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“A Well-Kept, Quiet Place for a Getaway”

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Gilbert Lake State Park
Reviewed 9 September 2010

My girlfriend and I, along with our beagle Bob, spent the Labor Day Weekend in Cabin #4 at Gilbert Lake State Park in Laurens, NY (near Oneonta and not far from Cooperstown). We wanted to do something this year with the dog, as we don't like to put him in the kennel too often, and found a cabin available on the state park reservation system website. It was expensive for what you get - two nights totaled nearly $200.00. Check-in is 3:00PM, and you are allowed to check-in early if your assigned cabin has been vacated, but we arrived at noon and were told the person vacating the cabin had just departed (late) and we couldn't get in until 3:00. It was then that we noticed that we had left our most important bag at home, so we had few clothes and no basic toiletries with us. So we went to Wal Mart, about 15 miles away in Oneonta, and picked up what we needed. When we returned, we were able to get into our cabin. The cabins are spartan, with cold running water only, refrig, stove, fireplace (the only source of heat), one bedroom with twin beds, a living room with a double bed, a tiny kitchen, screened porch, and a flush toilet off the porch (covered, but still outside, so sitting on the throne can be a cold experience). But all in all, much more pleasant than camping. The weekend was downright windy and chilly, so we bought some firewood at the camp office. We needed a fire both evenings - otherwise we would have been very uncomfortable. During the day we hiked on the beautiful trails at this state park. We took the longest loop, about five miles, to Twin Fawn Pond and Ice Pond, and really enjoyed it. There are several other trails here, and all are easy to navigate. Very popular with families with young children. The double bed was a long way from our king size Tempurpedic at home, especially when the dog decided to join us. Not the most comfortable two nights, but we got through it. We brought our own gas grill, which made cooking fairly easy. I'd say we enjoyed ourselves, but probably won't do this cabin experience again. There are other, more interesting state parks available, and I think we'll do one of those next time. But if you are looking for a pretty place, and enjoy solitude, this is the place for you.

Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
6  Thank collie1228
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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30 - 36 of 36 reviews

Reviewed 22 June 2010

We have been renting a cabin at this lake for 20 years, It is always relaxing and clean. I have tented here also and do not reccommend it unless you are very social and enjoy being right on top of your neighbors. The cabins athough rustic are wonderful and always a good time, plenty of privacy here and comfortable. This is a great vacation for young children, older children may find there is not much to do nothing is close by. we usually spend one day in cooperstown and the rest at the beach.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
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5  Thank gooses814
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2010

This Memorial Day weekend trip was made in conjunction with a couple other families from my children's school. Two of us stayed in the cabin colony, the other in a pull-behind camper in the Hilltop camping area. As background info, we enjoy both cabin and tent camping but we NEED there to be some degree of privacy. We have 2 acres at home and don't go camping so we can be piled on top of other people. I'm slightly neurotic about this and do a lot of campground research online, use the "best in camping" books, and often end up making several calls to the park asking lots of questions prior to booking.

We booked a cabin for this trip because my mother was supposed to join us (couldn't, unfortunately, due to emergency surgery) and she was worried it would get cold at night. We pulled up and I couldn't believe it - it was BEAUTIFUL! It was a 6-person cabin with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen with full size frig and little stove, a living room with heating stove and dining table, a screened porch, and an enclosed toilet. My youngest (4 years old) was very confused and kept saying "I thought we were going camping." Each cabin has its own decent-sized yard with fire ring, barbecue, and picnic table. Many of them are set back from the road, and there are a lot of trees and privacy shrubs. From the cabin colony, it was also a super quick 5-10 minute walk to the beach area, boat rental area, and playground area (all of which, BTW, were HUGE hits with all of the children). Our cabin was also historically renovated and the furniture was lovely.

I ventured down to the regular campsites to check out the area for possible future stays. I was MORTIFIED. The sites were SO close together I couldn't believe it. There were no privacy hedges, the roads through the loops were super narrow, fire rings were literally just a few feet off from the road, chairs were set up all along the roadside (because the sites were so small and that's were the fire pits were). At one site, someone even had living room furniture sitting in their circle by the road - literally, an upholstered sitting chair and a loveseat. Passing through the area caused my entire body to tense up and filled me with anxiety. When my husband saw it later, he said "yah, if we came here to camp, we'd just drive right through and go back home". To make it even worse, it was a LONG walk to the beach area. From Hilltop, it was probably a 20 minute walk and from the other camping area, it must take at least an hour so you'd likely need to drive over.

I think the camping area of this park might appeal to those who live in a city and just don't get out of it much or those who are really into "community camping", but for the rest of us, this park doesn't offer a quality camping experience at all. I just found it bizarre.

The cabins, however, I would return to in a heartbeat. Just note that staying in a cabin here can't really be considered camping. It's certainly not roughing it. We still cooked all of food out on the fire ring because that's what we like to do when we camp (it's an important part of the experience for us), but you could cook everything inside on the stove if you wanted to. They also have very nice trails that were peaceful to walk on and pretty well maintained. We had our dog with us and it was nice taking him out on the trails.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled with family
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9  Thank CottageSpirit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2010

My boyfriend and I stayed here for Memorial Day weekend (so your experience may be different if you're camping during off-peak times). Our campsite was very small, and there was no foliage or distance between neighbors. We camp very simply, with a tent and not much else, and we found ourselves surrounded by RVs and very large groups with many children and dogs. The playground atmosphere lasted well into the night and we had noisy neighbors who didn't settle down until around midnight. The hiking trails were nice and quiet, leading to a few small ponds, and getting out on a boat took us away from the noise for a bit. The bathroom facilities were also clean and well-maintained, and we found the rangers to be both friendly and helpful. However, I can't recommend this park to anyone who's looking for a little quiet and privacy out of their campsite. If you're a large family/group traveling with pets, this spot is perfect for you. It should also be noted that alcohol is supposedly prohibited in the park.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ams321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2009

My husband and I camped for a weekend at Gilbert Lake State Park. The campsite was very clean and well maintained. Campsites are a little close together, but that did not end up being a problem. Bathrooms were cleaned on a daily basis as well. The park staff were very friendly and always on patrol around the park. Gilbert Lake is beautiful and has a great sandy beach for kids to play in and a large grassy area to sunbathe and BBQ. There is also a large swimming area with life guards. My husband and I enjoyed hiking there and also enjoyed watching Celtic step dancers at the main pavilion Saturday night. The trails are very well maintained and easy to follow. We will definitely be going back next year!

Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
1  Thank bluebug08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2009

Spent a long weekend with camping friends. Once again Gilbert Lake did not let us down.
The campsites and grounds and facilities where immaculate. The park was regularly and I mean regularly patrolled by staff and Park Ranger. (I like this alot) Takes your mind off any security issues...Plan to go back at least once more this year...The staff at Gilbert Lake deserve a big pat on the back for the good job they do!

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled with family
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3  Thank EVT0005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2009

My family just spent Memorial Day Weekend here for 3 nights. Coming from Long Island the ride was about 6 hours but it was well worth the trip. The campground was beautiful and the bathrooms were VERY clean. We camped in site 96 anything from 95 - 99 was a great site. Spacious, wooded and not far from the bathroom. There are several sites throughout the park but I found this section to be nice. Partly because I do not like camping right on top of another family. The lake is beautiful and the beach was especially clean, nicer than some of the other State Parks we have camped in. They have a concession stand at the beach area. There is a nature center for the kids and on Sunday there was a traveling zoo which visited the nature area and the kids were able to view snakes, gecco's and an owl up close. It was really neat! We rented a paddle boat and walked the lovely 2 mile path around the lake. For anyone who loves to camp and is looking for somewhere new it was excellent! We even took an afternoon trip to Howe Caverns which was a lot of fun.

  • Stayed: May 2009
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8  Thank mkmcbrennan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gilbert Lake State Park

Address: 18 CCC Rd, Laurens, NY 13796-1206
Region: United States > New York > Laurens
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Laurens
Number of rooms: 33
Also Known As:
Gilbert Lake State Park Hotel Laurens

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