b'ON CAMPGROUNDSWord-of-Mouth Drives Guests to Country CampgroundIts important up here to get thingswinterized, Mitchell said.Reports fromA 120-foot dock on a small lake onthe field:the property doesnt get protection. It never comes out of the lake andBob Ashley when the lake freezes, whatever MotherNature does as far as ice moving aroundiswhatwehavetodealwithinthespring, Mitchell explained.AmountainbikeraceinDetroit Karen Mitchells parentsElwoodLakes,Minn.,keptCountryCamp- and Lois Orner built the park in 1994groundopen a couple weeks beyond its and the Mitchells bought it in 2010.normal closing date at the end of Sep- With the park heavily wooded with Heavily wooded Country Campground fea-tember. pine, oak, maple and ash trees, Mitchell tures sites with cement patios and a rec hall.And Todd Mitchell, owner of the 30- tries to enforce a ban on RVers bringingsite park with his wife, Karen, is happy their own firewood to Country Camp-it did because three weeks before the groundbecauseoftheemeraldash sider limitationsno seasonals, no ad-race the park had 22 sites reserved. borerthathasdestroyedmillionsof vertisingall has worked out for theIts usually scheduled for the last trees in North America. Mitchells.week in September, but they moved it Even when you tell them the policy, Business has been great, Mitchellthis year to the first weekend in Octo- some people end up taking wood from said. Its actually gotten better everyber, Mitchell said. We checked with theirvehiclethatcamefromsome- golf course. A rec hall is equipped with year. We get new people who will re-some of the people who had stayed with where else, Mitchell said. pool and Ping Pong tables and other serve a couple of weekends in the sum-us before and decided wed stay open Country Campgrounds sites sit on games,andasmallkitchenetteand mer and maybe bring friends. And thenbeyondthedatewhenwedusually three-quarter-inch rock and each has a screen porch. everybody comes back next year. Thatsclose. concrete patio with a picnic table. The Mitchell said the park doesnt accept how it snowballs. Ive got people whoAfter that, Mitchell will winterize his park has two playgroundsone for seasonal campers, as such.actually make reservations two years insites for the brutal winter weather in older kidsalong with a basketball We have people who are here for advance.Minnesota. court and a small nine-hole chipping two or three months, but we dont con- * * * * *siderthemtobeseasonal,Mitchell Things could have gone better forReal Log Park Model Cabins said. As small as we are, we couldnt NancyandVan Cappelloduring the firstmake it if we did seasonal pricing. winteraftertheyboughtLazyDayMitchell also eschews discounts.Campgroundin Danville, Mo., last year.There are hundreds of them, he We had a snowstorm that collapsedsaid. And some other campgrounds in oneofourclubhouses,saidNancy Real Rustic Log Cabins the area have taken discounts and then Cappello. Normally, we dont get that Turn-Key! raised their rates. We decided to not to much snow.raisepricesandnottakediscounts Although the couple had the building Durable and Appealing acrosstheboard.Nobodyhasreally reconstructed,thecalamitychanged Highly Profitable complained. their plans to add cabins to the 70-site Pays Off Within 1-3 Years Nor does Mitchell advertise.campground.Park Model Cabins Word of mouth is amazing, he said. Besides the building, it took out ourStarting at $26,900 We get people who stop here who tell cabinfund,shesaid. Hopefullybyus they met someone at Walmart who spring, provided we have a nice winter,Located in Lancaster, PA recommendedtheystopherewhen at least two cabins will go up.they are coming through our area. We have a lot of calls for them, Cap-717-445-5522www.LancasterLogCabins.com Even with what others might con- pello added.In addition to the collapsed building,theroadintothecampgroundwasclosed for a while during their first sea-son.The couple, which formerly owned arestaurant, was undaunted.As former business owners, we knowthings happen, Cappello said. Wevebeen through a lot of hurdles.The park, situated in rolling terrainabout 80 miles northwest of St. Louis,features shaded and sunny gravel sites,a swimming pool, half-acre dog parkand a fully stocked fishing pond.Lazy Day also has a series of sculp-tures that have been hewn on the re-mainsoffallentrees,alongwithanoutside wall on one of the buildings thathas been signed by hundreds of visitorsto the parkmost before the Cappellosbought the park.The park is open all year and gets be-tween 15 and 20 campers a week duringthe cold months. Its enough to make itworth it to stay open, Cappello said.WCM Editor-at-Large Bob Ashley is a Central Indiana-based freelance writer/editor and a 25-year newspaper veteranwho has focused on the RV industry andnational recreation issues for the past19 years. He received the 2013 Distin-guishedServiceinRVJournalismawardfromtheRecreationVehicle Industry Association (RVIA). WCM12 -October 2019Woodalls Campground Management'