Meet Matt from Toby’s RV Resort in Arcadia, Florida

Profile

  •   Last name: Cohen
  •   First name: Matt
  •   In position since: January 2013
  •   Title: Resort Manager
  •   Work Location: Toby’s RV Resort, Arcadia, FL
  •   Favorite hobbies or sport(s): Boating, Watching Football

 

 

How do you help make guests vacations at Toby’s special?

We make a very specific effort to learn everyone’s name (& their pet’s name) and use it as much as possible. We like to make them feel as if they’re at their second home!

 

What’s special about Toby’s RV Resort?

The resort is located in the central part of Florida and is  used as a jumping off point to explore all parts of the Sunshine State. We have our own activities board with almost 80 leaders who have something going on at the property from 7 am to 10 pm most days of the week. Since we’re located in a rural setting (we do have supermarkets and chain restaurants), it is important to have activities for guests to participate in.

Can you use 3 words to describe your RV park to someone who is considering visiting Arcadia?  

“Quaint”, in that we are located in a rural part of Florida, but are close enough to both coasts to allow for day trips.

“Roomy”- we are a 40 acre resort with 400 sites. All of our sites are the same size (37’ x 59’) and have both 30/50 amp services at all sites. If you can drive it on the road, you can fit it on our sites.

“Community”- Once you’ve spent a season with us, you’re part of the family. There are many new friendships formed that extend well beyond the season of October- April here in Arcadia.

What area attractions or entertainment do you recommend guests experience while at Arcadia?

The 2nd weekend in March is the largest (& oldest) rodeo in the state of Florida. There are also many antique shops in downtown Arcadia.

What accomplishment at Toby’s are you most proud of? Why?

The accomplishment that I’m most proud of here at Toby’s RV Resort is being awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for 2017, which was a direct result of the relationship that has been built with our guests. We have one of the highest referral rates and our guests’ share their experiences through word of mouth when they travel back home. They are also happy to share their experiences on social media platforms, which helps a lot!

What does a typical day at Toby’s look like?

We are treated to beautiful sunrises over the pasture lands that surround us. There are activities that start nearly at dawn (water aerobics and exercise classes) and go throughout the day. The shuffleboard leagues start mid-morning, as does the pickle ball round robin tournaments.

If you don’t feel like cooking for lunch, the activities board puts on a $5 lunch on a few different days of the week. After your afternoon activities, there is time to head back to the RV for a nap and a shower to get ready for the evening events. Bingo, karaoke, dances and variety shows pepper the monthly calendar throughout the season and provide something to do for everyone until the late hours.

Can you share your favorite memory at Toby’s RV Resort?

One of my favorite memories was at a manager’s meeting the year after I started with the company. We were awarded “Best Customer Service” out of all of our 40 RV properties in Florida, based on ratings from an internal customer survey. It was quite the honor and hopefully it reflected on the ongoing commitment to treating our guests well.

Can you recall a time when the guests at your property surprised you?

The guests here at Toby’s RV Resort continue to surprise me on a regular basis. Their willingness to volunteer their time and efforts to lead the activities here is a true testament to the sense of community.

Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Toby’s RV Resort?

There are quite a few of our guests who have discovered that their Northern homes are only a short distance from each other. We get updates all the time of a Toby’s “North” gathering in different parts of the country.

RV communities look out for each other. Can you share an example of how Toby’s RV Resort  exemplifies the idea of community?

The way that our guests reach out to each other in times of need or support is an inspiration. There are always times in everyone’s life when a major life event requires some additional or extra attention from those close to you. It’s an amazing feeling seeing all the different acts of kindness shared within the group.

Why do you think your veteran guests keep coming back to Toby’s RV Resort?

We have several guests that have been returning for 25+ years. We are one of the most cost-effective RV resorts in the Encore portfolio (due to our inland location) and the activities (led by the board) are superior to our much larger sister properties. As long as you can do without your daily Starbucks fix (25 minutes away), everything you need is located in Arcadia and everything you might want is just a short drive (or Amazon package) away.

Do you have any last words or thoughts for your guests?

I’d like to take an opportunity to thank all of our current guests for choosing Toby’s RV Resort as their winter destination. I know there are many choices in today’s landscape, but our continued repeat business shows that we are loved for many reasons. I would also like to personally invite anyone reading this to come visit us while in the SW Florida area. We love adding new family members to our community.

Stay & Play Differently at Victoria Palms RV Resort in Donna, TX

When the northern winds are hurling snowdrifts across the roads, it’s nice to be soaking in an outdoor spa at one of the south’s most luxurious RV resorts, Victoria Palms.

The Rio Grande Valley in South Texas has long been known for its moderate winter temperatures, abundant palms, and warm gulf breezes. The developers of the Victoria Palms RV Resort took advantage of these natural advantages and built one of South Texas’ premier RV resorts in Donna, TX.

Not only does it have ideal facilities for a long winter’s stay, but it is close to a large number of amenities such as shopping, medical facilities and it’s within a hour’s drive to the ocean beaches. You can buy your fresh produce such as onions, lettuce, melons of many types, and strawberries on one of your drives into the country, where the mild climate permits several crops per year. There is also a weekly farmers market inside the resort offering all of the fresh produce you can eat.

vp_streetviewFirst appearances are usually lasting ones, and nowhere is this more true than when you, for the first time, drive into the resort. The entrance is separated into two roads with twin rows of tall, graceful palm trees, lining each one. Between these is a grassy lawn with a winding walkway. Neatly manicured RV sites line the road on one side, and wide lanes take you to your site with ease. Citrus trees grow throughout the park, providing exquisite aromas when in flower, and excellent fruit when ripe. It’s really nice to go over to a tree and come back with your hands full of grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines or even bananas. This resort definitely exudes the feeling of comfort and relaxation.

This is a gated community for the ages 55 and up and provides a wide variety of accommodations. They have over 1200 concrete pull-through, and back-in RV sites with full hook-ups and WiFi. Some visitors will opt for one of the 100 suites with kitchen and separate bedrooms, or perhaps one of the 20 hotel rooms. They can even book into one of the 14 cottages.

vp_poolOnce you are established in your winter home site, it’s time to amble over to the huge heated pool or sit back and relax in one of the three outdoor spas. If you are too relaxed maybe it’s time to move onto one of the tennis or pickleball courts, lighted for your pleasure if you would rather play at night. You might be also wish to visit the shuffleboard courts. Over at the billiard hall someone is likely waiting for a challenger.

Several winter visitors wish to continue with a hobby or sport they left back in the cold and chances are they can do so here. The wood shop is always popular, as is the wood carving area. The craft centre offers such diverse activities as painting, ceramics, stained glass making, and quilting. Imagine taking home a beautiful old fashioned multi-patterned quilt for your bed, or for a gift to one of your children. There are also organized bike rides on the trails. Bikes are loaded on a trailer and everyone heads for a trailhead where they can join bike trail networks.

jpage-encorerv-rgv-victoriapalmsinterior-61-1Musical entertainment is presented by a variety of bands and there is a large grand piano lounge and an oversized dance room. Square, round, and ballroom dances are offered. To top it all off, there will be dinner theatre, potlucks for those who love to sample a variety of great dishes, and everyone seems ready for the ice cream socials. Looking for a more formal setting? The on site restaurant is sure to please even the most concerning palate.

The Rio Grande Valley abounds in opportunities to explore. South of the resort is the meandering Rio Grande which over the years has left behind many oxbow lakes (locally called Resacas) and marshes. The oxbow lakes form when a loop of the river is cut off and left behind. These quiet areas attract countless species of birds especially during fall and spring migrations. The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is positioned along two such routes. There are 12 miles of walking trails, a canopy walk on a rope bridge, and a tower climb which provides excellent views of the surrounding area. This is a great place to photograph amazingly beautiful coloured birds, and butterflies are a hit with many visitors.

The visitor may opt for a longer drive east to South Padre Island. As you pass through vp_shufflePort Isabel you may want to take advantage of the restaurants offering fresh seafood. Fishermen can use the long fishing pier at Port Isabel where they can even rent some fishing gear locally.

It’s the dunes and beaches that attract tourists to the island. The pristine white sand beaches are great for enjoying a day at the sea coast. It is the sand blowing inland that creates the huge dunes that help protect the mainland from storms. When plants grow in this sand it stabilizes the dune, but careless climbing up the dunes can destroy the protective plants, and damage the dune.

Long time snowbird resident Janet Bussier says it’s a terrific park.

“There are so many activities that there is no reason for anyone being bored,” says Janet.
She loves the beauty of the park’s entrance, and the fabulous flowers and palm trees in the park. Janet credits the beauty of the park, its cleanliness, and it’s friendly feeling to the manager, Terry Goss, who listens to your problems and takes action on remediating them.

Victoria Palms RV Resort is a perfect snowbird resort. The destination provides rest, entertainment, and abundant areas for you to discover at your own speed.

6 Tips for Getting the RV Ready for the Trip South

For many Canadian snowbirds, heading south—whether it’s to Fort Lauderdale, Scottsdale or Palm Springs—is an annual affair, one that takes careful planning and organization. Of course, before you can even begin to pack up, you’ll want to make sure your RV and its tires are ready for this epic journey.

1. Inflate & inspect

No one wants to start their trip south with a flat tire. One of the best ways to ensure your tires are healthy and ready for the journey ahead is to check their pressure and condition.

Inflate tires to the recommended PSI, including your spare tire.

Inspect sidewalls for signs of weathering and aging, including cracking, feathering and fading.

Inspect the tread for depth and unusual wear (which could point to an alignment problem that could decrease the life of your tire. For a journey like this, where you may be crossing through the snow and mud of Canada before hitting the dry, hot pavement of the South, it’s best to have a tread depth of at least 6/32”. Your tires should still be in good shape for the trek back to Canada in the spring if you follow this guideline

2. Prepare

Even with all that inflating and inspecting, you can’t always ward off debris on the road. Before you head out, make sure you have the necessary equipment to change a flat tire, including:

  • An accessible, well-inflated spare tire in good condition
  • Jack or ride-on ramp
  • Chock (for double-axle trailers and to keep other tires in place)
  • Tire iron
  • Cones to place around your RV as a warning to other drivers

3. Get your brakes in line

This is an essential step with any vehicle you plan on driving, and on any road condition. Even if your brakes are not making that horrendous squeaky noise when you depress them, a professional brake inspection should be done at least once a year, and an ideal time is in the weeks ahead of your cross-country journey.

A certified mechanic will check to see if your brake fluid is clear and transparent like cooking oil, and will replace it if it’s dark and cloudy. They will also check to see if your brake pads and/or discs need replacing or if there is any damage to your brake lines.

4. Make sure your wheel bearings are bearing up

Most people find out about their wheel bearings when they hear a loud rhythmic and vibrating noise emanating from below their RV while driving. Some people confuse it with tire distress, but it usually means the seal on your wheel bearings is broken or damaged and the bearings are not ‘rolling’ properly.

Wheel bearings are a set of steel balls that ride the axel inside your wheel’s hub and help your wheels spin fast and with as little friction as possible. A certified mechanic can check to see if the wheel bearings require repacking with new grease or if they need replacing. This can be done when you get your brakes inspected.

5. Get power to the people

Before you embark on any road trip, it’s important to inspect your RV’s electrical system (AC and DC), including all plug-in outlets, appliances, batteries, cables, AC unit, and especially your circuit breaker and fuses. Knowing where your circuit breaker is located and testing your fuses is imperative in preventing any power surges and your circuit from overheating, which in the worse case scenario can cause a fire.

If you’re unsure of how your RV electrical system works, visit your local RV dealer or a certified mechanic. For this task, it’s best to get assistance, as there is a risk of shock and serious injury.

6. Ensure lights are ready for action

Now it’s time to make sure your exterior lights are in working order. First, ensure headlights, high beams, indicator lights, marker lights and brake lights shine in front and back of your RV, and triple-check that the wiring is working if you are towing your vehicle behind your RV. Having someone inspect your lights while you are in the driver’s seat, turning them on and off, is best.

7. Have supplies at the ready

If your RV does break down, being prepared will go a long way. Carry an RV survival kit with emergency food and water, an LED flare, solar and hand-crank NOAA radio, LED flashlight, candles or lanterns, mobile phone charger, water purification tablets, hand warmers, etc.

Of course, double-check you’ve got what you need in the event of a flat tire, and that you’ve got tools to check your tire pressure throughout the journey.

Article courtesy of Snowbirds & RV Travelers

The Ultimate Roadmap for Your 30 Days in Arizona!

Although Arizona has many RV resorts throughout the state, most of them are age-qualified (which means they’re for guests 55+), which is why the state is famous for the snowbirds who flock here every winter from Canada and the colder northern states. However, it is just as majestic and full of life in the spring, summer, and fall.

Regardless of when you visit, you’ll have more than enough to fill 30 days in Arizona if you plan your trip with our roadmap to the Grand Canyon state. Just remember that if you’re a young family ask if the campgrounds that you plan to stay at are age-qualified or family-friendly.

We’ll travel from the south east of the state, up through Phoenix, to the Grand Canyon, and then back down, stopping at a location that might surprise you, before catching the 3:10 to Yuma in the south west.

Tucson (Days 1-5)

We’re starting in the southeast of the state because this route is the best way to see the full variety of Arizona’s surprisingly diverse geography, but it also fits in nicely with a cross country drive. Coming from El Paso Texas you would take Highway 25 clear across the bottom of New Mexico to arrive in Tucson.

If you have your heart set on Albuquerque then it may be better to travel through Arizona from North to South, but we definitely recommend making the extra effort to see Tucson.

Why?

Well, at just over half a million people, Tucson has all the amenities of a big city while still maintaining a small town feel – all set in a stunning location.

Where to Stay

Voyager RV Resort is perfectly located to provide you with an opportunity to see everything Tucson has to offer, but you might find yourself reluctant to leave the resort. When they say ‘resort’ they mean it. Voyager has everything that an RVer could want and more including: a pool, bocce ball, billiards, golf, pickleball, a spa and sauna, and a clubhouse (just to name a few amenities)

What to Do in Tucson

The Black Hill

The name Tucson is derived from a Native American word meaning ‘at the base of the black hill’ and one look at Tucson explains why. The city is located at the base of what is now called Sentinel Peak which is primarily made of dark volcanic rock known as basalt. It not only makes for a great backdrop, but also for hiking and a view of the city as well.

Alpine Forests and Skiing

Yes, you read that right! Often when people think of Arizona they only think of barren desert, but Tucson is located high on a plateau and Mt. Lemmon which sits north of the city is so high that it is home to an alpine forest!

In the winter months there is even skiing in the Mount Lemmon Ski valley. This is also a good time to stress that, because of its altitude, it sometimes snows in Tucson so if you are looking for a mid-winter escape from the cold, look elsewhere in the state.

Explore Nature

Tohono Chul (a garden bistro), the Tucson Botanical Gardens, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and Saguaro National Park East and West (home to thousands of Arizona’s most famous cacti) make Tucson a nature lover’s paradise.

To escape the heat you might want to venture down below ground to explore Colossal Cave Mountain Park or Kartchner Caverns State Park.

Phoenix – Mesa (Days 6-12)

Less than two hours from Tucson is the capital and largest city: Phoenix.  Over 16 million people flock to Phoenix every year and it is no secret why: Like the mythical creature it is named after Phoenix is hot. If sunbathing is your goal then there is nowhere better in the US. and sits at the centre of what is called ‘the valley of the sun’.

Where to Stay

Mesa Spirit RV Resort is popular because of its large size – with over 1600 spaces and all the amenities of a traditional campground (including three pools, hot tubs, fitness, mini-golf, tennis courts and a banquet hall) there are lots of activities going on here. In fact, with event coordinators on site 24/7, this resort is a good place for a long-term stay.

Monte Vista RV Resort at the base of Superstition Mountains is one of the few all-aged RV parks in Arizona. This campground is huge, with its own coffee bar and lots of sports and activities to keep you busy. But with its spectacular mountain backdrops, it’s likely that you’ll want to sit back and enjoy the view.

ViewPoint Golf & RV Resort  is also located in popular Mesa, Arizona, and boasts a well-maintained golf and RV community set at the base of the Superstition Mountains. Just outside the Tonto National Forest, Viewpoint offers scenic views that can be enjoyed from your on site RV or mobile home.

What to Do

Montezuma’s Castle and Montezuma’s Well both provide a unique (and breathtaking) look into the lives of the native population that once dominated the area.

Lake Havasu is home to London Bridge…yes that London bridge, an entrepreneur named Robert Paxton McCulloch purchased the old london bridge, shipped it brick by brick and rebuilt it on the lake (a rumour claims that he thought he was buying the iconic Tower Bridge but locals deny this myth).

Phoenix is a sport lover’s mecca. You’ll find the Phoenix Suns (basketball), Arizona Diamondbacks (baseball), Phoenix Coyotes (NHL), and Arizona Cardinals (NFL) here. Tonto National Park is just a short drive away, as is Sonoran Desert National Monument.

Flagstaff Arizona (Days 14-23)

Flagstaff  is in close proximity to some of the most amazing sites in the entire United States. Not bad for a town of just over 70,000 in northern Arizona.

Where to Stay

The best place to stay near Flagstaff is definitely Verde Valley RV Resorts, best known for its expansive desert and mountain backdrops. Situated on the Verde River, this 300-acre oasis in the high desert of Arizona, this resort has it all – the majestic beauty of the Red Rocks to the north, Mingus Mountains to the west, the Hackberry Mountains to the south and it is adjacent to beautiful Alcantara Vineyards (perfect for an evening of wine-tasting)!

While you’re here make sure you take advantage of the kayaking and make time for a scenic drive through Sedona. It’s the perfect place to stop along I-17 whether you are heading south to the sunbelt or driving home. Temperatures range from 8C (46F) to 26C (78F) from early fall through to late spring. There’s plenty of sunshine and warm weather here to go around.

The Grand Canyon

Ask anyone what they know about Arizona and more often than not they will bring up the Grand Canyon. This natural wonder of the world is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide in places, and over a mile deep. Camping in Grand Canyon National Park is available and probably the best way to make the most of this amazing site.

The Pueblo considered the canyon a holy site, and even if you don’t share their beliefs you will immediately understand why. Seeing the Grand Canyon is a truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Meteor Crater

Often overshadowed by the Grand Canyon, Meteor National Park is relatively close to Flagstaff. Although not as big as the Grand Canyon, it is just as impressive in its own right. At over 3,700 feet wide and 560 feet deep this 50,000 year old impact site is remarkable to behold. The meteor which caused this massive impact is believed to have been made of nickel-iron and was over 160 feet across.

Lowell Observatory

One of the oldest and most important observatories in America, the Lowell Observatory has become a tourist attraction for scientists, science lovers, and people just passing through. Lowell is where Pluto was discovered, and despite first being established in 1894, it is still in operation as an observatory today.

Yuma (Days 24-30)

Yuma is in the far southwestern tip of the state of Arizona bordering Mexico and California, making it the perfect place to stop if you are headed to the Golden State. Yuma may not have the majesty of the Grand Canyon, the natural beauty of Tucson, or the big-city attractions of Phoenix, but if you came to Arizona for the weather then this is the place to be.

Yuma is the driest, the sunniest, and the least humid place in the contiguous US. It also boasts the most days with a maximum temperature of 90 degrees fahrenheit or more – 175 days a year to be exact – and claims to be the sunniest place in the world with sun during 90% of daytime hours.  

Where to Stay

Yuma’s weather and location make it a popular destination which is why there are so many RV resorts here. Araby Acres is one of Yuma’s most popular campgrounds because of it’s beautiful landscapes, but you’ll also find beauty and lots of amenities at Desert Paradise RV Resort; Foothill Village RV Resort and Mesa Verde Resort.

What to Do

The Imperial National Wildlife Refuge stretches along the Colorado River and offers sites of both desert and wetlands, making it a prime spot for anyone interested in hiking, bird watching, fishing, or boating.

Gateway Park offers beaches and a relaxing, lazy river environment for families who want to spend some time communing with nature. If you’ve got a dog, they’ll love spending some time here!

The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is a historical tribute to the Yuma Crossing, and also offers a number of beautiful parks and historic walking areas.

The Camel Farm is a great place to see camels, yes, but also a wide variety of animals. Kids will love the petting zoo, and nature lovers will enjoy a chance to see water buffalo in their natural habitat.

Whether you’re headed home after your stay in Yuma, or you’re off to explore Mexico or California, you’ll be glad you took the time to enjoy the beauty and weather of this historic location.

Make This Trip Your Own!

This itinerary is just a starting point. Whether you choose to follow it, or create one of your own, if you’re looking for tips about where and when to visit Arizona, give our customer service team a call at 1-877-570-2267 or visit RVontheGo.com for more information.

3 Ways to Avoid RV Electrical Problems

3 Ways to Avoid RV Electrical Problems

When it comes to your RV, it’s important to understand how the electrical system works, especially considering all the appliances you’re probably running on a regular basis.

As long as you stay within your available wattage (overall power) then things should run smoothly. If your voltage is too low or too high, then you’ll have problems like a power surge, which could seriously damage your RV, ruin your appliances, or even cause an electrical fire.

These three simple steps will help you avoid a serious electrical issue:

1. Know Your RV’s Capacity

Protecting your RV means buying one with adequate power for your needs. RV veteran Rob Lily suggests leaning towards a 50-amp RV if you plan to run a lot of amp consuming appliances. “You need at least 50 amps, which have two legs, giving you 100 amps’ total,” he says. “Considering that the average RV’er spends at least 30.8 amps on their A/C unit alone, a 30-amp RV may not give you enough power over time.”

If you have a 30-amp RV you may experience some electrical woes, especially if you want to run a lot of electrical devices like a microwave, A/C, fridge, hot water tank, and lights.

2. Monitor Your Power Usage

Even if you have a 50-amp RV, you’ll still need to monitor your power usage. “You should get a meter that will plug into a 110 outlet in your coach, it will tell you how much power you’re really using,” Lily advises. You’ll also need to be aware of how much power the appliances you’re using are drawing from your RV and ensure you don’t exceed your RV’s capacity.

Most of your appliances come with manuals that detail the required power (in watts or amps) needed to run it, but you can also find general outlines on the Internet for the most common appliances and electronics that RV’ers commonly use, like this list:

  • Coffee maker – 8.3 amps
  • Converter – 8 amps
  • Hair dryer – 9 to 12 amps
  • Microwave – 13 amps
  • Refrigerator – 2.8 amps
  • Roof A/C 13.5 amps
  • TV – 1.5 amps
  • Toaster – 8 to 10 amps
  • VCR – 2 amps
  • Electric skillet- 6 to 12 amps

You may be surprised by some of the items on this list – would you think that your electric skillet uses more power than your fridge? That your hairdryer uses more than your TV? If you’re not aware of how much power each electronic device uses, then you run the risk of operating too many things at once, which could cause an electrical issue.

3. Use a Surge Protector

A surge can fry your microwave, electrical oven, or even your battery. Surges aren’t always caused by using too much power. The campground could lose a neutral in the ground or lose part of a hot line, which can cause a surge. With a surge protector, as soon as that excess power, loss of power, or excessive power drain is noticed the protector will kick in and shut everything off, to protect your appliances and electrical components from damage.

That’s why it’s so important to always use a surge protector. “I would never run my RV without a surge protector,” Lily says. “The first reason is safety. It’s just not safe to run your RV without one. I’ve seen lots of RV electrical fires, and a surge protector should shield you from that. The second reason is to protect your coach from damage. The cost of a surge protector is small in comparison to the cost of replacing a damaged microwave or A/C unit,” he says.

Troubleshooting Problems

“If the surge protector picks up any problems, it will shut everything off and give you a code to tell you what has happened,” Lily explains. “You should get used to checking the surge protector and your meter every day,” he says.

Surge protectors are portable units, or you can get one hardwired into your RV. Both types do the trick and can be found at your local RV store. In addition to protecting your RV from a power surge, your surge protector will show you how much voltage you’re getting from the RV park. “With 6-8 RV’s hooked up on to the same box the person who is closest to the box generally has the best source of power,” Lily says. In other words, if you’re furthest from the box you may not be getting as much power as your neighbors.

If you’re having problems with your power, go to your park’s maintenance manager and have them check the box to see if there is a problem. Ensure that the maintenance manager also goes into your RV and turns off the main appliances and then checks the box again, Lily advises. “It’s important to see if there is a problem when the RV is underloaded, not just when it’s running at full capacity,” he says.

High voltage and low voltage are both problematic for your RV. Anything outside the range of your RV’s capacity (usually between 108-132 currents) can cause problems. To protect yourself, your family, and your RV, it’s important to understand and respect your RV’s power capacity, to monitor your power usage, and to protect your RV from electrical issues with a surge protector.

Meet Carlos From Capri RV Resort in Yuma, Arizona

Profile:
Name: Carlos Paredes
In position since: November 2016
Title: Resort Manager
Work Location: Capri RV Resorts
Favorite hobbies or sport: Talking & Listening to people

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a Park Manager?
Turning my park into a “place called Home” for our guest.

What’s the most challenging aspect of being a Park Manager? How do you overcome these challenges?
Having guests trust you as you put your vision in place for the future of the park. I gain trust with action – I share what we have done and what we are doing to do in our monthly newsletter, showing our improvements and changes.

How do you help make guests vacations at Capri special?
By making sure they feel welcomed. I go out of my way to go meet them when they come in and continue with my park walks to insure each guest feels that we care.

Can you share something you’ve learned from your guests?
They appreciate someone that listens to them – they want to be heard. I started getting involved in their activities – I can get lots of information as we play or interact. If you listen, you can learn a lot about their needs and of course about future stays. They see me as one of them.

What accomplishment at Capri are you most proud of? Why?
Able to get separate groups of people to work together in activities with one goal in mind – having fun.

What does a typical day at Capri look like?
Lots of activities – walking around and talking to my guests and listening for issues that I can prevent from getting bigger. And run the office of course.

What’s your favorite funny story to tell from Capri?
First day on the job, I was about to open my new office and a customer came by and asked me what I was doing (he might have thought I was trying to break in). I took that and ran with it – security is very important. So I introduced myself as the new manager and we had a good laugh about it.

Can you share your favorite memory at Capri?
I was walking out of my office and next to our shuffleboard court – they were missing a player. I was asked if I wanted to play with a group. Even though I had never played the game, the team embraced me and showed me what to do. Everyone was surprised that I was doing pretty good! They asked me how long I had been playing and I surprised them by saying it was my first time. We ended up winning and beating our park’s best players.

Can you recall a time when the guests at your property surprised you?
I have a logo of mine – a face with a hand over his ear – my saying is “I’m here to listen.” One day a customer that engraves things came to my office and said “I have something for you.” He engraved the logo on a glass cup and now it sits on my desk.

Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Capri?
There have been plenty of friendships developed Capri. Every Monday late afternoon, there is a group that waits on me to go to the Recreation Hall and participate in their card games. The “Tuesday Jammers” always invite me me to sing Feliz Navidad with them during the holidays.

I also have a special bond with the Morton family. Kathy Morton fell and broke her arm one day and they were having issues finding a place to get x rays they could afford. My wife and I met them in Mexico and were able to get them an appointment to get x rays at a very reasonable price. After that we went out to eat and now we have become close friends.

RV communities look out for each other. Can you share an example of how Capri exemplifies the idea of community?

We are starting a neighborhood watch program on our property – having each neighbor look after those that are out for the season and during the season for each other.Why do you think your veteran guests keep coming back to Capri?
It comes down to feeling like they are coming home not just to a park. as well as forming friendships here from different parts of the U.S.A and Canada. As I get involved with them they become part of a family.

Do you have any last words or thoughts for your guests?
As my staff and I continue to make improvements. I will never forget that I am here to listen and to continue to make Capri RV Resort “a place called home.”

Discover the FUN at Forest Lake Village in Zephyrhills, FL

Your Winter Home

When you’re looking for a place to call home for the winter, head to Forest Lake Village. It’s a peaceful oasis away from noisy cities, nestled in the countryside around Zephyrhills. Nearby are some well-known springs and it’s near here where Crystal Springs bottled water comes from. With clean air and crystal clear streams, it’s no wonder so many Snowbirds call this place home in the colder months.

Canuckville

This is Floridian lifestyle at its finest. It’s home to over 100 Canadians every winter, and they keep coming back time and time again. Stephen Bagiardi, manager of Forest Lake Village, knows why they keep coming back. “We have 274 sites in this RV park and I would say we have about 100 Canadian guests each year. They love that they have so many friends here from all over Canada. It’s their central meeting spot. When newcomers arrive, the first thing they notice is the comradery. There’s a strong family like atmosphere here.”

It also helps that Forest Lake Village is 30 minutes from Tampa, 45-50 minutes to the Gulf Beaches and 45 minutes to Orlando.

Great Activities and Amenities

Guests at Forest Lake can be as relaxed or as active as they choose. “We have lots of events for our guests,” said Bagiardi. “We have Bingo and card nights multiple times a week. There’s water aerobics, line dancing, shuffleboard clubs and tournaments. People get together to shoot pool three nights a week. There are ping pong games and a library.”

Around the holiday season they have Christmas, Valentine’s and Thanksgiving dinners and dances. Also at Christmas, they have a parade that goes throughout the park and for those who want to work off some of those pesky seasonal calories, there are runs. Come join in the fun with the Turkey Trot and a Reindeer Run throughout the park. “You don’t have to run,” said Bagiardi. “Many of our guests prefer to walk, and some use it as a fundraiser.”

The RV resort comes complete with a clubhouse, swimming pool, laundry, horseshoes, library, shuffleboard, hot tub, a billiards/games room and a picnic and barbeque area. You can even get your own private mailbox, and yes, you can bring your furry friends with you.

For those who just want to relax, there’s a lake right on the property. Thirty of the sites back onto the small lake. There are no boats allowed, but you can cast or fly fish from shore into this fish filled lake.

Get Out and Explore

The biggest draw in this area is golf. There are six golf courses within 15-20 minutes of Forest Lake Village, and a dozen more about 30 minutes away. “There’s always a group heading out to one of the nearby courses every day,” said Bagiardi. And with this many great golf courses, why not!

As the RV resort is located between Tampa and Orlando there are plenty of sporting events to go to as well. Then there are the 20 theme parks in the area including Knott’s Berry Farm, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Busch Gardens.

Head out shopping to one of the outlet malls in the area and find something unique at one of the local specialty stores. When you’re done exploring for the day, there are dozens and dozens of restaurants within 15 minutes of Forest Lake Village.

Parks at the Gulf

Hop in the car and head west to Gulf. Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs has 155 acres on the Gulf of Mexico. Walk the white sandy beaches or go for a swim. You’ll see nesting ospreys and eagles above you and dolphins and manatees in the gulf. Bring your kayak or canoe (or rent one locally) and spend the day on the water.

Walls Springs Park is south of Tarpon Springs and is a great place to take a hike in nature. The park is 210 acres with a natural spring, with water temperatures at a nearly constant 23C (74F). There’s a 10 m (35 ft) observation tower that you can climb for some amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico. Bring your bike, or pack a picnic and spend the day exploring.

At the end of the day, head back to the Forest Lake Village, your winter home away from home.

Sights, Sounds & Sunshine in Sedona, Arizona

There’s something about Sedona sunshine that attracts people to this area. It’s the perfect place to stop along I-17 whether you are heading south to the sunbelt or driving home. Temperatures range from 8C (46F) to 26C (78F) from early fall through to late spring. There’s plenty of sunshine and warm weather here to go around.

Your Stop Along the Way

Verde Valley RV Camping is the perfect place to stop on your journey north or south. Wake up in the morning and gaze out at expansive desert and mountain backdrops. Verde Valley RV is on 300 acres in the high desert. To the north are the majestic Red Rocks; to the west, the Mingus Mountains and to the south are the Hackberry Mountains. If that isn’t enough, the RV resort is located next to the Alcantara Vineyards and Winery!

From Verde Valley RV, you are two hours north of Phoenix, and one hour south of Flagstaff. For a great day trip, take the two-and-a-half-hour drive to the Grand Canyon. Best of all, downtown Sedona is less than 30 minutes away.

Don’t have an RV? No worries, you can pitch your tent or rent one of their cabins or new cottages that sleep up to six people! Get settled in and then get out and explore the neighborhood.

Sedona by Foot

Explore Sedona with your feet and discover some exceptional finds. The internationally renowned Tlaquepaque (pronounced Tla-keh-pah-keh), Arts & Crafts Village is a must visit. Enjoy an extraordinary assortment of shops and art galleries surrounded by restaurants and a microbrewery.

Sedona by Air

Look down at Sedona from your hot air balloon and you’ll realize how amazing this land really is. Should you prefer your air adventures to have a bit more manoeuvrability, then a helicopter tour is the way to go. Rise above it all and see a Sedona in a way like no other.

Sedona by Rail

You’ll feel transported back in time the moment you set foot on these fastidiously restored train cars. Enjoy a leisurely train ride where you connect with people by simply saying hello. Sit back, relax, order a beverage and then drink in the scenery along on a 32 km (20 mi) journey through 100 years of history. All this in climate controlled comfort.

Sedona by Water

Yes, Sedona is in the desert, but there’s also plenty of water here. The Verde River offers up a myriad of fun things to do. Guided and self-guided tours are available. From the river, you’ll see limestone hills with pre-historic caves. There are gorgeous mountain views and the river is lined with Sycamore, Cottonwood and Willow trees as well as cattails, reeds, flowers and grasses. Make sure you pack what you need for the day, as there are no stores or restaurants on these river tours.

Sedona by Trolley

If you like the train, you’re sure to love the Red Rock Magic Trolley experience. There are several tours you can take. Enjoy a trip out to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which takes you by the Tlaquepaque shopping centre and beautiful desert scenery. Or take a tour that teaches you about western movies and Native American history. Another tour takes you out for some postcard worthy photo ops.

Ghost Towns and Ranches

There’s a real ghost town about a 30-minute drive NW of Verde Valley RV. Jerome, AZ is both America’s most vertical city and its largest ghost town. Once a thriving mining town, the place is now busy with visitors keen on seeing how folks lived back in the mining hey days. Not much has changed in 100 years, except now it houses artists, musicians, writers and fallen-down building landlords.

The Blazin’ M Ranch is one of those Sedona attractions that should be on your bucket list. Locals love it and visitors return time and time again. Step into the old west and try your hand at pitching horseshoes and shooting a Colt .45. When you’ve had enough fun, belly up to the bar in their western saloon for traditional salon beverages and some ranch style eats.

Get Your ‘Om’ On

Most people know of Sedona as the place where spiritual seekers come to gather. And it’s true. It’s here where you’ll find the most eclectic, unique culture in the USA. Come for a massage or a healing, get a psychic reading or experience the rush of an energy vortex where it is said you will experience heightened spiritual and metaphysical energies.

There are so many things to see, do and experience in Sedona, you’ll come back time and time again.

Yuma, Arizona – A Snowbird’s Best Kept Secret

Yuma, AZ, is an oasis in the middle of the Sonoran Desert that attracts visitors from all over the United States and Canada. Nestled in the southwest corner of Arizona between the Yuma and Gila valleys, the city lies just west of the Gila and Colorado River confluence. The warm climate, the endless sunshine, and the close proximity to Mexico makes Yuma feel like a snowbird’s best kept secret.

Yuma is the sunniest place in the United States. With 90% sunshine year round and temperatures that rarely drop below 25℃, Yuma claims the record for most hours of yearly sun by the Guinness Book of World Records. But it’s not just the record sun and warmth that keeps Canadians coming back here – Yuma’s close proximity to Mexico offers visitors the opportunity to experience authentic Mexican and southwestern culture.

With such a perfect desert climate, Yuma is also the date capital of the world and the largest date processing center in the world is located in Yuma. The dry, desert heat, also makes Yuma a prime location for outdoor events, like the Tunes & Taco Festival in April, the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival in November, and the Somerton Tamale Festival in December.

poolTableIn addition to its desirable climate and plethora of cultural activities, many think of Yuma, AZ as a bypass on the way from Phoenix, AZ to San Diego, CA, but Yuma is so much more than just a rest stop. With endless desert activities, perpetual sunshine, and a thriving cultural scene, many Canucks are taking up residence at one of Yuma’s many affordable RV sites that Encore RV Resorts offer in this region. With a variety of resorts offering unique amenities and community sizes, you can escape the winter cold for the sunniest place on Earth no matter what lifestyle you like. Encore RV resorts like Desert Paradise RV Resort and Foothill Village RV Resort, have the same convenient amenities as other larger resorts such as fitness centers, pools, hiking and biking trails, and game rooms. And with a smaller community of residents, it’s easy to make new friends and be as active or relaxed as you want.

At the larger Yuma RV resorts such as Araby Acres and Cactus Gardens, residents have the opportunity to take up short or long term residence at hundreds of different sites and acres upon acres of activities to maintain an active lifestyle. Scenic roadways, friendly atmosphere, and a calendar chock full of entertainment and group activities, there is no shortage of beautiful desert scenery and space to enjoy everything Yuma has to lakeoffer. The nearby Colorado River and Imperial Dam give residents great opportunities for fishing and boating, two of the many activities that Encore guests frequently enjoy. Heading out for a day trip across the border? The convenient location of Capri RV Resort provides guests endless opportunities to experience authentic Mexican culture and still be close to the comforts of home. The Yuma Arts Center, downtown farmer’s market, and casinos are also close by to all seven Encore RV resorts.

No matter which Encore RV Resort you stay at, you are no more than 20 to 30 minutes from the West Wetlands Park, which sits on the northwest edge of Yuma along the Colorado River. This 110-acre public park features a Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, an Owl Habitat, equestrian trails, disc-golf courses, picnic tables, boating opportunities and more. Not too far from the West Wetlands Park is the famous Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park where visitors can walk through actual cells and solitary chambers of Arizona Territory’s first prison. Visitors can view photographs and exhibits of those who were incarcerated here for the 33 years that the prison was in operation. In fact, there were inmates who were imprisoned here and also helped to build the prison itself. In cooperation with the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, the Prison holds activities every February to coincide with Yuma Crossing Day, a day mean to highlight the historical eras of Yuma’s past, from the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s to the mid-1900s through living history re-enactments.

curlingWhether you’re looking for a smaller RV resort with those big amenities, or because you want to be within close proximity to casinos and outdoor activities, Encore RV resorts in Yuma are a snowbird’s paradise.

 

Meet Roy From Sherwood Forest RV Resort In Kissimmee, Florida

  • Name: Roy Reyes Silverio
  • In position since: November 27th, 2014
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Sherwood Forest RV
  • Previous parks you’ve worked at (if applicable): n/a
  • Favorite hobbies or sport(s): Spending time with my family and friends, drawing and some karaoke

What brought you to Sherwood Forest?

My first introduction to the property was through another employee inviting me to play Bingo at the community. After that event, the rest was history. I never thought I would get the opportunity to grow with the company as I did. I had also never worked at an RV resort so the challenge of a new adventure peaked my interest.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a Resort Manager?

The most rewarding aspect of being a Resort Manager for me would be the opportunity to interact with so many people. I love connecting and making bonds with customers and guests which turn into valued customer returns or new beginnings. It’s our relationships that people remember and cling to, why not put that same emphasis to our clients? The guests and residents have become a Sherwood family that I love to spend time with.

How do you help make guests vacations at Sherwood Forest special?

The best way to understand what guests expect and want is by simply asking them. What acts do you like to see as far as entertainers go? What about the ice cream social made you want to come support us? Put yourself in their shoes and participate. Nothing gets your residents more interested than jumping in during a line dancing routine. You want to create memories that they will want to remember and give them a reason to come back for more.

Can you share something you’ve learned from your guests?

I’ve learned a lot from my guests. Their life experiences, their many travels and family stories. The one thing I have taken from everyone is don’t be so serious. Broken water pipes can be repaired, cable can go haywire but the one thing that you can control is your outlook on things. Staying positive and not allowing yourself to become detracted from the world is essential and just makes you a better human being.

What’s special about Sherwood Forest?

Whenever I get asked this question I always refer to Sherwood Forest as a hidden gem. The property is tucked cubby behind other local business that drowns out the hussle and bussle of the major highway but we are still so close to everything your heart desires. Between the vast choices of dining and local eateries you can find just about anything within a 10 mile radius. The attractions are a big seller as well. Why not save a buck camping instead of a hotel and use the extra money to spend at Sea World or Disney. We even promote our local attractions that are not costly that just give us an edge due to our location.

Can you use 3 words to describe your RV park to someone who is considering visiting Kissimmee?

The first word I would use to describe Sherwood is “exciting”. We know how to have a good time here even if we are grilling hot dogs and hamburgers in the blistering heat. Every event is such a joy to participate in that we want you wanting more. The second word I would choose is “friendly”. I have come to see the residents and guests to form groups and connections that present during dinners. They will come in before a potluck and reserve a table just so they can sit by their friends. It’s truly a sight and a testament to their belief in friendship. Last word that comes to my mind would be “relaxed”. Nothing like hearing about a lazy day at the pool. You can’t go wrong with knowing you can spend your day just lounging about the property and enjoying the comforts of the amenities on site. You can choose to play a round of golf at our miniature putt putt course or even surf the internet at our rec center. You choose your own activities and events, there is no wrong way to vacation.

What area attractions or entertainment do you recommend guests experience while at Sherwood Forest?

The best bang for your buck I could offer would be Old Town and Fun Spot. Both are just 1 mile from the property that offer games and rides for kids plus some bars and shopping for adults. There is also a great place to kayak for those outdoor activity junkies at The Paddling Center at Shingle Creek. Obviously you can’t go wrong with Disney, Sea World, Universal, Legoland and all the other major attractions close by. If you think it, we probably have it.

What accomplishment at Sherwood Forest are you most proud of? Why?

There are a lot of things that we do as managers on a daily basis that change the property for the better but the one accomplishment I take with me is really delving into the activities we provide. Of course there are the staples such as potluck, bingo and cards but I didn’t want it to just end there. We have introduced new performers to the resort, painting classes, Happy Hour at our tiki bar and other events that give people a reason to come out of their campers and see us. I’m not afraid of trying anything once, if it works do it again, otherwise look for another event to fill the guests calendars up with another fun filled activity.

What’s your favorite funny story to tell from Sherwood Forest?

One of the funniest stories I can recollect is helping aid the guard shack dressed in a Luigi costume from the Mario Brothers. It was close to Halloween and I was trying out an outfit to wear and was asked by other employees to drive around the community in it. As we reached the entrance we all collectively thought the same idea as to have me wave in traffic. We were laughing from the time I stepped off that golf cart to my departure. Everyone stopped that night to get a good look and it made for a good story to those who caught me in character.

Can you share your favourite memory at Sherwood Forest?

One of my most memorable moments I can think of is when I was finally offered the management position. It had finally come to fruition on Thanksgiving day and during my speech to the guests at Thanksgiving Dinner in the clubhouse I announced to everyone my new role as manager. Everyone was so supportive and I’m still so thankful to be here to this day. Whenever I need a reminder as to why I do what I do, I think back to that day and it pushes me to do more and want more for the property and the guests.

Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Sherwood Forest?

The bonds of friendship truly shine when I think about Sherwood. One group that comes to mind rotates dinner and drinks from camper to camper every night and have even put up lights for the holidays which coincided with each other. And if you weren’t aware of how close these guests get with each other just wait for a meal event. You’ll always have one in the group come in before the event to save seats for their gang. A lot of the guests that come truly call their stay here with us their home away from home.

Why do you think your veteran guests keep coming back to Sherwood Forest?

I can think of many reasons guests return to Sherwood Forest. The location, the activities, their friends and even the staff. We have formed quite the family here and when our guests return it’s like seeing a long lost relative finally coming back home. When you treat your guests like they belong, that’s what gives them a reason to come back. When our long term guests come in and mention they don’t want to check out yet, that’s a sign you’ve locked them in for another fun filled stay next time around.

Do you have any last words or thoughts for your guests?

Sherwood Forest is a breath of fresh air. We enjoy nothing but providing guests with the best experience they can get while creating memories of their own. Our location offers so many amazing dining options and you can easily stay entertained by all the local attractions and activities. If you are looking for a getaway from your normal everyday routine, come visit us even for a weekend. Give yourself the opportunity to visit old friends, make new friends and join the Sherwood tribe.