Let's get the good things about Mill Bridge out of the way first:
- Friendly, helpful staff. Had no problems with our late arrival -- everything was taped to the office door waiting for us. As others have noted, great with kids too.
- Location. It really is close to Lancaster Valley attractions like the Strasburg Railroad, Dutch Wonderland, etc. while far enough away that you don't feel surrounded by tourist mania all the time. Our camp site was right next to the pasture where the Amish farmer kept his draft horses, which all of us enjoyed.
- Shop. The camp store has a nice mix of things that campers need, and the prices were only slightly higher than what we would pay back home. They sold us a single stick of butter and a can of fuel to finish a pan of half-scrambled eggs, and it was fast enough that they didn't even cool down.
- Playground. A modest little playground, but my kids loved it, so I will let them be the judges on this.
Now for the criticism:
They really need to pay more attention to the claims they make on their web site, because I assume a good portion of their campers will learn about them through this. What happened to us bordered on fraudulent, and if more money had been at stake I would have complained to the Better Business Bureau. Their web site has a coupon for "buy 2 nights mid-week in Spring and Fall, get the 3rd night (mid-week, Spring and Fall) free". It had disclaimers about not being valid with other discounts or on holidays -- but no other disclaimers. We made (and paid for) a reservation through the web site that fit this description exactly -- Tuesday through Thursday in early April. I called minutes after I made the reservation and asked about how it worked, "Hey, I just reserved for the 3 nights and was charged for all 3. How do I get my 3rd night free, like the coupon says?". I was told "Don't worry about it, we'll take care of it when you get here." Naive, I know -- I should have gotten a name, and something in writing. Wednesday morning we changed our plans, and decided to go home that night rather than stay over until Thursday morning. I went to the office and explained the change, and asked to get my money back for the 3rd night -- so I would be getting it free as the coupon said -- because we would be leaving after the office closed on Wednesday. I was told, "Oh, sorry, that doesn't apply to reservations paid for over the Internet." Huh? The offer is MADE on the Internet, but can't be USED on the Internet? "You should have called the office and reserved over the phone. Then we would have just charged you for 1 night as a deposit and you could have used the coupon." Great -- except for the fact that the web site (while it has a phone number) has two links that breathlessly say "Click Here To Make Your Reservations Online!" -- and not a peep that you will be (1) paying more, with service charge to their 3rd party reservation service, and (2) disqualifying yourself from the discounts they offer elsewhere on the site. The clerk pointed out that they don't even process the online registrations. I had noticed that, when the address bar changed on my browser, but I'm sorry -- when I return a pair of pants, L.L. Bean doesn't explain that they can't refund my money because I paid with a Visa card, so it's technically Visa taking my dollars. A merchant's relationship with his bank, credit card processor, reservations service, ISP, whoever is his problem -- not the customer's. Hair splitting to avoid honoring offers you have made never looks good. In the end they refunded 50% of the charge for our last night, on the grounds that we were checking out early.
Unfortunately, the "bait and switch" doesn't stop there. The first page of the web site (top center) has a big picture of the "Pool Complex" just below "Open All Year" (in a little explosion). We all brought our bathing suits, and the kids were asking "can we go to the pool?" as soon as we got on site. Well, there is a heated pool (nothing "complex" about it, just a pool with a fence around it out in the parking lot), but despite daytime temperatures in the 70s, the water won't even be delivered for until mid-to-late May. So there is a pool -- just not one you can use for more than 50% of the year.
So, my advice is to be sure you talk to someone -- get their name -- about the situation you will ACTUALLY be facing -- what price you will pay, what amenities are open or closed during the days you will be staying. Maybe get it in writing too. Or you could just stay somewhere else.
Other, more minor issues:
The sites are small, and very close together. This was not an issue when we were there -- they might have been 20% full, if that. But if you like your privacy, Mill Bridge might be a bad choice during a busier season.
They say that they have WiFi, and we could see they had 2 networks, but the login information is not included in anything they give out at registration, so we weren't able to actually use it (sort of a theme with this campground, isn't it?)
At night there is a surprising amount of distant highway noise (US Route 30, I'm guessing), but I think most campgrounds in the area would suffer from the same.
To sum up: We had a good stay, and we would consider going back. However, we would do things differently, and would be less trusting next time.
- Also Known As:
- Mill Bridge Village And Campresort Hotel Strasburg
- Mill Bridge Village & Campresort Lancaster County, PA - Ronks