I’ve written about Harvest Hosts before. But with so many RVers asking a range of questions, I thought it was time for an updated post with some of our recent experiences. And to share things we love about Harvest Hosts and things we don’t. If you want to read my previous post, you can find it here.
What Is Harvest Hosts?
The simplest way to describe Harvest Hosts https://harvesthosts.com is that it’s a membership program that offers RVers unique places to overnight camp across the United States and Canada. Instead of staying at a traditional campground, you overnight in non-traditional locations such as wineries, farms, distilleries, museums, and more. For information on costs, check out their site here.
What Do We Think?
After four years as members, we’ve made stops at a variety of places. We’ve overnighted with Harvest Hosts on wineries, microbreweries, distilleries, and even an alpaca farm! We full-time RV in a 40-foot motorhome with a car in tow, so our opinions reflect that. We have enough experience to give you the straight scoop. And we love to share what we learn as we travel, so here goes!
Things We Love About Harvest Hosts
The people. We are still amazed at the friendliness and kindness of the people we meet. No matter what type of Harvest Host business we’ve stayed at, we have always been welcomed warmly by owners and managers. All shared their passion for what they do and educated us along the way. And we both love to learn new things!
Dave learns about the whiskey-making process with the owner and namesake Zeb Williams of Old Nick Williams Company Farm & Distillery. Zeb passionately shared the history of his family’s 250-year-old distillery.
This wall chronicles the history of the Old Nick Williams Company Farm & Distillery, which dates back to 1768. Not only are their spirits delicious, but the history is fascinating. You can read about the distillery history here.
Outside seating at Old Nick Williams Company Farm & Distillery.
Dave is pretty excited about the tour and the chance to purchase his favorite spirit!
The experiences. There is no explaining how cool Harvest Host (HH) stops can be. We’ve done wine tastings and tours and talked to brewmasters. But we’ve also had the chance to help feed alpacas and watch while the owner bottle-fed a baby. For us, these experiences are richer than just free overnight stays. They are memories that we will always cherish.
Angie is excited to feed the alpacas but nervous, there are so many! They are soft, cuddly, and very shy.
Angie gets closer to the baby for a photo. And when she does, she has ALL eyes on her. What an experience!
What We Look Forward To
The goods. With over 1000 HH locations, there is no shortage of yummy things you can purchase when you visit. We have purchased wine and cheese from a vineyard and beer and snacks from a microbrewery. And if alcohol isn’t your thing, play a round of golf at a golf club location, visit a museum or buy fresh produce from a farm.
This charcuterie platter with a nice glass of wine was right up our alley! And a great way to support our host.
And at another stop, we enjoyed quality spirits and snacks at the bar and the peacefulness of their beautiful farm and distillery.
The local impact. One of our favorite things about HH is the impact we make on the community. It makes us feel good to know that the money we spend on products, goods, and services help these businesses and the community. We’ve purchased wool products from this alpaca farm, as well as food and beverages from others.
The photo above is raw alpaca wool used to make socks, hats, gloves, and more. Our purchases helped this local farmer. And we learned a lot about alpacas. Did you know their wool is not prickly and is three times warmer than merino sheep’s wool? Additionally, it is hypoallergenic because it contains no lanolin.
What Else We Love?
The views! So, not every Harvest Host has impressive scenery, but many do. Vineyards, farms, and others have beautiful natural settings. And we’ve had terrific mountain views and sunsets. To us, this is nicer than a campground where we might be too close to a neighbor, staring at a sewer line or beside someone blaring loud music. We love a great view!
We loved our spot at this vineyard with our view of the mountains and grapevines.
Things We Don’t Love Quite so Much
With all the amazing things about HH, there are a few things that aren’t so great, but, hey, none of them are “dealbreakers”.
Locations and Roads Aren’t Always Ideal. Farms, wineries, and distilleries can be off the beaten track. As a result, this can mean that getting to the HH location can take you out of your way. And you may end up on narrow winding roads or steep driveways like the one above. We view this as part of the adventure, but not everyone does.
And we do research about the roads and evaluate conditions against our travel plans. If the location isn’t right for our big rig, or its too far out of our way, we stay elsewhere. If you have a tight travel schedule, country roads with slow-moving farm tractors might not make your day. Talk to the host, use the app, and read reviews before you go.
Take it easy on the way in and out and watch for low-hanging branches. We’ve never had a problem, but we go slow.
Research & Planning is Key
Parking Surfaces Vary. Be aware that the parking surfaces aren’t always ideal. We’ve parked on asphalt surfaces, such as the microbrewery & distillery above. But we’ve also parked on uneven gravel and hardpacked dirt like the microbrewery below.
With our size and weight, we prefer not to park on grass or in fields. If we do, we check the weather to make sure there is NO chance of rain. And we always put down jack pads. Nothing would be worse than getting stuck. Talk to the staff, use the HH app or website, and check for size limitations on parking. Look at the photos on the site, zoom in on the parking surfaces, and read the reviews. These steps will help you avoid any “watch-outs” about parking or terrain.
The surface above is gravel and was a bit unlevel. Not a problem, we easily leveled and had a pleasant stay here.
They’re Getting Crowded. With RVers discovering Harvest Hosts, places are filling up fast. It’s first come first serve. Check the website to see how many RVs the location can accommodate. If they only have space for 1 or 2 RVs, don’t arrive late. At one place right off the highway, we arrived at 3:30 pm. And there were already three other RVers there. We set up, went to grab a beer, and came back to our RV, and four more RVs had checked in! The HH had space, but it got crowded. Just be aware that HH is popular, so to secure your spot for the night, arrive early.
Watch Your Budget. Harvest Hosts members are required to spend a nominal amount (at least 20$) at each stay to support the host. We love to support local businesses, so we’re perfectly ok with that. But with goods, such as wine, beer, fruits, vegetables, and more, it is easy to blow your budget. So before you head to the brewery or elsewhere, you may want to pre-determine your spending. Consequently, after a few overspends of our own, we now stay on budget.
The food and beverage at this microbrewery were delicious, which makes it easy to overspend! And an outdoor patio can entice you to linger so you’ll eat and drink more. Have fun, but keep an eye on your budget!
Is Harvest Hosts Worth It?
We think so! Harvest Hosts adds adventure to our travels. It takes us to places unknown with opportunities for unique experiences. Yes, there are a few things you should plan and research for, but those are all “workable.” We love Harvest Hosts more each year. Our experiences, the people, and the views are fantastic. And we love all the goods we’ve purchased along the way. Generally speaking, what you pay for 2-3 nights at a campground, will cover the cost of a Harvest Host membership. You can read more about the cost and plans here.
Interested in Giving Harvest Hosts a Try?
If you are an RVer and want to learn more or sign up, click the link here. This link provides a 15% discount for memberships. We honestly love the program and also receive a small stipend when you join.
If you have questions about the program, check out the Frequently asked questions document. Or feel free to message me! Safe travels all! Here is the link for the frequently asked questions https://harvesthosts.com/faqs/
One final note, given the current environment with Covid-19, please call every host you plan to visit and discuss specific restrictions and guidelines you need to follow for that business and that state.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing” – Helen Keller