November 26th, we pulled into Buttonwood Bay RV Resort in Sebring, Florida. We had called several days earlier to reserve a spot until December 1st as we weren’t able to reach Highland Wheels, the park where we had reservations for the winter; our phone calls and emails went unanswered.
As we pulled into the driveway, we were impressed by the beautiful landscaping, lush flowerbeds, a fountain, and a very well maintained office and driveways. The receptionist was welcoming, very professional, and gave us several handouts about the resort and the surrounding area, a calendar of activities, and map. Many different types of activities were offered, art and music classes, crafts, cards, dominoes, bingo, exercise programs, many types of sports, and various forms of entertainment. The resort had two swimming pools, a hiking trail, direct lake access, shuffleboard & bocci ball & tennis courts, a mini golf course, a small cafe, library, mailboxes, two recreation halls, craft rooms, billiards and card rooms, a large laundromat, an exercise room, and many more amenities. We had an escort to our site, and after setting up the motorhome, we headed for the Recreation Hall to sign up for the Thanksgiving Dinner the next day.
Neighbors near our site told us that our friends from Platteville, Richard & Laurie Graney had the spot reserved right across the street from ours; they also told us the site we were given was available for the winter-the people who reserved it had to cancel due to illness. We were anxious to check out Highland Wheels to make sure it was a place we would want to stay for several months, and to find out why we hadn’t heard from them. We arrived at the park shortly before 5:00 pm and the office had a closed sign in the window. We drove around the park and were dismayed to see many concrete slabs cracked and broken up, weeds and trees/bushes in need of trimming, a general unkempt look to the park, and several mobile homes and campers that were unsightly or had junk in their yards. After seeing Buttonwood Bay Resort, it was such a contrast in extremes; we knew that we wouldn’t be happy staying at such a rundown place.
We talked about our misgivings all the way back to Buttonwood, and decided to ask if our site was available for the winter, and if it was, we would cancel our reservation at Highland Wheels. We were elated to hear that we could have the site, and reserved it for December through February. The rates were quite a bit higher than what those at the other park, but considering all the activities and amenities offered, the atmosphere and well maintained condition of the resort, and because electricity and water were included in the monthly rate; we decided the cost was worth it. We were willing to cut back on entertainment and eating meals out; we could ride our bicycles to the various buildings in the park where events were held. This would save quite a bit of money on gas as we wouldn’t have to go to town for mail or movies or to restaurants.
After a few days at Buttonwood Bay, we realized our decision to switch parks was right on. Highland Wheels had finally called us back, and agreed to refund our deposit. Joan’s brother Lyle and his wife Cindy had decided to join us at Buttonwood Bay and reserved a site for January and February. We were ecstatic to hear this, as we missed family so much last winter. It will make time away from our family much easier to bear this year.
Our friends, the Graneys arrived at Buttonwood Bay the Monday after Thanksgiving, and we were happy to see them again. They will be staying for at least 3 months, and we have camped with them many times in the past and really enjoy their company. Their dog Teddy gets along well with our cat Smoke. We have met so many people already since arriving at this park, and am sure we will enjoy our time here. The weather has been beautiful, and it has been sunny most days, only raining once so far. The park has so much to offer, a person could be busy every minute. So far, we have attended only two activities; one was the Thanksgiving dinner and the other was Coffee & Donuts on Monday. People here are generally very friendly, some are naturally more outgoing than others. All seem to be very happy here, and many have lived here in the manufactured homes or park models for many years. Altogether there are almost 1000 lots, including the RV sites. Yesterday, December 1st, many RVs came in for the winter; people tell us that even more will arrive after Christmas. They expect the park to be full, and more events will be added after January 1st.