By Terri Weeks
Posted On: Oct 28, 2015
Last year I wrote about Five Crazy Things in Southwest Ohio, so you might imagine my concern when one of the five crazy things went missing. How does the World’s Largest Horseshoe Crab just disappear?! It took some detective work on my part, but I finally tracked down the new owner of the crab.
The crab is now owned by Ben and Darlene Sexton and has been set up on the property of their new business: Old Days Vintage Campers in Hillsboro. In Ben’s previous profession, he traveled through Blanchester frequently and admired the crab. After his employer restructured, Ben lost his job and decided to move forward with his hobby-turned-profession of restoring and renting vintage campers.
Ben wants his camper business to have a kitschy, vintage Route-66 vibe and thought a large roadside attraction would be the perfect centerpiece. When the crab went up for sale, he convinced Darlene they needed to buy it. Old Days Vintage Campers isn’t located anywhere near Route 66, but rather on Ohio State Route 124 between Hillsboro and Rocky Fork Lake.
Ben and Darlene invited me and my family to spend a weekend in one of their campers and we gladly obliged. I’d always wanted to spend the night in a shiny silver camper. When we arrived, he showed us around his property. The crab had been moved in pieces, but it has been reassembled and repainted. The underside is still hollow and Ben is pondering different ideas about how to use the space.
Ben owns several campers that are in the process of being restored. After they are restored, three of the campers will be offered for use at the campground at Rocky Fork State Park. Ben will even transport them to the park and have everything completely set up before guests arrive.
Also on the main property is the Deercamp Cabin. This rustic cabin sleeps four and has attractive furnishings, but no indoor plumbing. Outside, there’s a water pump and outhouse. It would be perfect for a hunting party.
Two restored campers and another cabin are located on a smaller private property at Rocky Fork Lake, about a 10-minute drive away. Each rental has a fire pit and picnic table. They share a hammock and green space. Vintage bikes are provided for guest use.
The Lakehouse Cottage is the most spacious of their offerings. It has two bedrooms, full bath, kitchenette, and a laundry room. It has a wheelchair ramp and a handicapped-accessible toilet. It also has a deck.
The Shelby is the smaller of the two campers. This 1964 Avion sleeps up to two adults and two children. This air-conditioned camper has a toilet inside and a heated shower tent outside.
Finally, we got to see our abode for the weekend: Jenny, a 1964 Streamline Countess. It sleeps up to two adults and two children.
Although we stayed in a camper, it was unlike any camping trip I’d been on because Ben and Darlene supply nearly everything you need, and so the packing was no different than with a hotel stay. They supply linens, towels, toiletries, dishes, etc. They even had the fire pit set up with kindling and a fire starter. It took my daughter no more than 30 seconds to get the fire started.
Unfortunately, it started raining not long after that, and so we had to change our plans. Instead of a night around the campfire, we gathered inside the camper for a family game of Scrabble.
The beds were comfortable and we slept well. The next morning as I sat outside sipping tea, I heard the clip clop of horses’ feet. I looked up and saw an Amish buggy going up the street. I knew that Amish country was nearby, but I didn’t realize it was that close.
After everyone woke up, we walked down to the lake and played all 18 holes of Frisbee Golf. In the afternoon, we went shopping at a couple nearby Amish stores. The kids were delighted when I told them to pick out whatever they wanted at Country Crust, an Amish bakery.
That evening the weather cooperated. We rode bikes, and then roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire. The kids enjoyed relaxing in the hammock and throwing a Frisbee. All of us agreed it was a great weekend.
The Deercamp Cabin and Lakehouse Cottage are available year-round. The campers are now closed for the season, but it isn’t too early to make reservations for next year. The campers open again on May 6, 2016. More information is available on the website.