Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Economical State Forest Cabins Rentals

For the few times that I go camping during the year I've found that a simple tent works fine for me. The campsites at State Parks in New England are generally less than $15 night and in some cases free during the off season. I recently discovered that some State Forests also offer cabin rentals. I was intrigued by the idea and decided to try renting a cabin at Savoy Mountain State Forest which is located in the Berkshires Of Massachusetts. As you can see, the cabins are quite rustic. I believe they were built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930's. Each of the four cabins are equipped with 2 bunks beds, a wooden table, 2 wooden chairs, woodstove, smoke detector, and co2 detector. You have to bring your own mattress cover for the plastic-coated mattresses, firewood (sold in the area), grill and cookware. There are hot showers (not available in off-season) and flush toilets on the campground. A portolet is located near the cabins. They might not be for everyone but if you don't mind roughing it a little they're a bargain at $30 a night. Cabin 4 even has electricity for no extra cost. I chose cabin 1 because it was more secluded and was located next to a pond.
I noticed that the Blue Jays were very bold when I first arrived as they were landing just a few feet from me. A closer look revealed that the jays were after peanuts which had been left behind by the previous campers.
The weather was not particularly cooperative during my stay. The daytime temperature was in the 50's but cloudy skies along with very windy conditions made if feel much colder. It also made birding a little difficult but that didn't prevent me from trying. There are several well marked trails in the area that lead to various bogs, ponds, waterfalls, and mountain views. The birds were fairly quiet during my stay but this Black-capped Chickadee helped lead me to a few fall migrants including a Black-throated Green Warbler, 1st winter Canada Warbler and 1st winter Magnolia Warbler. I was able to look at these two long enough in the low lighting conditions to gather sufficient field marks to make the id's on the warblers but gave up on a few others that I saw. Other birds of interest included 2 Brown Creepers, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Common Ravens. I'm betting this will be an excellent birding area in the Spring.
One of the trails I took was called the Busby trail which led me to the top of Spruce Hill which was advertised as a hawkwatch lookout. I only stayed long enough to see a few local Red-tailed Hawks and to take in the mountain views. I had an interesting experience when 100 Blue Jays wizzed by my head on there way to who knows where. The larger hill on the right side of the photo is the locally famous Mount Greylock.You can get views like this just from driving along the main road in the Berkshires. It is a beautiful area but I did noticed that they've been hit hard by the struggling economy. Many of the small stores in the area have gone out of business. Fortunately, a poor economy doesn't affect the beauty of nature.
Most of the migrating Broad-winged Hawks have already moved on. I captured this photo of a Cooper's Hawk at Lighthouse point Park in New Haven as I tried to pick up some more tips from the veteran hawk counters. This bird is showing very little "wrist bend" at the leading edge of the wings and seems to show more of a head protrusion than a Sharp-shinned Hawk would. There are lots of little identification tips to differentiate sharpies from Cooper's Hawks but these tips seem subjective until you have adequate experience with watching hawks in flight (which I don't).
click to play
This video was taken at a place called Tannery Falls. It was a last minute decision to visit this spot before heading back home. There was a safety trail which led you to several waterfalls including this one. It turned out to be a good decison and a nice way to end my camping trip.
-
For more information about renting cabins at Savoy Mountain State Forest click here.
For information about renting cabins at the Mohawk State Forest click here.

25 comments:

madcobug said...

Interesting looking cabin. Great shots of the wildlife and scenery. Loved the waterfalls. Made me want to be there. Helen

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Looks like our kind of hotel! Warren and I have been noticing tons of Blue Jays on the wing also.

Chris said...

Hi Larry,
This sounds like an excellent trip and a beautiful experience. I wouldn't mind to do this kind of week-end, just enjoying the primary needs and being away from civilization and modernity, especially when there are so many birds around. A very nice post and a lot of beautiful pictures.

Larry said...

Helen-There is something very soothing about the sound and appearance of waterfalls.

Warren and Lisa-The closest you'll get to a concierge at this hotel is the local forest ranger.

Chris-Thanks Chris.Maybe some day you'll find yourself in the Berkshires.

forestal said...

Looks like a great place to check out and hike around. Nice photos-

I do love the Berkshires area, lots of great spots there but have never birded there before

dan

ramblingwoods said...

I love the waterfall video. One of my father's cousins or cousin by marriage or something. LOL.. is 92 years old and he was telling us about his time in the CCC working in what is now part of NYS park system. He was describing the waterfalls. Thank you for visiting my blog, I appreciate it... Michelle

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

This is a wonderful blog; I have bookmarked it. Thanks for visiting ours and for your great comment. We hope to go up the Eastern seaboard next spring. I'll watch your site and hope we get to visit a few of your special places.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Beautiful photos Larry. I think the rustic cabin looks really fun. That's quite the tall waterfall. I like them too if they're not roaring too fast.

Kim said...

Quote: Fortunately, a poor economy doesn't affect the beauty of nature." So true Larry, whether you be wealthy or poor, nature is there for those who seek it and it never dissapoints!

Love the Cooper's shot. Am actually thinking of heading to Lighthouse Point this Saturday.

Jayne said...

I wish I could say I could embrace the rustic cabin, but I'd be worrying about what was living in there with me..lol! A very beautiful place to be sure. Glad it was such a great trip Larry. :c)

Larry said...

forestal-I don't know much about the birding there except that winter finches are a good possibility in that area during the winter.

ramblingwoods-If you see him again tell him that thee are still people today who are benefiting from the work the ccc did back in the 30's.

Sallie-Thanks-hope you have a good trip next Spring.

Lynne-thanks-the waterfalls aren't roaring to fast-you should hear a lion after it has 5 cups of coffee.

Kim-I lucked out in that there were a lot of hawks moving through the day I went.They come in pretty low so that you have a good chance of getting a photo.-Winds are from the NW on Saturday -I hope for your sake the rain holds off.

Jayne-I understand these types of places aren't for everyone.-I don't think there would be too many places a critter could hide in there but I wouldn't be surprised if a mouse crawled down the chimney looking for food.

WR said...

Hi Larry:
Thanks for stopping by one of my blogs. I enjoy your photos and delighted to find your blog..as you are another bi-coastal person. For me it is New Hampshire and Washington. BTW, I particularly like the photo of the black capped chickadee - they are a favorite of mine and I miss them!

WR said...

ooops - perhaps your Portland is in Conn. :) Well, sort of like being bicoastal.

Anonymous said...

http://annya-catchingbutterflies.blogspot.com/

please read this blog!!

dguzman said...

Oooh, cool cabin! I would definitely stay there. But usually I prefer a tent.

You know, it's funny you mention the whole raptor ID thing--when I was in Cape May with Susan Gets Native and the Flock, I was great at differentiating the Coops and Sharpies. A few days went by, and I was back to -- "uh... Coop? Uh.... I don't know?"

Hmph.

marcu said...

Multumesc pentru vizita si aprecieri.Am sa mai trec pe la tine.

Kathiesbirds said...

Larry, to me that cabin looks like heaven. Your shot of the juvenile Cooper's is wonderful. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit and spend a night or 2. I have never been to the Berkshires. Mt. Greylock looks inviting.

Vern said...

Thanks Larry, you've just given me an idea for my next week off, the first week of November.

matthew houskeeper said...

What a beautiful spot.
I am not sure, but I think CT has just raised their campsite fees. At least they did at Rocky Neck and Hammonassett.

Lana Gramlich said...

Even if the weather wasn't the best, at $30/night you can't go wrong!

Larry said...

Vern-I'm not sure if you are talking about these specific cabins but if you are-keep in mind they may have turned the showers off by then.

Mathew-I think they charge more for the shore spots.You can camp for free in the offseason at Pachaug Forest.-Hammo now has cabins for rent too.

Lana-I agree.

dAwN said...

The Cabin looked very comfy cozy...yeah...looks like you had some overcast weather..but still beautiful and you saw some birds...cool
So why is there a diving board in the falls?

Crafty Green Poet said...

looks like a good place to stay for a nature focussed trip away....

wonderful photos of the birds, blue jays are so colourful...

Larry said...

dawn-I set the board up so I could get some action shots on my way down with the camera but didn't have enough time so I gave up on the idea.

Crafty-Blue Jays aren't all that popular around here but if there weren't so many of them people might appreciate them more.

pet friendly Pigeon Forge cabin rentals said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.