Campground Review – Chesapeake Bay Thousand Trails – Gloucester, VA

When you come to Chesapeake Bay Thousand Trails be sure to visit the camp store and get an ice cream.  Warning…you only want one “scoop.”  The serving is huge and two of you might just want to split a single scoop!

If you are a member of Thousand Trails and looking for a place to camp in the Tidewater Region, look no farther: this is it!

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Colonial Williamsburg – Yorktown, VA and area

 The other highlight of our time here was a visit to Yorktown.  We began our visit at the Yorktown National Park Visitor center where we watched and introductory film that helped us understand the driving tour.  We were surprised to see how close the two armies actually were as they prepared for to do battle.  The fact that Washington was able to march his forces, build the redoubts and do battle show determination and stamina on the part of the Colonials.  Of course, having the French fleet hold off the British Navy was a turning point, contributing to Cornwallis’ inability to retreat across the York River to Gloucester.

During the driving tour we saw the restored Moore House where the terms for the surrender of Yorktown were worked out.  It’s a lovely home originally on 500 acres with a view of the York River.

Finishing our trip we rode the free trolley from the NPS visitors center to Yorktown and walked along Water Street by the River then took the trolley back.

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Places to get information on Full Time RVing

Finally, of course, I hope you’ll consider this Here and There blog and it’s Facebook page as a good resource for campground reviews, sightseeing information, and all things related to full time RVing.  As I’ve researched potential campgrounds I’ve often been frustrated that the only photos I can find are either “glamor shots” posted by the campground itself or people’s photos of their kids or pets, etc. at the campground.  I have nothing against such photos, but I want to see some candid photos of the campsites and facilities.  I’m focusing on those sort or photos for this blog while Jackie focuses on where we went and what we saw while at that campground. As it is when one is trying to thank everyone for their support in winning some reward, I know this post leaves out some great resources on full time RVing.  In fact, I started out to name just a couple and have had trouble finding an off ramp.  Still, the resources I’ve named here are my primary ones and I hope you find them helpful.

Skyline Drive, Front Royal, Udvar-Hazey Air and Space Museum

Our day at Shenandoah National Park driving Skyline Drive was a fun day trip.  We drove down a state highway south around 60 miles and then entered the park to travel the two lane twisting Skyline Drive back to Front Royal. The views are amazing all the way along. There are many pull offs where one can absorb the views and take lots of photographs.  There are welcome areas with restaurants with gift shops along the way but we opted to pack a lunch and eat at one of the overlooks.  We were lucky enough to see a few deer and actually saw a black bear.  By the time we could get turned around in hopes of getting a better look the bear had moved back into the trees. Scott just loved the drive and I agree that it is a great way to spend a day.

Being in this historic area I had to visit a little of the Civil War History.  There’s a full driving tour but we chose to see a very small portion. We saw the cottage of Belle Boyd who was a Confederate spy, Williams Chapel CME which was finished in 1845, and the home of a young woman named Lucy Buck who daughter of a prosperous planter and kept a diary throughout the Civil War.  We also visited Prospect Hill Cemetery where in 1882 the remains of 276 soldiers of the former Confederacy are interred. Ninety of the soldiers are identified and buried in a circle and the others are buried in a common grave in the center where an 18 foot high monument is erected above them.  The cemetery is a sobering reminder of the tragedy of war.

Our stay in this area has been quite enjoyable stay and we recommend it for both it’s scenery and it’s history.

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Campground Review: Skyline Ranch Resort – Front Royal, VA

Our journey down interstate 81 included miles driven in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia.  That sounds impressive but really, it was only a 3 hour or so trip.  The drive was an easy one without any traffic to speak of and no big hills to pull.  By early afternoon we had arrived at Skyline Ranch Resort near Front Royal, Virginia.

There are several nice features here: a nice activity center, a big pool, a nifty mini-golf course, a min-chapel that hosts regular church services, and several activities scheduled for the weekend.  We’re literally 10 minutes from Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park and about an hour from Washington DC.  There’s strong WiFi but it’s $3 a day.  I’ve opted to stay on my Verizon hotspot even though it’s a weak 3G.

If I return here I think I’ll lobby more strongly for a site with a bit of shade, 50 amps or not.  I’ll also mention that several reviews of this place reported stinky water. (update: according to a comment from the campground the water system has now been upgraded)  We haven’t found that however my external water filter is now very dirty and needing to be changed after just a few nights here.

With the unexpected fees, the field parking spot, and the dirty water balanced by nice amenities and a pretty good location, I’d give this place a score of 6 or 7 out of 10.

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Hershey, Lancaster, and Philadelphia

We had heard much about this area and were excited to arrive at our Thousand Trails campground near Hershey.

Scott’s sister, Susan spent a week of our stay at Hershey with us and we enjoyed her company very much.  Her and I tried to visit the Thousand Trails campground mini-golf course every day.  It was fun but I don’t think either of us has a future as professional golfers!  Seriously, we’re so glad Susan came to see us.  Having her to share all our fun here made it all even more enjoyable.

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Campground Review: Hershey, PA Thousand Trails

Our drive down PA Hwy 15 from the New York State Line south was very pretty.  The mountains are green and impressive.  I admit I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have because I was anxiously watching the heat gauge on the F350.  The grades aren’t as steep as they are long and long pulls have been the trigger for some overheating.  However, the repairs done in western New York did the trick.  The temperature gauge never wiggled above normal.  I think I can declare victory on that one.

Later in the journey we drove for many miles along the Susquehanna River.  Again, it was a gorgeous drive.  I highly recommend the route we took for it’s scenic beauty.

The campground has a large outside pool and an inside adults-only spa.  There’s a well stocked camp store, a nifty (and challenging) mini-golf course, horseshoe pits, and tennis courts.  Several people meet at the courts each morning to play pickleball – a game that’s a cross between tennis and ping pong.  It looks like a lot of fun but I haven’t tried it out.

Hershey, PA is famous for, of course, chocolate.  We enjoyed a visit to the chocolate-related attractions there as well as to Amish country and much more.  Jackie will blog about these things shortly.

We’ve enjoyed having my sister, Susan, come in for a week’s visit.  She’s good company for us and I think she’s had a good time checking out the area with us.  Our stay at Hershey is our longest scheduled stop of summer 2013.  We’re here a full two weeks.  We’ve been in other places that were good for about a week’s stay, but Hershey Thousand Trails is well worth the full two weeks.

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More Camper Upgades and some reviews

I posted our camper upgrades photo album a while back.  I’ve added a couple of more items that I’m especially pleased with.

A recent upgrade is a cooling fan for our refrigerator.  On hot days we’ve had the refrigerator set as cold as it could go and it was barely keeping up.  I researched solutions and found folks recommending this product.  The price was right so I ordered it.  Installation was quick and simple and we could tell a difference almost immediately.  We’re now running the refrigerator one setting less than before and the temps are staying in the upper 30’s.  Also, because it attaches with a simple alligator clip to the fins on the inside it can be easily moved around.  We watch the fins and when one section starts to get some ice build up we move it to that area.  In a few hours the ice is gone.  Not only does this fan help the refrigerator cool, it’s also a defroster!  I recommend this inexpensive and effective refrigerator upgrade.