Guest Blog: Woodford State Park, part 2 (plus Silver Lake State Park too!)

By photography intern Matt Parsons 

Ann was getting water when our neighbour approached her about giving away their firewood to us. Apparently they weren’t having as much luck with the green wood as were having. The two ladies said they were going out for the night and wouldn’t be back until late. They were leaving the next day and wouldn’t need to have a camp fire. Ann accepted and when they left, we went up to help ourselves. Even though we had permission, it did feel a little uncomfortable to us. I managed to have one bar of cell service so I called our friends at Townshend to confirm that Music night was still at 7. I told Pat where we were and she said come on down.

We had fun taking short cuts that our GPS sent us on. I will never remember how we got there but we got there! When we approached the pavilion Pat greeted us with a big warm hello. She proceeded to tell us that someone else camping at Woodford was here. To our surprise we were introduced to our neighbours who gave us their firewood! What are the chances of that? In respecting each others privacy we never got the chance to know each other until this Divine appointment. Things absolutely happen for a reason, despite ourselves. We had a good time getting to know Gail and her niece Allison. Gail and her sister, who was camping at Townshend that weekend, have been visiting the Park for 10 years. The rest of the night was spent laughing, singing and catching up with friends under a blanket of stars.
Saying goodbye this time was a little difficult. Pat and Gary are retiring at the end of the season and Ann and I knew that this would probably be the last time that we would see them. It was a quiet ride to camp but we found our way. Most of our gear was packed on Saturday afternoon so that we could make tracks for Massachusetts early Sunday morning. This would be something new if we managed to pull that off. On the way out we visited with Gail and Allison and exchanged addresses. We did the same with Doug and Leslie and plan for them to visit us. They were kind enough to let me take pictures of their decorated cabin for the State Parks. Talking and making friends with these folks were the highlight of our experience at Woodford. We didn’t leave the park until almost 11 am. Our early departure went out the window but so has being neighbourly. I‘ll take being neighbourly over time any day.

Floating Bridge in Brookfield, VT
The rest of our trip was an adventure as well. We programmed the GPS to Northbridge Ma. which gave us a scenic ride through the countryside. Ann realized she didn’t plug in the exact physical address until we got to Springfield. Ann programmed it in and let it recalibrate. We were now 15 minutes closer. Perfect! We stopped at a store named Klem’s. They boasted that they had everything and they weren’t lying! We found everything we needed for the Hawaiian themed party which was 5 minutes away. We hurried to put our colored pipe cleaners and Hawaiian looking dog toys together for a make shift laye. When we showed up nothing looked familiar. Either my in laws moved their house without telling us or we programmed the GPS wrong. We programmed the GPS wrong! We were now 1 hour away. At that critical point between laughter or melt down, we chose to laugh off the embarrassment and move on. Good thing because the whole family took their jabs. By that time we were well seasoned and laughed with them.

By the Floating Bridge in Brookfield 
The next day we shoved off after a late breakfast. We had no specific plan or route to take home. In my mind I wanted to explore some more Parks along the way. Ann graciously obliged despite her concern for our son who had a situation come up over the weekend that was out of his and our control. Once we got to Vermont we meandered West on route 4 until we got to route 12 North. From there we could hit 2 points of interest, Silver Lake in Barnard and the floating bridge in Brookfield, which incidentally happened to be the town in Massachusetts that put us an hour away from our destination. More laughs and jokes! It was a gorgeous day for a ride. We toured the camp grounds of Silver Lake and found them to be shaded and roomy. Most of the people were out in the sun enjoying the lake and beach area. I took a few shots and headed to Brookfield. Put a V (for visited) in the State Park column.

Scene from the Floating Bridge 
Brookfield and the floating bridge is just a short drive from Allis State Park. We bypassed the Park because we have visited before. It will make a nice camp should we ever decide to go to Thunder Road Speed Bowl for a weekend. The last time we were there, the bridge was under construction. I want to be able to tell people that we have crossed this Vermont landmark. We are crazy like that. It appeared that this spot was a favorite among the locals. People were fishing off the bridge and diving into the 80 feet deep channel. The bridge crosses Sunset Lake which is a small but picturesque lake that offers a beautiful backdrop for weddings. After walking the span and taking picture we drove to the other side and headed home.

Silver Lake State Park on a nice day 
We got back home at a reasonable time and had things put away before dark. It was a satisfying trip in many ways. As I sat on the couch and reflected of the  days gone bye, I was reminded of the new friendships we had formed and how they came about. I thought of Townshend and how many friends intentionally gather from far and wide to camp and fellowship. All of this reminded me of my childhood past when neighborhood friends purposely gathered at our favorite park, Ricker Pond to do the same thing. With all the craziness in this world, where people struggle to get along, I was surprised that the past has not been forgotten. Just like that rebellious fire that torrential rains could not put out, I am hopeful that hot embers still exists and that small acts of kindness will stir love and kindness into flame.


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