Erin here, I managed to track down down the busy man Dan. Hi Dan, thanks for sitting down with me to answer a few questions about the campground project. Congrats again on the recent use permit approval, but I’m curious to know more about what that means and what’s next? Why do we have to wait until 2016?
Dan: There are a number of factors that impact our development timeline. I used to say that the timeline was driven by the more restrictive construction requirements that exist during the rainy season, but the reality is we will use this winter to finish the engineering and design phases of the project, and then apply for infrastructure and building permits. That will give us the summer season to begin construction and next winter to bring the project together and work out our operational strategies. Apparently, despite my initial optimism, a campground can’t be built in 8 months!
Erin: I’m interested in knowing a bit more about your holiday park experience, what was the motivation behind the idea of service campground and how is it different then a KOA?
Dan: The Inn Town Campground is inspired by the holiday parks in New Zealand. The Kiwis have a very family friendly view of life and holiday parks are a great manifestation of that culture. Holiday parks focus not only on recreational camping, but also more generally on making communities more accessible to a broad range of traveler…all in one place. Our family lived in New Zealand for over five years, raising both of our boys there during their early years. Before moving to Nevada City, we travelled the country in a small camper van for 2 1/2 months, primarily staying at holiday parks along the way. We found them to be clean, affordable, family friendly and incredibly easy camping for a family with a 2 & 5 year old! Many of them were located right in town, making exploring the various areas very easy. When we moved to Nevada City and began running the Outside Inn, joining and participating in the community here, we both felt like a holiday park was a perfect fit for Nevada City.
In this country, KOA’s are the closest model to the holiday park; but they tend to focus on RVs at the expense of other travelers (like tent camping or even cabins). The Inn Town Campground has been designed from the beginning to offer a diversity of camping options that are all integrated and equally important. There are RV spots, tent spots and “glamping” cabins for the more refined campers of the world! We want the Inn Town Campground to be a place that guests return year-after-year; we want them to be regular parts of our community, no matter how they like to camp.
Erin: Will you be renting out airstreams and vintage trailers?
Dan: I’m certainly open to the idea of renting a vintage trailer or two in the future, but we currently are not set up for it. However, our miner’s tents are a pretty neat alternative. I do have a soft spot for vintage trailers and the unique nostalgia they elicit. We have a 1957 Cardinal that we have taken all around the western US. I love sipping a warm cup of coffee by the yellow glow of our caravan’s gas lamp, watching the world amble by in a forest. I also have a 1964 Airstream Safari that I have remodeled into my office, which we have strategically placed in some photos on the website! Even a spreadsheet seems cool in an Airstream. For me, unique is inspirational. I hope other vintage trailer fans will bring their cool old trailers to the campground.
Erin: I saw a sneak peak of some wedding photos on Instagram, tell me, is the campground going to be Nevada City’s next favorite wedding location?
Dan: Thanks for the compliment, but no, the campground does not have a use permit to host weddings. However, we will be happy to welcome guests for local weddings and events if they want to camp while in Nevada City for the festivities. The photos from the styled wedding photo shoot were a great opportunity to showcase our property and some of the other talented people in our community. Although we can’t host your wedding, I have no doubt that this special piece of Nevada City will provide guests with some great memories anyway.
Erin: Okay, no weddings, but what else will you have at the Inn Town Campground and what are you most excited about?
Dan: The Inn Town Campground will have a lot of great amenities like a pool, rec room, kitchen, group fire pits, BBQ areas and more. And it will provide a wonderfully close way to stay and visit Nevada City. All of those are exciting to me, but mostly, I’m excited to share this beautiful spot. I was out at the property a couple of weeks ago, just as the first big winter storm pushed through Nevada City. I was walking through the trees thinking about the project while the mist gathered and started to drip from the impossibly tall pine trees. I could just see my breath and the dogwood leaves were bright yellow against the grey sky. The storm made everything quiet and fresh. All I wanted to do was stop and enjoy the quiet serenity. Those are the kind of experiences and memories I hope others have here. This is a wonderful place in a great community and I’m excited to share that with the world.
© Photos by Kat Alves Photography and Erin Thiem