In which the Fantastics borrow a leaky rowboat to reach a reputed lovely state park island campground…
The borrowed rowboat on our car and some of the Fantastic crew, island sign, driving with the boat – notice window in driver’s view, and blue strap holding boat on roof. The blue strap would buzz in the wind for hours!
Mr. and Mrs. Stupendous, longtime friends of ours and parents of two, waxed poetic about Vicars Island – the clean, clear water, the campground only accessible by boat, the sunsets… So when Mr. Stupendous asked us to plan a year in advance to join them there, we did. We plan almost nothing that far in advance. Or wedding we put together in about 3 months, the twins (well, one of them) we found out about 2 weeks before their birth, I could go on and on. But we didn’t have a boat, who has a boat in the city? Well, Mr. Fantastic located the one above and procured it for our journey.
Our campsite and dock. We canoed around the little island in the L foreground
Vicar’s island can be reached from a tiny mainland area called Huletts Landing. We parked there while at the island. There is a boat launch there and, well, we launched from there. Or some of us did. We realized quickly that Vicars Island is rather far when rowing from Huletts Landing Marina, we later found out a mile and a half. So we had 6 people and all of our camping gear to haul across that distance. The other family had already arrived at the island via their canoe. And the shadows were growing longer. Papa Fantastic decided to head out with some kids and luggage while I waited with the rest. I watched him rowing away, getting smaller and smaller and the sun went lower… Ultimately I was brought to the island by a boat with an engine driven by a helpful vacationer who had offered Mr. Fantastic the favor. We were grateful and the vacation commenced.
The island has 11 camping spots, all include dock access, a tent platform, and a fire pit/grill. There are several excellent rocks to jump into the lake from on different parts of the island. They may be part of other campsites but there were few or no other campers during our time there so we roamed freely around the island. An important thing to know, especially since you will likely not have the benefit of camping with the Stupendous family and their hand-pumped water filter, is that there is no drinking water on the island. We used filtered lake water for drinking and unfiltered water for washing dishes, showering, etc. As for toilets, there are outhouses, one for each campsite or two.
We spent our time jumping off rocky cliffs and the docks, swimming in the lake, and taking short canoe trips to smaller islands just to see what was there. There is something special about the water – it is so clean and clear. Apparently it is an oligotrophic lake, with a low nutrient content and therefore less algae and fish life. Even in August it was cold, but wonderful for swimming.
The area was not overly crowded, but there were a fair amount of motorboats with waterskiers, people fishing, etc. We also rowed back to Huletts Landing one day and drove to Lake George, the town. It is a bit if an old-school tourist town with a carnival vibe – there is a wax museum, haunted house, candy and t-shirt stores. Outside the main drag are many strip malls with ‘outlet stores’ for shopping. We’re planning a return trip but we have a different boat!