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Celebrating Campground Milestones
Please join us in congratulating (and celebrating!) the following ARVC member-parks who are marking major milestones this year. Each of these parks has been in the same family since it was established, an impressive feat in itself. Their histories provide us with inspiring stories about how parks can grow and evolve with the times to create lasting legacies:
Clay's Park Resort, North Lawrence, Ohio
Otis Clay first began mapping out his plans for a park back in 1947 and today, the Clay family is celebrating seven decades of making family memories. They’ve achieved this significant milestone by continuing to improve their park over the years.
The park started out with no water features at all, but it is now home to a waterpark and a 25-acre swimming lake. The first lake was created by a damming of Fox Run Creek and it was later followed by a smaller, sandy-bottom swimming lake dug out in 1955.In the 1960s, Otis Clay observed America’s growing interest in camping and began expanding his campsites by adding electric and water hookups for RVs and travel trailers. Mr. Clay passed away in 1966, and the Clay family continues to build the park and carry on his legacy.
In the 1970s, the park formed a successful partnership with the Yankee Peddler Festival that is still going strong more than 45 years later. The festival and craft fair, which showcases what life was like between the years 1776-1825, is held on the grounds of Clay’s Park Resort three weekends each year.
During the 1980s, the Clays constructed the Clay’s Park Music Center to provide a venue where popular musical acts could perform. This past June, the Music Center was the site of the annual Country Fest that featured major country stars Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Cole Swindell. The Clay family continues to grow and improve its park to ensure that it meets the high standards their loyal customers have come to expect.
Ed Allen’s Campground, Lanexa, Va.
Ed Allen’s Campground is located on land which has been in the Allen family since the 1930s. Ed Allen Sr. and his wife, Louise, opened the property to the public in the 1950s so that others could enjoy the peaceful beauty and wildlife around Chickahominy Lake.
In the early 1990s, Ed and Louise passed down the campground to their daughter Debra Allen Ward who managed it for more than 20 years. She then continued the family tradition of passing down the business when her son, Brock Allen Ward, purchased the campground in 2011 at age 25.
Brock, with the help of his wife, Whitney, have spent the past seven years making improvements, upgrading utilities and adding lots of family-friendly amenities to continue elevating the quality of the campground. Guests are often surprised to meet a park owner who is only 32, but they soon realize camping has been in Brock’s blood his entire life.
It is his and Whitney’s plan to continue to improve and grow the campground so that it can be passed down to the fourth generation, their son, B.A., and daughter, Kennedy. Brock is proud to be part of a family business his grandparents established so many years ago.
Circle CG Farm Camping & RV Park, Bellingham, Mass.
When Clifford and Marion Grover moved their family to the sleepy town of Bellingham, Mass. in 1966, one of their goals was to open a riding academy because horses were Clifford’s passion. But a chance meeting with some close friends who were campground owners eventually made them realize their property would be the ideal place to build their own campground. So, they did just that and in 1968 they opened with 25 sites.
Soon after the campground opened, camping became a bigger draw than the riding academy, and in addition to trail rides, it offered square dancing, live performances by country bands, horse-drawn hayrides and an annual western rodeo.
Circle CG Farm Camping & RV Park has grown to become a year-round operation with 150 campsites, and through the years it has hosted guests from places as far away as Australia, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada and Fiji. It has also hosted Olympians, race car drivers, soccer teams and famous actors.
The campground is now operated by the family’s second generation, Rob and Linda Daley, and its third generation, the Grover’s grandson Pete Daley and his partner Cindy Smith. Together, they’re guiding the campground into its next 50 years with the help of Pete’s sister, Donna Boynton, and her husband Michael and their extended family.
Is your park celebrating a milestone anniversary next year? Let us know by emailing Rebecca Maguire at firstname.lastname@example.org.