Local businesses attract RVs as spring travel picks up

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 6:39 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (KCTV) - March Madness isn’t the only thing attracting travelers to the Kansas City area. As the warmer weather brings more people through town, some are looking for unique places to stay.

Gina Montalbano and her husband Bryan Zesiger discovered such a clientele just before the start of the pandemic. The couple owns Z&M Twisted Vines in Leavenworth County.

A few years ago, a KU fan called them looking for local businesses where they could park an RV. That’s how they found out about a service called Harvest Hosts, a site that connects travelers to camper-friendly sites.

“We’ve met the most amazing people,” Montalbano said.

Over the last few years the winery has hosted dozens of RVs, especially during the summer. Twisted Vines now has a devoted campground overlooking a pond with parking spaces and fire pits.

“We have about 10 acres dedicated to RVs that can just park,” Zesiger said. “They’re right by grape vines, the trees. They can see what the farm is like.”

Harvest Hosts works with several local wineries and breweries. Joel Holland, the CEO of the company, said he wanted to help RV travelers find places off the beaten path.

“Our goal is to get RVers off the main highways,” he said.

Holland added that sporting events have been increasingly popular for campers.

“We have members who are die-hard fans,” he said. “Others are optimistic and may pass through Kansas City and decide to hit the T-Mobile Center.”