WESTVILLE CENTER — It’s been 50 years since Dick Travers and his wife, Vi, opened Pine Ridge Park campground in Westville.
She remembers her surprise when he told her his plans. It wasn’t long before Dick’s dream were a reality.
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“He was a futuristic type of guy who felt camping was going to catch on in a big way,” she said. “Back then, anyone who camped just put up a tent, wherever. It wasn’t anything like it is today.”
The couple cleared, hauled and set up the necessary sites and buildings for the anticipated guests. Their three children were brought up in the business. Nancy, Paul and Craig thought everybody lived like them, working and playing at the campground.
In 1978, they sold the campground to Walter and Annie Figsby, who ran it until 1993. Ownership then passed to the Traverses’ daughter, Nancy, and her husband, Brad Fletcher, who have made it part of their daily lives.
“I guess you could say I never left home,” said Nancy, 53, about growing up at the Route 122 campground. “I keep saying some day I’m going to pack my bags and leave, but I don’t see that happening.”
Mother and daughter both agree that camping in 1963 was very different from camping in 2013.
“It used to be that a campfire at night was all the campers needed for entertainment,” Nancy said. “Now we have so many activities, especially on the weekends.”
The Fletchers offer horseshoe tournaments, dances, a library, playground, recreation room, an in-ground pool, baseball field, game room and much more. They also have a well-stocked store.
“We don’t sell alcohol or offer massage therapy,” she said with a laugh. “That’s a resort, which we are not.”
Today’s recreational vehicles are like upscale “homes on wheels.” With televisions, satellite dishes, washers and dryers, microwaves and other modern appliances, the Fletchers had to upgrade the electrical service to accommodate the demand.