Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy, Happy, Happy, Merry, Merry, Merry

With Christmas in two days and New Years next week, there is no better article now than to just wish everyone of our readers greetings of the season.

Merry Christmas!
Happy Christmas!
Blessed Christmas!

Have a holly, golly Christmas!
Good Christmastide!
Happy Hanukkah! (belated)
Happy New Year!
Season's Greetings!
Happy Holidays!

There will be lots more to come from Meryl and Me in 2016! See y'all next year!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Country Acres Campground is located in Gordonville, Pennsylvania which is in Lancaster County. There are many campgrounds in this heavily tourist visited area. We have been going to a different campground here for several years and decided to try out Country Acres.

This campground is owned and operated by the family that owns several operations in Lancaster County - most of which are located around the Village of Bird-in-Hand. They own several hotels, a restaurant with smorgasbord, a bake shop, a dinner theater (as part of their restaurant), and this campground. The campground is not in Bird-in-Hand. It is off of Route 30 just east of the village of Paradise. Yes, Lancaster is full of towns with colorful names.

You enter the campground from Route 30 and travel up a short distance of road to the actual entrance of the campground. The road continues on to the right with residential houses. You turn left into the campground entrance which is a newly paved road. Ahead is a quaint looking building that is the office. The right lane of the entrance is to stop in to register. The left lane is to drive into the campground.

The campground has been developed over the years in sections and the newest RV section is just to the right of the office in an open field of gravel sites with hookups. There is also a full sized swimming pool in this area - with what they call a beach-style entrance (you can walk into the water). To the left of the office there is an electric lift gate that requires a keycard to open. When leaving the lift opens automatically.

When we arrived there were two people in the office and we were helped by a very friendly and welcoming woman. We had made reservations in advance - and I have heard that this campground is so popular that generally reservations are required sometimes well in advance to get a campsite. There is a discount club available to join for free that provides discounts at local businesses and attractions and nine punches on the card - one for each night stay - gives you one free breakfast for two at the Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant in Bird-in-Hand, up on Route 340. We had intended to join this when we arrived - and before I even asked the woman was filling out the discount card for us and punching the nights we would be there. We were handed the usual map with wifi login information on it and the list of cable television channels and our site number. We were also given a free Hershey chocolate bar! We received the keycard and told how to use it. When you first arrive, the gate is opened for you from inside the office. When you drive out, all you have to do is drive up to the gate and it opens automatically. When using the keycard, it is necessary to lean out of the RV window - the Roadtrek van window was slightly high to reach the slot without leaning out the window to reach it. A large Class C or Class A would need to have someone either get out to use the card or for the driver to reach down. The card slot seems to be at the height for a car or small truck window - which makes sense as other than a Class B, a C or A rarely leave the campground once in and a towed car is used to get around. The card was no problem - other than remembering to get it out when coming in - and in the rain, getting wet leaning out to get the card in the slot.  If you have reservations and will be coming in after the office is closed, you must call them THAT day and let them know and they will let you know where the card will be left for you. You must, of course, return the card when you leave.

As you pull through the gate there are different roads ahead to go to different parts of the campground. All of the roads inside the campground are gravel. If you take the road ahead that goes off to the right you loop up and around to several RV spaces and then into the tent/pop up section. The tent/pop up area has sites with water and electric. Some of these sites have cable. There are also six primitive tent sites and two cabins. If you follow the road to the right, you will drive past a number of RV sites and this road leads up to a road going up a hill to another section of the campground with a number of "big rig" sites. We missed our site driving in the first time and followed this road to the right and where it branched off to go up the hill it also looped back to the entrance of the campground bringing us back to where our site was. I have to share what there are hills that the roads go up and over. Where I thought we had not gone up hill at all, we wound up driving on this road looping back with a drop off on both sides with nothing on the edge of the road to keep you from going off. I was glad that we would not have to drive that road inside the campground at night.

RV sites vary in price by the type of site. There are 30 amp sites and 50 amp sites. There are sites with electric/water only, electric/sewer/water, electric/water/cable, and electric/water/sewer/cable. There is wifi that reaches across the campground. If you don't want a sewer hookup at your site, there is a campground dump station to use. We had a very strong wifi signal at our site. The cable television was clear - it was a cable company and not a satellite company providing the signal. The selection of channels was large - there were a number of sports channels (which we had no interest in), all of the regular networks, and also several popular cable networks including Turner Classic Movies (TCM). We tried the antenna for over the air channels and had pretty good reception without having to raise the antenna or point it. We found the channels that we were looking for that way and there may have been even more had we put up the antenna and directed it.

We reserved a 30 amp, electric/water/sewer/cable site and that is what we got. There was an electric box with a 30 amp, a 50 amp, and a 20 amp outlet inside - all with circuit breakers. I was surprised when I walked around vacant sites that were marked on the map as 30 amp that there was a small outlet box with just a 30 amp outlet inside - and no circuit breaker.

The site that we had was bordered on three sides by upraised ground and large rocks that formed a wall into the ground around the three sides. This seemed to be the only site like this that we could see. I would prefer to not have this same site again. Other sites were flat to the grass and would have been much easier to back into and to position the Roadtrek to find level. When I made the reservations I told the gentlemen on the phone that we needed a level site as our RV has not automatic leveling system. He indicated that the site was level. It was not quite level - but I was able to move around enough in the site to find an almost level spot that was close enough to not have to pull out the leveling ramps, which while easy to use are a pain in the neck to deal with - especially as we go and come every day. I looked around at other sites over the days that we were here and other sites looked more level - and we pulled into one that was level right off.

All of the sites have a picnic table and a fire ring - and while our fire ring was on the grass the picnic table was in the site and too much to move over the wall up to the grass to get it out of the way. It would have been much easier to get around in the site if the picnic table was not there. The other sites we could see had their picnic tables on the grass - or easily moved onto the grass.

You can see in the photos above the space we were in. Below is a photo of spaces along the other side of the road from us that were all flat to the ground.

 The restrooms were spotless. There were four shower stalls in the men's room and four toilet stalls with a row of sinks. There were also two urinals. The restroom was heated (we were here in the Fall). The ladies room was on the opposite side of the building. There was a utility sink outside the men's room and the laundry room was next to that.

The campground is well maintained. The cable TV connection at our site looked new. There is a large pavilion for campground activities up on a hill. This campground has ice cream socials and activities in the pavilion.

 Many things are also offered to guests of the campground off site at the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn on Route 340 in Bird-in-Hand. You may use the indoor pool, the fitness room, the game room, the tennis courts, the playground, the basketball courts, the hot tub, and the hiking trail there. You are also given passes for two complimentary two hour bus tours of the Amish Farmlands. These tours are the same as those sold by ticket in the area - and leave from the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn and Restaurant. While not at the campground, this is an area where if you stay all day and all night and never leave a campground - any campground here - you are missing all that this area has to offer. With a Class B it is easy - take off each day and explore. With a C or an A, you want to come to this area towing a vehicle that you can take off for the day in. Of course, with a trailer, you have your tow vehicle.

Sites are not pushed close together. There is a lot of room between the sites. The grounds are extensive with a lot of open space. You are very close to Route 30 which is a major truck road and you can hear the trucks going past at night. On nights that we had the heat pump (part of the A/C) on, we could not hear the trucks. When it was not on, we could hear the trucks going past. I was wondering why when I was listening to the trucks one night, why at the "other" campground I had not noticed them - but realized that when we are there, the A/C is on all of the time.

Will we go back? I am pretty certain that we will. Everything was nice about this campground. Another site would be preferred and we will make sure that we request not having this same site again. It is also less expensive than where we had been staying - and while not by a great deal, with repeated nights, the savings adds up for a stay. It is also much easier to get in and to exit than the "other" campground. Check in is at 2:30 and check out is at 2;00 pm which means no need to rush to dump your tanks on your last day.  It is a bit further out from where we have stayed and used to stay when visiting here by hotel, but I know there are shortcuts through the farm roads to make that difference negligible.

 Country Acres Campground is located at 20 Leven Road, Gordonville, PA 17529. The telephone number is 866-675-4745. There is a website. Use your GPS to easily find it, if you are not familiar with the area. There is a lighted sign at the entrance on Route 30 that makes it easy to find at night.