Filed under: Comfort at Camp, Destination Camping & RV Resorts, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, Uncategorized
“Stick-Homes” for RVers
When we decided to become full-time RVers, we knew that we would eventually want a “fixed” home again. We thought it would be a number of years before we found just the right place, though, because we knew it would be a long time before we were willing to give up the RV lifestyle—not just the traveling around the country exploring the great locations, but interacting with the people who also enjoy this lifestyle (whether full-time, part-time, or just sometimes, it seems that “campers” are fun to be around). However, we stumbled across a community last winter that changed our minds about waiting.
Who imagined that there would be a residential community focused on people who enjoy the RV lifestyle, and that it would be 55+, gated, and in the middle of a master development focused on living in harmony with nature. And, even better, it is deep in South Texas, which is an ideal location for someone to spend the winter if they want to avoid the cold weather. The location is Retama Village (part of the Bentsen Palm Development) in Mission, Texas.
The most common mistake that newcomers to this community make is to call it an RV park; many of the residents (owners and renters alike) will quickly correct this error and remind you that this is a residential community, made up of RVers; but is NOT an RV park. What is the difference? Well, the main difference is in the lots. Each lot has its own street address and city utilities (water, sewer, and electric). The city views each lot the same as they view any other residential lot that you find in any neighborhood. Each lot is owned by an individual (yes, some are rental units because the owner has multiple lots) who has agreed to abide by the rules of the homeowners association. Also, there are at least 3 types of lots; the Texas coach-houses (a large RV pad with a 12×20 or 12×24 structure; for more information about these structures, take a look at the blog, “It’s Only a Shed.”), the casita RV port homes (1 or 2 bedroom homes with a courtyard and covered RV port), and the regular homes (1-3 bedroom homes with a variety of floor plans, including the new “courtyard” plan to take advantage of the incredible weather here).
The second difference is the people. There is a pride of ownership that comes with being part of one of the premier developments in the area. The overall plan is well-thought-out and has taken a number of years to put in place. The developer took the time upfront to ensure that sufficient infrastructure was in place (including city sewer, a cable company started for the purpose of ensuring high-speed internet and cable was available, and recruiting an IDEA school to open in the development area). When you mix the typical RVer with a community like this, you end up with someplace special where you get to spend a lot of time interacting with your neighbors at the many events scheduled at the individual lots, the incredible clubhouse, or the pool.
Just to top it off, you need to realize that there is also a craft room, game rooms, library, A/V area (ideal for movies or presentations), exercise room, hot tub, laundry, and “green areas” (areas with only grass and trees, and even a place to start your own organic garden). Ownership also provides entry to the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park just a short walk from the front gate and access to many hiking and bike trails in the area. There is also a picnic area right on the banks of the Rio Grande, the National Butterfly Center, and many other things to do within walking/biking distance (like the World Birding Center and the Meadow Creek golf course).
Retama Village was an excellent discovery that has allowed us to have a “winter home,” but still remain full-time RVers that roam around the country (as soon as the weather is warm enough “up there”).
And, the biggest bonus we discovered this year is that we did not have to make reservations for next winter to get a great spot; we already have one and we can leave our schedule more flexible because we can arrive any time we want and stay as long as we want.
Photos courtesy of Bentsen Palm Development and Esperanza Homes.