Winter Differently in Texas at Fun-N-Sun RV Resort

The Skinners live close to the US border and like to escape to the warmth six months of the year. When a friend of theirs told them he had a park model for sale in South Texas, they flew down to see it. “We spent a week at Fun-N-Sun and talked to the people there,” said Carol Skinner. “We looked at some other parks and decided Fun-N-Sun was the kind of place we’d like to live.”

  Living in a Park Model

Living in a park model home is something more Winter Texans are doing. There’s no driving a big truck and hauling their winter home back and forth. They just pack their bags and go.

“I absolutely love it,” said Carol. “The park model has everything my husband and I need. It’s a single, so it is small and easy to take care of. That’s good because I’m way too busy when I’m down here! It gives us plenty of free time to do what we want. Fun-N-Sun cuts the grass and there’s no outside maintenance unless you want to have a little flower garden.

Activities Galore!

Carol likes the community because, as she mostly eloquently put it, “It’s not old.” Like many of her generation, keeping active and having fun is a must.

“I like that you’re not just sitting around and playing cards all the time. There are so many activities that the park offers. Most importantly, the activities here are always current. I think that’s the biggest draw.”imgp5234-1

There are many diverse activities at Fun-N-Sun Rv Resort. They range from sports to dancing to water focused activities and crafts. “I love dancing,” said Carol. I do a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll, a little bit of the 60s, the 70s. They have live bands and that is absolutely fantastic!”

Carol’s other hobby is stained glass and she loves that she can continue doing it at Fun-N-Sun.

“There’s a whole group of us here that do it together. It creates friendships… a real bonding experience. We even have a Facebook group we put together so we can stay in touch while we’re not in the park.”

A Day at Fun-N-Sun

“We love getting up slowly,” said Carol. “We take our time as we get ready for our active day. One day I might be volunteering at the park’s activity office. Another day I could be doing one of my hobbies. If the weather is nice I may go to the pool and relax. At night, you’ll usually find me with my friends dancing the night away or at someone’s place enjoying a bottle of wine.”

Wintering Differently

For the Skinners, wintering differently mean getting out of the cold and getting full of warmth. “We have a few aches and pains and we don’t want to say in the weather that can contribute to those aches and pains,” said Carol “We are away from our children and grandchildren but there is Facetime and Skype so it’s easy to keep in touch.”

Internet service is provided at several areas in the park. “I like that because you can take your smart phone with you and talk to your family as you walk. You don’t have to worry about a dropped connection.

People Make the Place


It’s the people that can make or break a place and that is true for Fun-N-Sun. “The manager, Tony S, is exceptional. In fact, all the staff are,” said Carol. “They appreciate you and you know that no question or comment is dumb. The staff here are physically out there and participating in a lot of the activities with us. They see where things can be improved or expanded upon. Both Tony S and regional manager Tony O are always looking at ways to provide options for the activities.”

For those who love to stay active, Fun-N-Sun RV Resort lives up to its name and scores high with its residents.

Meet Chris from Pioneer Village RV Resort in Fort Myers, Florida



  • Name: Christopher Engle
  • In position since: March 2016
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Pioneer Village RV Resort
  • Favorite Activity: Scuba Diving
  1. What does a typical day at Pioneer Village look like?

I complete any daily tasks and review findings from my morning inspection with maintenance and housekeeping. Then I follow up on any pending projects and run errands as necessary. I may also make another round through the resort inspecting projects or areas of concern. I try to be as thorough as possible to ensure everything is on track for our guests.

  1. What is your favorite moment of the day?

When I ride through my resort and see all the smiling faces of the people enjoying their time with us. That’s what keeps me motivated day in and day out.

  1. You are working, while people at the park are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?

It’s not a matter that needs “handling”. I take great pleasure in seeing others enjoy their vacation time, and am especially moved when myself, or my staff, can impact that in a positive way.

  1. When people ask you what the best experiences are in the surrounding areas, what would you recommend?

I recommend the visiting one of the nearby beaches, or if they’re an angler, fishing near one of the harbors close by. There are some ports where guests can book a casino cruise ship and enjoy the afternoon out on the water, or enjoy a night at the dinner theater in Ft. Myers. For those who love to shop, the Miromar Outlet Mall is less than a 30-minute drive from the community.

  1. After a few months at Pioneer Village, you might have some stories to tell. What’s your favorite one?

One of my residents had a fire that completely burned up their trailer. The resort community came together to help support them. Everyone brought new toys and clothes for their young boy and items for the family. To me, it showed how close everyone in the resort is with one another and really highlighted the exemplary character of the people who come and stay at Pioneer Village.

  1. What’s your best accomplishment so far at Pioneer Village?

I would say building and directing a wonderful team of employees that know how to offer the best experience in the industry is something I am very proud of. I was also happy to see that my efforts in getting a new floor installed in the clubhouse were successful.

  1. What brought you to Pioneer Village? We’ve heard that you have a special story with the park, tell us more!

Before applying for the position, I was working temporarily for the United Postal Service (UPS). Coincidently, the route I was given included Pioneer Village. At the time I thought what a lovely community it was and how enjoyable it must be for the residents here. Two months later I applied for a job with Encore, not knowing the location of the position I was applying for or that Pioneer Village was part of the system. Once the interviewing process was complete, I was asked if Pioneer Village was a resort I wanted to work at and to drive through it and see what I thought. I told them I knew it well and would be happy to step into my role there. You could say it was meant to be.

  1. A last word for your guests?

Come join us for a season of fun activities, new friendships, and to make new memories! We’ll treat you like family and make sure all of your needs are met. I’d also like to emphasize what a great social committee we have here; they are always coming up with new events and things to do that make each day a memorable time.

Until November 15, 2016, book a 3 month seasonal stay at Pioneer Village RV Resort and pay just $895/ month! To book, call 904-257-8434 and mention promo code EPV16

Pasco RV Resort in Florida is “one big loving family”


For the past two years, my Dad and I have been wintering at the Encore Winter Quarters Pasco RV Resort in Lutz (just north of Tampa), Florida. I had been looking for a warm climate for my Dad where he could spend the cold Canadian winter months. One evening at a dinner with some friends, the discussion of wintering in Florida soon led to a trailer rental from a mutual friend who was familiar with Encore’s  Pasco Winter Quarters location. So there we were, transformed from frigid northern temperatures to the sunny south and part of the Snowbird migration to Florida.

When Dad flew down the first year by himself, my brother, sister and I had many apprehensions. We were concerned about how he would cope – he was eighty five. Dad is very mobile and can look after himself, but you always wonder how things will turn out. During his first telephone call he informed us that he was having fun and had met some wonderful neighbours who were taking care of him. This sounded too good to be true and we figured he was just trying to alleviate our concerns. Each phone call he insisted that all was well and he was enjoying the RV park way of life.

6y866b_still_vw_vr-1This was my first year of retirement and I had just returned from three months in S.E. Asia, so I flew to Florida to join my father two months into his stay. Well, from my first moments at the park, I could see that Dad had been sincere in his earlier phone conversations. The lifestyle was more that you could ask for. The location was central to all the amenities (airport, shopping etc.), the park size gave a very family oriented feeling and there were more than enough activities to fill your day. Of course you may expect that, but what was so overwhelming were the people, both residents and staff. I could not believe the love and warmth of the neighbours. They could not do enough to make Dad feel at home and he was never short for anything. I was quickly accepted in the same manner, a home away from home with a loving family thrown in. There were also many Snowbirds present if you felt you required some northern conversations.

I have to say the weather is a treat as are the local bird (cranes) wildlife, more like pets than wild. They sort of epitomize the lifestyle. One has to remember that a trailer park stay is not a vacation, but day to day living in Florida instead of at home in Canada. With all the activities your days / weeks just fly by, I will take this lifestyle any day.

One of our neighbours has a pontoon boat, so we have boated around and through Tampa and on other occasions gone fishing. It is such a relaxing way to spend a day. Golf is available at so many locations and the prices are very reasonable, especially since they always include a cart.

Going out to eat has turned into an adventure. We (Dad and his gang) all cram into a couple of SUV’s or vans and head to one of the local dining establishments. It could be Asian (so many to choose from), Greek, Italian, Mexican or some local cuisine and of course there are always burgers or pizza. Now and again they venture to all you can eat buffets, thank goodness there is always plenty of fruit and salad bars.

I must add that my brother, sister and a friend have come down to stay for a week on separate occasions and all have been treated with the same warmth as Dad. This really is one big loving family who sincerely care for one another.

Written by Alan Brown, Seasonal Guest at Winter Quarters Pasco RV Resort in Lutz, FL


Space Coast RV in Florida Is An Ideal Winter Getaway for Snowbirds


Lounging on a warm sandy beach has its greatest attraction when the home weather reports tell of howling winds, and roads closed with snow and ice. It’s time to smile, happy that you chose Florida’s Space Coast for the winter.

If you are seeking miles of sandy beaches, or thinking about visiting the site of the Kennedy Space Centre, then you might select Space Coast RV Resort, part of the Encore family of  RV Resorts. Located in Rockledge, this resort is handy to the sea, with its promises of sun and surf, and the big fish that got away. The inner coast is protected by long barrier islands protecting the inner waters from the brunt of the sea.

This town of 25,000 is small enough for quiet enjoyment, yet big enough to have the necessary shops for your supplies. Groves in the Indian River region are considered to be the best for sweet, juicy citrus, which is something to think about on one of your exploration drives. Many of the smaller streets are lined with tall trees that overhang the roadway offering pleasant driving experiences and, and of course, a drive along the water will reveal a large number of wharves pointing to a future adventure at sea.  

img_3045_wrThese are also places to photograph some terrific morning sunrises. Imagine, a brilliant red sun just emerging from the ocean spreading a yellow path across the rippling water, flaming the broken cumulus clouds above with crimsons, pinks, and yellows to contrast with darker shadows in the clouds. Unbeatable! This has to be one of the best places to get those special sunrise pictures.

Space Coast RV Resort’s administration A-frame building shows its heritage from an earlier era. The streets are paved and marked with one-way arrows to help keep you heading toward your campsite. There are 149 mobile homes and 118 RV sites. Some of these are back-in sites and nicely shaded with mature oak, and pine trees. RVs fit easily on gravel pads next to the picnic table and grassy lot. Dogs are welcome, but there is a size limit.

After a day sightseeing you’ll feel like relaxing, perhaps with a game of horseshoes, or maybe shuffleboard, and then cool down at the pool. After that, it’s time to place your lounge chair under the spreading limbs of a shady tree and lose yourself in a good book.

img_2961_wrYou shouldn’t lack for things to do. The Space Coast region has a large number of parks and walking areas. There are also many miles of bike trails. Just an hour west of the Resort is Disney World, which is still a great tourist draw and a great outing for when the grandchildren visit. Not far away to the east is the Kennedy Space Centre with much to see and do. There are several top notch golf clubs in the area as well.

Many people drive to the historic community of Cocoa. It was founded in 1860 and still has many of its original buildings. There is a self-guided tour, and those with smartphones can scan the QR code on the building’s front, and learn about the history. It’s a relaxing day with plenty of places to rest and have a meal.

Big attractions for fishermen are the numerous Port Canaveral fishing charters that provide half-day or full day, action on the sea. Just bring yourself. The gear, snacks, and fun are provided. If you don’t want a charter, numerous small fishing boats are available, or you can just fish from a pier.

Port Canaveral is a stop for many large cruise ships and is a good place to book short cruises, three to fifteen nights, ranging to the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Port Canaveral also brags about its beach with its miles of sand, and views of dolphins, turtles, and manatees.

The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, located near the Kennedy Space Centre, is a huge protected area that provides both hiking, and driving trails. The opportunities are great for seeing a large variety of img_3295_wranimals in terrain that ranges from saltwater marshes, to higher treed areas, and also sand dunes. Bobcats and deer, and even the Florida panther are some of the species you may be lucky enough to encounter.

Long time resident Linda says, “Space Coast RV is a hidden treasure in Rockledge. We have been coming here for 17 years. There is so much to see and do, to name a few things, Cocoa Village, beautiful beaches, and the wild life sanctuary. If you like shopping, or golf, they have it all,  very close and convenient. Such a wonderful place.

Good weather with lots of sunshine, and a myriad things to keep you busy. These all add up to a fine way to spend the winter.

Until November 15, 2016, book a 3 month seasonal stay at Space Coast RV Resort and pay just $763/ month! To book, call 904-257-8434 and mention promo code EBSC16


Set Your Winter Texan Roots in Harlingen, Texas


In the southeast tip of Texas there lies a land overlooked by the snow king. It’s a land that offers Winter Texans a pleasant winter with a myriad of activities and one that attracts ardent bird watchers from across the continent.

Harlingen, Texas and the surrounding area have all the necessary attributes to attract those looking for a great place to retire and who want an enjoyable location for the long winters. The city is built in the middle of prime agricultural land that provides fresh vegetables year round and is surrounded by several natural parks where hikers and birders alike can enjoy the outdoors. The sub-tropical climate is perfect. A multitude of RV parks are now established in the area, including four Encore Resort Parks: Sunshine RV Resort, Paradise Park RV Resort, Tropic Winds, and Lakewood RV Resort.

With its position nestled in the Rio Grande Valley, Harlingen is close to nine birding centre paradiseparkviewing areas. Migrating birds pass through this area avoiding the deserts to the west and making use of the verdant growth to find rest and food. Over five hundred species of birds come through here and there is a niche for each of them ranging from the salty wetlands along the coast, the freshwater marshes further inland and the dryer thickets to the west. Expect to see orioles, green jays and many hawks, and countless gaily coloured song birds. Since these centres are spread out, you can expect to find new experiences at each one, which include float trips, walks in the wilderness and great exhibits.

To the west, enclosed by several meanders of the Rio Grande River, you will find the Santa Anna National Wildlife Refuge. Here a mixture of the Chihuahuan Desert, the Gulf Coast, and the great plains, are home to at least 300 species of butterflies and 400 species of birds. You also can see the bobcat, ocelot and the indigo snake as you take the seven mile drive, or enjoy some of the twelve miles of walking paths. A tram tour is also available.

lakewoodrvThere is a birding centre on South Padre Island, but you may be heading there to sample the long, undeveloped beach, perhaps the longest on this part of the east coast. It’s a great beach for peaceful long strolls as the restless waves caress the sand at your feet. Opportunities abound for horseback riding, sea kayaking and fishing. You might like to stop at Port Isabel on the way to the bridge to South Padre Island. There are several seafood restaurants that have great tasting food that is worth the trip in itself.

If the grandkids have dropped in for a visit, take them to the Schlitterbahn Waterpark on the island. Here a variety of rides, slides, and swims, as well as a massive 5-storey water fun house will provide a lot of entertainment for the little ones, and just maybe… the older ones too.

Are you a shopper? If so, not far from Harlingen at Mercedes is a 140 unit outlet mall with several brand stores you will know. In Harlingen, the Bass Pro Shop is a huge tourist attraction with a wide selection of clothes and equipment for hunting and fishing, even
boats. The store features big aquariums filled with native fish, log and stone works and many wildlife exhibits. These stores are well known as places of entertainment and quality tropicwinds1goods by tourists.

The Gladys Porter Zoo has many species of native and exotic animals, always a treat to see. To increase your sense of adventure the zoo is divided into several zones such as the Tropical America, Indo Australia, Asia and Africa. As well there is a herpetarium with examples of unique nature’s shapes and several species of lizards, snakes and other reptiles.

Later, kick back and relax with a tour downtown to see buildings with attractive large murals inside and outside of the buildings. Afterwards perhaps you could take in a show at the Harlingen Performing Arts Theatre which provides top notch live entertainment. If you are interested in the founding history of Harlingen, visit the Arts and Heritage Museum.

sunshinervFor the fisherman, Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier located near the bridge to Padre Island is perfect. Some of the fish caught from the pier wouldn’t embarrass anyone relating their fish stories back home. Even if you don’t have fishing equipment with you, you can rent it at the Pier. And, they have bait too! If you want to get out on the water, select from the several private charters whether you just want a boat tour, or a chance to try for some big fish out where it’s deep.

Golfers will be happy to know that the area has four public golf courses and one private and with the most play days of any area in the USA, you can look forward to a lot of playing.

When Canadian Winter Texans head South to dodge the winter blues, they usually look for warmth, a nice place to stay, and things to keep them entertained. The Harlingen area has an abundance of all of these.

Until October 31, 2016, book a 3 month seasonal stay at Fun-N-Sun RV Resort and pay just $519/ month! To book, call 904-257-8434 and mention promo code EBFNS16

Meet Jarrett from Mesa Spirit RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona


Portrait of an Employee Interview

Jarrett O’Neill – Mesa Spirit RV Resort Manager


·    Last name: O’Neill
·    First name: Jarrett
·    In position since: February 2015
·    Title: Resort Manager
·    Work Location: Mesa Spirit RV Resort in Mesa, AZ
·    Favorite sport(s): Soccer

1. How does a typical day at Mesa Spirit look like?  

One of the things I thoroughly enjoy about Mesa Spirit, is that no two days are the same. Sure there are tasks which become regular throughout the day, week and month, but each day is a new day with new opportunities to connect with my residents, my staff, and take on new challenges.


2. What is your favorite moment of the day?

My favorite moment is when my guests are absolutely happy with the work I have done. You simply cannot do this job if you aren’t fully invested in your residents. You have to enjoy their lifestyle and happiness as much as they do.


3. You’re technically working, while people at the park are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?

Our guests come here to have an amazing winter vacation and we really get to partake in that experience. It’s important to be present in their experience because we can be a fundamental part of their vacation lifestyle.


4. When people ask you what best experiences are in the surrounding areas, what would you recommend?

Arizona is home to some of the best golf in country, as well as baseball spring training, and great outdoors. There are hikes for all kinds to cater to any experience of hiking, my personal favorite is Camelback Mountain. Arizona also has an ever growing craft beer scene, with over 42 craft breweries in the valley, and individually owned restaurants. There is always a new experience waiting for you.


5. What’s your favorite Mesa Spirit story to tell?

It’s tough to identify one particular story, we have accomplished so much in such a short time. However if I had to choose, I would say this year’s Guest Appreciation Day is the story I remember most. We went to a completely different level than they had expected from us, we did a carnival theme with various games, and I got to spend the day genuinely enjoying time with my guests and knowing that we had put on a day that they really felt was special.

6. What’s your best accomplishment so far at Mesa Spirit?

Since I have been at Mesa Spirit, we have achieved a few accomplishments and it’s tough to choose one over the others, but my top 3 would be:

AZ ARVC Mega Resort of the Year 2015, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and increasing our rating from 5th to 1st on TripAdvisor for Specialty Lodging in Mesa AZ.

7. If you can describe (in a few words) your RV park to someone who thinks about coming to Mesa, AZ, what would they be?

We create a real sense of community, for such a large resort we are able to bring that tight knit closeness that you crave in a community, where those around you are there to support you and show you the lifestyle.

8. What brought you to Mesa Spirit?

I started with Encore in 2013  as a Manager in Training at one of our other Mega Resorts in Mesa. After I had completed my training, I took the opportunity to become a Resort Manager in South Texas in 2014, where I managed Fun-N-Sun RV Resort, a 1400 site resort. In 2015 the opportunity to come back to Mesa presented itself and it was too good of an opportunity to let pass. I am now the General Manager of Mesa Spirit, a Mega Resort with more than 1600 sites, that is relatively new to the ELS/ Encore family.


9. A last word for your future guests?

When you come to Mesa Spirit, you will find a resort and staff that are genuinely invested in making your stay worthwhile. From our front desk staff to our maintenance personnel, resort amenities and nearby attractions, Mesa Spirit is the place you want to be at in Arizona

Until October 15, 2016, book a 3 month seasonal stay at Mesa Spirit RV Resort and pay just $762 / month! To book, call 904-257-8434 and mention promo code EBMS16