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Old 02-14-2012, 09:53 AM   #1
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"Harvest Host" Camping

We just came across this website featuring camping at wineries and farms for free:

Free Camping with Harvest Hosts at Wineries, Farms and Orchards

"Host farmers and winemakers invite self-contained motorhomes, fifth-wheels, travel trailers and truck campers to visit their vineyards and farms and stay overnight free of charge."

Has anyone taken advantage of "boondocking" like this? We like stopping at wineries when we travel, and this seems like a great opportunity - stop at the winery, camp for free, buy a bottle of wine on the way out the door to say thank you to the winery host. Or, if you're camped at a farm, buy some very fresh veggies for dinner when you leave.
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:48 AM   #2
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I hope we hear from someone who has tried it. My concern would be what the roads are like from the 4 lane to the farm/winery. I am a newbie and have a 40' DP and worry about side roads and turning around.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:18 AM   #3
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I hope we hear from someone who has tried it. My concern would be what the roads are like from the 4 lane to the farm/winery. I am a newbie and have a 40' DP and worry about side roads and turning around.
Smart man....I've been down a couple of those dead end roads. Great fun.

If I'm going to someplace new I Google it first with the satellite view so I know exactly whats going on.

OP....I went to the site you linked to and discovered you have to pay $35 to get any information.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:31 AM   #4
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We bought this membership last summer but have yet to need a place to stay when we were near any of their locations. So we're still in the dark about its value; I doubt we will renew just because it hasn't been all that useful.
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:26 PM   #5
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We bought this membership last summer but have yet to need a place to stay when we were near any of their locations. So we're still in the dark about its value; I doubt we will renew just because it hasn't been all that useful.
My thought was that exactly. If you're in the area that's great, because I wouldn't seek out one of these places. And more than likely, if you stop at one, you will probably spend money on their wine or produce and that just adds to the cost of membership. Doesn't sound very "free" to me. I also thought about getting in and out and how level a site you would have. I'm going to pass on this one.
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:31 PM   #6
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They do have maps on the web site showing generally where the opportunities are located, and yup - it costs $35 to join and get all the details. That aspect is disconcerting. I wish there was a list of locations made public to see how worthwhile it really is.

DocJ - thanks for letting us know you're a member. Do they provide more detailed lists of where you're able to camp once you join?

Have to agree with the concern about ease of access/turning around. Most of the wineries I've seen in CA have relatively easy access, although I too would check it out on Google Earth before heading down those roads...
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:04 PM   #7
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I went to the site you linked to and discovered you have to pay $35 to get any information.
That's the rub, you have to fork over the $35 before you can find out where / if you will be able to use it. At the FMCA SEA they had a seminar on it. Once enrolled you can use the website to see what kind of RV's they can accomodate and how many sites, at least 1 and up to 4 sites. Then length, up to 29' and 30' and over if I remember correctly. Then you have to call ahead (might be a truck entrance that you need to use), checkin for parking instructions and then let them know when you leave. Plus it is a 1 night maximum, unless you work out a workamper deal while there. I did not see anyone signing up after the semiar, but then again we were headed out the door with pretty much everyone else.

Might be worth a look if your in a Class B or small C. But PA at $99 for 3 years with our FMCA discount is where my membership dollars are staying.

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Old 02-14-2012, 01:11 PM   #8
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Sounds like a "good idea" that in practice doesn't work out all that well.

I'm thinking that we'll end up staying in a nice RV park nearby, then go check out the wineries/farms....

Thanks for the discussion!
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:07 PM   #9
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I signed up and really want to do it. I like wine and fresh vegies, oh and did I mention that I like wine.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:51 PM   #10
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I signed up and really want to do it. I like wine and fresh vegies, oh and did I mention that I like wine.
Be sure to let us know what you think of the experience! (We too like wine)
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:43 PM   #11
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Well let me tell you about the free camping. There ain't no free lunch. The wife and I joined harvest and it is really nice. Got to meet lots of really great people who own different businesses. But.....if you like wine, it will cost you lots as the wine is not cheap. But it sure was good. The places are all over the USA but they are in business and they expect you to purchase they wares when staying there. Yea, its boondocking but you will end up buying more than you need. I remember one winery in Placerville, Ca. Ended up spending several hundred dollars for several bottles of really delicious wine. So, free? NNNAAAAAAAA!!!!! The roads leading to the different places were easy to drive on and plenty big for our 40' DP. Don't go in to this thinking you will be saving money. Its not going to happen. But you will get to drink some really great wines and have some really fresh veggies and fruits. So do it and enjoy what is out there.
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:12 PM   #12
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We looked at one of their locations that was a date farm in Death Valley. There was absolutely no way to get a 40' in there. We were even quite nervous taking our jeep in. The people were nice, their wares (dates and date bread, cookies, etc.) were VERY expensive, as well.
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:25 PM   #13
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The latest email blast from Passport America contained a blurb on HH so we took a look see and decided to join.

We're about to hit the road on a 4 month, 7000 mile trip and their map indicates that we'll be crossing paths with quite a few of their host sites.

We're not joining to "save money"... in fact the boon docking part isn't very attractive to us at all... but we're looking forward to doing something different as we travel and we look forward to meeting some of these folks and observing things around the farm/winery/orchard, etc.

As for purchasing product from the hosts... of course we'll do that as any gracious guest would IMO.

I'll post back after we have an opportunity to stay at a few of their locations.

Rick
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