Date of Stay: September, 2009
We camped at Sutton Falls with three other families during Labor Day weekend, in order to attend the Woodstock Agricultural Fair in nearby Woodstock, CT. Upon arrival, our first impression was the pale of smoke that blanketed the campground. We were told not to bring our own wood because of concerns of an invasive beetle that destroys trees, so I thought it odd that there was so much smoke. What were they doing, GIVING firewood away? The answer lies later in this report. The unique feature of this campground is the covered bridge that provides the only entry to the main part of the campground. Although it appears to be high enough to accommodate most rigs, one of the families we usually camp with (but not this time) had concerns that it would not clear their Class A motorhome. I did observe a couple of pretty high 5th wheels within the campground, so personally, I think they would be okay. The camp store is a post and beam constructed building, which you will appreciate if you are into those kinds of things. (Also check out the rough hewn joists on the ceiling in the playroom downstairs.) The covered bridge also spans a waterfall, which was just a trickle when we were here. The sites we were assigned were very nice and on a cul-de-sac. While that limited our traffic somewhat, it also didn’t allow for much parking. One of our neighbors had some visitors, so it meant blocked in cars, etc., but it wasn’t an issue. We had both water and sewer on these sites, which was a nice convenience. The cinder block fireplace was not very aesthetic, and also immovable, which was a bit of a nuisance. The picnic tables were excellent and in good condition. The pond the campground surrounds is very serene and it has a nice sandy beach and a raft for diving off. The water was pretty clear at the time of our visit. We were away at the fair most of the day on Saturday, so missed the free ice cream social and whatever entertainment they had on Saturday night. Sunday, they had games for the kids and a karaoke that ended at 9 PM. Since we were here on Sunday night, we decided to have a campfire. They sell firewood by the wheelbarrow load at the camp store for $12 a load (since you can't bring your own). It looked like nice hardwood, so we hauled a load back to our site. After we finally got a fire going, we discovered the probable cause for all the smoke in the campground: the wood was not fully seasoned. It could have used a few more months lying in the sun. Fortunately, there was very little wind that night, so the considerable smoke went straight up. There was a full corn moon that weekend, which also added to the ambiance. Something that struck us as different about the people (fellow campers) at this campground was that most of them were very friendly. I mean VERY friendly, almost to the point of telling you their whole life story. We found several people like that on this particular trip that gave us kind of a chuckle. They also wanted to help when we were setting up. We were a party of 8 adults, each with about 30 years of camping experience, so I’m sure we could figure it out. I know they meant well. On the other hand, we are also noticing a gradual decline in common courtesy, with people cutting through our site on a regular basis and even depositing their trash in our garbage! Not just at this campground, but everywhere we camped this year. Not sure what is causing this, but I hope it’s not a trend. So all in all, we had a very positive experience at Sutton Falls. The facility is well maintained, the infrastructure is strong and the staff was pleasant to deal with. For the size of the campground, it could use another bathroom/shower building. The bathrooms in place are also kind of cramped. About the only amenity that we would have liked to see was Wi-Fi, which we are finding more common everywhere we camp. Otherwise, a great place to camp. (Except if you have asthma or other breathing conditions.)
Date of Stay: July, 2009
We had a party of five families on four sites for Independence Day weekend, 2009. We were assigned spaces on McLeod Field, which is essentially a dirt and grass safari area with no trees. There is a large fire pit in the center of the "U", so none of these sites were given a fire ring, so plan accordingly if you like to cook over an open fire. (There was some evidence that you could request a ring). We had rather cool weather for July, so the direct sun wasn't a problem, but I imagine that this area bakes when the weather is hot, so ask for a shaded site if you have little kids. We chose Oak Haven because of its proximity to the Stafford Motor Speedway, where we attended their 4th of July event, and the reasonable rates for a holiday weekend ($38/night), although we felt a $16 guest fee per adult was a bit excessive. The facilities are very nice, with a brand new rec hall (still under construction at this writing) and a pretty new pool. The campground roads are a bit rough however, with ruts and uneven surfaces. In fact, one of the little kids in our group took a nasty spill on his way to the playground one day. One of the conditions we found not quite so desireable was a strong sulfur smell to the water supply on three of the four sites we had. This caused an undesirable smell inside the RVs, especially in the toilet and bath areas. When we mentioned this to the office, they denied that there was a problem. One of our neighbors who was not part of our party, said that he was having an issue too. It did abate during day 3 and 4 of our stay, so the advice is to run your faucet for awhile before hooking up to your water system. It's generally common courtesy not to cut through people's sites, but we found that the seasonals near us apparently thought that our transient area was "theirs" whether the sites were occupied or not, even driving a car through at one point. We tried to position our vehicles to give us some privacy, but they walked through anyway. (Senior citizens no less). They keep the place very clean. The bathrooms were spotless and they sweep out the fireplaces after you leave. There is free Wi-Fi, and you can order your favorite (local region) Sunday paper at the office at no additional charge. Overall, we found camping at Oak Haven a pleasant experience and would camp there again.
Date of Stay: May, 2009
I was with a group of four families that camped here Memorial Day weekend, 2009. This facility appears to be entirely run by an older couple who are in over their heads. The campground itself is nice enough, but the infrastructure is crumbling around them. Our first problem was with the pressure relief valve on the water faucet. It leaked like a sieve on my site and an adjoining one, and when I reported it, the solution was to hook up a “Y” connection with another site that didn’t have a problem. Good thing the neighbor was accommodating! The next problem was with the power. One in our party has a 36 foot Class A motorhome and their site had only 15 amp service! The solution was to again swap with someone who had a 30 amp connection. We were on their safari field and there were hoses and cords running all over the place. The roads in the campground were in deplorable shape with deep ruts and washouts, so you had to move extremely slow in order not to bottom out your rig or tow vehicle. The area near the dumping station was extremely bad, where we actually backed up and turned around our units, rather than having to traverse the affected area. We had a minor problem with our billing because a child over 5 who was supposed to be with us when we booked the reservation wasn’t, so we had $12 coming back to us. Asking for our refund seemed to be an imposition, and the owner was indignant that one of our party couldn’t make it because of a medical condition and wanted to know how she was going to get the balance owed! On the plus side, they had activities like cards, bingo and a DJ, as well as horseshoes and bocci, although the latter two I think were mostly pick up games with a group that appeared to know each other. The hayride advertised in their flyer never materialized and the pool looked like it was not quite ready for prime time with algaecide foam floating on the top. A point of interest is that they actually have the remnants of an old sawmill within their office/store/game room complex. Also a plus is that their rates were a very reasonable $36 a night for a holiday weekend. So overall I’d say that we probably won’t return due to the poor condition of the facilities and the attitude of the two people we had to deal with, who I assume are the owners. The overall attitude can be described as grumpy. If what I have described would not be concerns to you, then this place can be considered a good value.