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Despite unfavorable weather forecast, camping at Burlingame State Park a successful endeavor

August 23, 2012

Map of Burlingame State Park in Charlestown courtesy of

CHARLESTOWN - The forecast called for rain.

Every television and radio weather report, as well as every meteorological website all said the same thing for Saturday, Aug. 11: Thunderstorms. It was supposed to rain heavily, on and off, all day long and deep into the night.

The sky confirmed this prognostication. It was gray and gloomy, looking as if it were ready to burst open at any second. From Providence down to Charlestown, it looked like it was going to rain.

I arrived at Burlingame Campground at approximately 2 p.m., and immediately set up large tarp, tied between two trees, in order to provide a dry space for a fire. I stood on top of my car to tie the corners of the tarp high in the trees, and then used small metal stakes to pin the bottom half in the dirt, creating a diagonal rain shield.

However, something funny happened as I was setting up my dry campsite haven: The sun came out. Peaking through the over-hanging trees I could see more blue in the sky than gray. The clouds were dispersing and the threat of rain now seemed like a joke.

Refreshed by my own new weather forecast, I decided to take a walk through the campground, and was amazed at what I found.

Every single campsite, save for maybe a handful out of nearly 800, was occupied. And not just occupied like mine was, with a small car, a 2-person tent, two folding chairs and a hanging tarp, but occupied by people who had been there for more than just a day.

There were almost small villages set up. Big tents, small tents, campers, tow-behind trailers, clothes and towels drying on lines, boats, bikes, canoes, rafts, fires, grills, party goods, and just about everything else one could imagine in a campsite.

It appeared as if the rain had no affect on the loyal campers of Burlingame.

The park boasts 3,100 acres of rocky woodland that is all centered off of one main road. From that road are numerous smaller paths with campsites galore. All of which seem to fill up on weekends, rain or shine.

As it is situated along the banks of Watchaug Pond, there are swimming areas and boating access points. The pond is great for swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing and fishing.

There are also trails in the park for hikers, and open field spaces for a game of catch.

A sign leading into the park reads, “Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footsteps.” These words echo through the trees of the park, where it gets absolutely silent except for the sounds of the woods when the sun goes down.


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