Toby’s RV Re­sort

Off the Beaten Path in Ar­ca­dia, Florida

Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - Contents - BY DARCY NYBO PHO­TOS SUB­MIT­TED

MORE HOME THAN NOT

When you find a place that feels as com­fort­able and en­joy­able as be­ing at home, chances are you’re go­ing to want to stay there, es­pe­cially if the weather is ex­cel­lent! Toby’s RV Re­sort in Ar­ca­dia, Florida is ex­tremely pop­u­lar, in part due to its high value among Florida RV re­sorts and its lo­ca­tion off the beaten path.

MEET BILL

They say if you want to know some­thing about a place, you ask a lo­cal. While most RV re­sorts have a some­what tran­sient pop­u­la­tion, Toby’s RV Re­sort has res­i­dents who park their RVs here year-round and stay for more than a sea­son. Bill Payne and his wife Ruth are two of those res­i­dents. They liked liv­ing here so much, they came down ear­lier than usual this year.

“I heard about Toby’s from some friends that were down here,” ex­plained Bill. “They loved it, so we came down to see it for our­selves. That was in Jan­uary 2010, and we’ve been com­ing here ever since. We usu­ally come down here for six or seven months. This year it will prob­a­bly be eight or nine months.”

Bill is one of the 800 or so peo­ple who come to stay at Toby’s RV ev­ery year. There are a few that live at the re­sort year-round. “We get a lot of peo­ple here from Michi­gan, Ohio, New York, New Hamp­shire, New Jer­sey, Maine, Mary­land, Mas­sachusetts, Min­nesota, Con­necti­cut and quite a few who come down from all over Canada. We even have peo­ple come down here from Alaska,” he said.

KEEP­ING BUSY IN THE RE­SORT

Bill knows how to keep him­self and others busy. In fact, he ar­ranges some of the ac­tiv­i­ties. He sits on the ac­tiv­ity board and is in charge of the Ice Cream So­cial, hall rentals, and helps with bring­ing in en­ter­tain­ment.

“There’s so much to do here!” he ex­claimed. “We have some­thing pretty much ev­ery day and night. We have the Un­known DJ, a park res­i­dent from Canada, who DJs 50s to 90s mu­sic, and there’s live mu­sic a few times a month. We have Christ­mas par­ties and New Year’s Eve par­ties, Valen­tine’s par­ties…”

Suf­fice it to say there are over 80 ac­tiv­i­ties a month. Yes, that’s right, a month, which you can take part in. From pick­le­ball to Pé­tanque, you’re bound to find a thing or two to keep you busy here.

“Our Ice Cream So­cials are ev­ery Sun­day,” said Bill as he looked for his ac­tiv­i­ties list. “We have reg­u­lar Bingo on Mon­day and Fri­day nights and Card Bingo, that you play with a deck of cards, on Wed­nes­day nights.”

Bill found his list, and then the in­for­ma­tion started flow­ing. “Our most pop­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties are shuf­fle­board, bocce ball, and horse­shoes. We have a live mu­sic jam ev­ery Tues­day night and ev­ery other Thurs­day there’s a potluck sup­per. There are dances twice a month on Saturdays and shows twice a month too. About 100 - 200 peo­ple will show up to each of th­ese events. The hall here holds 300 peo­ple.”

With all th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties, you might think it would be ex­pen­sive, but the ac­tiv­ity com­mit­tee has that all fig­ured out. “We sell ac­tiv­ity cards for $12.50 for six months from Novem­ber to end of March. That will get you into the dances and the shows for free. If you don’t have a card – it’s $10 each to get into the dance or a show. Com­ing up in March we even have Dion Pride, Char­lie Pride’s son, com­ing to per­form for us.”

There’s more on Bill’s list. About once a month they have some­one come in to cook lunch. The last few years they’ve had some­one come in and smoke up ribs for their rib din­ner. There’s cof­fee and donuts ev­ery Fri­day morn­ing where the cof­fee is free, and donuts are 50 cents.

KEEP ON LEARN­ING

There are classes here as well. Not just one or two, there are a dozen or so, with more be­ing thought up ev­ery year. “You can take just about

any kind of class here,” Bill said with a touch of pride in his voice. You can tell he loves it here. “We have paint­ing classes and if you want some­thing dif­fer­ent, there are classes for stained glass, quilt­ing and nee­dle work, plus cro­chet­ing. Bead­ing classes are also held ev­ery Fri­day morn­ing. “

“There’s line danc­ing classes too, which is al­ways fun. Then we have a younger gal from Canada who comes here and teaches Yoga and other move­ment ex­er­cises. You can even take ten­nis lessons here.”

Should you want to learn some­thing else, they have some­one at the re­sort who teaches com­puter classes, wood­carv­ing and bas­ket weav­ing. “There’s some­thing ev­ery day,” said Bill. “We’re pretty busy here. We just keep go­ing.”

KICK BACK AND RE­LAX

For those who just want to sit back and re­lax a bit, there’s time and places for that, too. There’s a park with a large pond on the property.

“The pond has al­li­ga­tors in it,” Bill said. “You don’t have to worry about them. You can just sit on the deck by the pond and watch them. They never come into the re­sort, and if the odd one does, we get rid of it quickly. You can fish here too. It’s all catch and re­lease. If you want to go fur­ther out, Lake Okee­chobee is only an hour east of here. You can go fish­ing and boat­ing there.”

Many res­i­dents just like to re­lax in the pool or have a soak in the hot tub. There’s an ex­er­cise room, a weight room, pool ta­bles and even a well-stocked li­brary on site.

HAPPY TRAILS

The land around Toby’s is rel­a­tively flat, mak­ing it easy to bike around the RV re­sort and into the town of Ar­ca­dia. “The only hills around here are man-made,” said Bill. “It’s fairly flat coun­try­side so you can go quite far.”

It’s about a 20-minute bike ride or a 10-minute car ride to Mor­gan Park, which has some easy hik­ing trails. There are large open grassy ar­eas for games and pic­nics. The park is lo­cated on the banks of the Peace River, which is re­port­edly an ex­cel­lent spot for swim­ming and fish­ing. You may even see the odd ar­madillo, deer or squir­rel as you walk the trails.

“There’s a bike and hike trail near Toby’s, too and you can go up as far as the Winn Dixie and the hard­ware store,” said Bill. “You can even ride your golf cart up there.”

FROM VIL­LAGE TO CITIES

The cozy town of Ar­ca­dia is just a few min­utes away from Toby’s RV Re­sort. It has all the ma­jor ameni­ties you’ll need in­clud­ing a Wal­mart Su­per­store, “There are some small restau­rants as well as fast food joints,” ex­plained Bill. “There are a cou­ple good Ital­ian and Mex­i­can restau­rants too. The town even has a walk-in clinic and a Good­will store.”

One of the more sig­nif­i­cant draws to Ar­ca­dia are the an­tique shops. “There are over a dozen shops here and then ev­ery third Satur­day of the month they have an an­tique show and peo­ple come from all over.”

As this is the mid­dle of cow coun­try, it’s a given that there’s an agri­cul­ture cen­tre. The Turner Agri-Civic Cen­ter has horse pulls, dog shows, beef sales and car shows, all within min­utes of the RV re­sort. “They have a rodeo here in Ar­ca­dia, too,” said Bill proudly. “They’re build­ing a brand new rodeo sta­tion, which will be the big­gest rodeo east of the Mis­sis­sippi and will have rid­ers from all over the world come here just for the rodeo in Fe­bru­ary.”

For those who miss what the city has to of­fer, you can find all the the­atres, live mu­sic, shop­ping and fine din­ing you need in the sur­round­ing ar­eas. “Port Char­lotte is just 35 min­utes south of the re­sort, with Fort My­ers about an hour and a bit south,” said Bill. “Then there’s Sara­sota, about an hour away to the west. Fort My­ers and Fort Char­lotte have some great the­atres. Pretty much ev­ery­where you want to go is about an hour, hour and a half from here.”

DO AS YOU PLEASE

With so much to see and do you may feel ob­li­gated to get out there and do as much as pos­si­ble. Re­mem­ber, this is your get-away, your time. Do as you please, know­ing that at any time, on any day, there’s al­ways some­thing else to do at Toby’s RV Re­sort.

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