about eight cars. Then there was a short trail, maybe 100 yards or so, that led to the site where we were then able to fit several tents for our group. This particular spot had an upper level with a large fire pit and then there was a lower level near the stream, short waterfall, and small pool of water. There was also a nearby outhouse.

The pine trees growing in the area acted as natural shade and air conditioning during the humid weekend.

Then, when the midday sun started to come in through the trees, we drove my boyfriend’s truck just a little more than a mile down the dirt road where there is access to Lake George. We went swimming and sunbathed on the rocks. I also took advantage of being in the open water and practiced for my whimsical goal of eventually swimming the English Channel. But instead of swimming 21 miles, I swam out to the nearby island which also has state-run campsites.

Eventually, I’m hoping to check out those island campgrounds as well. But, that will have to wait for another time and another blog entry.

For more information on Shelving Rock, go to

Friday, June 25, 2010

My first trip.

Picture if you will, an impressionable, brown-eyed, curly-haired girl around the age of three. She's being pushed in a stroller in Frontier Town in the Lake George area. Surrounded by people dressed in western garb, her parents roll her along past the wooden store fronts. When all of a sudden....boom! There is a gunfight between rooftop desperadoes and a showdown in the main dirt-covered street.

That, is my first memory. And I guess you could say it is travel-related since this was one of my first trips.

The trip to Frontier Town would be followed by countless annual treks to the Great Escape, Magic Forest, and, my favorite, the Catskill Gamefarm, which has since closed unfortunately.

Eventually, my tastes started to outgrow the theme parks. I think from an early age my parents knew I had an interest in travel and learning about the world. They assuredly knew before I did, anyway.

I recently started thinking about when I first became interested in it and I gave myself one of those cliche answers: "I've always been interested in it." Well, I finally pinpointed always to in elementary school when my favorite book was Where's Waldo and my favorite show was Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego. I loved this idea of going from one destination to another which Waldo did consistently and you had to find him each time. The premise was similar for Carmen Sandiego only she was the stereotypical bad guy. But she was a bad guy with taste. She surrounded herself with amazing objects of beauty and historical significance - the Louvre, Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower, the Nile River.

I guess, looking back, I wanted to be surrounded by these things too. But instead of somehow stealing or sucking them up in some cartoon-fashion, I've just collected postcards along the way instead.

I've realized through my travels that you don't have to go across the world to another continent, another hemisphere, another timezone to find history, fun, and adventure - which, to me, are the main reasons I travel. Through my annual summer trips with my parents, to theme parks and Lake Placid, I came to love my own backyard. (You don't have to be a huge hockey fan to enjoy the significance of Lake Placid as the home of the Miracle on Ice or an engineer to appreciate RPI as the first English-speaking engineering school in this hemisphere).

I've climbed completely alone through the Great Pyramid of Giza, dropped my camera at the Pantheon in Paris, craved a hot chocolate on a ship in the fjords of Norway, had a run in with a burglar on an overnight train in Hungary (my parents are still annoyed about that one), but somehow I always find my way home.

In this blog, I plan to write about my past, present and future traveling experiences. I'm going on a camping trip at Shelving Rock, a rustic state-run campground near Lake George, this weekend and I'm currently planning my cross-country trip which will start on July 1.

I'm sure this will be quite the ride.