Lake Powhatan

Discussion in 'North Carolina' started by Nandy, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. Nandy

    Nandy Active Member

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    In the spirit of full disclosure, I did not stayed at the camp, I drove to it to check the facilities while I was in a trip to Asheville...

    Had been wanting to stay at Lake Powhatan since we do frequent Asheville and it would have been a good location for "base camp". I seen the campground was booked full for the dates we wanted but had knowledge of their "walk in" sites which cannot be reserved. I was hoping to get there early on Thursday and grab a walk in site, if no luck try again Friday, wanted to stay until Sunday. My first contact (week prior the trip) was to inquire about those sites and at what time should I be there to have the best chance to snag one. I was surprised to be told not to show up before noon.... did not make sense to me, I understand that checking in is noon but why cant I pay for the site that is open then set up at checking in time?

    Second time (Wednesday), I called to make sure the wife will be able to get in late as she had to work. Then I asked how many of the "walk in" sites were available at that moment. Reason I asked is if all of them were taken little chance someone is leaving Thursday, they are probably there to stay the rest of the week/weekend. She said there were some available but she could not guarantee me one for tomorrow. I said it was ok, I understood it was first come basis and I just needed an idea to weight my chances to get a site until Sunday. Then she says I can only stay in the walk in sites for 2 nights.... I was surprised, the website says 14 days for all sites.

    Then I ask if I check in Friday then I should be good thru Sunday, lady said not to bother going Friday as they are all full!!!???? So how are the "walk in" sites already full for Friday? She keep telling me I could not reserve the walk in sites and I keep asking her how come then they are all full Friday but not today Thursday? It was like talking to a 3 year old... She said call tomorrow at 7:00 am and talk to a manager... I called Thursday morning to verify the information from the manage but it was her again.... all she had available was primitive and I decided to just scrap the trip after all this misinformation. We will do a daily trip to see the color change and do something different Saturday.

    We went to Asheville Friday, visit many places including Campfire lodgings where the host was so nice to us that it even hurt! He let us drive around, check the site and asked me once we were done to stop by the store which we did. He is such a great host, makes you feel welcome without choking you.

    Before heading to the Blue ridge we stopped by Lake Powhatan campground as we have done hundreds of times at other campgrounds that we have interest on staying. I stopped by the access and let them know we were not staying there and we just wanted to see the facilities for future trip. We were declined entry because the campground was full, I repeated myself, I am not staying, all I want to do is drive the loop to see the sites and facilities, again, I was told I could not because the campground was full and was asked to make a turn around and leave...

    I had just pull the window up and open up my mouth to tell DW how I felt she let out "there is no way in hell we are EVER coming to stay in this place!!" I almost laugh, I never heard her like that but that was my feeling too. We have travel extensively on TN, NC, SC, VA, FL and a few trips to OH and I have never ever been told I cannot take a peek at the campground for any reason.

    The attitude of these hosts is the same tyrannic attitude that I read in their trip advisor. I will never give them a chance to treat me that way again.

    I'm glad others have had a different experience at the park, I hope that everyone that visit that park has a great time but I wont be giving this campground a second visit of a good review.

    Thanks!
     
  2. yetavon

    yetavon everything is better around a campfire.

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    I have a feeling you must have dealt with the same folks I did on our last trip there....
     
  3. Nandy

    Nandy Active Member

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    Bad thing it sounds like it is a good place to be but staff can turn a diamond into poop any time and by reading the trip advisor reviews you know these hosts have make their mark and for them to be doing this for so long whoever is in charged dont care.
     
  4. Natureangel

    Natureangel Everythings better outdoors...

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    Horrible staff! You gave them more than enough chances to redeem themselves but they failed [:(]
    I just wanted to chime in that on 2 occasions I have been denied a drive through when the campground were full. First time was Zion Il, second was Indiana Dunes. Both are state parks and I was disappointed and surprised each time.
     
  5. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    I am very surprised and shocked by this. The hosts we met were exceedingly friendly almost annoying they were so friendly. I even made the comment in my review "great hosts and volunteers." One gentleman and I share the same name Richard although that may have been his last name. They were very friendly to my in-laws who got there before we did and hoped to score a FCFS site, when they didn't the staff sent them to my site and they were there and set up before us. I was very concerned there would be an issue of sharing but the staff was great. The one and only issue we had was with the man and women who cleaned the bathrooms on the last morning and delayed our departure by 30-45 minutes. Given we had to stop and get a tire replaced and then drive with no A/C for 7 hours back to the Coast.... it was a problem
     
  6. Nandy

    Nandy Active Member

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    I seen people like that, if they get a good "vibe" from a person they are great, if they get a bad vibe they will try to make you misserable. Not sure how they got a bad vibe from me, maybe it was the "Good morning Sir" or the "could we please" I said....
     
  7. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    Nandy...sorry about your unpleasant experience. I had a great experience but it was an entirely different situation because we were there in early spring when things were very uncrowded. It was interesting what you said about campfire lodgings too. I'm going to bite the expense bullet and stay there sometime.
     
  8. ~erik~

    ~erik~ Active Member

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    Just came back from Lake Powhatan: Hard Times Loop, space 94 (no water or power so we could practice off the grid camping). Checked in just before noon Friday. Campsite hosts said they came on duty five minutes prior to our check in, and couldn't be friendlier.
    Only negatives were that one of the two showers was inop., and we had high winds until Sunday morning. No damage as a result though. Solar panel had no trouble replacing what little current we used (Water pump, LED lights. Refrigerator and water heater ran off propane. )
    We enjoyed our stay in Asheville. Recommend the Berliner Kindl German restaurant in Black Mountain if you are like us and confine the cooking to breakfast bacon and pancakes. [:D]
     
  9. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    Hard Times Loop.... thats a great name for no electricity and water.
     
  10. ~erik~

    ~erik~ Active Member

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    I never thought of it that way, but good observation. Site across from ours was the campsite hosts, and had power and water. I think some others did too, though many of the sites on the loop had tent campers and no amenities.

    Other loops seemed to cater to large motor homes with paved sites and power, water, sewage hookup.

    We were happy where we were though. I think it's our third or fourth time to the same site. Stayed at one other site at Powhatan that was a pull through one.
     
  11. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    I never considered no electricity and water hard times. I just considered it camping.
     
  12. ~erik~

    ~erik~ Active Member

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    Ka ching.... We have a winner!

    However, I suspect those who slept in a tent set up on the gravel pads probably thought they were camping and those in trailers and pop ups were not.

    It was sort of sad to see some of the tent campers huddled in the front seats of their cars with the engine running early in the morning. I guess those tents get cold.

    Having been though Boy Scout and Girl Scout camping with my kids I'm happy to have moved up to a pop-up.
     
  13. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    I was speaking for myself only.
     
  14. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    Tom you're a lot tougher than me. After camping at Cades Cove for three nights without showers or electric I asked myself why I bypassed Lake Powhatan to go there. It was 2:45 minutes further for me past Asheville and at least at Lake Powhatan you have showers. I can identify with the people huddled in their car with the heat on. The hardest thing for me is eating breakfast out in the cold.
     
  15. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Jumpoff,
    I don't think it's a matter of being tough, just a matter of what you like.
    I would like to put on my backpack with what I need for several days and take off in the woods and sleep where ever I am when it starts to get dark. I can't do that anymore. I had to switch to camping out of a car in a tent. Until a few years ago that's what I was doing. I came across the popup by circumstances and consider it a tent in a box. I don't fill the water tank or use electricity. It's just a tent. Since I have a batter for the breakaway switch I will use it for inside lights instead of a candle of D cells.
    To each his own.
     
  16. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    We probably all started off in tents....I did too. But, that was 40 years ago and I wasn't so spoiled at that point. As I've gotten a little more "mature" or "older" I've noticed how those creature comforts that once were luxuries are now almost necessities. I will admit that if I had my choice between electricity and no electricity I'll pick a hook up every time. Thats one of the nice things about Powhatan, you can choose between the two. Did you say previously that you had camped there ?
     
  17. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    No that wasn't me.
     
  18. ny_rocking_chairs

    ny_rocking_chairs Active Member

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    Stayed at LP the week before 4th of July...

    Did not have any issues with the hosts, staff was friendly. Definitely gave off a "we are in control here" vibe, or they are just really bored...example is the few times we bought ice and firewood they had to walk from the hut to the freezer/wood pile and get it for us, we were "not allowed" to get it ourselves and they locked the freezers at night, at the last NY state CG we stayed at it was all honor system, box for cash, etc.

    They also want everyone to "check out" and turn in their hanging tags, first time for me on this too. They always kept both the in and out lanes blocked with traffic cones so every-time we left or came back they had to walk out and move the cones, not sure what they thought they were preventing with the cones, but c'est la vie.

    Over-all we had a good experience, were not bothered by anyone, bathrooms always kept neat and clean, we made sure to shower at off hours to avoid the rush, though most of the campers on the loop were big enough to have their own showers so just us PUPpers and a few tenters were using the CG ones. Sites were pretty small, by the time we got the PUP setup, our kitchen area done, the dogs staked, etc, were constantly tripping over someone or something. But well shaded, don't expect to use solar there.

    You can definitely see where they have become tent un-friendly. They still have a few tent only sites, but they all have gravel pads and you must setup there, so bring a good ground mat and better have self-standing tents. We stayed on the Lake Side loop and did not venture into the other loops to look around. Easy walk to the fishing pier, kids wanted to fish so we did that a few times, but the pond was so over-fished the fish we did see totally ignored the bait or spinners...access to lots of trails, there is a 1.5 mile trail to the NC arboretum so can avoid the $14 parking fee if you don't mind the walk.
     
  19. kendunn

    kendunn New Member

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    Just going to throw my experiences on here. FIrst, the location is just perfect, I love mountain biking and trails split right through the middle of this campground, wife loves downtown...any downtown, but especially Asheville, and this place seems like its 100 miles from anywhere, but really just a few minutes from downtown Asheville. OK, thats the good. Now the bad. FIrst let me say I am the guy that always follows the rules and I am very considerate of others. You'll never hear a peep out of me after 10 or before 8, and I appreciate a campground that enforces this. So the first time we went I had a friend an hour behind me, I needed a 30 amp site, he needed a tent. I inquired about 2 sites together at check in and they said no problem. I then informed them my friends were an hour behind me and they freaked, said no way would they give me a site unless they were they and ready to set up even if I was going to pay for it. What the heck????
    OK, trip 2, a year later. We got there as a walk in and there were no electric sites, but they put us in a primitive site and said there was one coming open in the morning and I could have it. Sounded fine to me. Then they said I had to be there when the guy pulled out or they would give it to someone else. Really, even if I paid? Yep, but they said they had to check out at 11, so I wouldn't have to wait long. OK, I agreed, and the next morning we got up, packed up, and waited....and waited....and waited. The electric site beside me came open, I asked why I couldn't have it. They said they were giving it to the guest that was in the spot they were going to give me. I said I thought you didn't hold, they blew it off. I waited some more...and more....finally asked what was up, they said the guy that was suppose to move over to the electric site called and said he couldn't move until that night and they were going to hold it for him. At that point I was about to go ballistic and asked for the manager when someone pulled up in a camper to check out and they gave me that site. When setting up in that site a NFS ranger was doing something nearby, so I went to him to complain. He told me that he totally understood, basically he said he knew the staff there was terrible but it wasn't run by the NFS and there was nothing he or they could do. He suggested Dupont and a campground called Cascade Falls or something, alas, it closed before I ever had a chance to stay.
     
  20. BillBlackett

    BillBlackett Member

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    I camped at Lake Powhatan a couple years ago and just booked a site for Fall school break. Here's my review.

    The Good:
    - Extremely convenient to downtown Asheville! Like 12 minutes.
    - Extremely convenient to NC Arboretum! You can actually walk from the campground.
    - Very large, private sites
    - Immediately adjacent to Bent Creek Recreational Area - TONS of Mountain Bike trails.
    - Nice Mountain Lake for going for a swim.

    The not so Good:
    - Not much to do in the campground other than the lake. I explored a creek that feeds in to the lake with my kids, that's about it.

    Other Notes: I always have a campsite reserved when I go camping, so my interaction with the staff is limited to checking in/out and buying firewood. They always seemed pleasant enough to me.

    Bill's Conclusion: If you want to spend the weekend Mountain Biking, then this place is for you. If you want a nice, quiet campground in the woods to just relax, then this place is for you. If you want a base camp to go exploring Asheville area by car, then this place is definitely for you.
     

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