Written by Jamie
In the process of planning this cross-country trip, we came across a unique accommodation opportunity via another cross-country travel blog, Gone With The Wynns. Nikki & Jason have been traveling the country and beautifully documenting their journey since early 2011. Along their journey, they discovered this amazing program called Harvest Hosts, where for $44/year, you gain access to a large network of brewers, vintners, farmers, and even local museums across the country that have agreed to allow self-contained RV campers (no tents) to stay on their premises for a 24-hour period, FREE OF CHARGE. If you know anything about the cost of campgrounds, you can see how this is an AMAZING opportunity to not only have a beautiful place to stay for a night (which can run up to $30 sometimes in national park campgrounds, even with no amenities), but to also get to 1) meet new people 2) learn about their work and the product they yield; 3) sample said product; and 4) have a unique camping experience, makes this an amazing program. There are plenty of other benefits, but we were sold on just those alone. We love supporting the local economy, learning more about the story behind the things we consume, and love getting to meet new people – adding in a FREE opportunity to stay on-site and do all of the above is icing on the cake! We joined Harvest Hosts back in February in anticipation of of taking full advantage of staying with hosts as much as possible, especially on travel nights when we were not planning on being at one of our specific destinations.
One of our first “travel nights” was between Charlotte/Concord, NC and Washington, DC. We had a campground booked just outside DC, but the drive was just too long to make it in one day. Harvest Hosts to the rescue! We searched their database for a local host and stumbled upon Hunting Creek Vineyards in Clover, VA, which looked like a perfect fit to break up our drive and wasn’t too far out of the way to cost us more time. We reached out to the owners, Sandy & Milt McPherson, the day before we wanted to stay with them, and Sandy immediately returned my phone call and said they’d be happy to host us the next evening. She asked where we were coming from, I said Concord, NC, and she immediately chuckled explaining that is where they used to live. Small world! We decided we’d discuss it more when we saw each other.
After a beautiful drive through rural northern NC and southern VA, we arrived at Hunting Creek Vineyards later in the afternoon. Sandy told us exactly where to park and even offered to provide us electric hookups and a restroom and sink area to us! We took a few minutes to get setup and then headed to the tasting room that was housed in the living room of Milt & Sandy’s home that was built from logs from a old local barn. Sandy was entertaining some friends and even offered some appetizers and pairings with our wine tasting. We thoroughly enjoyed all their wines, but we especially loved their Indulgence (a blend of Merlot (82%) and Petit Verdot (18%)) and bought a bottle to have with dinner.
We planned to grill burgers for our first cooked meal in the trailer that evening and invited Sandy to join us, which she accepted. We had great conversation over food and wine, and when Milt returned home late that evening, they invited us back to the house to try a special reserve wine.
The following morning Milt greeted us with a friendly smile and a cup of coffee for me, while Sandy brought us an extra bottle of Indulgence for the road. We could not get over just how wonderful our evening with the McPhersons had been and how hospitable this first Harvest Hosts stay had been. We felt spoiled beyond measure and hoped that all of our future Harvest Hosts experiences were as rich as this one.
Trae and Jamie