In this latest blog from our friends The Adventurtunity Family, Kristi and Spencer talk about the unique benefits of the locally focused Harvest Hosts recreational program.
As first time RVers or seasonal campers, recreation memberships may certainly prove beneficial throughout your travels. If you haven’t come across them yet, you surely will soon. Well known memberships, such as KOA or Thousand Trails, offer campers discounted stays throughout their network of campgrounds and resorts. Others, like Good Sam, also offer discounted overnight stays in addition to insurance, extended service plans and roadside assistance. FMCA and Escapers are known for all of the above plus meet-ups, networking events and trade shows.
Depending on where and how often you camp, many of these could be good options for you. We are currently members of a few mentioned above in addition to the Harvest Hosts program. Which is by far our favorite membership.
Harvest Hosts is an annual membership that allows self-sufficient campers (RVs with their own power and water on board) to stay one night at participating small businesses throughout the USA and Canada. While the night’s stay is technically at no charge to RVers, they are asked to support or donate to the business of which they are a guest. The Rule of Reciprocity at work!
These unique businesses not only open their farms, grounds and parking lots to Harvest Hosts members, many of them welcome you with wide open arms, eager to share a little bit about their business with you too!
Over the past 18 months we’ve stayed well over 20 nights at participating Harvest Hosts businesses. Each vineyard, brewery, farm, distillery, museum, and wedding venue have a unique story to tell and a product or service to share.
Some of our favorites have been The Farm on Kenyon Road in Ohio where Benji and his family curate a locally sourced food box subscription for the community. They have a strong passion for healthy food, sustainable farming, and building community. And there’s Casey Jones Distillery in Kentucky who offer a relaxing atmosphere with some amazing moonshine and bourbon tastings. They also offer tours of the facility to see how they craft their spirits from grain to bottle. All of this happens on a beautiful property with a party space and a deck overlooking a man-made pond with incredible sunsets!
For us, being a part of the Harvest Hosts program is much more than a “free” overnight stay. It’s a way for us to get to know other people, support small business and introduce our son to a plethora of experiential learning opportunities from these local and family run businesses. Kade has been able to help pick farm fresh eggs, feed alpacas and play with other kids whom he wouldn’t have otherwise met.
There are of course some rules to the program so be sure to check them out before signing up. They are pretty straight forward, offering members one overnight stay at participating businesses. We are all asked to be courteous and respectful when booking, canceling, arriving late, and while staying on their grounds. As well as leaving no trace after an overnight stay.
Booking a stay is really easy too! There is a free Harvest Hosts app where you can search for participating Harvest Hosts businesses along your route. Each listing has detailed information, how to book, contact information, reviews from other campers who have stayed previously, photos and a website link if they have one.
Many of the Harvest Hosts businesses offer overnight requests online done through email, while others request that you call ahead. Be sure to read the notes on how to book and who to speak with to request a stay. Occasionally we have booked a few weeks ahead of time but many of our overnights were secured one or two nights prior to our arrival. Even a handful were booked same day!
We truly can’t say enough wonderful things about this program! It is easy to use, request, and secure overnights stays. You get to support and experience local businesses, and often times you will spend less money supporting a local business than you would have paying for a night at a campground. And it sure beats the heck out of a night in a parking lot or truck stop! If you travel frequently, be sure to check out Harvest Hosts and stay local throughout your travels!
Have you stayed with Harvest Hosts? Let us know on our Facebook page!
Meet Spencer, Kristi and Kade, a.k.a. the Adventurtunity Family! In September 2020, they embarked on an adventure to live full-time in their 37′ Holiday Rambler Vacationer. Originally from Baltimore, they have traveled the country in their RV and are sharing their adventures, insight and tips with others in the hopes of inspiring them to hit the road and explore, too.