As well as living and working at Camp in Pennsylvania for 24 hours a day… Occasionally we would be allowed out to venture into the world, in open-toed shoes which were strictly forbidden at camp. We would be let loose on the unwitting people of PA and NY state to devour on junk food, my only vice considering I was 19 and underage.
All of the photos below are my own, or they were taken by my co-counsellors and they include my pie-hole in it.
Day Off No.1: Ithaca, NY.
I think a lot of my co-counsellors will agree that our first day off altogether was THE best day off! During Staff Orientation week, we were able to travel a few hours north to Ithaca. It is primarily a college town and home to Ivy League college Cornell University. It also has a fair few hipsters and some niche, adult shopping options… let’s just leave it there. But it’s also a really cool place to visit.
We first headed to the incredibly picturesque Buttermilk falls just outside of Ithaca. Then, after being kicked out of the falls by a local park attendant who said we can’t swim without a lifeguard, we moved on to a nearby lake to continue our underwater frivolities. Afterwards, we headed into Ithaca for dinner.
Oh, and it was also the lovely Lisa’s birthday which made the day off even more special, if that was possible.
Day Off No.2: Rickett’s Glen State Park, PA and Towanda, PA.
This was our first official day off from our duties as camp counsellors and we wanted to chill by the beach. We settled for a fake beach as Pennsylvania is obviously no where near the sea. As none of us were American staff with our own cars, luckily one of us could drive and was over the age of 21, so we hired a car. We went to Rickett’s Glen and relaxed and swam around in the sea for a while. Then, around dinner time we headed to a pizza place in Towanda, PA which is about half an hour from camp. It’s a beautiful town, which you can see from our pictures by the river!
Day Off No.3: Rickett’s Glen State Park, PA and Dushore, PA.
Yes, my next day off was to Rickett’s Glen, again! I really didn’t mind though, I was so grateful to have a day off with lovely people who were also willing to drive me and others around to random places around the state. On the way to Rickett’s Glen the first time, we noticed a Winery/Vine Yard. These are pretty common in the finger lakes regions as I found out during my trek up to Niagara Falls through New York state. I, being 19, was not able to partake in the tasting but the place itself was really interesting! Afterwards we headed on to Rickett’s Glen, and then onto the nearby town of Dushore, PA to have dinner.
Day Off No.4: Nathaniel Cole Park, NY and Vestal, NY.
Another day off with Non-American counsellors meant another car hire day, thank goodness for the bazillion Enterprise companies in random towns around the US! We headed across the state lines to Vestal, where we relaxed on the grass in Nathaniel Cole park next to a massive lake. Then, we headed into Vestal to watch The Dark Knight Rises (2012)! Group by group, we were all making it our business to see the movie event of the summer. We did so in the comfort of recliner chairs and REAL butter popcorn. I have been craving it ever since my return to the UK.
Day Off No.5: Binghamton, NY
I will always remember the date of this day off, July 13th. This is the day I got my tattoo. Yes, today we drove up to Binghamton and I waltzed into Tattoo Salon with the determination to be inked. Afterwards, we headed to Wendy’s (still in love with Frosty’s) and a nearby shopping centre to get decked out in American Eagle apparel and fantastically cheap hollister gear. Lacy vests for $10?! We then headed back to the Scenic overlook, it’s basically a place by a bar where you can look out to the view below.
Day Off No.6 Troy County Fair, PA.
This particular day off was a special one, I felt like I was experiencing something totally American. Firstly, we nipped into the Rose Café in Towanda (a Café in an old gypsy-looking trailer) and then onto a county fair. Fairgrounds in England largely consist of your fair ground toy stands where you have to knock so many items of a shelf to win a prize and maybe a Ferris wheel. But America does them a lot bigger and a lot better.
For example, you can pet some adorable farm animals and stare at the region’s fattest cows and watch them be paraded around like, well, cattle… They also have bands playing, and are generally so big that for part of the trip myself and Steph completely lost everyone else! Plus, the best homemade potato chips I have EVER had. I’ve been hankering after them ever since. Anyone else get the feeling the thing I miss most about America is the savoury junk food?!
Day Off No.7: Scranton, PA
My final day off was a quiet one and something a bit different. It was just myself, Paige and Sarah in Sarah’s car heading off to different places around PA. The first place was the Scranton Mall where I tried out Cinnabon! I thought I hated Cinnamon before Camp but my body must have learned to love it. Basically anything that wasn’t chocolatey had cinnamon in it. So, either you sucked it up or had nothing for dessert. This was never, ever an option.
After the Mall, we headed to Sarah’s hometown in PA called Tobyhanna as her little sister was receiving her black belt in, um, some kind of martial art that day! So, they were having a little party and Sarah wanted to go and congratulate her. After meeting Sarah’s family, we headed back into Scranton just in time to watch The Dark Knight Rises! I didn’t care one bit about watching it again because A) Paige had not managed to see it yet and that could not continue. B) I watched the film again and turns out the first time I saw it I had fallen asleep for a good half an hour. C) I love cinemas.
They are all of my days off! No matter how much we loved actually putting on make-up and seeing somewhere new, that was just it. It didn’t matter so much where we went, as we knew we could get a fun day off and be happy to head back to camp at the end of the day and have just as good a time right there at Ballibay.