When Lori and Win Mitchell bought the eight-acre 1828 homestead at 301 Adams Pond Rd. in Boothbay, Maine in 2006, their dream was to open it as a brewery. Taking advantage of the cottages already in place, the couple operated the location as a cottage resort while they built up the brewery and subsequent tavern.
Then in 2013, their location was included as a Harvest Hosts location — the first brewery to be listed — which started their transition into a full-fledged RV campground. From there, they dove wholeheartedly into the RV world.
From Cottage Resort to RV Campground
But while the cottage resort was a fun learning experience in hospitality, “finding help to clean and maintain those cottages was getting harder and harder,” recalled their son Riley Mitchell, aka “The Hoppy Camper.“
That issue combined with the age of the cottages — dating back to the 1960s — and the growing interest the Mitchells had in offering more RV sites, resulted in their decision to start removing the structures and use those spaces for RV sites. Currently, the campground has nine sites (five pull-through and four back-in) that are full hookup with 50-amp, 30-amp, water, and sewer, with two 30-amp and water back-in sites for truck campers, Class B/Vans, and teardrop trailers/pop-ups. Each site is built on level crushed bluestone and offers a custom-built picnic table and a fire ring.
“We are in the process of building a brand-new bathhouse that will offer guests an at-home-like bathroom experience with a bench, sink, shower, and toilet, all in one lockable room for guests’ privacy and comfort,” said Riley. A new laundry center is also under construction and will feature a coin-operated gas dryer and a washing machine.
“Our focus is on providing a craft brewery and tavern experience at our onsite Brewery and Tavern, geared toward the 21-and-over people who love beer, pizza, and meeting new friends. The campground’s location — just a mile and a half from downtown Boothbay Harbor — provides a fun day for most people with e-bikes to explore the town, where they’ll find shops, dining, boat tours, and Maine’s Gulf Coast.”
While four additional full hookup sites are scheduled to be added, the intent is to keep the campground small to maintain a family-like atmosphere, said Riley, who serves as the campground’s Destination Experience Coordinator.
A love of camping and RVing
Although this was the Mitchells’ first foray into becoming a destination site for campers, the family had long been RVers, added Riley.
“My parents camped with us in everything from a tent to a pop-up to a truck camper, all the way up to a 40-ft. fifth-wheel. Now they have a 2010 Class C.”
It was that familiarity with the RV community, Riley said, that led them to develop the campground.
“As RVers ourselves, the RVing community is just that: a very happy, adventurous community of people who are always willing to chat and help each other when things come up. And in an RV, something always comes up that needs tending to! Also, the spirit, community, and respect that RVers have for other people and the outdoors align more in line with our family’s values, making that a better demographic to focus our business on.”
Being a Harvest Hosts site brought campers to their location, said Riley, with many Harvest Hosts members moving into full hookup sites to stay longer once they completed their one-night stay. “We have guests that stay with us for one night, long weekends, and even some that stay with us for 25 to 30 nights.”
Although Boothbay Craft Brewery does have year-round utilities, the campground only operates from mid-April through December 1st — “an extremely long season for our part of the country, given the cold climate during winter,” said Riley. During the months when it’s closed, the Mitchell family takes the time for travel and exploration.
Introducing the Annual Truck Camper Rally
In October 2021, Boothbay Craft Brewery embarked on another undertaking: hosting the inaugural Truck Camper Rally.
“This was all about knowledge and collaboration for me,” said Riley. “I still consider myself a truck camper newbie. The knowledge gained through meeting owners who have been truck campers for decades is unmatched to what you read in a book or online. Truck camper owners are definitely a niche in the RV market, but I consider us to be the most adventurous and ‘toughest’ group. Not only because we can take our rigs where almost nobody else can, but because we seek the wilderness.”
It was also a new experience for the brewery’s owners since none of them had ever hosted or attended an RV rally before.
Despite that, they put together an entertaining and informative event, providing attendees with an informational packet highlighting local businesses, hiking trails, and scenic drives. Rig walk-throughs representing 12 brands plus one self-built custom rig started at 11 a.m., with owners showing off the various modifications they had done, along with inspired storage hacks and packing tips. Riley also hosted a seminar on trip planning.
“Brewery tours were given by Brett, one of our amazing staff members, while my brother Cody, my parents Win and Lori, and my grandmother Tancy prepared and served a wonderful Smoked BBQ Platter. We also had a make-your-own-s’mores buffet available,” said Riley.
An added entertainment involved the boards that the barbecue meals were served. Each one had a letter on the back, and attendees broke off into groups to solve the puzzle and put the boards together to form a phrase.
The 2021 event drew 29 rigs — considerably more than they had expected — with attendees from nine states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Texas, and Washington state.
“We are a small RV resort with a total of 11 sites, so hosting 29 rigs was a huge deal for us. That rally was definitely the most number of rigs we’ve ever had on the property at one time, but we’re all about getting out of our comfort zone. This year’s rally won’t necessarily be limited, but we are shooting for 50 to 60 rigs!”
The 2022 Fall Truck Camper Rally at Boothbay Craft Brewery, Tavern, & RV Resort will be held October 14th—16th, with each attendee receiving a BCB-RV T-shirt or Hat and TC Rally Sticker. Registration includes a two-night boondocking stay with unlimited access to water fill and dump station (hookups extra), Brew With Us & Brewery Tours, Smoked BBQ Platter Saturday evening, and a Q&A. Some participants will also offer Rig Walkthroughs to showcase the interior of their campers.
The Rally is open to previous attendees starting mid-April, then will be open to all newcomers in May. For more information, visit the website at www.boothbaycraftbrewery.com. To register for the rally call (207)-633-3411 Ext. 2.