While researching and planning our transition to the RV lifestyle, we stumbled across a variety of camping clubs and travel organizations. Most of these clubs offer discounts on a specific network of private campgrounds throughout the country, or in campgrounds within a designated region. Often these clubs have restrictions on the time of year you can use your membership, or limit your length of stay. While we might end up using one of these memberships in the future, we currently don’t belong to a traditional camping club. We did, however, discover a unique organization that interested us from the very beginning.
Harvest Hosts is, in their words, “a network of wineries, farms and attractions that invite self-contained RVers to visit and stay overnight”. After you’ve purchased your membership, you then gain access to the list and map of hosts all over the country. While these destinations are not intended as long-term stops, they do make interesting one-night visits as you travel. They simply request at least 24-hours advance notice, which involves a quick call to the contact person listed in the host profile to see if the location has space available on the specific day you intend to stop.
Since Ashley said we visited more than our share of breweries during the RV-shopping phase, she requested more stops at wineries in the future. So we were able to begin fulfilling her request as we made our way from Codorus to the Chambersburg area while trying out our new Harvest Hosts membership.
Our first stop was Hauser Estate Winery, perched on top of a hill overlooking acres of farmland and forest. We arrived on a Friday afternoon, spoke briefly with one of the employees, and found a place to park for the night. We’d visited Hauser a handful of times in the past while living in Chambersburg, so we had some familiarity with the location. While Hauser is indeed a winery, they also have the more unique distinction of producing a wide variety of ciders from locally grown fruit. What used to be a small selection of varieties has since blossomed into a sizable portfolio of ciders to go along with their wines. We each chose a cider flight to sample a few of the new (to us) options.
Hauser offers an unbelievable view of the countryside, which is worth the trip alone even if you don’t want to enjoy any wine or cider. Our photos don’t do it justice – it’s better to see it in person (or from better photos). The winery also features a small selection of Pennsylvania craft beers on tap. You can enjoy live music and food on Friday and Saturday nights during what they call “Hauser After Hours” so later that night, we listened to the band (classic rock for the night we were there) while sharing a bottle of wine. The next morning we packed up and headed a short few miles to our second stop.
Adams County Winery is nestled in gently rolling hills covered in vineyards and orchards. We arrived a little after noon on a Saturday and chatted briefly with the owner before sampling a handful of their wines. Adams County is probably best known for their Gettysburg-themed wines, which we were familiar with from various wine and beer festivals over our years in Chambersburg. This was our first visit to the actual winery, so it was nice to try some of their other offerings. The winery even has a wood-fired oven on the outdoor patio, so we (naturally) decided to order a pizza while enjoying the fresh air. And, no, I didn’t feel the urge to jump in and cook it myself although I did later offer my assistance if needed. The pizza, by the way, was delicious.
People were steadily streaming in after we arrived, and the flow only increased when a tour bus pulled into the parking lot and unleashed a horde of forty thirsty tourists. We sat back with our glasses of wine and watched the activity unfold. The winery was amply staffed to handle the crowd, and the group of revelers was back on the bus and on the road as though nothing had ever happened.
Eventually the sun broke through the mostly overcast sky, so we took the opportunity to wander the roads a bit after the winery closed. It wasn’t much of a walk, but it gave us a chance to stretch our legs and see a bit of the vineyards. The RV parking area at Adams County is located next to a tiny pond, which provided a pleasant nature soundtrack as we eventually fell asleep for the night.
Our first two stops using the Harvest Hosts program were convenient and enjoyable. While we obviously won’t rely on future host locations for the bulk of our overnight stops, we’ll certainly look forward to sprinkling them into our travels as we roll down the road. We’re already looking forward to visiting the Finger Lakes and I know we’ll definitely put our Harvest Hosts membership to good use while we’re there. And who knows – maybe we’ll cross paths at a Harvest Host location in the future!