In list form, here is some advice in case you decide to undertake a camping adventure at Tolland State Forest:
1. Advance reservations are not always necessary. Sometimes you get lucky and make a camping reservation the Wednesday before Labor day, but are still able to get a sweet lakeside campsite at one of the top 100 campsites in the U.S. of A.
2. Even though you may in fact be very experienced at setting up your tent, do not stay at family reunions late enough that you arrive at your campsite in the dark. Bad things will happen. [Let your imagination run wild for a few minutes, then move on.]
3. Do not pull into campsite in the dark, and then back up. Though it may look like a nice friendly driveway, in reality it is not. It is a sloped driveway with rocks. Many rocks that can catch the bottom of your low-riding Mazda3 Hatchback.
Oops. What a nice morning surprise!
4. Always bring a 'multi-tool' (or Leatherman) in your camping supplies. I would also advise a ratchet set, as we used it to unscrew the hanging piece of plastic after driving 30 scraping minutes and buying it at ACE hardware. The multi-tool was useful in sawing off the plastic piece when a rusted bolt just wouldn't let go. And we used it to cut up cucumber for our salads.
5. Seek out a grocery store before getting to the campground. Though our convenience store hot dogs, chips, and s'mores were good, dinner would have been better if we had driven 0.5 miles out of the way in Westfield to a real grocery store on our way to the campground.
6. Make sure you look up at the sky often, both during the day and the night. Who knew the sky was so blue/so starry?
The daytime sky. Night time sky was not photographed, so you'll have to take my word for it.
7. Make sure you visit Tolland State Forest. It's amazingly beautiful, right on a lake, and they have flush toilets and a free shower!
*Bonus Tip! We highly advise driving the back roads to Amherst on the way back to Boston for a little Antonio's action. Yum!
How was your Labor day?