Green Mountain Family Campground Review

Thu Dec 16 2021

If you are looking for a quiet, rustic campground in Vermont that's open in winter, I highly recommend Green Mountain Family Campground!

Green Mountain Family Campground Review
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We have a policy of not sharing our current location - whether a campground or boondocking spot - until after we've left. The last thing we want is an unknown individual, regardless of their intentions, turning up unannounced because we're there.

Which made sharing the last campground we stayed in a little difficult...because we'd been there more than 12 months!

In April last year, we shared a blog post about how we had just finished 100 days of boondocking (living in our RV off-grid with no hookups), mainly in the Arizona desert.

100 Days of Boondocking

Yesterday marked 100 days in our RV since we last had hookups - we'll share how we did it and our top tips for boondocking off-grid.

100 Days of Boondocking

But the pandemic forced us to change our plans, and we decided to head to New England in the fall of 2020. One big difference between camping out west and in New England is that there are far fewer opportunities for boondocking - although given the winters in New England, hookups were a necessity for us anyway!

Winter RVing

Preparing for Winter RV Living

If you're going to spend a cold winter living in an RV, you need to be prepared. Here's what we're doing to stay safe and comfortable in northern Vermont.

Preparing for Winter RV Living

Winter camping isn't particularly popular, and as a result not many RV parks stay open during the winter. In fact, from our research we were only able to find two RV parks that fitted our needs - one in New Hampshire and one in Vermont. Our plan was to find somewhere to camp for the winter - from around mid-November until March or so.

Our first candidate was Friendly Beaver Campground in New Boston, NH. We stayed here for a few nights in late September as we explored the fall colors.

Monadnock Fall Colors Road Trip

Our last chance to see the fall colors before they peak in New Hampshire - and it was amazing! Plus, we begin to prepare for winter camping.

Monadnock Fall Colors Road Trip

I would describe Friendly Beaver Campground as a fairly typical resort-like RV park. It has 3 outdoor pools, an indoor heated pool, a sports complex, multiple rec halls, laundromat and an on-site store. The WiFi was usable and reliable (very unusual!), albeit at an extra cost. Overall it was pleasant, although not our preferred camping experience - it was a strong contender.

As we headed north, we decided to take a detour and stop in at our other candidate: Green Mountain Family Campground, just north of Middlebury, VT. We had emailed back and forth with the owner, Gary, and had arranged to meet him so we could take a look around the campground.

First Impressions

With our typical, nonchalant, "RVing out west with a small travel trailer is easy" mentality, we followed directions from Google Maps...over two steep and winding mountain passes! Lesson learned - check roads ahead of time in New England! It was the first time in almost 3 years of RVing that our truck hadn't been able to hold its speed in 1st gear while towing - yeah, steep climb!

Our goal was to decide which of the two campgrounds we'd prefer to stay in, and that meant checking out the site we'd likely be in, the roads for winter access, the campground vibe as a whole, and most importantly...cell signal!

How we get Internet in our RV

Whether you just want to check emails and social media, stream movies or work from the road, reliable internet connectivity in your RV has never been more important. Here's how we do it!

How we get Internet in our RV

We pulled into the entrance and were immediately struck - this was a very different type of campground to where we had been previously.

Green Mountain Family Campground Vermont
Green Mountain Family Campground is a beautiful, rustic RV park with sites nestled in the trees at the foot of the mountains behind.

If I had to describe Green Mountain Family Campground in three words, I'd say: simple, charming, peaceful.

Yes, it does have a swimming pool - two in fact if you include the children's pool - and a laundromat. But both of these would be shut off in winter. As would the whole back side of the campground in fact - leaving just 20 or so sites that would be open year round. Very different from the hundreds of sites at Friendly Beaver!

Vermont RV Park Swimming Pool
If you want to cool down and relax in summer, there's an outdoor swimming pool. It's closed in winter, for obvious reasons!

The sites are rustic. Far from the concrete cities of other RV parks we've been to in the past, each site is nestled amongst the trees, surrounded by nature. If we're going to stay in an RV park, this is our kind of park!

Green Mountain Family Campground Campsite
This was our site, A3. We loved the simple, rustic charm, and being surrounded by trees rather than concrete.

Gary was friendly and helpful, even if a little bemused when we started wandering around with our phones checking signal at various parts of the campground! AT&T was strong near the road although weak in the park itself, but Verizon seemed pretty respectable in most places we tried, around 5-20Mbps or so.

So after about 20 minutes, we thanked Gary and set off on the road again, back to a new campground in New Hampshire where we'd be spending the next few weeks.

Decisions, Decisions

We spent the next couple of days weighing up our options. This is an incredibly personal decision but here's what it came down to for us.

Friendly Beaver Campground: 30 minutes from Manchester, NH (a major city), known quantity (we had already spent time there with our RV), lots of amenities on-site, poor cell signal but reliable (if a little slow) WiFi, more expensive (~$900/mo).

Green Mountain Family Campground: rustic charm, quiet vibe, small community feel vs large RV park, cell signal but spotty campground WiFi, choice of several big ski resorts within an hour (Killington, Pico, Sugarbush, Mad River Glen, etc), cheaper ($600-650/mo).

Happy Holidays!

We're spending the holidays this year surrounded by snow and pine forests as we enjoy our Latvian-British fusion Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

Two days later we had made our decision - we emailed Gary and made a reservation, arriving on November 7th. We elected for the 50 Amp site for $50/mo more than a 30 Amp site - our rationale being that even though our RV is a 30A RV, we could use a splitter to power our heated hoses and in our experience, 50A sites tend to have less voltage drop due to lower impedance from the thicker wiring.

Arrival

6 weeks after our initial visit, we arrived back at Green Mountain Family Campground.

Arriving in Vermont

Winter is fast approaching and it's time for us to get set up in our winter camping spot and prepare for the cold weather.

Arriving in Vermont

Our arrival took a little bit of planning since we would have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival - no trips to the grocery store, but more importantly, no trips to the hardware store to get what we needed to skirt our RV, so all that had to be done in advance.

RV Skirting with Foam Board

Skirting your RV makes a big difference in cold winter weather, and we chose a DIY option - installing foam insulation board around our travel trailer.

RV Skirting with Foam Board

It didn't take us long to get everything set up and begin settling in!

Hiking Trails

Green Mountain Family Campground sits on 42 acres, and one of the things we enjoyed most about our year-long stay there is the hiking trails.

Middlebury Vermont RV Park
From spring to fall we took any opportunity we could to get out and stretch our legs around the campground while the weather was good, watching the landscape change around us with the seasons.

During the summer months before we were working on our property, we were spending most of each day in meetings and working inside the RV on our laptops. It was so nice to be able to take several short hikes during the day around the campground to stretch our legs and enjoy the sunshine!

In addition to the roads that weave around the campground, there are several single-track hiking trails that extend up into the forest on the mountain-side. In winter these are more suitable for snow-shoeing (we didn't try it, but our neighbor was out most days).

Green Mountain Family Campground Trails
It was hiking up on the Blue Loop one day that we met an unexpected guest!

We headed out in early spring and ran across an unexpected guest - a large black bear! It was just off the trail, just 50ft or so from where we were. Fortunately, having lived in California we are well accustomed to dealing with bears and soon enough the bear scurried off into the forest.

Still, a good reminder that this is a campground surrounded by nature - beautiful, but something to always be aware of.

Winter RVing

The freak heatwave that hit Vermont when we first arrived in November quickly gave way to cooler weather - winter was coming.

In addition to the rapidly cooling temperatures, we also had to contend with snow. While neither of us are strangers to snow, we had heard horror stories about the brutal Vermont winters and were anxious about what lie ahead of us. Fortunately, it turned out that Green Mountain Family Campground was a fantastic place to spend the winter.

Winter RVing Vermont
In a matter of weeks the landscape changed from green to white as snow enveloped the area.

As the snow fell, the plow truck became a regular site as it worked its way around the campground to clear the roads. We drive a 4WD truck with winter-rated tires, but we never had any issues getting our truck in and out of our site. In fact, the only time we were concerned was when we moved our trailer in February, but even that was painless.

Winter RVing Snow Plow
Although the RV park roads were cleared by the plow truck, it was up to us to clear our site. We stayed on top of it and didn't have any issues getting in our out.

Off to Oregon

Our RV hasn't moved for almost 4 months, and despite the snow and ice, it's time to hook up and hit the road for our long drive from Vermont to Oregon.

Off to Oregon

Soon after arriving, we had a 100-gallon propane tank delivered by a local propane company - something most of our neighbors did too. Every couple of weeks the propane company drove by to check on levels so we never had to worry about running out of propane (although we did ensure our two 30-pound tanks were full just in case).

April Snow Vermont
Too soon! By late April we thought winter was behind us - we got out the bikes and even the grill, but an unexpected snow flurry showed us Vermont had other ideas!

Heated Hoses

We had installed a heated fresh hose and sewer hose on our RV to make sure we didn't have any problems with frozen water lines - or worse, the dread poopsicle!

NoFreezeWaterHose Fresh & Waste Hose Installation

If you're looking for the ultimate heated hoses for winter camping in your RV, then look no further - we've installed and reviewed the NoFreezeWaterHose fresh water and waste hoses.

NoFreezeWaterHose Fresh & Waste Hose Installation

The water connection for our RV was underground, packed in securely with lots of insulation. With the combined heat output from our self-regulating hose and our neighbor's thermostatically controlled heated hose, it was kept toasty all winter long!

Only once all winter did we have an issue with the water - a pipe had burst elsewhere in the park and the water was shut off to the whole park for a couple of hours while it was fixed. In anticipation of this exact situation we kept our fresh tank about half full - and our temperature monitoring system included sensors on the water pump and tank valves to ensure they never froze.

Smart RV Tour

A tour of our DIY smart RV, packed full of home automation technology that makes our full-time RV life more comfortable, secure and efficient!

Smart RV Tour

Electricity

Power outages, especially in winter, are always a concern - whether you're in an RV or living in a sticks-and-bricks house. We found the electrical supply at Green Mountain Family Campground to be very reliable for the duration of our stay.

The campground sits on VT Route 116, mid-way between Middlebury and Bristol, and the supply lines here are considered a priority in the event of any issues. Aside from a few brief outages during storms (a few seconds or so each, which our hybrid inverter insulated us from), we only had one major power outage in the 12 months we were there - a few hours in fall following heavy winds in the area.

RV Electrical Upgrade: Part 2 – Battle Born Lithium Batteries & Victron Inverter

In Part 2 of our series on upgrading the electrical system in our RV, we're going to be jumping straight in with the biggest components - the Battle Born Lithium batteries and a new Victron MultiPlus inverter / charger . We'll also be laying the groundwork needed for installing the remainder of the system later on in the series too.

RV Electrical Upgrade: Part 2 – Battle Born Lithium Batteries & Victron Inverter

One thing we're always aware of in RV parks is low voltage, particularly on 30A sites which tend to use thinner wires (and hence higher impedance) than 50A hookups. For this reason we chose a 50A site.

The only time we had an issue was on the hottest summer days in summer when everyone was running their AC. If our neighbors had their AC running (along with probably some other appliances) at the same time we did, we'd see the voltage drop. Just occasionally this was enough for our EMS to trip the connection due to low voltage.

RV Electrical Upgrade: Part 4 – Installing Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C

Installing the Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C surge protector is the last item as we connect our Battle Born Lithium batteries and Victron MultiPlus inverter to our RV.

RV Electrical Upgrade: Part 4 – Installing Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C

Internet

Since we work full-time on the road, fast and reliable internet connectivity is essential to us - and hence the reason we visited the campground to check cell signal before booking our stay there.

As it turned out, we needn't have worried. We were able to get cable internet straight to our RV!

Xfinity Cable Internet in an RV

Sick of unreliable and slow RV park WiFi? Struggling with cellular connectivity? We signed up for Xfinity for high-speed cable internet in our RV this winter.

Xfinity Cable Internet in an RV

When most RV parks say they have cable hookups at each site, this is for cable TV. But some of the sites at Green Mountain Family Campground actually have Xfinity cable directly to the site.

Speaking with Gary, our site didn't, but he was happy for us to contact Xfinity and have it installed. As it turned out they didn't have to bury a new cable but were able to upgrade the cable and install a splitter between us and our neighbors (who already had cable internet).

While Xfinity may not typically be regarded as fast or reliable, compared to the cellular connection we had become accustomed to, it was a huge improvement! We ended up paying $60 per month for 400Mbps download and about 14Mbps upload - luxury!

Community

With the global COVID-19 pandemic prevalent throughout our stay from November 2020 until November 2021, it's hard to say how things would have been during more normal times.

But despite COVID, there was still a strong sense of community throughout those staying at the campground - particularly during the winter. Our experience of the RVing community is that people always try to look out for one another, and this is exactly what we found here too.

Vermont RVer Community
Come rain or shine, the community of RVers (and the owners) were there to help one another.

In our time there I helped charge someone's dead truck battery just after Christmas, provided an emergency fix when our neighbor's converter failed so they wouldn't lose the contents of their fridge & freezer before the replacement arrived, and flush out another neighbor's blocked black tank (fun times!).

I'm sure there are countless other examples of people helping one another. It's called "Family Campground" and I think a big part of this is that the people staying there felt like one big family!

The campground owners also hosted a handful of events during the year - including a summer BBQ. I strongly suspect in normal times there would be much more activity!

If socializing with people isn't your thing, the campground has one more surprise for you...goats!

Summary

Our time at Green Mountain Family Campground was an order of magnitude longer than any other RV park we had stayed at. But there's a reason we chose to stay - we loved it there!

Vermont RV Park Sunset
When we had a sunset this beautiful on one of our first nights at the campground, we knew we were going to love it here - and we did!

Green Mountain Family Campground might be a simple, no-frills RV park but it was exactly what we were looking for. The owners, Gary & Joanne, are friendly and accommodating. The RV park itself was clean, comfortable and feels much more natural than the typical concrete parking lots that are so common these days.

Green Mountain Family Campground Middlebury Vermont
If you're looking for a quiet, friendly RV park in Vermont, I'd highly recommend checking out Green Mountain Family Campground near Middlebury.

Our plan when we return to Vermont in spring is to take our RV straight to our property, but if we were looking for an RV park in Vermont again, we wouldn't hesitate to stay at the Green Mountain Family Campground!

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