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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Americamps RV Resort: Ashland, VA

Right off the bat, I’ll just say that this is just as much a sentimental review as it is a factual review. It’s hard to remain unbiased after you’ve received such exceptional care! So, if you’d rather not read all of this and you just want to know what they offer along the lines of amenities and accommodations, scroll to the bottom. I’ve accumulated a bulleted list for you. Otherwise, if you want to get down to the very meat and potatoes of their operation, and how they conduct their business, continue reading for a detailed (and rather lengthy) review of the awesome park we just left last month.

About 15-20 minutes north of Richmond, Virginia, there is a town called Ashland. We stayed at this fabulous park called Americamps RV Resort (and it really WAS a resort in every sense of the word) from June 15, 2013 through November 7, 2013. The 5 months there went like a dream. After staying at a few parks now, I can honestly say, that this has been, hands down, the most friendliest, accommodating, and hospitable place we’ve stayed yet. It was worth every. single. penny. that we spent there. None of us wanted to leave once it was time to go.

Flashback to June 15th, I had been corresponding with the park a few hours before we were to arrive, because I was worried and wanted to make sure they had a spot for us that would’ve been easy to get into. (This would’ve been Nic’s 2nd attempt EVER at backing the RV up, and since we were pretty sure it would be dark, we wanted it to be easy.) Upon our arrival to Americamps, they were closed, as it was after hours. However, one of the managers was still lingering around (Jen), so she hopped into her golf cart to escort us to our site. I was so relieved to have her help. After she saw us to our spot, showed us where to pull forward to back up and asked if we needed anything else, we began to settle in. It was dusk, so we had just enough light to back her in while still seeing what we were doing.

(Our first site)

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Americamps runs parallel to Interstate-95 just Southeast of Exit 89. They had booked our site on the furthermost western side of the park (closest to the interstate) and when we were outside, it was a little too noisy for our liking. The following morning, we requested a new site, and they quickly obliged by telling us that if we’d like to, we were welcome to walk around the park to see if there were any open spots that appealed to us. We did, that and went to the office shortly thereafter with a list of the ones we had been interested in. Unfortunately, the majority of the ones we had liked were already booked for incoming RVers, and there had been a couple reasons why the remaining ones wouldn’t work either. Just when we were about to cave and take a “less than appealing for our needs” site (we wanted to be on the outskirts of the park, instead of in the middle), the other manager (Terrie) informed us that if we were willing to wait 2 days, the guy in site G23 would be leaving and we were free to take his spot. We checked it out, knew that would be perfect for us, and 2 days later, we were at the BACK of the park, far away from the Interstate and perfectly at peace. We were nestled comfortably between 2 retired full-timing RVers and never had any issues with anybody.

(Our 2nd and final site)

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All the sites are rather large. We had no problem parking our 31’ (including hitch) TT into our spot, leaving space for our Chevy HHR, then eventually our Chevy Equinox instead to park in front of and our Dodge Ram 2500 to park next to our car. At times, when we had company, there was even room to park a car perpendicular to our vehicles as well. There was a nice and solid picnic table and fire ring for barbeques as well. We had a bunch of trees to our rear isolating us in the back. We had a couple smaller Curly Willow trees as well on either side of our RV. The one directly to our East offered us privacy in our dinette’s window. There was luscious grass and plenty of room for the girls to run around. If you followed my blog at all during our time in Virginia, you’ll recall how much time we spent outside at our site. The girls were always doing something out there.

The rear of the park is backed up against a pallet factory that DID run day and night, but the “white noise” wasn’t loud, it was just an always present sound. It was actually quite therapeutic in a sense. I never minded it one bit.

There are a handful of paved sites, but the majority of the park is gravel. They take great care to keep the gravel combed and even. My eldest daughter actually learned to ride her bicycle there, and even being a newbie on those gravel roads, there were no issues.

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They also have quite a few grassy spaces in an area specifically for tenters. That area was always well manicured and kept nice for those folks as well.

There are 2 laundry facilities with bath houses. The first and main one, is located at the front of the park, just behind and part of the office. It has 4 washing machines and 6 dryers. I was told that they were actually gearing up to buy all new (front loading-I think) washing machines right after I was leaving. They had already replaced 1 in the centrally located laundry room. That is the other laundry room/bathhouse. It is located centrally in the park. That was the one I typically frequented, as it was the closest to our site. It housed 3 washing machines and 3 dryers. The cost to wash was $2 and the cost to dry was $1.50. After being at a new park now in Phoenix, I can say that the office spoiled us, because they let me charge my debit/credit card for whatever amount in quarters I needed, and would give me the quarters in exchange. I was frequently left at the park without means to an ATM and it was really convenient of them to do that for us. (We do not have that luxury here, and it is constantly a burden.)

(Don’t laugh. The laundry room up front was so spacious, when it was a pouring down rainy day, we would just stay in it and do our Yoga. It often became the backdrop of some of my finest photos I took of the girls.)

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(Also, they let me hang my laundry out to dry under my awning. I’m not sure they actually ALLOW that, or if they just didn’t want to tell me no though. I only saw 1 or 2 other people doing that in the whole park. It wasn’t a common occurrence to see, and that’s why I have no idea if it was actually allowed or not…)

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Behind the main laundry facilities, off the back of the “Rally Room”/office, there was a grand patio with several umbrella tables and chairs to kick back and relax at. We had many a day there homeschooling. If you walked down those stairs, you came to a tiled patio with a very nice gas grill. However, I’m not for sure or not if it was for the general public’s accessibility, or if it was instead for the Rally Room occupants and the meals they would host there on occasion.

The laundry room, bath house, pool, playground, office, store and meeting room…not to mention the entire grounds, were always kept clean, safe and appealing. If you needed ANYTHING, all you had to do was call the office and someone was quick to help.

In regards to propane, the cost was competitive to anywhere else we’ve stayed. Our 30lb tank would run about $20 to fill. The whole time I was there, I would unhook our tank(s) myself, load it in my truck, drive it to the propane fill station, push the button and someone would arrive seconds later to fill it up. After every fill, the guy would load it back up into the bed of my truck and ask if I needed help taking it back and hooking it up, but I always refused that service. I was also told, that had I needed assistance unhooking or taking it to the front, one of the employees of the park would’ve arrived via golf cart to help me with that. They were always willing to help…I CANNOT stress that enough!

They had one of the most self-sufficient stores of anywhere we’ve stayed! They had everything from firewood, to groceries (perishable, non-perishable and non-food items), ice, ice cream, camping essentials, rv essentials and MY FAVORITE…handcrafted items such as jewelry, accessories, decor, etc. by local RVers that were staying there as well. I left there after 5 months with some outstanding jewelry, a handmade soy candle that smells so good I always want to eat it and a bunch of other wonderful items! So far, it is the biggest store I’ve seen in an RV park.

They accommodated our postal needs by setting up a “box” in the office for us to check at our leisure. Quite often though, they would call me to alert me if I had any packages or letters that had just been delivered. That came in handy when I was waiting for the second my Husband’s contacts came in!

They had activities for campers to partake in. We never really did though because my Husband and I are a bit reclusive in our interactions. Quite often though, I saw signs stating that there was to be an upcoming complimentary breakfast or brunch served. I actually just heard that they served a lovely Thanksgiving lunch for the full-timers…I thought that was incredibly sweet of them. Also, they had a lot of groups of people that passed through, and on one such occasion, my daughter and I enjoyed meandering through a woodcarving group! We got to watch a lot of them carving and wood burning, sampled their wares, learned a bit and heard their stories. It was a nice treat!

Speaking of treat, they allowed trick-or-treating there on Halloween, and WOW, my girls have never received so much candy in their LIVES! It was a safe, well-lit environment and fun to boot! We got to visit with the many friends we made while there and have a great time!

(Here’s a pic of our littlest just outside the office. They have a bench to the right to sit on, their firewood for easy access after purchase, a drop-box in the door for overnighters and to the right (not pictured) a lovely porch swing to rest on.)

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(Here’s a pic of us inside the store. They had just had the whole store/office repainted on the interior. It looked amazing! Sorry I have to use pics with us in them…I apparently didn’t run around taking random pics of the store, lol!)

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Switching gears a bit, the playground (everyone’s favorite part) is one of the coolest (and safest) we’ve seen yet! It is in really “new” condition and is shaped like a castle. Holy cow my girls would’ve lived in it if I had let them. It had 4 standard swings, 1 monkey bar with rings hanging down, and 1 rope like swing attached to a disc as a seat. Inside the castle, you could sit on the benches, or climb the ladder to walk around and either go down the slide or the fireman’s pole. Next to the slide on the outside of the castle was a rock climbing wall. My 2 year old taught herself how to climb that and it was an incredibly special moment for me to witness. The whole park was raised up off the ground and outlined by railroad ties and the playground was pea gravel within those perimeters. There was a fence behind it protecting kids from running off the playground into the road of incoming traffic pulling up to the office.  There was a picnic table for parents to sit at if they didn’t feel like running around with the kiddos. It was positioned in the center of the play area with tons of lush grass to run around on.

(Here’s the girls at the playground with their bubbles. The office is in the background.)

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(There were several beautiful flowering trees all throughout the park. They bloomed hot pink, light pink, light purple, dark purple and white. I couldn’t get enough of them!)

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The pool (though we aren’t much for chlorine pools-thusly we never visited it) looked to be well maintained, clean and always sparkling. It was an outdoor pool, so obviously it isn’t in session during the winter. ;) There were always all kinds of people swimming in it or tanning poolside during the summer though, so I suspect there were no complaints there.

Recreational activities on the grounds consisted of 2 horseshoe pits and a tetherball setup that always had a brand-new ball attached to it. They also had corn hole, if that’s your cup of tea. They also have an outstanding fitness room full of practically every type of workout equipment that you could possibly need!

In regards to pets, they were a very pet-friendly establishment. All dogs must be on a short leash though. If you wanted to take your dog off the leash, they had a rather large dog run park with all kinds of obstacles for the furbabies to interact with. Not once did I ever encounter dog poop on the grounds ANYWHERE in the park. I cannot say how much of a relief that is. I hate stepping in dog poo, or worse yet, having one of my girls run through some!

As far as other animals go, Americamps is located in the rural part of Ashland, VA. We are talking RURAL. On the one hand, it is an incredibly quiet and peaceful park to live in. On the other hand, having a rural location goes hand in hand with wildlife, and you have to keep that in mind. Upon your arrival, the staff will remind you to not leave your trash out over night or else the squirrels will get into it. That’s true, but in my time there, I actually made that mistake twice and both times I was visited by a skunk instead. The little bugger actually completely ripped my trash apart, leaving me a rather large mess to clean up the next day, but more importantly, once he/she arrived in the evenings, we were its hostages in our home until the following morning. He/she would sit under our steps of our RV and run out in front of us if we tried to go outside…so that was a bit unnerving. It was MY fault though and it just made me remember to not leave my trash out again! Once I stopped making that mistake, there were no more visits from our stinky friend. No one else in the park had sightings of it either.

In our time there we saw squirrels, groundhogs (which look like big beavers without tails, lol), a rather large assortment of birds, toads, and the occasional snake (he was in the trees behind our home). Every night, I loved falling asleep to the sound of crickets and toads croaking off in the distance. It was heaven!

I can’t speak highly enough about the staff. The management was run by two Husband & Wife teams: James and Terrie & Jake and Jen. Not long after we arrived though, Jen and Jake left to go start up another RV resort by the same owner, leaving Terrie and James to manage without their accompaniment. They did an amazing job and with the assistance of Minnie, Earl, Jeff and Kevin, they all made an outstanding team!

Once you arrive, you are treated like family, and if you stay for a while, by the time you depart, you are left teary-eyed because it feels like you are leaving family behind. I will always be grateful that that was the first park we lived at once we were far from our comfort zone of Colorado. I can’t imagine a better “first-time park” to stay at. To be completely honest, I can’t imagine a better park to stay at PERIOD, actually.

The 5-star staff is incredible, the grounds and park itself is easy to navigate and there’s nothing you’re missing, the location is close to Richmond and other attractions and did I mention they accept Good Sam’s discounts? What more could an RVer want or need? Oh, and I just LOVE how they decorate the whole park for all of the different seasons and holidays. It gives the whole place a very “homey” touch!

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On November 7th, the girls and I spent the day jumping in a HUGE pile of leaves with Terrie, James, Minnie and a few of the local kiddos. They took turns manning the office while the others had a bit of fun with us before we headed out of there. After a few fun-filled minutes of that, we said our tearful goodbyes, took some pictures with everyone, packed up the rest of our stuff, hitched up and headed out.

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Right before we left, they presented the girls with a book to remember them by…“Santa Is Coming To Virginia”. I lost count of how many times MHG read that on the way to Arizona, and she had made them a special “we’re going away” card to give them as well. We miss them all soooo much, and that really is because of the exceptional care, time and love they put into our time with them. That’s the kind of attention that one would only DREAM of receiving at all the places they stayed.

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If we’re ever headed back to that vicinity again, we will DEFINITELY be stopping there along our way. If the fates allow, everyone we grew to love will still be there to welcome us back!

Americamps makes you feel at home and there’s no place we’d rather be than, well…home!

Their accommodations/amenities include:

  • 30/50amp hookups
  • sewer at all sites
  • dump station
  • on-site propane (optional pick up/drop off assistance)
  • complimentary curbside trash pick up every day until 12pm
  • electric metered for monthly stays
  • electric included for under a month stays
  • dog run
  • playground
  • outdoor pool
  • meeting room
  • 2 bathhouses
  • 2 laundry facilities
  • paved & gravel sites
  • fully stocked store
  • horseshoes, tetherball, corn hole
  • the whole park is treed in massive trees to offer shade (and the colors in fall are spectacular!)
  • easy access to interstate in a rural location
  • just minutes from Richmond and other nearby attractions
  • friendly, fast and knowledgeable staff
  • free wifi (that is FAST and GOOD)
  • free cable
  • clean, and well-landscaped grounds
  • open year round
  • no age restrictions
  • FAMILY FRIENDLY!!!

They’re located at:

11322 Air Park Rd., Ashland, VA 23005

I’m not from the South, but from what I’ve experienced, their park is the very definition of “Southern Hospitality”!

If you quite possibly have any more questions after this lengthy review, please feel free to message me either on here in my comments section, on facebook at https://facebook.com/BohoHobos or  you can email me at zoe.the.stitch.witch@gmail.com. I would be more than happy to answer them for you!

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