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Clifford & Marion Grover

Editor’s Note: This is an edited article from Cindy Smith, a third generation co-owner of Circle CG Farms. 

Circle CG Farms in Bellingham, Mass., is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018.

Starting as a 25-lot campground in 1968, it has grown to include 150 sites for tents and RVs during the spring, summer and fall months, and is open year round with reduced operations, 70 sites, during the winter.

Founded by Clifford and Marion Grover, the campground came to be due to Clifford’s passion for horses. Moving his family to Bellingham from western Massachusetts, the businessman planned to start a riding academy. He also has his hands in other local business ventures including Hercules Cement and B&G Trucking.

The riding academy drew students for riding lessons from across the region and it was a chance conversation with close friends and business owners that opened his eyes to the possibility of something more —  his new homestead could not only host a stable and facility for horse shows, but a campground for people who traveled a distance with their families to participate and view the western-themed events.

Over the years the campground has hosted guests from Australia, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada and Fiji, just to name a few. The campground has also hosted Olympians, race car drivers, soccer teams and famous actors over the years.

The Grovers, aided by their daughter Linda and later her husband, Robert Daley, balanced the riding academy and campground, but soon camping became the bigger draw.

The Grovers opened a field for camping and horseback trail riding became an activity to do while camping. It wasn’t the only activity that was popular at the park – soon the weekends were filled with square dancing with Roger Dufoe; live country bands such as John Penny, Sleepy LaBeef, Tina Welch and the Good Company Band;  horse-drawn hayrides and an annual western rodeo, complete with clowns and drill team performances.

1969 band at office porch

The campground continues that tradition with contemporary country western bands such as Bobby Carlson and The Stones River Band, Gale County, Jim Libby Band, Country Mile and Joe Macey.

In the beginning, the camping season extended from April to October, and every year Circle CG Farm marked the opening of camping season – and summer – on Memorial Day Weekend with Grem Ferris and The Wheels, and closed with a family field day on Columbus Day Weekend in October.

Campers from outside of New England could take a guided bus tour to Boston, Cape Cod or Salem. Today, the campground is open year-round, with activities scheduled throughout the year. Campers can now – with the advent of GPS and nearby public transportation – tour the historic sites in the region on their own.

Improvements have followed and are continuously ongoing – a man-made fishing pond, electricity, running water, sewer sites, paved roads replaced dirt roads, and a bath house with hot water replaced the outhouses that were on  the property.

Cable and Wi-Fi has been installed, Grover Station, an outside concert venue, was established, pull-thru sites were graded, and a modern office and computerized registration system have been added.

The campground is now in its third generation of stewardship, with grandson Peter Daley and his partner Cindy Smith at the start of another half-century. Peter’s sister, Donna Boynton and her husband Michael, as well as extended family, are always close by to lend a hand.

More upgrades are on the way as camping evolves. But for now, the Daley family is celebrating the past with an eye to the future.

With time, regular campers became like family – some no longer with us, and some we haven’t met yet.

The Daley Family would like to thank their team of employees as well as past, present and future guests for choosing the park.

Circle CG Farms will be celebrating their 50th anniversary with special events Labor Day weekend.

Check out circlecgfarm.com or follow them on Facebook for the latest information.