Here's our promised review of our Harvest Host experience. Our recent trip to the Ozarks included 5 HH stops in our plan. In the spirit of HH, I'm not going to name actual locations, with one exception. You'll have to be a member to have access to those.
HH 1 - an air museum in Indiana. Parking in their very nice and level parking lot overlooking some of the planes on outdoor display. Meticulously maintained facility (not surprising give the active Air Base next door. It was just off the rural highway and we expected it might be noisy overnight, but it was not (or if it was, we slept thru it easily). There was one other TT on a HH stay when we were there mid-week. Went to bed hearing taps being played on the air base and woke up reveille. That was kind of cool. Unfortunately we arrived right at closing time for the actual museum, so did not get to visit it. We will do so in the future as we come down that route on many of our road trips south. Would definitely stay there again.
HH 2 - Nice little rural farm market and agritainment venue in Kentucky. The road to get there was rural, two lane with minimal shoulders, and a bit winding but quite manageable for our 26 ft Axis if you didn't have a lead foot. Nice grassy level site overlooking their small peach orchard, beautiful valley, and their venue with pumpkin chucking, hay bale maze, and much more. This would be a fun venue for kids. Could have easily parked 4 -6 rigs in the area we were in and still had lots of space for all.
Enjoyed some goodies from their farm market - cider slushies, cranberry orange bread, great whole grain sandwich bread, and sorghum syrup - that were part of our meals for the next few days. Very friendly folks. Even gave us access to their farm generator when we were having trouble with ours. (Fortunately we got the generator going again, thanks to reading the manual post on this forum.
Must have gotten a bit of bad gas and needed to be primed again.)
Just after we got set up, the sky opened up with a DELUGE and light show over the valley. It poured most of the night but has stopped by morning. Even with all that rain, the site posed no problems with puddles or being able to drive out.
Down side on this one isn't really their "fault." DH jack rabbited out of the drive and rubbed bottom a bit hard. (Arrrggg how I hate it when he jack rabbits.
) Be warned, exit SLOWLY. You should be OK.
When we stopped later in the morning I noticed something hanging under our rig. Yup, Broke the piping for the gray tank right off. That took 2 hours of him laying on his back wiring up the shrouds and tank. (Just glad it was not the black tank and at that point we had been essentially still empty.) Almost turned around and headed home, but we managed to improvise and handle gray water in another manner; no not just letting it run out, hate that.) Started to rain again just as the repair was getting finished.
Have photos for posterity; someday we will laugh over this. Note to self: glad we had reviewed tool bag essentials and had what we needed to make at least a temporary fix.
The rural road heading south from this HH was VERY winding and narrow. The edge was not marked and also fell quickly into the roadside ditches. It was a bit slow and careful going. Would recommend that bigger rigs find a way to an easier drive.
Overall still enjoyable and would stay there again too.
HH 3 - Winery in northern Tennessee. After seeing the sights and burning up some time on the repair, we were a bit worn out. Headed to HH#3, thinking we could use that wine.
Turned out to be in a much more urban setting than we expected. At a busy intersection with a token half dozen short rows of grapes. We had communicated our delay with them en route. Since it had poured for the remained of the afternoon, they suggested we park along the driveway, not amongst the row of vines. That would leave our slide out in the drive lane side. Not our idea of something good for the day, so we decided to pass on this location. Phoned the campground we were headed to next at Land between the Lakes. They had had a no-show and we were able to at least get a site for the night. (Moved to our reserved one the next day for our several days there.)
Then a series of very nice state park and COE CGs in Arkansas. They were all really nice and, surprisingly, for the most part rather empty. Would recommend any of them.
We also spent a couple of nights at a KOA in Hot Springs (our first KOA experince). Very nice and well run operation. Sites terraced on the hillside made it seem more open and private. Very friendly operators. Meticulously clean restrooms and handy, on demand shuttle bus to downtown Hot Springs. Would certainly consider staying again.
HH #4 - This is the one I will name. The National Quilt Museum in Paducah Kentucky. When I discovered it was on our route, I was determine to visit. That they turned out to also be a HH was a bonus. Parking in large city parking lot adjacent to the museum. One other HH camper present but otherwise the city was almost silent. Seemed like it should be an eerie silence, but it was very peaceful.
You MUST visit this museum. It has some of the most incredible, beautiful fiber art we had ever seen. We will definable visit again as they rotate exhibits.
The parking lot is adjacent to the flood walls. There is a nice park along the river where you could watch barges. But what is really cool is there are 50 murals chronicling Paducah's history painted on the flood wall. Made for a nice evening stroll and photo op.
Tasty new Cajun restaurant was kiddy-corner from the parking lot. Not very busy so we ate in, but e could have easily taken pickup back to the MH if we'd had any crowd concerns.
Next morning we walked to the excellent little bakery down the street and picked up pastries and coffee. YUMMY! Some of the best coffee I've had too. Another one we'd stay at again.
HH 5- With time change, and time zone change got an early start out of Paducah. Had planned our final stop at a HH winery south of Indianapolis, but realized that if we pushed it a little, we could make it to DH's sister outside of South Bend. Hadn't visited in a while, so we opted to do that. Let the HH know we wouldn't be stopping so they could offer space to someone else looking for last minute spot. We did swing by, just to see if we'd want to consider it for a future stop. Yes we would. It was a true vineyard and winery in a more rural setting with lots of space. Will keep them on our list.
So, overall were the HH stops worth it? Probably yes. Where we did stop, we spent more $$$ than we would have for a paid site and did not have any hook ups, which we came to appreciate more than we anticipated. (We're former tent camper used to dry camping.)
We did get some fun experiences out of the deal though, so that's the trade off.
If you are strictly looking for free/cheap camping, HH may not really be a deal, but so far we've found them worth what we spent.
Curious to hear others' experiences (and recommendation in PM) too.