Ryan Robinson takes you for a ride in the passenger seat of his RV, off the grid, deep among the dramatic rock formations of the Utah Desert. Robinson and friends chill by the fire, tell stories, and of course, rig a one of a kind highline over the Looking Glass Arch in Moab, UT.
With so much digital communication, we often get in ruts and forget how to do the face-to-face stuff. That’s where being in RV campgrounds excels. My husband and I have only been on the road for four months, but most campgrounds we’ve been to are filled with people from around the country. These folks enjoy the perks of RV travel, the freedom and safety of RV parks, and waking up wherever and whenever they feel like.
Did you ever think about inviting the guests you meet or your friends from you have innearby towns to visit you in your RV? The coziness of RV life, or the space of your campsite, is the perfect place to create a quaint gathering or a full-blown party-style event., and all it takes is a little planning—and effort. Here are tips for entertaining at RV parks and things we’ve been practicing on our journey.
Stock Your Entertainment Cabinet
When we set out on the road, we went through our dishes and pulled out a few items to take along for parties and get-togethers. My husband and I love entertaining and hosting people for drinks and food. This is the list we used to make sure we had pieces for doing just that.
A large serving platter - Ours is a Florida plate I bought at a Hallmark store
Retro casserole dishes - Because I am a Southerner through and through
Cloth napkins - Also great for wrapping the neck of a wine bottle to keep it from dripping/running
Seasonal or whimsical cocktail napkins - These make for good conversation, too
Plastic wine glasses (when my husband bought them, I doubted we would use them; only took two weeks before we did)
Red solo cups - Yes, they are for entertaining, too and can also be used to hold rolled napkins with utensils
A big pasta bowl - Pasta dishes are easy, plus the can be inexpensive to make
Decorative dessert plates - I bought melamine plates, only 6 of them, and they are also great conversation pieces
Chips and dip bowl - The quintessential party food
Small bowls for holding meal condiments - Sour cream, salsa, guacamole, etc.
Sangria or punch mixes
Decorative tablecloth - For picnic tables
Pitcher for serving iced tea or other drinks - This also makes a great addition to neighborhood gatherings)
Tongs - Serve with style! I’ve found a nice selection at World Market
Ramekins - For sauces
Many of you are probably born entertainers and have your own supplies for whipping up a festive, and party atmosphere. While we are prepared with dishes, we sorely lack in the decorations department.
Keep Something Handy to Throw Together
One thing is apparent at RV parks; people are eager to strike up a conversation, share RV tips and tricks, talk about where they are from and what they’ve seen on the road, and happy to converse about, well…anything.
During a recent visit to The Ridge Outdoor Resor) in Sevierville, Tennessee, we instantly were drawn to our neighbors who had a tri-color King Charles Cavalier just as we do. The dogs, Tallie and our Priscilla, were so cute playing together, so naturally, we conversed with her owners for a few days.
Tallie’s owner invited me to join a big group that was getting together for happy hour and I gladly accepted, but needed something to take with me. Luckily, I had just bought some gourmet key lime sandwich cookies that looked perfect on a fancy platter lined with a decorative napkin that I brought with me.
I arrived at the happy hour and was introduced to 20+ folks from northern Virginia. It turns out this was an FMCA chapter trip and meeting, and I had just become a member weeks prior. I didn’t even know my ID number or have the tag on my RV at the time. The group welcomed me in, and we had a fantastic time.
Your contributions to gatherings don’t have to be fancy or labor-intensive, rather, they should be thoughtful.
Make the First Move
If you haven’t ever been an entertainer, and want to try your hand at it, find someone at the campground you think you might like to chat with and invite them over. That’s probably all it takes. Then, run inside and throw together a little something-something—chips and dip, chicken salad sandwiches, pepperoni, cheese, and crackers, or how about microwave popcorn…it’s something. Chances are that many campers want some interaction, but may be too shy to ask. Make the first move. Somebody has to.
You could also pick up a pack of invites from Target or a card store. Fill them in with your campsite number and invite them formally with a handwritten note. Maybe put it on their vehicle’s windshield or just knock on the door and deliver it.
My husband finds it weird that I will introduce myself and meet people everywhere we go. He thinks that maybe they want to be left alone, but perhaps they don’t. I’ll know within a few minutes if I am wanted or unwanted, and nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Everybody Loves Eggs
I figure most campers have eggs on hand. You can use eggs in a dozen ways or more to make some really great dishes or appetizers. I tend to go with deviled eggs, which are a bit time-consuming, but people love them, and they are typically one of the first items to go at a get-together. You can also prepare a quiche with a frozen crust, super easy but impressive and delicious. Last but not least, egg salad is a tasty spread to put on toast points or crackers. (See recipes above)
Instructions: Boil eggs. Cool, peel, rinse with water to remove loose shells, and dry. Press through a wire cookie sheet or chop into small pieces. Add a few teaspoons of mayo and a squirt of mustard. (You can sub Greek yogurt for half of the mayo to cut calories) Add salt and pepper.
If you have pickles in the refrigerator, use a splash of their juice and chop a few into tiny pieces, if you wish. Taste to make sure you don’t need more seasoning or mayo. Chill until ready to use. Serve with crackers, or toast a few bread slices, cut off the crusts, and cut in half to leave triangle-shaped pieces.
Instructions: Mix 9-10 eggs in a bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of milk—any kind will do, but your quiche will be richer and thicker with whole milk or even half and half. Add a dash of dry mustard or a little squirt of prepared mustard, if that is all you have. Add salt and pepper. I add 1 tsp of flour, but it is not necessary.
Remove a frozen pie crust from your freezer. Prick a few holes in it with a fork—Preheat oven to 375. Add whatever topping you wish to your pie crust. (ham cubes, crumbled, cooked sausage or bacon, finely chopped vegetables, and shredded or grated cheese. There is no right or wrong combination; just use what you like or want to use up.
Pour the egg mixture over the quiche ingredients. Top with additional cheese. Set pie pan on a baking sheet and bake until done 20-30 minutes. Your quiche is ready when the center is no longer jiggly, but don’t overcook. It will continue to cook a minute or more after removing from the oven. Allow quiche to cool or serve warm. Slice into 6 or 8 pieces.
Instructions: Boil eggs for 8-10 minutes. Drain, rinse with cool or cold water, peel, and rinse to ensure the shells are gone. Slice eggs in half, empty the cooked yolks in a small bowl, and lay eggs cut side up on a plate.
Mix the yolks with a small amount of mayo, dash of mustard, salt, pepper, and a splash of pickle juice, if you have it. Mix with a fork until the yolk concoction is creamy and without lumps. Using a small spoon, fill each egg with yolk mixture, using your finger to push the yolk off to try and keep it pretty. Transfer the filled eggs to a decorative plate lined with a napkin or pretty dishcloth. Dust the tops of eggs with paprika (I pour it in the palm of my hand and pinch by pinch sprinkle it over).
This is a basic recipe, which can be dressed up by adding chopped bacon to the top, bacon jam, avocado slices, sliced cherry tomatoes, you name it.
Initiate A Progressive Dinner or Get Together
People love progressive get-togethers. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner is a meal where every course is eaten at a different host’s home, or in this case, campsite. Perhaps you devise a five or six-course meal and see who wants to participate. You could ask the campground to email or post about the progressive meal and get people to sign up for specific categories. For example, we need cocktails, appetizers, salad, soup, entree with a side dish, and dessert. Different campers sign up for #1, 2, 3, etc., and specify their campsites.
You are ready for your progressive dinner/party when the spots are filled. Start the evening at the campsite who chose #1 (cocktails, appetizers, soup), and then continue to #2. It is good to put a time on each spot to have it ready for those making hot food. You may also want to add a few extra people to help pay for ingredients and, thus, more people. The more, the merrier.
I hope these tips will get you into the entertaining spirit and making new friends wherever you go. Perhaps as a Girl Scout leader for 10+ years, the Make New Friends song lyrics “make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and other gold” has always had a special place in my heart and life. Happy camping!