Tag Archives: campground

A look at Southwest Harbor and Bass Harbor Lighthouse

Spring has finally come to our part of Maine!  The grass suddenly greened up, the weather has warmed up a bit, and the dandelions are in full bloom!
dandelions dog spring in maine

Back in Georgia, the schools have let out for summer and I’m sure it is very hot and humid there.  While we are totally not missing that, it is a bit strange to be celebrating spring weather when it is nearly June.

bar harbor oceanside koa maine

The park is starting to fill up.  We had a big crowd over the Memorial Day weekend and our first taste of how busy it will get as the weather warms up here.

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When Dave and I lived and worked in Atlanta, we carpooled every day- an hour and a half each way in heavy traffic.

bar harbor oceanside koa maine

We still carpool, but this is our new ride!  Cute, right?  Takes us about 5 whole minutes to get to work and the traffic?  Other than an occasional seagull or goose, it is nonexistent!

trip to bass harbor lighthouse

We get two days off a week and plan to use them to explore the area.  The Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA is located on Mount Desert Island.  It is a huge island with lots of areas to explore including a Acadia National Park, tons of hiking trails, lots of coastal towns, lobster fishing, beautiful mountains, and even a lighthouse or two!

This past weekend, we took a trip down to Southwest Harbor, Bass Harbor, and the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. Southwest Harbor is the largest town on the southwestern “quiet side” of the island. The town has some great shops, galleries and restaurants worth checking out more thoroughly in the near future.

bar harbor southwest harbor

As we entered Southwest Harbor, we stopped to admire the amazing views.  You can see the open ocean here, dotted with various small islands.  And just check out the rocks!  I had immediate plans of gathering a bunch and creating a whole new batch of Painted Paisley Stones!

bar harbor southwest harbor

…and apparently they knew I was coming.   It appears that I may not be the only one who loves a pretty rock.

bar harbor southwest harbor

Our next stop was the lighthouse.  My ultimate goal on this trip is to visit every lighthouse in the area, and with nearly 60 lighthouses on the Maine coast, I have my work cut out for me!

Built in 1858, Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is the only lighthouse located on Mount Desert Island.  There are not currently tours available for this lighthouse as it is maintained by a private family, but you can take the walkway right up next to the tower and lighthouse viewing area where you can see a panoramic view of the harbor and the islands in the distance.

bar harbor southwest harbor

To the left side of the lighthouse is a path that leads to the rocks below where you can capture some amazing photos of the cliff and lighthouse.  Here I am in my KOA yellow parka checking out the view before I carefully picked my way down.

bar harbor southwest harbor

We sat here for quite some time enjoying the view and keeping an eye out for seals along the shore.  I hope to come back here soon around sunset and get some more beautiful photos.

bar harbor southwest harbor

The little town of Bass Harbor is not only picturesque, but is known as one of  the most lucrative lobster-producing ports in the state.  The town also has terminals for two different ferries which can take you to more of the surrounding islands.

We plan on taking some of the ferries in the near future and will let you know more about them then.

bar harbor oceanside koa

But for now, we have work to do back at the Oceanside KOA.  And a few beautiful sunsets to enjoy there!

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We finally made it to Bar Harbor!

We arrived in Bar Harbor, Maine, about two weeks ago.  I’ve been asked by several people why we chose Bar Harbor as our first ultimate destination.  Well, the truth is, Bar Harbor chose us.
bar harbor oceanside koa

Last August, I put our resumes on the KOA website.  Shortly afterwards, we had five different offers for work camping jobs in the United States!  Maine, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana and California.  After speaking with the manager at the Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA, we decided to take the leap and head north.

Neither of us had ever been to Maine, and what a great way to start a new life in a beautiful part of the world!

bar harbor oceanside koa

We arrived on April 18.  This particular park does not open until May 7 due to the extreme weather in this part of the country.  For the first few weeks of our new jobs, we were to help the other work campers on site to clean up the park and make it ready for the grand opening.

I have to admit that the work was tough.  This park shuts down in mid October.  There was heavy snow this year resulting in many fallen trees.  Reopening it involves thoroughly cleaning all cabins, cleaning up leaves and debris from campsites, learning the computer systems and how to take reservations, scrubbing bathrooms, picking up trash, and much, much more.

bar harbor maine popcorn

This is the land of no “R”s!  There is lobstah, beyah (beer), and but-tah popcorn!

And the weather?  Well, it is has been cold, windy and rainy, punctuated by moments of brilliant warm sunshine.  We were told that if you didn’t like the weather, all you needed to do is wait an hour and it would change.

Heavy winds and rain brought down even more trees after we arrived including this one in front of our RV!  Dave had noticed a split in the tree and when he went out to warn our coworkers, the tree fell.  That was definitely our excitement for that day!

But it hasn’t been all work…

bar harbor koa

We had a fun gathering with our boss and the rest of our co-workers.  We ate burgers on the grill, lots of great homemade food and even met Big Foot!  Looks like it is going to be a fun summer!

campfire camping

In the evening when it is nice, we gather up a bunch of wood and make a nice campfire.  We have met a whole lot of people here with so many things in common with us.  They are also full time RVers and most of them have been doing it a whole lot longer than us.

We are excited to share the sights and adventures of the Bar Harbor area with you over the next few months.

bar harbor oceanside koa

I have to admit that occasionally I get a little homesick.   I can’t shake the idea that I’m on vacation and any time now, I need to return home to Georgia.  We have been gone a month now.  I miss my family, my house and some of the routine that I had over the past 20 years.

bar harbor oceanside koa

But I do love getting up in the early morning and walking the dogs and enjoying the fresh crisp air that this beautiful part of the country has to offer.

And when I get back to the RV, Dave has a fresh cup of hot coffee waiting for me.

Yes, I think I can totally get used to this!

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The New England Coast

We decided to add another stop on our route to Maine in order to make the drive times less strenuous for Dave.  Seems that keeping the distance no longer than 320 miles was a perfect scenario for him.  So with that in mind, our next stop was a small campground in Salisbury, MA.

new hampshire massachusettes

The weather?  Well, it was not cooperating.  Seems that skies are sunny unless we are hitching up the car and getting ready to hit the road.  It poured down rain on us as we prepared to leave Connecticut behind.

Fortunately there was sun waiting for us in Massachusetts.

new hampshire massachusettes salisbury hampton

It was too late, though.  I officially had Rosanne Rosannadanna hair, much to Dave’s amusement.

Salisbury?  Well, because of the rainy weather, and the fact that we were only in town a day, we did not get to see a whole lot of it.  The community is a popular summer resort beach town situated on the Atlantic Ocean, north of Boston, right on the New Hampshire border.

new hampshire massachusettes beach

We can, however, recommend the Seaglass Restaurant, located right on the ocean in downtown Salisbury.  After a chilly, rainy day, a hot bowl of New England Clam Chowder certainly hit the spot.

And the great thing about the Seaglass Restaurant is the fact that you can sit and watch the ocean while enjoying your meal!

new hampshire massachusettes beach

And this is what is called a Lobster Roll.  It is a mix of lobster, veggies and special sauce in a hotdog bun.  We will find out later that this particular item is hugely popular in New England.

new hampshire massachusettes beach

The sun came out the next day and as we headed north, we made a pitstop in the town of Hampton, NH.   What beautiful scenery!

Hampton Beach boasts a mile long boardwalk and Hampton Center which is lined with fast food and full service restaurants  offering seafood, onion rings, fried dough and much more.  You’ll also find lounges offering nightly entertainment, candy stores, gift shops and mini golf and amusement arcades.

new hampshire massachusettes beach

And just look at the rocks!  Yep, that is where my mind goes.  You can take a crafter anywhere, and they just see potential.

new hampshire massachusettes beach

This is what I see!  Painted Paisley Stones – of course!

new hampshire massachusettes beach

Hampton Beach was full of activity including this lone scuba diver.

new hampshire massachusettes beach

We noted that there is a RV park located right down the road from this beautiful spot.  Hampton Beach State Park has RV campsites right on the ocean.  The campground, with 28 sites, is open for reservations from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend.

It is definitely a spot we will keep in mind if we are in the area when it is open.

So… our next stop is Bar Harbor, Maine!  We are excited and just a tad nervous to find out what is on the horizon.  See you there!

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North Little Rock KOA, Arkansas- Campground Review

four starsOverall Rating: Nearly Perfect

 

We stayed for two days at the North Little Rock KOA in Arkansas – Mar 2015, on our way up to Branson for KOA Boot Camp.  Since we are new KOA Work Kampers, we try to hit as many KOA parks as we can.  You never know when might be working at one!

little rock arkansas

We drove up in pouring down rain, but lucked out and got some beautiful spring weather while here!

four starsSetting:  Beautiful wooded setting.  Lots of large hardwoods.  We were parked in a premium site which offered a concrete slab, along with a nice little patio and table and chairs.  It included a gas fire pit on a pedestal.  Nice!

little rock arkansas koa campsite review

Because of the time of year, they were in the process of lots of upgrades.  This is an older campground, but seems in good repair.

little rock arkansas koa campsite review

The pads are very even and spaces seem far enough apart all throughout the park to provide a little elbow room.  It was nice to be in a park that didn’t put folks so close that you could look out your window into someone else’s.

Amenities

four starsBathrooms were in great shape and very clean.

five starsWIFI- The park offers it for free and while it might be different during peak times, I never had an issue getting on line.

four starsLaundry- They have a nice laundry room available 24 hours a day.  The laundry room was just off of a game room that included a pool table and small ice cream parlor.  Plenty to keep you entertained while your clothes are drying!

five starsActivities- this park includes a swimming pool, fitness center (for adults only), and sauna/hot tub. They also offer bike rentals.

little rock arkansas koa campsite review

To the back of the park are some nice rental cabins along with wooded areas to picnic.

five starsStaff was friendly and available to help out if needed.  I went ahead and purchased my KOA Value Kard while I was here which gave me an automatic 10% discount plus 500 points towards discounts on future stays.

four starsDog Friendly– This campground had not one, but two dog parks.  Nice!  One park was meant for the small dogs and the other was a much larger area.  Both fenced in with trash cans and bags offered for doggie deposits.

The positives?  Great park!  We were basically just a two night-stand, but I could see staying here for a longer period of time.  There was plenty to do nearby in downtown Little Rock.

In the area and looking for something to do?  We recommend the Arkansas River Trail.  The trail runs through Little Rock and North Little Rock, connecting 38 parks, six museums and 5,000+ acres of federal, state and local parkland. The loop is an impressive 88 miles, runs largely along both sides of the Arkansas River and is nicely paved.

A great place for hikers, cyclists, skaters, joggers; and beautiful views of the Arkansas River!

For more information on North Little Rock KOA, be sure to check out their website!

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Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, Bremen, GA

three starsOverall Rating: Needs Work

 

Jellystone Park is located just off of I-20, about 45 minutes west of Atlanta in the town of Bremen, GA.  We chose this location because it was the closest campground to our house in Villa Rica.

jellystone campground bremen Georgia

We stayed here for about a week, but were busy dealing with an Estate Sale and a ton of packing at the house.  The majority of our days were spent running around and we didn’t get to enjoy Jellystone as much as we would liked to have.

Fortunately, we had one day of relative leisure to stop and look around.

two starsSetting: We would love to be able to give better scores here, because the staff was wonderful.  However, truth be known, it left much to be desired.  No pretty views, lots of gravel and red mud, uneven lots, and red ant hills.  Many of the folks staying there (about 60%) were living there full time.  Which means many campers in poor repair and lots of clutter.

jellystone campground bremen Georgia

The park consists of a central building which houses a game room, office, laundry room and restrooms.  The camping lots are placed in a large circle around the central building.

Notes:  All pads are gravel. Many are very uneven.  They have chosen to add additional gravel in some areas to try and level the sites, but in some cases it resulted in a pile of gravel on one end of the pad, creating a huge drop when you would want to exit your camper.

Red Ants!  True it is a Georgia problem, but they can be controlled if kept at bay.  We had to constantly be aware so that the dogs wouldn’t get into a hill of ants.  For those that are not familiar, red ants are rather vicious and have a painful bite.

Roads leading to the campsites have many grates and drainage ditches, causing issues while trying to maneuver a large rig with a car in tow.

Trains!  Although it is no fault of the campground, it is important to note that they are near a very active railroad track.  I grew up listening to train whistles and sleep heavy, so it didn’t bother me, but the husband wakes easily.  Trains go through about once an hour all night.

jellystone campground bremen Georgia5

Amenities

four starsBathrooms were clean, but access was limited.  You need a key code to get in.  Apparently they have issues with folks smoking in them as there were warning signs all over.

five starsWIFI- The park offers it for free and while it might be different during peak times, I never had an issue getting on line.

four starsLaundry- They have a nice laundry room available 24 hours a day.  Again, access is only with an individual key code.

five starsActivities- Where this campground may suffer regarding scenery, it definitely has lots of plusses where activities are concerned.  They have a splashpark, large kiddie pool, and huge swimming pool.  They offer a gameroom, gem mining, horseshoes, mini-golf, pedal carts and three playgrounds.

jellystone campground bremen Georgia5

Animals!  Including huge turtles, alligators, chickens, miniature horses, and lizards.  They even offer a reptile show on the weekends to entertain the kids, along with wagon rides and train rides.

jellystone campground bremen Georgia5

Oh, and there are two talking parrots on either side of the entrance to the main building that are happy to greet you.

five starsStaff is very friendly and helpful when needed.  We were delayed twice getting there, and they were very helpful with our reservations.  They seem great with kids. In true Yogi Bear form, every one of them had name badges with “Ranger” in front of their name.  Cute.

one starDog Friendly– I have to say for such a kid friendly and animal oriented park, I was surprised at how little they had for dogs.  No dog park.  No doggie waste cans.  No doggie waste bags available.  Literally very little area to walk your dogs unless you wanted to walk along the road.  Not cool, really.  Especially when I’m having to dodge red ants along the way.

jellystone campground bremen Georgia5

 

The positives?  If you have children, they will love this place!  Lots for them to do!  In fact, I’ve never seen a park with so much to offer for the kids.

However, if you are looking for a view, have dogs and no children ; you may want to look elsewhere.

In the area and don’t feel like cooking?  We recommend The Chat and Chew for a wonderful breakfast, and Evans Barbeque for a fabulous lunch or dinner!  Both restaurants are located in the nearby town of Villa Rica.

For more information on Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Bremen, be sure to check out their website!

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River’s End Campground & RV Park

four starsOverall Rating: Nearly Perfect

 

River’s End Campground & RV Park is located on the Georgia coast near the South Carolina/Georgia border on a little island called Tybee Island.  With the historic town of Savannah within a 15 minute drive, there is lots to do here.

rivers end campground tybee island georgia

Since purchasing our RV in 2013, we have stayed at River’s End Campground about 5 times.  We love the fact that it is so close to the beach, an easy commute to Savannah, and just blocks from the beach!

rivers end campground and rv park tybee island georgia

five starsSetting: Lots of moss covered hardwoods offering shade, picnic tables, fire pits, level gravel lots.  The park offers full hook up and the park in general is big rig friendly. You are only three blocks from the beach, and the Tybee Island light house.

rivers end campground tybee island

This photo was taken during the off season in late fall.  During the busy time of the year, this park is pretty darn slammed.  And we have to tell you that spots are very close.  We very much prefer the spots along the main road.  They are easy to pull in and out of and give a little more space.

Notes: Big rigs need to be particular careful of the hanging branches.  While we cleared nicely, it was still a bit nerve wracking if you happened to be parked underneath one of these huge tree branches.  Also, during peak season, maneuvering through the park in a big rig can be very tight.

While we do prefer the roadside lots, we need to note that traffic on that road is busy at times.  It can get noisy as the police station is right next door to the campground.   Care is needed when using the road for biking to the beach.

Amenities

four starsBathhouses are easy access and during our stays seemed very clean, while rustic.

five starsWIFI- The park offers it for free and while it might be different during peak times, I never had an issue getting on line.

four starsLaundry- They have a nice laundry room available 24 hours a day.  Personally, I do not do laundry in the middle of the night, but if you wanted to, you certainly could.

four starsSwimming Pool- River’s End boasts the largest swimming pool on Tybee Island.  And it is very nice.  It is only open during the peak season from about April to September.  And they do not offer lifeguards, so supervision of children is a must.

five starsStaff is very friendly and helpful when needed.  They even delivered wood to our doorstep on our last stay.    When we were hit by an unusual snow storm in Atlanta last year, we needed to postpone our trip to Tybee.  The staff was very supportive and at our request, held our deposit until we were ready to reschedule a few months later.

three starsDog Friendly– the park itself offers two different dog parks, one for small and one for large dogs.  Folks don’t necessarily pay much attention to the size restrictions as the smaller dog park is much closer than the other.  They do offer bags and trash cans in the dog park to dispose of waste.

On the negative side, they do not offer dog waste cans and bags in the campground itself, which I definitely prefer.  And the main stickler (while it is no fault of the campground) is the fact that dogs are not allowed on any of Tybee Island’s beaches.
rivers end campground and rv park tybee island georgia

The positives?  Well check out the beautiful lighthouse that is only three blocks from the campground!  Further down the beach are a fishing pier, lots of shopping, and some fantastic restaurants.

rivers end campground and rv park tybee island georgia
Don’t feel like cooking?  The North Beach Bar and Grill is located right by the lighthouse, three blocks from the campground.  They serve a fabulous margarita.  Just saying.

For more information on River’s End Campground & RV Park, be sure to check out their website!

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