The Phoenix Nest

Calef Lake Camping Area, near Auburn, New Hampshire

Calef Lake Camping Area, near Auburn, New Hampshire

A Target Destination on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour

By Jim Fulton

About This Page

A Message from the Phoenix

This is a Keepable Popup
Abstract

Boston: culture, history (both national and personal), family too distant from Seattle to visit more than occasionally. There were lots of reasons to visit this region. Far more than I could take advantage of. As usual with large cities, I didn't stay in a campground close to Boston. I found a park near Aururn, New Hampshire, just east of Manchester, that offered reasonable proximity to both Boston and family.

Page Prerequisites
Page Specifications
Id Flights_GFT_2018_0515
Title Calef Lake Camping Area, near Auburn, New Hampshire
Subtitle A Target Destination on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour
Keywords Auburn, New Hampshire, Calef Lake Camping Area, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Boston, Massachusetts
Author Jim Fulton
Author's URL https://fenixnest/Phoenix/
Copyright 2017
Status Development Began: 2018/2/19
Last Revised 2018-06-17

Auburn, New Hampshire

Arrived 2018/5/15
Day of Tour 297
Nights Stayed 10
Departed 2018/5/25
Map miles from last stop 106
Mileage on arrival 37,113
Actual miles from last stop 334
Accumulated miles for trip 18,596

Click "More options" to view full-size version.

Boston: culture, history (both national and personal), with nearby family too distant from Seattle to visit more than occasionally. There were lots of reasons to visit this region. Far more than I could take advantage of.

As usual with large cities, I didn't stay in a campground close to Boston. I found a park near Aururn, New Hampshire, just east of Manchester, that offered reasonable proximity to both Boston and family. I had originally intended to stay for two full weeks, but the visit happened on Memorial Day Weekend, and they were all booked up. So I had to move the weekend to my next stop in Vermont.

Page Contents

Auburn, New Hampshire

I was raised in Kansas, where country roads are typically along square-mile sections, and run either north-south or east-west. Towns normally follow the pattern of rectilinear grids of streets, with a definite distinction between arterial and residential streets. That background is of absolutely no use in navigating New England and especially in upper New Hampshire. People plunked down their houses and farms wherever they wanted ("Live Free or Die!" is their motto.) The wagon ruts that were deepest through being most used, got paved and turned into streets and roads. They wind hither, thither, and yon, well-known to the locals, but unfathomable to yokels like me. After ten days, I finally learned a few of the landmarks and turns that allowed me to get back to my trailer without using my GPS; and a good thing too, since my GPS could never find a signal.

That said, there's something hauntingly attractive about New England, at least in the summer. My brother Jay's stories of clearing snow and hauling firewood in the winter guarantee that I, with my home-maintenance-hating personality, will never spend a winter here.

The Journey to Auburn

Regular visitors will notice only a slight movement on my map this week. If I'd followed Google Maps' recommendation to stay on freeways, it would have been only an hour and a half from Massachusetts to New Hampshire. Instead I took back roads, and it took three hours.

However, the back roads are not easy in MA: they're crumbling and bumpy. NH has done a much better job, except in Nashua, where at least they're working on the problem.

Calef Lake Camping Area

This campground is intended for long-term residents, seasonals, if not permanent. When sites become available, they are rented to transients like myself, but that is not the primary business model for the park, and it is not managed for their convenience. Mail and packages were not provided for. Indeed, Netflix warned me when I put their address in, that they couldn't assure delivery.

When I arrived, there was no one to check me in or show me my site. I had to walk over to a place where I heard them chipping branches (I knew the sound from doing similar work half a century ago), to find someone in charge. He took me to my site and helped me back into it, and it's a good thing he did: there was a deck on one side and a severe drop-off on the other, and not much room in front to maneuver. The water hookup was under the trailer, where it could be protected from the elements in winter. The sewer hookup was along that drop-off, and during my stay, my flexible sewer hose kept rolling down the hill. (Long-termers use a rigid pipe.)

The campground is located on the undulating hills of New Hampshire, preventing any kind of uniformity in arranging sites. That's not a bad thing; I like campgrounds with irregular layouts. But Calef Lake has packed the sites in a little too closely for my taste, a problem exacerbated by the fact that most of the trailers have "add-a-rooms" or at least covered decks in front of them. Many had "fences" of firewood around the site, I assume for campfires. I've not heard of any fireplaces that can be used in RVs.

Cellular service and hence internet was poor, and there was no campground wifi. The Google and Wikipedia research that I needed to do was extremely slow, so for the most part I turned to tasks that did not require them. This dark gray communications hole persisted into Vermont, keeping me out of easy touch for three weeks.

For RVers that suit the demographics of their business model, this is a lovely park in a lushly forested, relatively remote part of New England, with satisfactory access to the interstates to Boston and elsewhere. Other patrons should be ready to suck up their expectations and deal with it.

Photo Gallery for Calef Lake Camping Area

Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
Calef Lake Camping Area
The Phoenix Nest at Calef Lake.
Calef Lake Camping Area
The drop-off next to the Phoenix Nest.
Calef Lake Camping Area
Address 593 Chester Rd.
Auburn NH 03032
Home Page https://www.caleflakecampingarea.com/
Phone ‭(603) 483-8282‬
Associations
  • none
Rate (net US$) $34
Pros
  • Beautiful, wooded campground
  • Helpful staff
Cons
  • Management not available for check-in or package delivery
  • Narrow site with severe drop-off
  • Very poor cell/wifi connection
Reviews (as of 2018/6/9)
Reviewer Rating Out of
RV Park Reviews 7.4 Good 10
Good Sam 5 10
KOA n/a 5
Tripadvisor n/a 5
Phoenix 5 10
  Site Type back-in  
  Site Size 5 10
  Ease of Access 3 10
  WiFiPhoenix 3 10

Points of Interest

Boston, I'm sure, ranks high in any list of popular American cities. More than that, I spent my freshman year at M.I.T. in Cambridge, and three years in nearby Providence when I did graduate work at Brown at decade later. Although we didn't visit Boston frequently, it was alway one of our primary wantados. So in planning this trip, I allocated a full two weeks to the region, given that I also had family to visit here. That got trimmed down to ten days when the campground was booked for Memorial Day. Nonetheless I managed three trips to the city during my stay.

Boston Natural History Museums

First on my list of targets were the Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Boston Museum of Science, both of whose websites lured me with the promise of fossils galore. Harvard's museum, as you might expect, was the most comprehensive. Like Yale's museum, the collection seems to follow the interests of leading faculty members, as well as the curator's sense of what will attract schoolkids, of which there were plenty. So there were significant gaps in the coverage of major periods of evolution, particularly Cambrian and Precambrian fossils. A wing of the museum focussed on comparative zoology and housed a large collection of taxidermied modern animals. I made the decision not to include photographs of these in my own collection. Somehow, I am put off by stuffed animals. The photos below include not only those from the museum, but also from my wandering around Harvard.

Photo Gallery for Harvard Museum of Natural History

Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
My M.I.T. annual included a photo of this statue with a door chained to it that read "Johnny on the Spot" with the 'S' crossed out, purloined from a local portapotty vendor, a prank of my M.I.T contemporaries.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History

The Boston Museum of Science is a different kind of museum. It was designed from the outset to attract the community, especially children of all ages, not, like Harvard's museum to provide a place to house the products of faculty research. The MoS provides a rich variety of hands-on exhibits that schoolkids on field trips were lining up for, each reinforcing some factoid to be later and elsewhere intrigrated into an understanding of the world of science. Paleontology and fossils were only a small part of their exhibits, and although I took photographs that I will include in my collection, there was little novel to be found.

Photo Gallery for the Boston Museum of Science

Boston Museum of Science
Boston Museum of Science
Boston Museum of Science
Boston Museum of Science
Boston Museum of Science

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you're probably getting tired of this disclaimer and promissory note, but I still want to remind you that the photos above are only a small subset of what I collected at these museums. As of right now, however, I am unable to show you more than a few of the best of them, since I have begun planning a major consolidation of my fossil photo collection, and the time it would take to organize a temporary local collection, for each of the museums I have not yet shown to you, would impede that redevelopment. But I'm not allowing myself to work on it until my weekly blogs are up to date. The photos will come, I promise you, though I suspect it will not be until next fall.

Boston, Massachusetts

There is so much see in Boston of major historical value. The Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, Bunker Hill, Old Ironsides, the Old North Church, Faneuil Hall, the Boston Common, even Charlie and the MTA - all these have a hold on our comprehension of the American Revolution. More to see than these old bones can handle. So I settled mainly for a bus tour. This one was not nearly so good as those I took in Savannah or New York. Many of the attractions I could see and photograph only at a distance, and of course half the others were on the other side of the bus. Ah well, this was a memory tour; I'm not building a documentary. After the tour was over, I did swing by what once housed the Kappa Sigma fraternity, where I lived during my freshman year at M.I.T., for which I was abundantly ill-prepared.

Photo Gallery for Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts

Onward

My next stop after leaving Auburn and Boston was Saint Johnsbury, Vermont, which will get me finally out of the east coast megapolis.

Comments and Conversation

What follows are comments and conversations I have had with people about this page of The Phoenix Nest.

Dialog 1

Oops! Could not find that item!

 ×

Content of Message Not Found!