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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Relaxing "Low Impact" Short Vacation

    Sometimes you just want to go somewhere in your RV that doesn't require a lot of setup or finagling to be enjoyable. This past week I was in the mood for just such a trip. Of course, because of the limited amount of time, I wanted a short travel distance with someplace interesting to stay at the destination. It should have the option to participate in some activities available, but only if you want to. I had heard rumors of a web site that has a directory of farms, wineries, museums and the like, that will let RVers park and camp for a day or two at their locations. Seemed like a good idea, so I paid my $44 to access the directory for one year, read through the contact information and found something that fit the bill. Here's additional info and a trip report on a short excursion. In a nutshell, it worked...kind of.

The website, Harvest Hosts, has a large directory of farms, wineries, museums and like places that will allow you to camp there for short periods of time. There are photos of the locations, contact information and data relating to the stay. Most have no RV specific facilities and are more closely related to a traditional boondocking experience, but you can take advantage of the facilities and activities available at the Host location. At the one I went to, Love Apple Farm, they had U-pick apples and vegetables, a cafe (with great coffee and baked goods) and a full-on farm store with prepackaged and fresh goods. There were prepackaged organic meats (the Italian sausage was delicious!), lots of organic home goods (cleaning products, cosmetics, skin treatments and the like), as well as a homemade ice cream section both at the cafe and in quarts in a freezer. They even had an Art Museum. The cafe offered a great menu that included actual, authentic homemade Mexican food (Tamales, etc.) that were amazing! If you know...Real Mexican is very hard to find on the East coast. And at a Rural Farm Stand, unheard of!

The View From The Other Side, Not So Great!
There were some glitches. Nothing all that major. When we arrived it wasn't clear where we were to park. I had spoken with someone on the phone a few days before and while the directions once on the property seemed clear, they weren't specific enough. So I simply parked out of the way and walked in to ask. I was directed to park down by the tractor trailers and the dumpsters on the grass or gravel. Everyone on the staff was incredibly friendly. Since we were the only RVers present, there was plenty of room, but we were adjacent to the main road and their main parking lot. Not a problem for a couple of nights. I just situated the RV so the bedroom windows were facing the fields and a lovely tree-lined dirt road. No worries. I would hope that most of the Hosts would have photos of the actual parking locations so it's easier to find once you arrive.

Nicely Situated
There is no cost to stay other than your yearly membership fee to the website. If you Auto renew you get a $4 per year discount. The idea is you'll spend some money at the Host's location and that would offset their expenses. Well, that part of it is right on the money, so to speak. I spent about $90 on food, and assorted goods. All worth it. In fact, two meals were cooked in the RV with their fresh produce and meats and the homemade ice cream for desert was amazing! Remember this is NOT a traditional campground so don't expect it to be like one. You are mostly left to your own devices. That's NOT a bad thing!

All in all, I believe it's a great idea. You get a place to stay in a friendly atmosphere and have access to things to do, if you want. The Art Museum was nifty to walk to and tour when it was a bit rainy on the second day. And since the distance traveled was so short we got to maximize our "decompression" time. It would be very easy to plot a long (or even cross-country) trip hop-scotching from Host to Host. Sounds like fun...wish I had the time!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com

12 comments:

  1. Based on our previous membership in Harvest Hosts, we understood that most of these limit stays to one day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Expatriate,
      Some do, some don't. best thing to do is ask when you call to arrange your stay. This place had no issues...even asked if we'd like to stay longer!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  2. Thanks Rich. Have wondered about joining Harvest Hosts for years, but never quite convinced to do so. Sounds like ur experience sure beats a crowded rv park, notwithstanding all the calories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moaboy,
      It was overall, quite pleasant. I will be reviewing other locations as time goes by...Hopefully, they will all be a relaxing!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  3. Thanks for the tip! This is just the type of place I'd enjoy. I'll always be looking for local, organic produce and meats, and this sounds like a great stop to stock up on fresh groceries.

    Did you find other interesting activities nearby? How long did you camp here?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lelia,
      We were there for 2 nights, and didn't really leave to find other activities. There was a bulletin board there that had a lot of flyers for local events and attractions.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  4. Rich, I had a similar experience with a golf-oriented organization (staying at golf courses), same optional-participation rules.
    The folks at the first place I tried were also friendly and not very educated on the program, but I got an okay spot to park in the middle of their parking lot.
    We tend to spend our travel time way out on BLM land, so I haven't made much use of my membership. Harvest Hosts may be a little more accessible, so I might give it a try.
    Thanks for the review,
    G.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown (G),
      I wish we had BLM lands in the North East!

      They always sound like fun.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  5. I spent a weekend at a Harvest Host apple orchard and can definitely recommend Wrights Farm in Gardiner, NY. A summer shower had just given way to sunshine as I set up; the rainbow was a good omen. I watched the orchard workers pick berries and apples and the adjacent parachuting school offered hours of entertainment as jumpers slowly descended. It was quiet, relaxing, and the orchard store at the bottom of the hill offered fresh produce, jams, and pies. Great way to relax. I will definitely do Harvest Hosts again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marilyn,
      Wow! I live pretty close to Gardiner. Sky Acres Airport has had a Jump School for ages.

      Glad you had a relaxing enjoyable stay!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  6. I plan to join Harvest hosts soon. I have been very interested since I started reading RVtravel.com newsletters. We live very rural and would be most comfortable camping rural. Really looking forward to enjoying the benefits. I am writing down Gardiner also. We live in King Ferry NY, so any farms etc in the state would be great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown,
      Unfortunately, you can't get actual info from the mapping system until you've paid for the subscription. That being said the overview will give you a good idea of the general locations available.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete

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