All About Harvest Hosts

As we continued to make our way south in California, we stopped at Harvest Hosts site Milano Family Winery in Hopland, California for the night.

If you are unfamiliar with Harvest Hosts, you can visit their website for more information here. That link will also give you 20% off the annual fee for the life of your membership. The gist is that for one low annual membership fee, you get access to over 2,500 locations throughout the country that allow you to spend the night in your RV on their property for free. These locations can include wineries, breweries, farms, museums, golf courses, etc. You are expected to purchase something from the host, whether it be a bottle of wine, cheese, wool socks, admission tickets to the museum, etc. As the Harvest Hosts network continues to expand each month, some hosts are starting to offer amenities not seen in the past, such as longer stays or options for partial or full hookups. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to assume that you need to be a fully self-contained vehicle that does not need access to water, electricity, or sewer, as well as that your stay will consist of just one night. It seems many hosts have signed onto the reservation system available through the Harvest Hosts app or website, but some still prefer to be contacted via phone or email to arrange your stay. It’s important to keep in mind that these hosts are business owners whose first responsibility is their business and customers. They are not campground or RV park managers and these are not campgrounds or RV parks. Make sure to thoroughly read the instructions and rules of each host both on the Harvest Hosts website/app and whatever information the host gives you directly.

The two RV spots at Milano were located right off the highway in a gravel parking lot. There was plenty of room to maneuver, but they were a bit unlevel and had consistent road noise. We knew what to expect, though, as I had read a number of reviews in the Harvest Hosts app. After getting parked, we went in and did a wine tasting and purchased two bottles of wine. We sat at a picnic table while sipping our wine and enjoyed the menagerie of animals that call the winery home.

Back at the Airstream, we chatted with our neighbors for a while, who were also Airstreamers, albeit an Interstate van as opposed to a trailer.

Some of our favorite stays have been at Harvest Hosts, which are such a great option when you just a need a place to park for a night as you travel one place to the next:

Sanders Family Winery – Pahrump, NV – January 2019

Our very first Harvest Hosts stay was on January 1, 2019 at a beautiful and quiet winery located in Pahrump, NV. It was FREEZING, but our gracious hosts let us run our generator as the temp dipped down to 22 degrees that night. It may have been cold, but the views were beautiful!

Emerson Vineyards – Monmouth, OR – October 2019

According to the reviews, this is a popular stop that features live entertainment on Friday nights, though we were the sole RV on the Monday night that we stayed. We didn’t do any wine tasting, but did purchase a bottle of their award-winning Brother Red. Minus the sporadic distant gunshots, this was a peaceful, private stay where we were able to test our newly installed solar and lithium batteries.

Sentinel Ranch Alpacas – Belgrade, MT – August 2020

The alpaca ranch is located just outside Bozeman, Montana and is a very popular Harvest Hosts location. They graciously allowed us to film part of our House Hunters episode there that highlighted our transition from full-time Airstream living to part-time condo living. You can also visit the ranch sans RV, as they have a nice little gift shop and an area to pet and feed the alpacas.

Garvin Heights Vineyard – Winona, MN – September 2020

This was a lovely little winery that set us up in their parking lot. The weather was absolutely perfect, allowing us to leave our windows open all night to listen to the summery midwest sounds and get one of the best nights of sleep both Travis and I had had in a very long time.

Big Snow Resort – Wakefield, MI – September 2020

This was one of our favorite Harvest Hosts stays. The Sky Bar and Grille atop Big Snow’s Indianhead Mountain is open for most of the year, offering food and drink to be enjoyed on their expansive outdoor deck. Once we parked, we grabbed some drinks and a basket of fries and took in the view. We also enjoyed walking up and down the ski runs, enjoying the beautiful fall colors that started to settle in.

4e Winery – Mapleton, ND – September 2020

Another lovely winery setting with the nicest people! This Harvest Hosts is a particularly popular one, and we were thankful they had room for us. Even though the winery was closed on the day of our stay, Lisa allowed us, along with three other RVs, to stay and opened the tasting room for us. We made sure to thank her for her hospitality by purchasing a bottle of wine. They have a large, level open field for RVs to park in, and besides the hundreds (thousands?) of crickets jumping around, it was a very peaceful evening.

That’s a wrap on some of the great places we’ve stayed through Harvest Hosts! It’s a great program that we love to utilize whenever we can.

Wine Ridge RV Resort – Pahrump, NV

This was our second stay at Wine Ridge RV Resort. Follow this link to read about our first stay. We stayed for one month in order to take advantage of their great monthly rate — we paid $370 total including electricity. This time around, we requested one of the sites in the 900 row which, besides being pull throughs, offer great views of Mt. Charleston (see above pic).

During our stay, we spent a little time in Las Vegas. Travis’s sister and her boyfriend came to town to celebrate her birthday, so we were able to hang out with them a bit. I also was able to catch the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, which played at The Smith Center in Vegas. And Travis had two business trips to the Midwest while we were in Pahrump, which is one of the reasons we decided to stay there for a month.

We explored a few new places that we didn’t get around to the last time we were there. We took a day trip to Goldwell Open Air Museum in Rhyolite, as well as the neighboring ghost town. Next, we headed into Beatty for lunch, where we met some of the locals (see pic below). Finally, we drove through Death Valley, making stops at Badwater Basin, Furnace Creek, and Artist’s Drive, then headed back to Pahrump.

Goldwell Open Air Museum – Began in 1984 by Belgian artist Albert Szukalski

The Entrance to the Goldwell Open Air Museum
The Last Supper by Albert Szukalski
1,000 in 1 by Cierra Pedro
Site Here! by Sofie Siegmann
Ghost Rider by Albert Szukalski

Rhyolite Ghost Town – Historic gold mining town of the early 1900s. The population in 1908 was estimated to be 5,000 to 8,000; by 1920 just 14.

Cook Bank Building Ruins
This Union Pacific Caboose sits across from the former train station.
The Las Vegas & Tonopah Depot is visible through the door of the caboose. Compared to the rest of the buildings in Rhyolite, it’s very well preserved.

Beatty, Nevada – The Gateway to Death Valley!

Some of the locals came out to say hello!

Death Valley National Park – Established as a National Monument in 1933; Redesignated a National Park in 1994.

This guy approached us looking for food — DON’T FEED WILDLIFE!
The Salt Flats of Badwater Basin

 

Our First Harvest Hosts Stay

We were supposed to spend four nights at Death Valley over the New Year holiday, but due to a government shutdown, we had to change our plans. We were able to stay an additional three days at the RV park that we were at in Del Mar, CA, but had to find someplace to move to for the fourth night. We called ahead to Wine Ridge Resort, which was to be our next stop, to see if we could check in a day early. They were fully booked, so we looked to Harvest Hosts for a place to stay.

Harvest Hosts is a collection of wineries, breweries, museums, farms, golf courses, and other such locations that allow RVers to stay for free on their property for one night or more. The only thing that is asked is that you patronize the establishment in some way, whether it’s buying a bottle of wine or touring the museum or something similar.

We found a second winery in Pahrump, where Wine Ridge is located, that is a Harvest Hosts property — Sanders Family Winery — and made arrangements to stay there for the night. The winery is a beautiful, quiet property and seeing as it was New Year’s Day, it was closed and we were the only ones around. The owners, Jack and his wife, live on property. Jack stopped out to meet us, and seeing as it was super cold (low of 22 that night), said that we could use our generator.

We made it through the night without anything freezing (yay!) and stopped in to the tasting room for some free wine tasting the next day. The wine was delicious and we ended up purchasing three bottles. I’d also like to note that they are very dog friendly, and invited Max into the tasting room (which we did) and said we could let him run around off leash on property (we didn’t do that, but it was a nice offer). After the tasting, we hooked up and moved on to Wine Ridge Resort. We stayed at Wine Ridge in February 2018, and you can read about that stay here.

It was a very cold night, but the setting with Mt. Charleston, agaves, and grape vines was very peaceful.

If you’re interested in signing up for Harvest Hosts, get 15% off with this link here. Harvest Hosts Classics, with 600+ locations, is $79/year. Harvest Hosts + Golf, with over 1000+ locations, is $119/year.

Wine Ridge RV Resort and Cottages

We spent five weeks at Wine Ridge Resort in Pahrump, Nevada. If you’ve never heard of Pahrump, don’t worry — most people haven’t. It’s located between Death Valley National Park (to the west) and Las Vegas (to the east), and it takes about an hour to get to either one.

The resort is very nice and the monthly rate is more than reasonable. We were there for 36 nights at $9.63 per night plus electricity, which, for the five weeks, was $53.82. Our grand total was $400.52.

Address: 3800 Winery Road, Pahrump, NV 89048

Phone Number: (775) 751-7805

Amenities include:

  • Full Hookup
  • Two Pools and a Hot Tub
  • Individual Bathrooms with Showers (So great!)
  • Laundry
  • Pickle Ball, Bocce Ball and Horseshoes
  • Fitness Center (Pretty decent, actually)
  • RV/Car Wash
  • Clubhouse with Pool Table, Shuffle Board, and a Lending Library with DVDs, Board Games, Books and Puzzles
  • Complimentary Breakfasts Most Mornings
  • Weekly Activities including Poker, Bingo and Karaoke
  • Mail Service
  • Cottages

Located next door to the resort is the Pahrump Valley Winery (voted #1 in Nevada) that offers free tastings and the Symphony’s Restaurant, which, according to locals, is the best restaurant in Pahrump. The wine is excellent and the food was pretty good.

Pahrump Valley Winery

Pahrump itself doesn’t have a lot going on, unless you’re really into smoky casinos and fireworks stores, but we tried to take advantage of everything it did have to offer:

  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: About a 40-minute drive from Pahrump, Red Rock is home to a 13-mile, extremely scenic drive with multiple overlooks, parking areas and picnic areas. There are also 26 different hiking trails of varying length and difficulty — our favorite was the Calico Tanks Trail. Rock climbing is allowed but you need a permit. Definitely a must see if in the Pahrump area and it’s only about a 20-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip.

    View along the Calico Tanks Trail
  • Death Valley National Park: While there are places to stay in Death Valley, the campgrounds fill up fast and the hotels are crazy expensive. Pahrump is a decent location for making day trips to the park. As we had friends visit to run the Death Valley Marathon, we did hook up the Airstream and tow to Death Valley to spend three nights at the Furnace Creek Campground.

    Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America (-282 feet)
  • Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge: Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the refuge protects threatened and endangered species, many of which occur nowhere else in the world, such as the Devils Hole pupfish.

    Crystal Spring – A true oasis in the desert!
  • China Ranch Date Farm: A family-owned date farm and bakery that serves the regional delight, date shakes. There are also a handful of trails and a cute little gift shop.

    China Ranch Date Farm (The date vanilla chip cookies were delicious!)

There are a few other attractions in the area that either didn’t interest us or we didn’t have time for: Dumont Dunes, Tacopa Hot Springs and the Amargosa Opera House.

For the most part, we enjoyed our time in Pahrump, although five weeks was too long; however, five weeks is probably too long to spend anywhere. It was nice to be able to have visitors, which we did on two different occasions. And it was very convenient to be stationary for a little while so we could get our mail sent to us regularly and be able to do some shopping on Amazon. Also, Travis had to make a business trip at one point, so being close to a large airport was important. We’d stay at Wine Ridge Resort again, but probably just for a few nights.