Vintage charm with a modern flair
They could be mistaken for gems in a trailer aficionado’s collection, but these rolling works of art represent more than just a labor of love. They also represent a several-thousand-dollar experiment in boutique lodging, established a stone’s throw from the main portion of the Willamette Valley Wine Country RV Park in Dayton.
“This area has become a popular destination, especially because of the wineries,” said Chelsea Williams, the park’s operation manager.
Since the property changed hands in 2011, she’s helped SIMA Management Corporation, which develops and manages lodging facilities around the country, oversee its rebranding. One element of that effort involves development of a trailer resort known as The Vintages.
The company isn’t planning to quit at six either. By the end of the year, 14 more restored trailers will be shipped in to augment the assemblage.
The niche SIMA is targeting is called “glamping,” a term combining the words “glamour” and “camping.”
Glamping has become something of a global trend, as travel enthusiasts seek a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury. It means no sleeping bag to unroll, no tent to pitch and no fire to build. It means having access to all the conveniences one would expect from a hotel — a queen-sized bed, fresh coffee, bathrobes and dishware.
Targeting young metro-area tourists, SIMA hopes the trailers will capture the eye of a generation intrigued by all things vintage.
“I think it’s that sweet spot between new and outdated,” Williams said. “The mid-century modern look echoes in terms of design an era they never got a chance to be part of.”
“It’s doesn’t have to be a perfect experience,” said James Piper, SIMA’s local facility manager. “We wanted it to be as close as possible. Basically, we’re trying to get people who don’t want to rough it and go full-out camping.”
Piper was tasked with revamping the RV park, and thought the restored ’50s-era trailers would give it a unique angle. It’s not a totally original idea — sets of renovated trailers are beginning to crop up around the country. Tracking down suitable coaches and getting them properly restored can be daunting.
He ended up turning to Flyte Camp, a restoration service based in Bend, run by Justin and Anna Scribner, who are devoted to preserving vintage trailers.
Though they have handled projects across the country, the scale of their SIMA collaboration made it a challenge. They said they’re still looking for suitable trailers to restore.
SIMA contracted with Two+One, a collaboration of three Newberg and Dundee residents, to develop final design schemes for the units. For example, they chose a Southwest motif for a restored 1947 Spartan Manor.
Some of the trailers have been fitted with modern electrical and plumbing systems. But Williams said the vintage charm has been retained.
“It’s been a lot of work,” she said. “But when people stay here, they’ll realize that sleeping in a trailer is just the start.”
RESTORATION DUO FEATURED ON TV
Justin and Anna Scribner, from the trailer restoration company Flyte Camp, were recently featured in Flippin' RVs, a Great American Country TV special.
The show follows the two across the country as they track down old RVs and trailers that can be profitably restored to their former glory. The series premiered in May and will begin a new run July 19.
To view a trailer, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePyCUZ_vT4U.