CAMPGROUND REVIEW: Ives Run Corps of Engineers Campground – PENNSYLVANIA

CAMPGROUND REVIEW


Campground/RV Park: Ives Run COE Campground (Corps of Engineers) – PENNSYLVANIA

Location: 710 Railroad Grade Trail (Ives Run), Tioga, PA 16946     (570) 835-0110
Date(s) Stayed: 6/13/15 – 6/20/15
Length of Stay: 1 week
Site #: 111 (Walk-in Site)
Cost per night (with taxes): $17 ($34 for others)
Discount Used:  50% National Park Access Pass (Disabled)
Connections: 30 amp Electric/Water and Dump Station
Stars:  4.5



Ives Run COE Campground sits on the eastern shore of Hammond Lake in north-central Pennsylvania. Surrounded by lush forested ridges, the lake offers recreation.  The campground is approximately 30 minutes to Mansfield and 30 minutes to Wellsboro and the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.  This campground is what all campgrounds should replicate!  Nicely manicured, staffed and managed by the Corps of Engineers proved its worthiness with cleanliness, ample spacing between sites, beautiful views of Hammond Lake and nice roads to walk or bicycle.  To reserve a site, you must be registered through Reserve America online.  Because of the popularity of this campground in the summer season, expecting to find a campsite during weekends or extended stays (14 day maximum) is difficult because PA and NY state residents have made their reservations a year ahead of time.  However, the campground has three ‘walk-in’ sites that are left vacant for RV’s and Campers that are passing through.  The three walk-in sites open at 10:00am when the office opens.  You can reserve for three days at a time before having to go and reserve again in person if you need another three days, but be sure to be at the office to do so at 10:00am (be first in line so no one bumps you).  The campground season begins May 1st and ends October 30th each year.  



The campground is absolutely gorgeous!!  Lots of gentle wildlife!!  We oftentimes took three walks a day/night. There is a separate swimming area from the boat ramp. Fishing is allowed with proper license.  We appreciated their rules of not allowing boats/trailers on the campsites.  They have overflow parking down at the boat ramp and elsewhere throughout the park.  The campground rules state that each outside guest that visits your site must pay $3 each.  There is a small campstore for basics (ie. hamburger/hotdog buns, hotdogs, chips, soda, water, etc.)  Quiet time is kindly adhered to.  A roving Park Ranger makes his rounds regularly noting safety issues and adherance to the campground rules. 



Make certain you bring extra leveling blocks; note that this site sits in the mountainous region of Pennsylvania. As with all campgrounds, we highly recommend filtering your water. The only drawback to Ives Run COE Campground is internet capability is seriously lacking because of its location in the mountains (AT&T and Verizon); spotty at best.



We WILL return!  We would have given it 5 stars if internet capability existed.  

CAMPGROUND REVIEW: Tompkins Corps of Engineers Campground – PENNSYLVANIA

CAMPGROUND REVIEW

Campground/RV Park:  Tompkins Corps of Engineer Campground –
PENNSYLVANIA
Location:  Lawrenceville, PA
Date(s) Stayed: 5/31/15 – 6/13/15
Length of Stay:
 2 days (had a reservation of 2 weeks)
Site #: #65…then #19 both Back-in
Cost per night (with
taxes): $17/night
Discount Used: 50% off with National Park Access Pass
(Disabled)
Connections:  Electric
& Water; separate Dump Station
Stars: 1.5

We arrived at Tompkins COE
Campground entrance building at 5:30pm; after a tiring drive through the
mountains of Pennsylvania.  The woman
Camp Host handling our check-in was sweet and gave us our paperwork from our
reservation, vehicle passes and pertinent campground info.  Our reservation was for site #65 in which we
made months prior on Reserve America. 
When we found our site, we were stunned and disappointed.  On the Reserve America site, it listed #65 to
be 55’ long.  It was 37’ (we measured) so
we had to go back to the entry building office to get reassigned a site.  Things quickly went downhill from there.  Because we were looking for a two-week stay,
the Camp Host(s) said because every weekend, every site was taken, that we were
out of luck.  We sternly told them that
we made this reservation two-months prior and that we should be made an
exception based on the inaccuracy of the Reserve America site listing (which
the info is given by COE) and to find us a site.  They clearly didn’t know what to do to find
an answer for us; all they offered was a full refund.  They didn’t even think of offering us a spot
in the dry-camping section for an overnight so we didn’t have to go back on the
road fatigued.  This was not an option
for us because of the area, not many campgrounds as well as finding something
that will accommodate our size.  We asked
that they find us ‘something’.  They
called another COE (or so they said) campground but they were already to
capacity.  We then said, since they can’t
find us ‘one’ campsite for a two-week stay, let’s look into breaking the time
period up.  The woman wasn’t too
enthusiastic nor knew the RA site and how to manipulate it to accommodate our
reservation promise.  Finally, she found
three sites for us to go check out.  Out
of the three, only one would work, so we unhooked and as soon as we were
getting into the truck to go tell them, their maintenance person drove up to
tell us ‘all of a sudden, a reservation was made on RA for that site’.  By this time, we were frustrated and
angry.  I then, went up to pretty much
tell them how horribly we were treated. 
Finally, they found a site #19 for M-F and then we move to the SITE NEXT
TO US for S & S and then back again to #19 for the following M-F and we
were on our own to find somewhere else to stay the following weekend.   Now,
here’s the kicker.  It took ALL of our
blocks we brought to level our rig; it was so bad that on one side, all three
tires of our rig were off the ground. 
Our rig felt incredible unstable.   The site was not long enough for us; nor our
ability to use our back deck when extended. 
We had to unload our motorcycle(s) on the narrow road prior.   In
addition to that headache, we had absolutely NO connectivity to the internet OR
phone service.  The campground is located
in the middle of a ‘bowl’ between mountains. 
This also was not an option for us as we needed connectivity because we
had a son who was deployed overseas as well as family in the area with health
issues.  We had to find somewhere else to
go. 

As a whole, this campground needs
SERIOUS updating from the get-go.  The
COE needs to re-measure every site and post more accurate site lengths on the
Reserve America website.  Do not trust RA
site measurements and good luck finding someone to get that accurate
information.  They need to prune and thin
some of the trees.  The campground roads
were very narrow; only one-lane wide at best. 
If you were trying to park your RV and needed time, no one could pass or
get around you.  Most sites had seriously
low overhanging branches that would damage even the smallest of RV’s or
campers.  Most sites were not level;
understandably because it’s in the mountainous region but still, could have a
little ‘engineering’ done to make the sites more level.  Some sites that were blacktop surface had
divots and holes from campers who’s jacks may have sunk in; needs to be filled
in.  Each site was provided a picnic
table and firepit; both were in fair condition. 
The picnic table required us to put a blanket on the seat as to not get
splinters or paint chips.  The bath
houses were clean however, needed serious updating with new lighting and
moisture control.  The laundry facilities
were there, however, we weren’t there long enough to evaluate them.  Quiet time is 10am-6pm.  No more than two vehicles and six people per
site.  Pets are welcome but must be on a
leash. 

Part of the campground (newer
sites – not where we were located) overlooked the COE Lake.  Those sites were nice with a view and a
little more in the open; not so overgrown with trees like the rest of the
campground.  Those site were either
packed sandy gravel or black top. 
Leveling blocks still necessary but not as bad as the other
campsites. 

If you’re looking for a ‘campy’,
heavy foliage and trees, tight maneuver sites with very little expectation,
this campground is for you.  If you care
about your rig, its stability, its outside fiberglass and decals, then this is
not the place for you. 




We do not plan on staying at Tompkins COE Campground again until they make
updates and improvements.

National Fallen Firefighter Memorial – Emmittsburg, Maryland

 

On the Sunday right before Memorial Day in 2015, we arrived at Artillery Ridge Campground in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to spend the week touring the National Battlefield. Prior to getting off our exit, we made note of a brown National Landmark sign that read: National Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial. 

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FAMCAMP REVIEW: Fort Belvoir Travel Camp – VIRGINIA (military)

RV PARK REVIEW

Campground/RV Park:  Fort Belvoir Travel Camp – Virginia (military)

Location:  Outdoor Recreation (ODR), Bldg 778, 10155 Swift Road, Fort Belvoir, VA  22060  
Date(s) Stayed: 5/21/15 – 5/26/15
Length of Stay:  5 days
Site #: 45 back-in
Cost per night (with taxes): $50/night
Discount Used: none
Connections:  FHU
Stars: 3.5


Fort Belvoir
Travel Camp was beautiful to look at however, it had its issues which earned it
3.5 stars.  To get to the Travel Camp/RV Park, we entered through the
Tulley Gate off of Route 1 (attention big rigs, its tight getting out of the
gate because of posts).  The travel camp is located ‘on post’ therefore,
we had to go through standard  military security and ID checks to enter.
 Once on post, directions given by the Travel Camp office were spot on.
 

The good:
The area was
absolutely beautiful.  The park overlooked the Potomac River; the view and
feel is spectacular!  Lots of wildlife, two Osprey nests, long pier for
fishing and nice walking trails on the park and in the woods.  The park
seemingly has been updated with new buildings, laundry, bathrooms and walkways.
 The laundry has three washers/dryers each ($1.00 each) with nice folding
table and chairs to sit and wait.  The bathrooms were immaculate; tile
floors and showers, stone or faux stone counters, etc.   The convenience
and distance to DC is great; although outside the post on Route 1 is rundown
but a jaunt down to Olde Town Alexandria is nice.  The post, being the
supposed ‘primo’ of military posts/bases because of its proximity to Washington
D.C. boasts it’s amenities.  Everything under the sun is on this post;
commissary, PX, fueling stations, movie theater, gyms, etc.

The
not-so-good:
The whole
campground is built on a river bank and very hilly which means the sites are
not level.  Be prepared to work with your leveling systems.  Bring
lots of leveling blocks.  This was ‘big talk’ amongst fellow RV’ers.
 Second, the cost.  C’mon, its a military post which is supposed to
serve ALL paygrades of the military, not just Senior ranks.  Even Retirees
will go elsewhere because most are on fixed incomes.  This is ridiculously
expensive for a) being a military post and b) the fact of the instability of
sites (lack of being level).   Third, get some WiFi towers on post.
 Ridiculous to be on such a large post and near major metro area, that
you’d expect better WiFi signals.  Finally, none of the gas stations on
post have diesel.  99% of 5th wheel RV’ers are pulling with diesel
engines.  We had to waste $8 in diesel just to go get it filled prior to
leaving.


So all of that
said, while it is in a beautiful area with great views and updated facilities,
its lacking in very important issues.  This Travel Camp we would have
expected to be at least a 4-5 stars but because of the not-so-goods dropped it
to being a mediocre RV park/Campground/Travel Camp.

CAMPGROUND REVIEW: Ivy Acres Lodge & RV Park – SOUTH CAROLINA

CAMPGROUND REVIEW

Campground/RV Park:  Ivy Acres Lodge & RV Park – SOUTH CAROLINA
Location:  201 Ivy Acres Drive, Piedmont, SC 29673
Phone: 864-220-9680
Date(s) Stayed: 4/21/15
Length of Stay:
 1 day
Site #: #315 pull-through
Cost per night (with
taxes): $32/night
Discount Used: none
Connections:  FHU
Stars: 3

This RV park was easy to get to;
I-85 exit 39, only 1.3 miles.  The drive
into the park was a narrow driveway/road. 
The office was a large house so we didn’t know if we should ring the
doorbell or just walk in.  Check in was
easy; they were expecting us.  We have to
admit the grounds were beautiful, hilly and encouraged a good walking
workout.  There was a fishing pond in the
small valley surrounded by woods.  We
enjoyed sitting at various benches placed throughout the area.  Note that this is an adult only park for 45+
crowd, however children are welcome but management must be notified before
arriving so they can make appropriate accommodations.   Parental/Grandparental supervision required
at all times (probably because of the pond). 
Rates are for two persons per site; $ for additional campers. 

The campground area we were in
were much to be desired.  They were just
gravel sites with barely adequate hookups. 
The ground was very uneven therefore we had to use our blocks and play
with our leveling system.  The sits were
very close together.  There were mostly
permanent sites but they were generally kept separate from the temporary sites.  No ATV’s or dirtbikes allowed.  No firepits however, they had designated
gathering pits available loaded with wood for fires each evening.  Trash pickup was every morning by putting it
at the end of your site.  We did have
internet WiFi connection (AT&T) at the campground.   From what we’ve heard, there is a Camping
World about 30 minutes away.



In our opinion, this campground
is good for a pass-through overnight; not long term.  

America’s history REALLY began in Jamestown, VA

If you paid attention to history classes, you’d know that the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock on a cold Thanksgiving wasn’t the first to land in America. So that whole Plymouth Rock theory…yea…well. But don’t take our word for it, dust off the American History books and see for yourself. For those who don’t believe it, we’re here to set the record straight.

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Appomattox Court House National Historic Park – Virginia

In the first three weeks in May 2016, we anchored down at USNWS (U.S. Naval Weapons Station) Cheatham Annex near Williamsburg, Virginia.  This liberty port was two-fold. First, for visiting friends, family and shipmates; some even 250 miles away. Second, to learn a bit of our Nation’s history at Appomattox Court House.
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FAMCAMP REVIEW: Naval Weapons Station Cheatham Annex – VIRGINIA (military)

MILITARY RV PARK  REVIEW

Campground/RV Park:  Navy Weapons Station Cheatham Annex – VIRGINIA (military)

Location:  Bldg. 284 Chase Road, WilliamsburgVirginia23185
Phone: 1-800-NAVYBED
Date(s) Stayed: 5/1/15 – 5/21/15
Length of Stay: 3 weeks
Site #:  #25 back-in (end)
Cost per night (with taxes):  $25/night
Discount Used: none
Connections: FHU
Stars: 4


We TOTALLY enjoyed our stay at Navy Weapons Station Cheatham Annex as its located right off the Colonial Parkway and close to Williamsburg and Yorktown.  There are signs on I-64 as well as Route 199 and Colonial Parkway showing Cheatham Annex exits.   This RV park is located on the Navy Base therefore, entrance is through gated and armed security; military, DOD and Civilian ID checks mandatory.    It is located very near Water Country and a short drive to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg.  Driving to tourist areas is convenient however, parking in downtown Yorktown and Williamsburg may be a challenge.  NWS Cheatham Annex is a very small Navy base.  It only has a shoppette with gas station (Diesel also!!!).  On the other side, there are rented cottages and water access.  Lots of nice places to run and ride your bikes.  Golf course on base as well.  Too many other amenities to list here so please, click on the link above for more info.



The location of the RV park was secure, manicured, beautiful and clean.  Mature trees surrounded the area but the RV concrete pad sites themselves were nicely spaced amidst young bushes and two-three year old small trees.  Sites backed into communal areas.  Each site were ample spaced and had a picnic table and fire pit.  Weekends were full and weekdays were approximately 25% to capacity.  The bath houses were new and clean; locking outside entries to each unisex room.  The laundry room was clean and roomy with three washers/dryers ($1.50 each), deep sink, soap vending machine, fold table and chairs.  Near the bath house and laundry was a small playground for young children.  There was also a conference room in the same building.  There were beautiful new cottages on the backside of the park.   Though sites were FHU’s, there was also a dump station near the dumpsters close to the entrance of the RV Park itself.  Navy Security drove through several times a day/night which was nice.  Because of military regulations, it was nice and quiet after 10pm, even on the weekends.  There were occasions of hearing the sound of freedom from artillery and range operations in the distance; nothing close and it wasn’t loud.



Free WiFi “IF” you could get on; frequently spotty and during the weekends, forget it.  We had our own AT&T hotspot which was spotty at best.  Only in certain areas of the park were we able to get an AT&T signal from one of our phones.  The other was Verizon signal was zero.  We waited until we were off base to make our phone calls and doing any internet work or research.  While the park itself and amenities were fantastic, this was the only low point of staying at Cheatham Annex.  The Navy needs to work on this.  If you work on the road via internet, you may want to think twice before staying here unless you have a WiFi booster.



Every morning, we were awakened at 0800 by the sound of the bugle playing the National Anthem and at sunset, we heard TAPS.  Please note military protocol of respect if you’re outside during both; remove your hat, hand over heart, face the bugle sound and stand at attention with no movement (teach your children and grandchildren this!); if in uniform, salute covered.  This is an HONOR to do so, please don’t run inside as our Fallen Warriors didn’t run away from battle in their day.



We plan on returning to NWS Cheatham Annex.