Sunday, July 8, 2018

Preparing to Camp with your Pets

If there is one human activity dogs were made for it is camping.  All the new smells, long leisurely walks, sitting by the campfire;  but what can be done to best prepare for our dogs?  Keep reading for some ideas to make camping with your dog a great experience for all!

1.  Proper dog walking equipment. This would be a collar/harness and a leash. The leash should ideally be no more than 6 ft,  leave your retractable leash at home for this trip. Due to the close proximity of one camp site to another retractable leashes pose a serious threat to both dog and human. Dogs could run out in front of vehicles, get into altercations with people or other dogs, or wrap the leash around your legs and cause injury.

2. Proof of rabies vaccination.  While you probably won't be required to show this upon check-in, it should be with you. Most campgrounds are located in rural settings and there will most likely be wild animals hanging around the campgrounds. Raccoons, skunks, foxes etc all carry rabies. Save yourself and your pet from expensive quarantine requirements should they become involved in a dog to dog fight, bite a human, or tangle with a wild animal.

3.  Bring some sort of outdoor restraint.  Many people bring portable dog pens, or a "tie-out" that can be attached to something sturdy. This way your dog can hang out with you outside without risk of wandering off. Along this line however, never leave your dog unattended while outside. Most campgrounds specifically address this in their Campground Rules and Regulations. Nuisance barking and temperature related stress for your dog can result from being left alone outside.

4.  Bring along toys/comfort items. Your furry family member may prefer your bed for sleeping, but if not, bring along his/her dog bed. Are you planning on going places your dog would not be welcomed, or would be too stressed to attend? Consider boredom toys. An example of this would be a Kong cone filled with peanut butter and frozen, or a puzzle ball filled with treats. This should keep most dogs happy for quite awhile. You can also inquire about local pet-sitting companies, they will come and walk/play with your dog while you are gone.

5.  Bring the same dog food you usually feed. Now is not the time to try something new, including  treats.  If your dog has never had peanut butter then fill your Kong with familiar treats. And, if you have a dog with a sensitive stomach you might bring a gallon or more of water from home too.  A dog with GI distress can certainly hinder your fun. 

Many RV'rs will tell you they bought their RV specifically to bring their dogs on vacation with them.  But, dogs are not the only animal you may find camping. Cats, especially those trained to walk on a leash, exotic birds such as Parrots or Cockatiels, or leash trained Ferrets have been known to enjoy a weekend of camping. There are campgrounds for equestrians with stalls available.  Whether you have a tent or a state of the art Motor Coach, camping with your furry friend  makes the experience that much more enjoyable for everyone!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Care Camp Weekend Event!

Camping is a great way to relax and unwind from the stresses of everyday life. Children with cancer face stresses and challenges that few of us can imagine, so what better way to relax than a camping trip!

This month, we are celebrating and donating to the KOA Care Camps foundation, a charity created by KOA to take children with cancer camping across the United States. These Care Camps are staffed by volunteers, nurses, and medical personal who create a safe camping environment where the kids can build new friendships, embrace the great outdoors, and spend time making great memories. The full camping experience is also provided free of charge, as the donations and contributions from campgrounds and donors along with the efforts of volunteers cover all of the costs.

The KOA Care Camps not only provide a safe place to camp, they also strive to give kids the best camping experience ever. Activities like kayaking, shaving cream fights, and paint races take place alongside campground classics like telling stories around the campfire and making s'mores. The Care Camps foundation works to make children's wildest camping dreams come true year after year.

On the weekend of May 11-13th, we are giving campers Saturday night for $20, with all of the profits from those Saturday's going straight to Care Camps. All of the proceeds from our Charity Pancake Breakfast on Saturday morning are also going directly to Care Camps. So join us this year in our support for KOA Care Camps and help kids with cancer just be kids for a weekend.

Friday, April 6, 2018

KOA Camping and Social Media: An Experience for All to Share

Camping with us at Williamsburg KOA is more than just a typical camping trip, it's an experience. It's taking your child on their first outdoor excursion and watching their face light up as they toast their first marshmallow. It's celebrating a weekend getaway or anniversary with your significant other within all the beauty of nature and all the comfort of home. It's getting back in touch with your roots whether it be in a rustic cabin or tent, or connecting with the revolutionary and colonial activities in the area. Camping with Williamsburg KOA is bound to create some memories and what better way to help preserve those memories than through the use of technology.

Camping and friendship go together almost as well as chocolate and marshmallows. At KOA, we offer complimentary wi-fi to our campers so that your Facebook friends are able to enjoy your presence while you partake in all the presents nature can give you.

Apps like Instagram and Facebook provide campers with a great and useful space to not only post pictures and memories, but organize, modify, and store them. Social media platforms allow campers a way to access a larger audience and share their camping experience with the world. Whether you want to save your experience with KOA for your own enjoyment or broadcast what a crafty camper you are to the world, doing so through social media is sure to make the memories meaningful and long lasting. These memories are special moments that tell a story, and we encourage you to share your story with us.

Traditionally camping has been a way for family and friends to get away from the daily stresses of modern life, escape from schedules, and connect with one another. Here at the Williamsburg KOA, we have events to entertain the whole family in the hopes to bring families together, and foster new friendships with fellow campers.

Camping with KOA is an experience the whole family can enjoy. Whether you are outdoorsy or indoorsy, we have a list of amenities that is sure to make your stay enjoyable. There are many activities sure to keep the children happy and the parents even happier! Whether you are a camping traditionalist, who enjoys a good campfire story, or a modern day movie-goer, looking to watch a film under the stars, camping with us is sure to be an enjoyable experience, and one worth sharing.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Baked Oatmeal: A Winter Morning Treat


Breakfast has never been a more important meal than on a cold winter's morning. A good hearty breakfast can wake and warm you up while getting you prepped for the day ahead. One of my family's favorite breakfast recipes is baked oatmeal. It's a favorite partially because it is warm, easily reheatable, and easy to make, but also because it easy to customize with different flavors and ingredients. Even in its most basic form, baked oatmeal is a breakfast treat that will give you a warm start to a cold winter's day.

Baked Oatmeal

3 cups Quaker's Quick Oats
3/4 cup sugar, white or brown
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees °F. Combine quick oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. In a separate bowl, combine oil, milk, and beaten eggs together. Mix bowls together and stir until blended. Pour into greased 9-by-9 in. baking pan. place on middle oven rack.

Cooking Time:
Bake for 35-40 mins. Let it cool for 5-10 mins. Serve in bowl with milk and cinnamon sugar.

There are many ways you can alter this standard recipe to suit your tastes. You could add a 1/2 cup of raisins, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or other dried fruits to give it added flavor. You could also add a 1/2 cup of whole oats if you want it to be heartier. Feel free to customize after it's out of the oven too. You can serve it with fresh fruit, yogurt, or extra nuts added to your liking. Baked oatmeal is the blank slate upon which you can create your favorite breakfast combination. All you have to do is try it out.

Happy eating!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Light, Lights, and More Lights

Lights, Lights and more Lights....Oh my!

If you like Christmas lights there are many cities across the US that have beautiful displays. From the East Coast to the West Coast and everywhere in between you can see millions of lights of all types.

Christmas traditions in the US were brought by immigrants from around the world.  A tree inside the house began in Germany in the 16th century along with the entwining of branches to form a circle symbolizing God's eternal love. As Germans migrated to the US, they brought these traditions with them. In 1882 a friend of Thomas Edison strung some lights around his tree, but it would take until after 1930, when America's general population got electricity, for the tradition to become popular.  Before that trees were decorated with candles and holly.  Wreaths are now accepted to symbolize the unending cycle of life and symbols of victory and honor.  From Mexico came the tradition of Poinsettias in and out of the home.  They are called "flower of the Holy Night" because the red bracts are suppose to represent the Star of Bethlehem.

Since then the tradition to string lights everywhere has extended to the outdoors.  From a few lights around the door to houses where the owners start in October to set out their lights so they can complete the task by December.  Some light displays blink in time with popular Christmas songs and others have moving parts creating elaborate scenes.  But regardless of how small or large a display is everyone loves to see the Christmas lights and at least one night during the season is set aside to go looking at the different displays in the neighborhood.

If you are taking a trip in December one special place to see beautiful displays is Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. The 18th century village will transport you back in time to an era where dedicated men and women put forth their vision for this great country.  You will become part of the 18th century as you meet and watch these people do things as they were done back then.  The village goes all out to celebrate the season starting with Christmas Parade on December 2nd and the Grand Illumination on December 3rd. 

On Saturday, see local businesses and organizations put forth their holiday best at the annual Williamsburg Christmas parade from 8:30am to 11am, then spend the day viewing all the decorations around the Historic City. Come back Sunday for more activities, including music at various locations from 5:00 pm-7:30 pm and the best firework show in Williamsburg starting at 7:00 pm. There are three locations for the fireworks...The Capitol, The Magazine and The Governor's Palace.  Be sure to visit the prominent homes of the past.  They will be decorated in the style of the 18th century.

Through the month of December there are many activities and programs not only at Colonial Williamsburg but also at Jamestown and Yorktown.  The Williamsburg KOA is conveniently located within a short drive to any of these attractions.  So if you are looking for lights this Christmas come visit Colonial Williamsburg, enjoy 18th century hospitality and make memories that would last you a lifetime.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cooking in your RV

Autumn is in the air and with the cooler weather the cravings for soups and hot meals increases.  Many RVers believe that cooking in their RVs is only making coffee and cereal in the morning, sandwiches for lunch, and perhaps heating a can soup or making popcorn in the microwave.  If any attempt at a hot meal is made they believe it must be grill outside.  If you are one of those RVers you are in for a great surprise.
Slow cookers are your best friends in an RV kitchen.  Depending on the size of your family a medium or large and a small one are the perfect combination.  If you have friends visiting and like to sit out by the campfire the small crock pot makes wonderful munchies like weenies in sauce, sweet and sour meatballs, spinach artichoke dip, queso dip and much more.  All the ingredients can be put in the pot and when finished  keep it plugged in and set on low.  The effort to prepare is minimal and clean up is simple.
But that is not all your RV kitchen can do.  Your larger crock pot is perfect for making soups, stews, roasting (yes roasting) and much more.  If you are a full-time RVer and still work somewhere outside the RV, you can prepare many dishes before you leave for work and come back to a wonderful meal that will rejuvenate you and keep you healthy.  If you are traveling in your RV as a way to explore this beautiful country you can prepare your meal before going out to enjoy all a particular area has to offer and then come back and enjoy your meal.

Here is a recipe that is easy and quick to put together and's so good! The beginning of this dish dates back to the early 1900s, so if you are staying at Williamsburg KOA and visiting the historical places nearby, you will be taking part of a little history when making this dish.
Chicken and Dumplings Soup

From Maria's Kitchen
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 large onion chopped
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1/2 cup of carrots matchsticks (at produce department)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
2 tablespoons olive oil
14 oz. chicken broth, unsalted
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 teaspoon dry cilantro
1 teaspoon garlic powder (do not use garlic salt)
1 package canned  buttermilk biscuit dough
Put all ingredients except biscuit dough in pot and mix well.  Cook on low for 7 hours.  Shred chicken by pulling apart with two forks. Cut each  biscuits into four pieces and drop into the soup.  Set the lid of the crock pot in an angle so it is not fully closed (setting it across an oval pot works well).  Set the slow cooker on high and cook for another 30 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through. Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Williamsburg is for Kids, too!


Williamsburg is full of activities and things to see no matter how old you are. The area is not just for the young at heart, but can be enjoyable for those who are young in age as well. As such, here are a few ideas to ensure that the children are entertained during your stay in the area, and with us at the Williamsburg KOA.

1. Colonial Williamsburg:
Why simply learn about history when you can experience it? At Colonial Williamsburg, kids can see a blacksmith preparing horseshoes, a soldier guarding stores of gunpowder, and a town crier making daily announcements all in one place. With constant reenactments and a historic atmosphere, kids can experience what life was like in colonial times and have fun doing it! A visit to Colonial Williamsburg can be fun and educational for the whole family.

2. Jamestown Settlement:
There are always plenty of things to see and do at Jamestown.  Take a tour through time and experience the rise of the Jamestown Settlement, one of the first British colonies in the Americas. See hundreds of artifacts from the settlement's history and experience the Jamestown way of life with both guided tours and open recreations. Watch native Powhatans make their food and see the interiors of the settler's houses and ships. Jamestown Settlement makes playing settlers and Indians almost as much fun as playing cowboys and Indians.

3. Busch Gardens/Water Country:
Whether you want to enjoy the thrill of a roller coaster or the refreshing rush of a water slide, Busch Gardens and Water Country are the perfect places to spend the dog days of summer. Both parks have unique family and kid-friendly attractions that are sure to be fun for the whole family. Busch Gardens in particular has many KIDsiderate attractions and rides, including the Sesame Street Forest of Fun for younger toddlers and children,and wild rides like Tempesto and Verbolten for the teens and young adults. Fun is just around the corner at Busch Gardens and Water Country no matter how old(or young) you are!

4.  Go Ape!:
For those who dream of swinging through the trees with the greatest of ease, Go Ape may be just what you have been looking for. The whole family can enjoy a treetop romp with two separate courses. The younger kids can join in the fun with Treetop Junior, a tree-to-tree zip line course made for kids of all ages.  Meanwhile, the kids ages 10 and up and kids-at-heart can enjoy a 2+ hour adventure with Treetop Adventure. So swing into a journey through the treetops during your next stop at Williamsburg.

5. Ripley's Believe it or Not:
Believe it! Williamsburg does in fact have a Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, and the facts you find there are stranger than any of the fiction you can imagine.It is home to over 11 themed galleries, a transformer, (don't worry he is an Autobot) and a two-ton Tyrannosaurus Rex; a visit here is sure to leave you amazed. Ripley's Believe It or Not is more than just an ODDitorium of strange oddities, it also features Virginia's only laser race obstacle course, Catfish Cove mini-golf course, and a 4-D movie theater which means there is no reason not to be entertained while you are there.

6. KOA Activities:
After the daytime fun is done, come back to the campground, relax, and enjoy the evening's activities. Every evening from 6pm on, our Summershiners and staff offer a variety of activities for our guests to participate in, from Gaga Ball, an Israeli form of dodgeball, to organizing The Teeny Tiny Farm, a miniature petting zoo, we have it all. From time to time we even have special guests stop by and visit Such as, queen Elsa  Finally, to round the day off, we turn off the big light in the sky, turn on the projector, and watch a family friendly movie under the stars. So kick back, relax, and enjoy the fun with the whole family.