Bright Star Farm
May 13, 2019
Bright Star Farm – a camp stay in eastern North Carolina. A local experience at its best.
This was our first experience using the HipCamp website. HipCamp’s tagline is “Hipcamp is everywhere you want to camp.” HipCamp. (n.d.). Our Story. Retrieved from https://www.hipcamp.com/about#our-story
It might not be an accurate analogy but I’d equate the site to an Airbnb model for camping.
It seemed to support our mantra of “Embrace Local.” With a bit of hunting-and-pecking on the website, I found a local camp spot, Bright Star Farm, about mid-distance between today’s fun (air show) and tomorrow’s fun (Croatan National Forest). Plenty of time to arrive, set up camp, and still have time for a bit of whiskey while we watch the sunset.
In eastern North Carolina, flat country-road driving is the norm. Farm country mandates putting some miles on your vehicle.
Having run the Tuna200 race several times through this area, many of the roads seemed familiar. Bright Star Farm is just outside the town of Trenton (you get the exact address once you book a night there).
We stopped for dinner in the town of Kinston on our way to the campsite. Yes, sometimes we are the epitome of lazy van folks who splurge on a meal out.
The Sabor restaurant serves Latin American meals. Pick your dish – Peruvian, Argentinian, Brazilian to name a few. (Don’t expect burger and fries). The meat-lover in the van couldn’t rave enough about the Rabo Encendido (Oxtail) which was like stew on a plate. Personally, I voted for the Trifongo dish – a plate of mashed plantains and yucca yumminess.
Bright Star Farm Experience
My cell service wasn’t the best (I got some messages the next day) but Kudos to our hosts for reaching out multiple times with instructions and tips. Since they were out for the day and didn’t know our ETA, they sent specific instructions on where our site was and that they would greet us when they returned home.
At the farm driveway, there is a large cardboard sign with “HipCampers” and an arrow. In the daylight, it’s an impossible sign to miss.
As instructed via text, we drove down the dirt path between the animal fences and the farmland. Our site was marked by two red chairs by the fire ring.
You initial thought might be “My view is a piece of plowed over farmland and some distant woods?” Just wait. You’ll appreciate that fact in a little bit.
Depending on the season and the year, the field may have soybean, corn, wheat or dirt in it. Your hosts don’t actually grow the crops – they leave that to an experienced tenant farmer.
Set up your tent (or your van) in the general vicinity of the fire ring. The site is alongside one of the farm buildings so you get a bit of wind block if needed.
Introduce yourself to the myriad of animals on the farm. There are:
- miniature horses
- regular (big) horses
- farm cats (including the one nicknamed “Pesky cat” for always being underfoot)
- a couple of snorty pigs
- a not-so-young Donkey named Eeyore.
All the animals are social (likely looking for a gullible visitor to hand them a treat) but we kept our fingers and our snacks to ourselves.
What you shouldn’t expect to see are alpacas. For us, Bright Star Farm was the alpaca farm that wasn’t. The farm used to host a herd of alpacas but it turns out alpacas are prone to parasites (see what you learn when you stay local?) and their longevity was… not long. The surviving animals were re-homed – pack animals need a pack to be happy.
Your hosts, Connie and Steve, greet you when they get home.
Ask them for the history of the farm. In the day of modern subdivisions named after what used to be there, they have a fabulous story of family land. Land that has been in the family for over 100+ years? Tell me more, please. I won’t spoil their story by sharing all the history but be prepared to be wowed.
They will point out a building in the distance (the old Jones house). Working with a local historical builder, they hope to revitalize the building as a place for visitors to stay.
Our hosts generously shared with us:
- Cell phone number in case we needed something in the middle of the night
- Some firewood and fire-starter
- Half-a-dozen (plus one extra as a bonus) farm-fresh eggs. If you’ve never had eggs fresh from the chicken, then you are in for a real treat.
There is no shower on site but you have access to a real bathroom with running (hot) water and a flush toilet. Potable water is accessible via the faucet or the outside hose.
There is a greenhouse on the farm. We forgot to ask about it but it would likely have an interesting back-story.
Pack your insect repellent. Eastern NC = mosquitoes.
The nearby Trent River (not visible from your campsite) flooded during the 2018 hurricane season. But whoever chose the site for the farmland years ago seemed to know what they were doing – the farm was spared the floodwaters while other neighbors weren’t so lucky.
During the evening, the farm gets quiet except for the occasional peacock mating call. It isn’t enough for the males to talk to their own females. There is an inter-farm dating scene where the males call back and forth between farms bragging about whose feathers are the most glorious. Personally, I thought all their feathers looked the same.
So back to your thought of “I am sleeping next to a field and a pasture?”
Yes, yes you are. And as the sun starts to set, the finer points of the pasture become apparent. You watch the sky turn shades of pink and orange as the big old ball of sun drops below the trees.
If you are super-duper lucky, you might maybe catch a glimpse of what could be a red wolf in the distance. We weren’t that lucky but keep your eyes glued to the the treeline.
Now, wait another 20 minutes or so after the sun sets. Look up and then again around towards the horizon of the field. On a clear night, stars pop out like mad. Away from city light pollution and without trees to block the view, the star-gazing is top-notch. Bright Star Farms is in my book as the place to be for any upcoming meteor showers.
In the morning, walk over the picnic table by the swing set to fix your farm-fresh egg scramble. “Pesky cat” will join you – he wants a scratch behind the ears more than he desires your coffee. Eeyore, the donkey, will wander out of the farm building to see if you changed your mind and want to offer him a food treat.
Focusing on ‘Embrace local’, our stay at Bright Star Farm gave us:
- The opportunity to meet folks who think they “…are blessed to meet the neatest people..” It was refreshing to hear someone be genuinely pleased to meet a stranger.
- Farm fresh eggs (so much better than our usual campsite oatmeal)
- Time to chat about the history of the region and the impact that hurricanes have on local farmers
- A method of supporting the local economy by staying in a local site
- Trip date: April 2019
- Name: Bright Star Farm
- Location: Trenton, North Carolina
- Cost: $
- Booking: Visit their website to click the “Book on HipCamp” button