Ten days and counting until we officially kick off our 2017 Love Shack season. We pulled the van out of the barn last weekend to start to get it ready, only to discover that it had been home to a large colony of mice over the winter months. They had made their way into the bedding and towels; found the leftover pistachios; and spread droppings in just about every conceivable place. So we hauled everything out of the van and into the house for cleaning and repacking. As in the past, the dining room table became Love Shack central—allowing me to organize and even downsize a little bit.
Hard to believe that I could actually over-pack in the van! But, it’s true. I know from experience that I do not need six potholders or 8 bath towels. A couple of blankets and one set of sheets is more than enough, and unless we are entertaining, two coffee mugs are plenty. So everything got washed, but I only repacked what I am sure we will use. Our longest trip planned for this summer is only about a week, so I won’t even need my two clothes drawers!
Our first trip will be down to Gunstock Mountain in New Hampshire for Memorial Day Weekend. This particular spot has great significance in our Love Shack history. We first thought about doing something different when we spent five hours sleeping (or trying to sleep) in the bed of Brian’s truck after a Tedeschi & Trucks Meadowbrook show. That experience led us to thinking about better camping accommodations, which in turn led us to build the Love Shack. Then, during our first summer with the van, we spent a long weekend at the same spot and dared to dream enough to plot out our future month-long cross-country tour—which turned out to be our best-ever vacation experience.
Gunstock is a fine place to hang out, offering plenty of hiking trails, clean bathrooms and showers, a decent restaurant and a variety of activities like zip-lining, Segway tours, aerial treetop adventures and a brand new mountain coaster. And, two of the key attractions for us: dogs welcome, and it’s a short cab ride to Meadowbrook to see whatever great music they have lined up. Gunstock can host anything from the single person tent to a large RV and has various areas where sites are set up, including some designed for group camping. There’s a pool and small store, and plenty to do and see in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. For our needs, we pick a remote site, with water and electric, as our home base. It’s a short walk to the bathhouse. Each time we visit we discover different trails to hike. Gunstock also hosts a variety of events throughout the summer season from craft fairs to bike swaps and their annual Soulfest event. Check it out at www.gunstock.com
This year, we have two weekends booked at Gunstock that coincide with shows we are attending at Meadowbroow—Zac Brown over the Memorial Day Weekend and Tedeschi & Trucks for July 1. It’s good to go to a familiar place for our first venture out in the Love Shack this season. We know the site we are on and exactly how to position the van and the screen house, etc., for maximum fun and unwinding. We know from experience that it takes about 20 minutes from arrival to relaxation. Though never planned out or really even discussed, Brian and I each go about various tasks of setting up on arrival. It’s amazing really, the sense of relief and release we have once we are settled in.
Even if you are not a camper—I recommend spending some time with friends around a campfire sometime this summer—hard to imagine anyone not enjoying that.