When we moved to our home in the mountains we sold most of our camping gear because there isn't much need to go to a state park to camp when you are fortunate enough to live in such an idyllic setting.   However, there are a few things about camping that we all miss.

We are fortunate enough to have found a home with wood burning fireplaces, so in a way we have a campfire right in our own home.  The children love it because it even smells like a campfire.  During the winter we had a fire burning almost every night, but now that the weather has warmed and spring is upon us we rarely use the fireplaces and my darling husband and I really missed our time spent setting around the campfire.   When camping we would put the kids down for the night and then drink our coffee and spend couple time together around the campfire - just like a date night without the expense of a sitter.  So, when it was time to get started with the construction of the outer courtyard we decided to have the fire pit be something more reminiscent of a campfire.

Our contractor was accustomed to building ornate outdoor fireplaces and elaborate fire pits, so when we handed him the picture we had found that looked like a few large rocks had been rolled onto someone's patio he was less than optimistic.  My darling and I even joined our contractor at the rock yard to pick out the boulders to make sure we had the rustic look we wanted.  We looked at piles and piles of boulders before finding just the right rocks. When we asked what they were called our contractor smiled and said, "those don't have a name because no one ever wants them".  (Unfortunately, that was not reflected in the price.)

Now that the last stone is in place we have our campfire date place again.  My darling and I spent 2 hours out there a few nights ago and it was just like our camping date nights -  except that we had an electric coffee pot, motion detecting lights for the potential evening wildlife and a comfortable bed once we went back inside.  The kids can't wait to roast marshmallows and we can't wait to share our new outdoor space with our friends.

These flames kept us quite comfortable in the 39 degree mountain night air.

The afterglow of the rocks when we turned off the fire.  

Yes, it is a gas fire pit.  I know it seems confusing since everything else had to be just like camping, but it means no smoke blowing in your face while you sit around it and no embers floating off to find kindling.  However, it also means that we have to go inside and light a fire in the fireplace for the classic campfire smell.  Somehow that seems completely right for our often upside down family of 6.