Park models, which are up to 400 square feet in size, are designed for placement in an RV park or campground, or on a private lot. They can cost from $20,000 to $100,000 or more.
Although shipments of park models declined by nearly 13 percent nationwide last year, it was still the fourth best year in the 25-year history of the park model business, with the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association reporting that manufacturers shipped 8,837 units to dealers.
Brad Kempton, park model marketing manager for Skyline Homes, said there are several reasons to be optimistic about park model sales in the coming years.
First, he said, is the fact that rising costs of land and a doubling of building costs in the past decade have put traditional vacation homes out of reach for many people. Park homes are much more affordable.
In addition, he noted, member of the huge Baby Boom generation are reaching the age when they have more leisure time and are looking at vacation and retirement options. Beyond that, he said, the high price of gasoline could discourage extensive travel, making it even more attractive to have a vacation cottage at a nearby resort.
You can buy a park model in a range of styles and designs. Some look like rustic cabins; others are more contemporary. On page 34, you will find a high-end custom model from Vacation Structures. Here are three other choices from leading manufacturers:
Breckenridge Glassic Soho
Breckenridge teamed with San Francisco architect and designer Christopher Deam to create the Glassic Soho park model with an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows.
Denise Walsh, Brecken-ridge national sales manager, said the model is designed for people who appreciate a contemporary look and a good view. The Glassic is a radical departure from the popular rustic cabin style of most park models. To really appreciate the Glassic, Walsh said, you have to step inside and look outward. “There is nothing like being in it,” she said.
The Glassic has four eight-foot high Andersen thermopane patio doors with overhead transom windows. Large roller shades allow for privacy. Heavy fiberglass insulation and an in-floor heating system create a dwelling that is usable year-round.
An entertainment center includes room for a 40-inch flat screen TV. The kitchen is at one end with a four-burner gas range, built-in microwave, stainless steel refrigerator and Corian countertops. The bedroom at the opposite end has an optional queen-size lift-up storage bed and large closet. A full bathroom with a tub/shower is concealed behind the entertainment center wall.
Options include an electronic fireplace, a hide-a-bed sofa and a stack washer/dryer.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is about $70,000.
For information, contact Breckenridge, 656 N. Delaware, Nappanee, IN 46550. Phone (800) 223-2376 or visit www.breckenridgefinerliving.com.
Skyline Forest Brook
The Forest Brook, which is the top seller among about a dozen park models built by Skyline Homes in McMinnville, Oregon, has about all the amenities you need for a comfortable cabin at an affordable price.
There is, for example, a full kitchen with a 30-inch range, 16-cubic foot refrigerator, stainless steel sink and ample cabinetry. The bathroom has a fiberglass tub and shower, mirrored medicine cabinet and a china sink.
The basic construction is strong with the use of sheet rock with rounded corners, vinyl frame windows and substantial insulation. The standard composition roof has a 25- year warranty, or you can upgrade to a metal or corrugated roof with a 30-year warranty. Hardie Panel siding is standard, but buyers also have the option of cedar or log siding for a rustic look.
The Forest Brook has cathedral ceilings throughout, and includes additional touches such as silent rocker switches, and a ceiling fan in the living area. A well-equipped cabin such as the cedar model pictured here retails for about $57,000.
Skyline, which was founded in 1951 in Elkhart, Indiana, builds manufactured homes, travel trailers and park models at plants in 11 states.
For information, contact Skyline, 550 Booth Bend Road, McMinnville, OR 97128 or visit www.skylinecorp.com.
Woodland Park Resort
The new Resort series from Woodland Park presents an opportunity to buy a park model that has the construction quality of a high-end unit at an economical price.
Dave Burroughs, North American sales manager for Woodland Park, said the company was searching for a way to develop a cottage that would meet the needs of entry-level buyers when it hit upon the idea of building on the most popular features of its highly successful Timber Ridge series, but simplifying the design and limiting the customization.
So, for example, there are fewer windows and cabinets in the Resort series, and less opportunity to customize, but the prices start in the $20,000s.
There is a fully equipped kitchen, complete bathroom and all the strength of construction found in higher priced units. “We haven’t sacrificed any of the quality,” Burroughs said. The frame and sidewalls, for example, have the same kind of construction as more expensive units, the roof has a 25-year warranty, and the fit and finish are the same.
The Resort models are available in 11-foot and 12-foot widths with a total area of just under 400 square feet. They can be purchased with or without a loft for extra storage or sleeping space. Customers also have a choice of a standard vinyl or cedar log exterior and a rustic pine or more conventional interior.
For information, contact Woodland Park, P. O. Box 1309, 111 Crystal Heights Boulevard, Middlebury, IN 46540. Phone (800) 999-4958 or visit www.woodland-park.com.
New Choices in Vacation Homes
Vacation Structures, a high-end manufacturer of park models, has more than a dozen floor plans, but that’s just a starting point for most buyers. The company builds its models to order, encouraging customers to bring their own individuality to the units they buy.
“We offer customization, and people take us up on it,” said Bob Pollock, vice president of sales and marketing.
The company sells its products exclusively through resorts and dealers, but customers are welcome to visit the factory in Centralia, Washington, and offer their input. “We encourage people to work directly with us,” Pollock said.
Sometimes customers stretch their ingenuity beyond practicality, but Pollock said, “There’s not a whole lot we can’t do.”
An example of the company’s willingness to go beyond the norm is its addition of a 20-foot front porch as an option. Park models, which are vacation homes designed for placement at resorts and campgrounds, are legally limited to 400 square feet of living space, but there is no restriction on porch size. Many park models have front porches of eight feet or so, but such an expansive front porch is an innovation.
Pollock said the impetus for the front porch design came from Jeff Graham, the developer of the secluded, 130-acre Lost Lake Resort near Olympia, Washington. Pollock said Graham, who had added a large front porch to his own park model at Lost Lake, suggested that Vacation Structures explore the idea of a major porch as a factory option.
Gil Griffes, the president of Vacation Structures, got to work designing the porch immediately and now the company offers it as an option on any floorplan. Pollock said the first demonstration model has been a sensation at this year’s RV shows. “It is absolutely unique in the park model industry,” he said.
The porch provides plenty of space for people to sit and relax, and can include a gas fire pit to add warmth and ambiance. Pollock said the demonstration model, which was built for Lost Lake, has both a 20-foot front and an eight-foot rear porch. It is a log cabin design with a green metal roof, extensive use of cedar in the interior and many extra features, pushing the price to the $105,000 range. “That’s about as high-end as it gets in the park model industry,” he said. But the porch can be incorporated in models with fewer extra features for about $90,000. The park model with both front and rear porches is shipped to a destination as one unit. The only requirement is that the resort or private property have a large enough space to accommodate the 60-foot length.
Vacation Structures, founded in 2006, is a comparative newcomer to the park model business, but its founders, Griffes and Pollock, have decades of experience in the industry. The company emphasizes upscale, quality construction, offering such features as custom-made, all natural wood cabinetry, windows with a lifetime warranty, generous insulation and roofs with a snow load capacity of 60 pounds per square foot and a 30- to 50-year warranty.
Vacation Structures has grown rapidly and now occupies two factories and employs about 50 people in Centralia.
For more information, including a list of dealers and resorts, contact Vacation Structures, 3713 Northpark Drive, Centralia, WA 98531. Phone (866) 736-7122 or visit www.vacationstructures.com.
Silver Cove Adds Park Models
Silver Cove Resort in southwestern Washington, not far from Mount St. Helens, is now selling park model cabins on waterfront sites, and providing a private boat launch for easy access to boating and fishing on Silver Lake.
The 53-acre resort has 161 sites for park models and RVs. Most of the sites, including 20 designated for park model cabins, front on canals that lead to the lake.
Silver Cove is a dealer for two leading park model manufacturers, Vacation Structures and Laurel Creek Homes, giving buyers a choice of designs and amenities in cabins that have cedar exteriors and green metal roofs befitting the rustic setting. The cabin sites are offered on 25-year leases. The sites are 40 feet wide and come complete with a concrete foundation, 200 square feet of decking, paved driveways and complete landscaping.
Silver Cove Resort is situated near Castle Rock, the gateway to Mount St. Helens. The adjoining Silver Lake is large, stretching four and half miles long and two and a half miles wide, but is shallow, only about 15 feet deep. The shallowness is one reason it is popular for bass fishing, and is a premier site for bass tournaments.
“It is one of the best bass fishing lakes in the Pacific Northwest,” said Bob McCullough, who serves with his wife, Norma, as resort manager.
Besides fishing, the lake is also open to water skiing and other boating activities. In addition, there are hiking and nature trails in the area.
The Mount St. Helens National Monument, Spirit Lake and the Coldwater Lake Recreation Area are all nearby. The resorts itself is just nine miles east of Interstate 5 in a location that is conveniently close not only to recreation areas but also to population centers. Portland is an hour and 15 minutes away and Seattle is about two hours away.
In addition to its park models, Silver Cove Resort has 140 sites open to recreation vehicles. The streets are paved, and utilities are underground, with all the needed hookups for power, water and sewer. High-speed Internet access is included.
Construction is scheduled to begin this year on a recreation center that will include indoor and outdoor kitchens, a meeting hall, fitness center and laundry facilities. Construction is already under way on a picnic shelter.
For information, contact Silver Cove Resort, 351 Hall Road, Silver Lake WA 98645. Phone (360) 967-2057 or visit www.silvercoveresort.com.
Cottages Available at MarDon
At MarDon Resort on the shores of Washington’s Potholes Reservoir, you have lots of lodging options—an RV park, motel, tent camping and park cottages—and lots of recreation opportunities, too, with a marina and boat rentals, and a shuttle bus to take you to casinos, concerts, wine tours and the water park at nearby Moses Lake.
MarDon is a family resort owned and operated by the Meseberg family, and is situated 16 minutes southwest of Moses Lake.
Fishing is a big attraction, since the 28,000-acre Potholes Reservoir has a reputation as one of the finest fishing locations in the state. The resort has a bait and tackle shop, moorage and dock fishing. The Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, just south of the reservoir’s huge earthen dam, is home to 60 seep lakes that are stocked with rainbow trout. Twenty of these lakes get a jump on the lowland fishing season by opening on April 1.
In addition to fishing, there are other recreation activities, including hiking, bird-watching and boating. Potholes Golf Resort, a nine-hole course that is expanding to 18 holes, is just a mile away, and Potholes State Park is two miles away.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available at the Beach Bar and Grill on the grounds of the resort and there is also a general store and gift shop.
Nine park models have been transformed into themed cottages, complete with fully equipped kitchens, televisions with DVD players and DISH satellite access, and sleeping accommodations for as many as seven. All have a 10-foot front porch with either a patio or open deck and an excellent view of the lake. Each cottage has a theme of its own, with titles such as the Old Bass Lodge and Canoes & Paddles. The Indulge Cottage is designed for anniversary couples and includes a private hot tub for two on the porch. All the cottages have various amenities, such as a private deck for watching the boats go by, or an open fire pit, which is ideal for sitting around a campfire with a guitar and a bag of marshmallows.
One of the cottages was specially designed by the builder, Vacation Structures, to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Unlike the other cottages, it doesn’t have room for a fireplace, but it does meet the needs of the disabled very well. In fact, MarDon recently received a letter from a guest who described her stay this way: “I am in a wheelchair and your accessible cabin was everything we could have asked for and more. We travel frequently, and, by far, your unit was the best we have ever spent time in. Usually there is at least one thing my husband has to help me with. In your unit, I was disabled free…The whole park is kept immaculate, the fishing is great, and the sunsets are beautiful.”
The RV portion of the resort will be expanded this fall when ground is broken for big rig sites with full amenities. Each site will have a sweeping view of Potholes Reservoir. Covered RV storage and enclosed boat storage facilities are also being planned for guests who want to leave their boats and RVs in a safe, secure environment at a vacation destination and save gas by traveling between home and the resort by car.
For more information about MarDon Resort, visit www.mardonresort.com.