If you’re looking for a campsite that’s within driving distance of Boston, and just a hop skip and a jump away from the cover of Little Red Riding Hood – look no further than The Pines Campground. We spoke with Paul, the owner of The Pines Campground, and he filled us in on exactly why people keep coming back year after year. Listen to our full interview here:
Videos by Outdoors
The Pines Campground Massachusetts
Camp Massachusetts: I’m talking with Paul. He’s the Owner for The Pines Campground. How’s it going this morning, Paul?
Paul: It’s going good, I think. We’re hoping on it.
CM: So let’s talk about how long The Pines Campground has been there and how you guys got your start.
Paul: It started back in the ’60s, and I’m about the fourth owner of the place. We’ve owned it for about 18 years. We built it from a little ratty place up to what it is now.
Paul: And we’re small. We’ve only got 58 sites, but I tell everybody we’re small. That’s one of our slogans. We do different things. We do a lot of different things. We do a lot of meals. We do dinner rounds. We do pig roasts. We do lobsters and steamers. We do chicken and ribs.
CM: Man, you’re making me hungry. It’s getting close to lunchtime here.
Paul: Paul: Paul: And the kids – the only problem we have with the kids is they don’t want to go home. We don’t keep kids.
CM: So, if I was staying there for the weekend, Paul, what are some of the other attractions in the area that I might want to check out if I wanted to head out for an afternoon?
Paul: Well, there’s the Cathedral of the Pines, which is just up the New Hampshire border. It’s about 11 miles away. Then there’s Pickity Place, which is a few miles up the road. People have no idea what that is, but Pickity Place is special. If you’re look at the cover of Little Red Riding Hood, the doorway Riding Hood went up to, is Pickity Place. They took the pictures from it.
Paul: And then there’s little miscellaneous things. There’s a mountain right here. Mountain Potato. We can climb to the top of it. It takes about 45 minutes. You can see Boston – the skyline. And we’re open all four seasons, so if you’ve never experienced winter camping, you can do that here.
CM: How popular is that? I’m curious how many campers you get in the winter there.
Paul: Well, it depends. It varies. We’re starting into it more and more. We’re starting to advertise more and more on that, so right now, we’ve got about eight people staying of the years. Some of the months, I should say. And if they want to, they can go out skiing. There’s skiing in the area.
CM: Is that your think, Paul? Have you done any winter camping?
Paul: I go camping, but it won’t be around here. I’m going south.
CM: You know, our sites focus primarily on car campers, and so I think that the winter camping crew – that’s a little bit different demographic. You know, I have a couple friends that do that, and you’ve got to be a little bit more hardcore to do that.
Paul: Yeah. Yeah, we do everything. We have some unique sites that are open during the summertime. It’s what we call walk-in sites, and what is, is a lot of people used to do backpacking. And now that they’ve got the families growing, they can’t do that anymore. But we go into one area that you can park your car. You can put everything into a wagon and you pull it up into the woods. It’s about the closest to backpacking without going deep into the woods.
CM: But they get to head out a little ways.
CM: They still get a little bit of that feeling of seclusion.
Paul: Right, exactly. Exactly.
CM: Two more questions for you, Paul.
CM: If you could spend one hour in The Pines Campground, how would you spend your time there?
Paul: Nighttime is always the best. You just sit down around the fire. Enjoy it. Watch the kids making s’mores and having a couple of, we’ll say, sodas.
CM: It never gets old around the campfire, doing that, does it?
Paul: No, it’s something memorable. You know, you’re watching those coals at the nighttime just flickering. It just puts you in another whole world.
CM: Yeah. Yeah, we have a family cabin that we go to often and we often remark how, you know, no matter how many hundreds of times you get that campfire going, it never gets old. There’s just something about it.
Paul: Right. You know, it’s just another whole world. I tell everybody you cross through the gates here and we’ve always said that you go into a fantasy world. You go into a world that we’ll say the rich and the famous don’t even know about. It’s just something more relaxing. You’re getting away from the real world and you’re going into a fantasy world. I mean there’s no care. Everything is just the way it is.
CM: I’ve never heard it put that way. I like that. Something that the rich and the famous don’t know about, and I think that’s probably true. I think, to some people, it’s kind of just a completely foreign experience that they’ve never ever taken part in.
Paul: It’s a whole different world. I always tell people who come into here, camping for the first time, it’s going to be something different. When you leave here, you won’t want to leave, and they don’t. They come back quite a few times.
CM: Awesome. One more question for you. If you were going to camp just one night at The Pines Campground, which specific campsite would you pick, Paul, and why?
Paul: Well, I like Site 4. It’s right on the brook. As I tell people, to me, this is the best site here, but I’ve found out differently that some people don’t like that. They like to be down near the playground and everything else, but Site 4 is right on the brook. You go by; you can hear the water running by there. I always tell them the only problem with that site is you probably have to get up in the middle of the night and go to the bathrooms.
CM: All right. Well, hey, thanks for taking some time out of your morning, Paul, to chat with us at 50 Campfires about The Pines Campground. Much appreciated.