Laura & Barry Poole
Galax , Virginia
For Barry Poole, owner of Bear Creek, Thornton Creek and Deer Creek Motorcoach Resorts in Virginia, Florida and North Carolina, it’s all about simplification.
“A lot of (motorcoach owners) have been very successful and have had very busy lives,” said Poole, who also currently lives full-time in his own motorcoach. “I think once they get to a certain stage in life, they would like to simplify a little bit.”
He attributes the influx of residents at his three resorts to the overwhelming movement towards the simplification of life at a certain point.
And that, for many, means taking to the road.
“Many figure out one day that they don’t really need a 6,000 square foot house,” Poole said. “Lots of them buy their coach and just go for a few months on a trip out west or something like that and they find out that they’re very comfortable in it.”
Places like Deer Creek and Bear Creek, both in the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as Thornton Creek in southwest Florida, facilitate a life on the road for many owners, offering residential development without the commitment that a home might bring.
“Once the buyer picks out their lot, we work with them in laying it out in exactly how they want it and the amenities that they want on their lot and we build that,” Poole said, adding that amenities can include an outdoor kitchen, a guest house and fireplaces.
“Instead of building a big house on a lot, we build a site with a companion cabin and an outdoor kitchen and fireplaces and stuff for the motorcoach,” Poole said. “It’s very similar to a house though — we are a residential development, but people’s homes happen to be on wheels.”
Poole, who has been in development for 30 years now and grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, said his familiarity with the area has been a good reason to stick around. However, mild summers also make the area alluring to both Poole and the residents who end up at his resorts in the area.
“We’ll spend summers in the Blue Ridge mountains and winters down in Punta Gorda, Florida,” he said. “That way, we have pretty much perfect weather year-round.
“And being in the mountains during the summer, we have great weather so we can do all the activities we enjoy — biking, hiking, kayaking, golf. The activities we like we can do year round that way.”
And with the success of his resorts in both the Blue Ridge Mountains and Florida, it’s obvious that his residents also value the mild climate of the region and the flexibility to travel south to warmer weather in the winter.
“To stay somewhere like this in your coach for five or six months is very comfortable because you don’t have to give up your family coming to visit — they have their own little cabin to come and stay in,” Poole said. “And that also makes you free to follow the weather. Most of our folks at Deer Creek and Bear Creek are summer residents and they’re in a high elevation so it’s cool in the summer.”
“We’re at about 3,000 feet of altitude, so it’s a cool summer, and it’s a beautiful place up in the mountains. The real beauty of it is that it’s not crowded.”
The lack of people also lends to the allure of Deer and Bear Creek as destinations to relax and simplify life a little bit.
“You just find that you don’t need all the things you had in your house anymore,” Poole said of living in a motorcoach resort.
And yet another benefit of both owning and traveling in a motorcoach? According to Poole, that would be the ‘small world’ of the motorcoach industry, which contributes to a familiar community of people that travelers end up meeting all over the country.
“I would say the biggest thing in this industry is that it’s a very small world,” Poole said. “Lots of people, when they come to visit — even if they’ve never been here —end up knowing several people from running into them in Michigan or Arizona or Florida.
“We constantly have an interconnectedness with people we run into no matter where we are.”