To all the camper who have camped at Camping on the Battenkill,
Each year, my father, Larry, would send out seasonal letter to campers renewing their seasonal site. He would chat about changes in the campground and in the seasonal sector. The last line of the letter was always the same: “If you have found that your life has changed please let us know.” This letter/video is about life changes.
In the late 50s, with an expanding family, Mary and Larry Pratt searched for a new home to accommodate what would soon be a family of five children. On the north end of Arlington, Vermont, they found a big old 3 story house, built in 1809, with a barn and 40 acres. They also discovered a whole lot more. By combining their knowledge of land use, their knack of Vermont hospitality and their love for a travel adventure, they founded Camping on the Battenkill.
The inspiration came when a local game warden who my father knew through his work as a soil conservationist told him, “Come the opening day of fishing, you are going see cars with trailers driving over the meadow, into the woods to camp in the lower meadow along the Battenkill River.”
That first entrepreneurial spark blazed into a business idea that filled a need for camping travelers. Designing the campground came straight from my father’s background as a soil conservationist: He understood the layout of the land and flow of the two rivers that form the boundaries. He often remarked, “You can live with Mother Nature but you can’t change her.” He and my mother also understood what it meant to spend time with family. Out of their values came “a quiet family campground,” quiet in the sense that no one was going to entertain you. Family time was and is the entertainment, fishing, swimming, tubing, play ball and sitting around the campfire is a treasure trove of family memories with stories that were and are still told year after year.
Over the next several years, bit by bit they carved out the campground around the grassy meadow and through the bramble-filled woods. On that first road, cars plodded along a worn tractor trail, rutted with overhanging tree limbs and vines that scratched up the sides of cars. The destination in the other direction took you to the river’s edge but first down a footpath to battle thorny bushes before emerging on a natural sandy beach with a swimming hole known as PB beach to locals.
Looking at the campground map, you can follow the progression of campground’s growth by following the numbers. Start at 0 and double 00 then end at 40. The first 7 have hook-up, with a tent area nestled in where the two rivers meet. The need for water and electric was the first concern for early campers. As trailers grew in size, so did the need for larger full service site. Many folks wanted to stay the whole camping season, out of that request came the seasonal sites in what are known as the B area and C section. All changes big or small make up what you see today at Camping on the Battenkill.
The campground filled several dreams for Mary and Larry Pratt: Having a business from home off the land they lived on, sending their five children to college, traveling to different parts of the country as well as foreign countries, providing an income after retiring, and passing on their business to another generation. Four generations of the Pratt family have enjoyed living and camping on this land, and we have been blessed after 50 plus years, to have Mary still around to enjoy her family and to engage with campers as she has from the beginning.
As I said, life changes, and it is bittersweet to announce that Camping on the Battenkill is up for sale. We understand for many of you reading this, the news is hard to hear. You have spent so much of not only your camping life with us, but also your families’ lives with us, making memories that have endured for years.
No one can predict what the future will hold for Camping on the Battenkill. We are looking for buyers who want to keep the land we have held so dear as a campground. Whatever the future may hold, please know that we are forever grateful for your patronage over the years, for you have all truly made our lives a bit brighter just by camping here. We have been truly blessed.
Thank-you from the Pratt Family
if interested go to http://www.CampingOnBattenkillForSale.com
campground website http://www.campingonthebattenkillvt.com