Tag Archives: RPI

2018 – Shortstop: Quinebaug Cove Campground – Brimfield, MA

We stopped off at Quinebaug Cove Campground in Brimfield, MA for just a couple of nights as we worked our way on north. One of our campground memberships is with RPI and this campground is included in that membership. We are supposed to be able to stay in RPI campgrounds for $10 but booking costs another $2 and, upon arrival I was informed that since I wanted electricity there is another $3 a night tacked on. It’s still a low price but a surcharge for electricity seems a bit over the top to me.

Anyway, our campsite was reasonably level and very close to our neighbors on each side. Really, there is barely room for an awning to be put out. Also, since the campsites are rather shallow, the only place to park our pickup was between us and the folks next to us. This makes the “packed in” feeling even more pronounced.

There are other sites for travelers at the top of a rather steep hill. I saw several campers up there, and the sites are roomier, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to pull our 5th wheel up such a steep hill. Since our stay was only two nights I was okay with the tight quarters where we were.

The campground has a nice big pool and several kids were enjoying it. The nearby town of Sturbridge is historical with lots of shops. We opted to spend our day going to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, about 40 minutes away.

My Verizon signal was great and I was able to get satellite TV by putting our tripod just outside our front door and raising it to its maximum height. This was one of those rare times when having a roof mounted dish would have actually been an advantage.

Everyone I talked to in the campground, especially the staff, was friendly and helpful. I think this place is okay for travelers who want a brief stop or for those who want a seasonal spot to get out of the city. As a traveler it wouldn’t be very high on my list as a place to spend anything beyond a night or two.

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Campground Review: Pride RV Resort, Maggie Valley, NC

image-001.jpg Our F350 diesel handled the long I40 climb up and over Black Mountain just fine although I had my foot in it all the way up the five mile steep climb.  The scenery is wonderful and just the beginning of the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Our home for the week is Pride RV Resort that offers super easy access to I40 and the mountains of western North Carolina.  We’re here using our RPI membership.  That’s supposed to be $10 a night for us but by the time the mandatory “resort fees” (includes cable TV which I don’t need) and “50 amp fee” was added in we ended up at $18.50.  Of course, if we just drove in and paid the nightly rate we’d have paid over $40.  I think this is lesson learned and in the future I’ll budget with the add on fees expected and be pleasantly surprised with the parks that honor the $10 RPI rate.  Also, I understand that we’re in a premier area.  We’re in the mountains with wonderful views and mild to cool temperatures.  It’s not unreasonable to pay for such things.

image-017.jpg This place has some nice features.  The facilities are quite good with a big building for events, plus a “pavilion” for either open air or enclosed activities.  The mini-golf is nice and there’s a playground for the children.  There’s a pool and spa.  One of the nicest things is Jonathan Creek which borders the eastern side of the property.  It’s a nifty mountain trout stream.  There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the creek.  Also, the WiFi is the best we’ve had on our entire trip; it is also included in the resort fee.

At the same time there are some frustrating things about this park.  For one thing the water pressure is noticeably low.  When I asked about it I was told that the park is on a city water system that is being upgraded.  Hopefully, the upgrade will be completed soon.  Also, through no fault of it’s own it is placed between two lumber processing facilities.  Opposite the beautiful gurgling creek is a saw mill with heavy equipment making lots of noise.  A short distance across the highway is another mill with, I assume, some kind of big saw that makes a low pitched, penetrating whine that is pretty mush inescapable throughout the workday.

looking out our back window.jpg I think coming in on an affiliate membership in these places means that you’ll be treated like the park’s step-children.  We were assigned a spot in which we backed into a narrow site within 20 feet of the highway.  During the week when the one lumber processing plant was in full operation the sound of the trucks downshifting just outside our rear window was pretty loud.  We compensated by closing the roof vents and moving a fan upstairs for white noise.  I don’t know how much better it would have been a couple of rows over but I’m fairly sure it would have been at least a little quieter.  Because of the road noise and the closeness of our neighbors just a few steps outside our front door (very nice people by the way) we didn’t sit outside much during our stay.

2013-09-18 10.16.20.jpg As you can tell this place is quite a mixture of very nice and rather frustrating.  I think I’d return here simply because I love the area so much and because I think it would be easier on the budget than paying the rack rate would be elsewhere.  At the same time I’d lobby big time for a site away from the highway.

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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.

2013-08-15 16.29.53.jpg We are here as RPI members and I expected a rate of $10 a night.  However, upon arrival I was told that since my rig is wired for 50 amps I had to take a 50 amp site (normally 50 amp rigs have two air conditioners but ours has only one so we do just fine on 30 amps) and that it was going to cost me another $5 a night.  Then, when I paid with my credit card I was charged another $6.  Our $10 a night quickly turned into almost $17 a night.  That’s still quite a bit less than I would have paid elsewhere, but a lot more than I expected to pay.

My site was already assigned.  The majority of the campground is in nice woods with a view of the mountains which pretty much surround the campground.  However, we found ourselves in the corner campsite parked in a small field.  This spot, it turns out, is a bit of a mixed blessing.  On one hand, there are no trees at all – on the other hand, I was able to get satellite TV almost instantly.   On one hand, we are pretty much at the most distant corner of the campground – on the other hand, we have a big front yard, something hardly any other campsite here offers.  The only negative that doesn’t offer an “on the other hand” scenario is the inability to see the mountains.  Bummer!  Within a 15 second walk up the road there are mountains.  Here…zero view.

2013-08-16 16.55.23.jpg 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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