This weekend was a bit of a reunion weekend for Albany John and some of his friends from his SUNY days. Most of them have moved around the northeast and midatlantic states and the super planner arranging the whole trip identified Riverside Campground as the ideal mid-point for everyone. It really was. Located in Montgomery, PA, Riverside Campground was about 4-5 hours from everyone who came (Albany, Long Island, Delaware, Virginia).
We left on Friday, and it was a fairly straight shot on Interstate 90, I 88, and PA 220.
We took a few pit stops along the way. I should have packed snacks, but hindsight’s 20-20, right? We passed the chains, opting for more local places. Eugh. We should have gone to McDonald’s! We stopped at one place and I got a snacky bar, while Albany John got a burger he described as “dry and possibly made of horse” that cost $3.50. Oookie dokie. So if you want palatable food, Micky D’s might be your best option. Pretty sad.
Albany John flipped his lid when we landed at the Dandy Mini Mart (they’re a PA chain). They sold live bait in a vending machine outside of the store. You know you’re in the country when you see that!
I found some kettle chips. The Middlesworth BBQ flavored kettle chips were thickly cut, crunchy (not really kettle chip-y, but solid), but best of all they were like the BEST BBQ chip ever. Salty, sweet, a little spicy kick, and one hell of a smoky flavor that tasted porky.
There were camping spaces to rent, but being a princess and neurotic about having to find a public/camp-wide restroom to use in the middle of the night, I begged that we get in the “cabin”. I say “cabin” because it was a trailer with some oddly made bunk beds. There were two bunk beds and one fold out couch, sleeping 9 people. We got top bunk, which had a whopping foot of space above the mattress. Much shimmying was done. Oh, and the ceiling of the “cabin” wasn’t sanded down, but it was laquered, so every time you moved your hand and brushed against it – “SSSCCRRAATTCCCHHH”.
I think it might have been better to camp outside. The public bathrooms weren’t that bad (BYO soap, though).
The worst part was how farty the water smelled, though! It was ripe with sulfur. Peee-yew! Albany John and I ended up not showering the whole weekend (and thereby roughing it) because the smell was so bad. Like, gag-inducing bad. I don’t know how some of these people did it. I mean, I’ve had some jobs that I’ve reeked coming out of, but this… oh man, it was BAD.
The lounge at Riverside Campground. Actually, this wasn’t too bad. They had a bar and pool table, and music on the weekends.
It turns out that Riverside Campgrounds houses some people year-round who live in trailers. They are easy to spot since they’ve decorated the land around their plot and trailer.
Other people camp there – it is very cheap to camp. As it turns out, it is also a popular spot in the Montgomery, PA area to have an affair since it is cheaper than a hotel (like $25-35 a night for a spot). One of the “neighbors” told us that after some of our group worried that we’d been too loud and chased someone off.
For what it’s worth, you can pretty much be as loud as you want. Or warn them that there’s a reunion coming. I think they warned the people around where we were staying that we might be loud and rowdy. But there’s no quiet hour, and no one really had any complaints. It probably also didn’t hurt that we were really close to a railroad that ran at night, too.
No, it turns out the most annoying thing at camp was this guy from Texas, who came over our first night asking to buy beer off of us with a $20 and to “take what he’d want” hello, red flag! We gave him one beer to try and politely shoo him off (lamenting the lack of Bud light or Coors and questioning Labatt), and started off with saying how he was from Texas. I could see where this was going (guilt the Yankees by talking about Southern hospitality – a total dick move), and tried cutting him off with “Great, what part? I’m from Texas, too.” (i.e. – don’t be that guy, man. People from Texas also wouldn’t be as rude as you’re being now and you know it), he eventually went away. He just wanted to stay and hang out and party, which is what all the neighbors said was driving them nuts too: “That Texas guy will NOT go away!”
On Saturday morning the mister and I checked out the pool. I wasn’t expecting much, but it was well maintained. They even had a whale that wasn’t connected to anything sitting on the side.
Which means, TOURIST TIME!!! Albany John accidentally cut off my head in this picture, so you guys get a sweet shot of me riding the whale. It was at this point that I was living the white trash vacation I’d never had as a child. Seriously – I’d always wanted to go camping, but my mom is not an outdoorsy person, and we settled for the white trash 2nd best – the above ground pool. Consequently, I’d never known that above ground pools were white trash.
I promise I didn’t dress to match the whale, it just happened that way.
Alright, I know, where’s the food, right? Well, being a semi-super planner, I found out that there’s a town nearby called Williamsport, PA nearby. It was about 10 miles away, and more of a city.
Like a moth to the fire, I found the farmers market. Actually, I got lost looking for Wegmans, and toured around here. I was only a block or two off.
Across the lot from the farmers market was a seafood place – Helmrich’s Seafood. Selling lobsters for $6.99 per pound. DUDE! I haven’t had a lobster all year!
They had some rather fresh looking stuff, but we weren’t on the roster to cook until Sunday, and the “cabin” only had a mini fridge (SERIOUSLY! It’ll sleep 9 people and only has a mini fridge.) that was already at max capacity.
Unfortunately, while Helmrich’s serves fried platters and dinners, they wouldn’t steam a lobster for me. I think they could have, since when Albany John asked someone, she looked at someone else, and there was a pause before hearing “no”. Ok, fine, suit yourself, you just lost yourself a sale. I hate that – when you go in, and they know they can do it, but don’t want to. Dude, I would have gotten like three lobsters. I didn’t really have anywhere to cook them at camp, and I’m not going to be the asshole bringing back lobsters without enough to share (and even though they were $6.99/lb, it’s not like I could afford 22).
The friendly folks at the farmers market pointed me to Wegmans. Hooray!
I don’t know if this is a PA thing, but people were leaving their dogs in cars all over the place. It wasn’t for very long, and not very hot, but it still made me uneasy. Leave the pooch at home, people!
Wegmans had not only an extensive olive bar, but also a tapas bar, and a dip bar!
The Castelvetrano olives are my new favorite. They’re like part olive, part cucumber, and part avocado. Light, creamy, and so satisfying. I went back the next day and grabbed a pint of just them.
This dip was a total win. Artichoke & Asiago dip. So cheesey and artichokey and good!
They had samples galore. This was a salmon burger with seafood horseradish on it. Yummy.
I found a bunch of neat things to dry. Like the Wegmans brand Diet Wedge Cherry soda – $0.79 for a 2 liter and dude – if they were here I’d become one of those soda addicts. It’s like a non-alcoholic lime rickey!
Trust that my love of food shopping knows no bounds, and that I’d done my research before heading out. I’d heard tale of Surplus Outlet, a wonderland of discounted miscellany.
It was like Big Lots on crack. So much stuff. Fireworks, sodas, toiletries, pet stuff, frozen foods, produce…
WOW!!!! OUT-DATED MEDICINES!
A steal at only half a cent each. Can they even sell these? I don’t know, but if you need expired pregnancy vitamin supplements, or eye flushes, this is THE place to go in Montgomery, PA.
There was a bevy of frozen food items. I bet a lot of restaurants shop here for snacky bar foods. Like most discount places, some things were insanely cheap, while other items could be better purchased at the grocery store (frozen chicken breasts for $2.66/lb here, versus less processed fresh chicken boobs at Wegmans for $1.99/lb).
I’m glad they highlighted the DO NOT section of the sign, and that another caring patron corrected the improper grammar. I’ll bet Surplus Outlet was just being thrifty with their ink, though.
Chilled section. Yogurts, imitation butters, fruits…
Wall O Meats! I imagine my friend Mr. Dave would have purchased at least one of these ‘delights’ for the sake of science.
Don’t you love being nosy and peeping in other peoples’ carts? The family in front of us spent $225! Gatorade, frozen pizzas, hot dogs, frozen snacky meats (popcorn chicken/pork)… I would have been in hog heaven as a kid, and probably about the same shape, too.
Here’s our cart. We spent $50 on this crap, and if we had access to a fridge, we likely would have spent even more. So many ‘bargains’ to buy! lol! There were so many “What the hell is this?” “I don’t know, get it” moments. Sour starch for $0.25 – I have no idea what it is, but Albany John is excited to do something with it.
To be fair though, a good $15-$20 of that price was in FIREWORKS. I learned that Albany John is the wildcard of the bunch. They never quite know what he’s going to do, if anything, but it’s usually fairly impressive/dangerous. He lived up to it by buying a shit ton of fireworks.
And by the by, I’m sure you won’t be surprised at this point, but Riverside Campgrounds is perfectly fine with you buying and setting off fireworks. Hell, they were okay with guns, so long as you shot them with your back to camp (“safety first”).
We came back to a lunch of hot dogs. Nice and toasty done over the fire. There were no BBQs. You’d have to BYOBBQ if you wanted to grill anything. So my group just popped one of the oven racks out of the “cabin” and popped it over the fire. Smart thinking, those guys!
Oh, and some mussles steamed with garlic and butter from Wegmans. For only $1.64!!! They were great, too. I found them in a cooler section next to the seafood. I wish we had something like that in Albany. Wegmans, come up here. We’re totally ready for you and your delicious foods.
My little buddy during lunch. He sat under my chair mooching off my butt shade, being all cute like that.
Souvenir magnets!! Haha!!! Awesome sauce! Mrs. Super Planner made the ones on the right. And I’m surprised that Riverside Campgrounds had their own magnets. (BTW, if you’re looking for the mini golf on their website, they got rid of it two years ago).
Some snacky goodness with smattering of things from the bar of tasty foods at Wegmans. Olives and a dolma. All of the olives were very easy to eat, but those castelvetranos were awesome. They’d be great in a martini.
We also tucked into some of the goods from Surplus Outlet. These Reese’s Select Clusters were amazing. Reeses and Snickers delicious love child. Nutty, caramely, and chock full of peanut flavor.
Riverside Campgrounds has happy hour every day from 5 pm – 7 pm in the lounge. All tap beers are $1. ONE DOLLAR. DUDE! And they had some good beer, too. I was loving the Landshark.
Played some pool with my buddies before going back to the ‘cabin’ to recharge my batteries with a nap.
The next morning, we had delicious breakfast burritos. These. Were. Epic. The folks making them also lived in Cali for a while, so I suspect they are breakfast burrito pros. These are better than the ones I’ve eaten in Texas.
We had lunch duty, which necessitated a morning trip to Wegmans (yay!). I soaked some wheat berries overnight, and added fresh veggies from the store. Red, orange, and yellow tomatoes; zucchini; red onion.
Nabbed a pork loin. It was huge! Like 10# huge! It was Hormel brand, which I figured was better than Smithfield, although in all likelihood, just as bad. Still, it tasted quite porkier than Smithfield products. I liked it. Albany John marinated them in some spices and oil. Grilled over the fire. Manly!
Here’s a little bit of everything. Wheat berry salad, pork chop, boiled corn, and home made pickles. I made way too many pickles!
After that, we lounged around a bit before heading out. Somehow I managed to drive both ways there and back. Bring extra windshield washer fluid. That is one loooong buggy drive. I recommend picking up a pizza on your way home.