Resort: Wide open spaces in the beauty of Montana’s mountain ranges
By Beth Anne Piehl
Once Paul and Carlisa London became the owners of the Polson KOA Kampground atop the spectacular Mission Mountain range in western Montana, campers captivated by the majestic scenery would often say, “If you ever decide to develop this property and sell spaces, we’d love to buy.”
“One thing led to another,” recalls Paul, “and we started developing the Polson RV Resort in 2008.”
Today, Polson RV Resort, in the small town of Polson (population: 5,000) is a Class A-only motorcoach community that capitalizes on all of Montana’s allure – wide open spaces, panoramic views of snowcapped mountains, a clear lake, regular wildlife sightings and breathtaking scenery.
“Everywhere your eyes look they’re happy,” said Paul.
While Carlisa is a Montana native, Paul is originally a Midwesterner, born in Wisconsin and raised in California. After he and Carlisa wed, the Londons purchased the Polson KOA to cultivate a place where travelers could take in the quiet beauty of the surrounding area.
The campground was the ideal property for developing a Class A resort as the land is naturally terraced on a hillside. The resort was designed to align the sites to take the best advantage of the panoramic views of Flathead Lake and the Mission Mountains. “We have nine championship golf courses within an hour’s drive from here,” Paul said. In fact, the area has much to offer: boating, golfing, fishing, hiking, river rafting, rodeos, local theater, festivals, farmers markets, restaurants and shopping to name a few. Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, with coves, bays and islands to explore. Wild Horse Island is one such island, which is truly home to wild horses and is a state park that is only accessible by boat.
“Or, you can relax and enjoy the views. It’s an incredible spot to sit and enjoy the company of your neighbors and take in the views. There is an airstrip that we overlook and there are owners who have their pilot’s license who like to stay here and fly. It’s been a real attraction to watch the small airplanes come in.”
At their luxury coach site, owners can create their ideal outdoor living space. Most owners have outdoor kitchens, fire pits, barbecues, water features and luscious landscaping. “We’ve created a total outdoor lifestyle, taking advantage of the views, the long days and the big stars at night,” said Paul.
The sites work like a condominium, with owners purchasing a lot and fixing it up to suit their lifestyle. There’s an added bonus as well in purchasing a Polson lot: “It’s a deeded piece of land where you get a true Montana address,” Paul noted, adding that the state is sales tax-free for those looking to purchase a new coach, for instance.
Polson RV Resort is located 69 miles north of Missoula and 70 miles south of Glacier National Park, making it a prime destination for those seeking the marvel of Montana’s majestic features. At this time, 61 lots have been completed through the second phase of development. In addition, the resort features a fitness and business center, bath/shower/laundry facility, fenced-in dog run, community patio with a gas fire pit, and weekly planned activities that bring owners and visitors together to share their experiences.
The resort’s season is April 15-Oct. 15 to serve its sophisticated clientele. “Our customer base follows the sun,” said Paul, who noted that lot owners hail from Florida, Midwest states, Arizona, Texas, California and nearby Missoula.
Despite the lengthy list of amenities, Paul said there are still those who think they aren’t looking to purchase; for those travelers, a space at the Polson resort can be rented for a night or a week or any amount of time.
“Many people come through without the intention of buying a lot – and then they fall in love with the area and the resort and the community, and they end up buying a lot,” he said. “They end up loving life up here. It’s a great place to retire or have a second home.”
Prior to purchasing the KOA and developing the Polson RV Resort, the Londons enjoyed the traveling lifestyle like their owners do today. “We traveled quite a bit for business in our motorhome and we thought owning a campground would be a great lifestyle, so we started looking,” Paul said.
Most times, the travelers who stop at Polson are in awe of what they’re seeing around them. “They say, ‘I can’t believe my eyes!’” said Paul. “It just puts you in slow-motion. You stop and you really take a breath and think, ‘Wow, life is great and this is where I want to be.’”
There are still lots for sale at the Polson RV Resort, which also offers concierge service, daily newspaper delivery and curbside trash removal. You are welcome to wash your coaches on site, or call a local service to do it for you. For more information, photos and details, visit the resort on the Web at www.polsonrvresort.com (there’s a Web cam, too, so you can check out what’s happening there on a daily basis), or on Facebook. The Polson RV Resort has received a 10/10/10 rating from Trailer Life and a 5-star rating from Woodalls directory.