b'CAMPSITE VISTASHarvest Hosts Growing, Complements Campground SectorJoelHolland andhiswifewould der farms, wildlife rescue stations and and asked if I was interested in Harvestspendtheirvacationtimetraveling cider mills. Hosts, he said.I thought lets give it afrom their home in Virginia in their RV We make sure that at least half of try. Weve got the property and we likedSue and often wondered how they could our hosts are not alcohol-related, said the spirit of the idea. We provide nospend some time at local wineries and Holland. Not all of our members are amenities, as everyone is fully self-con-Bray farms along the way. We thought we drinkers. tained. But they help us by spendinghadanovelconcept,hesaid, but There are rules. Harvest Hosts mem- money at our place.then we discovered it already existed.bers must contact the individual host Amidstthepalmtreesand2,000TheyjoinedHarvestHosts.Their ahead of time to see if there is a space muscadinegrapevinesRobertshasWhy do we RV? For most of us, its first experience was at Heartland Farm available. They may not arrive unan- planted, guests park their rigs and jointhe freedom to go where we choose. To in Kansas, a small farm run by three nounced. They must stay for only one his weekend music events, wine tastingmake a last-minute decision to turn left nuns. Each nun had a specialtyone night. No hookups are availablethe and food sold from local food trucksinstead of right, heading for the unex- madesoap,oneraisedalpacasand guest must be in a self-contained unit, parked on the property.pected. To experience different envi- knitted alpaca scarfs and one was a which means they must have an inte- Is Harvest Hosts drawing valuableronmentsandlifestylesfrom masseuse. It was the first (and only) rior toilet and inside cooking facilities. campground nights away from the RVcamping in the middle of an urban time Id ever had a massage from an 80- No dumping of black or grey water is parkindustry?HollandandRobertsareatospendingthenightinase- year-old nun, said Holland. The stay allowed.Notentsarepermitted.Of dont think so. Harvest Hosts drawscludedremoteforestspot,yetstill was such an incredible experience that course,theyneedtoidentifythem- new people into the RVing world, cre-being in our home on wheels. Its en- Holland, who had a professional back- selves as a Harvest Hosts member, and ating a very positive RV experience,joying the amenities at a luxury RV re- ground in technology, contacted the they are expected to make a purchase said Holland.Its boondocking only,sort.Itsreallynotaboutgoingon Greenes and negotiated a deal to buy from the host or at least help with some not a campground. Many times, whenvacation. Its about always being on va- the Harvest Hosts business. Since then, chores in some way, although its not a new host location opens in a smallcationas long as were traveling in our hes expanded the marketing efforts required. town, people will go to the local camp-RVs. primarily through social media, added Members pay an annual fee of $79 ground before and after the HarvestHarvest Hosts brings a unique as- an app, and rebuilt the website. Along which gives them unlimited visits to Hosts experience. If were competingpect to this mix. Founded in 2009 by the way, Harvest Hosts has received ex- any of the hosts except for the 350 golf with anything, its a Walmart-type stay,RVers Don and Kim Greene, the con- cellentpresscoveragefromLonely courses, which require an additional not a campground. Every time a mem-cept was to allow RVers to connect with Planet,GoodMorningAmericaand $20 upgrade. Members still need to pay ber stays at a Harvest Hosts location,farms, wineries and breweries, provid- other major media outlets. to play golf at the courses, and most theyre also going to stay at a camp-ing travelers with a beautiful spot to In less than two years under Hol- end up enjoying a meal at the clubs ground.spend the night and at the same time lands leadership, Harvest Hosts has restaurant. Host facilities pay nothing Robertsadded,Ineverthoughtsupporting the business, creating har- grown considerably. Today, there are to participate in the program. about competing with campgrounds. Imony between the two. A few thou- 1,350locationsthatofferovernight So, why would a business want to own an RV, and here in Florida at thissand RVers signed up for the program stays to Harvest Hosts members. Its an become a Harvest Host? We asked Gary time of year, I cant even get into avia a very simple website, and about assortment of wineries, farms, tourist Roberts,ownerofSummerCrush campground. Its a totally different ex-600 hosts volunteered to take part in attractions, museums, breweries and Winery in Fort Pierce, Fla.When we perience.this very homegrown approach. golf courses. There are caves and laven- first opened, someone approached me Campsites Vistascontinued on page 36WOODALLSCM.com April 2020-25'