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A Night of Camping at Lazy Acres in East Otto, New York

As much as I love the throbbing pulse of city life in London, it’s nice to go home and indulge in a bit of nature.

Jorge and I spent a few days in North Tonawanda, New York with my family this month before heading down to the Big Apple (more on that later). While we were there, my brother took us, and our parents, to his sanctuary – the Lazy Acres campgrounds about an hour drive away in East Otto not far from an Amish neighborhood where buggies are parked in the driveways.

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Careful not to spin dust onto the corn crops along the way, we crawled through camp to Colin’s site at 5 mph.

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We arrived late afternoon, set up in his trailer that sleeps 8 people. First priority? The fire, of course.

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The fire is the best part of camping. When we were kids, we used newspaper “coals” to get it going. This time Dad took on the task with some kindling.

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It didn’t take too long before the crackling sound danced through the air, flames reaching for more wood.

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The smokey camping scent swirling up into the tree branches circling above us.

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Colin had plenty of logs lined up along the edge of the campsite, along a pretty steep drop that looks down on a trail we would follow a few hours later.

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We settled in with some drinks and enjoyed the silence of the woods.

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And the beauty of the trees.

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Colin shares the site with friends so it’s a bit of a quirky place with art hidden on trees (and an occasional fork…).

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It gives the place a bit of personality.

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And color.

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As the sky grew darker, we lit the citronella candles to keep the mosquitos at bay.

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Plus, they look pretty lining the ground.

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Before the darkness settled in, Colin led Jorge and I down a trail along the edge of the camp into the woods on our way to a mystery destination.

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There’s a certain smell of earth that I love. It rarely rises into the London air and I savored it here.

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With my hopeless sense of direction, I was lost after the first few turns.

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It had recently rained and the path was full of mud puddles which involved quite a bit of sliding and jumping.

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Eventually we came out to a clearing and a creek – one of Colin’s favorite spots to relax.

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The bank is coated with flat skipping stones which we tossed for a while. Colin just waded right in.

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The air was cool after a hot day and it was refreshing to be near the water.

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We walked along a while, leaping over smaller branches of the creek.

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When it was time to head back, we took a slightly different route.

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Stepping out of the woods, we followed the edge of a corn field.

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The setting sun cast a golden glow over the plants.

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We passed a pretty red tree.

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And the sun slowly sank below the horizon.

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We returned to camp where a roaring fire was waiting. We filled up the grid with big juicy steaks, threw some corn on the cob on to roast and enjoyed it all with some salad for dinner.

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Jorge had his first experience of both s’mores and lightning bugs!

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We woke up the next morning, early, to a quiet camp. Dad had already started the fire, but had wandered off for a stroll. It was his birthday that day and we were in store for a kayaking adventure (more later) and a tasty dinner (more later).

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At the campsite, smoke swirled up through the rays of sunlight that cut between the trees. A beautiful sight, no?

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And it would turn out to be a beautiful day!

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