Berkeley-20140502-00824-300x225When you have a great campground in a great location with an idyllic setting, it would be easy to rest on those laurels and cruise through the decades.

But, according to a report by Woodall’s Campground Management, that’s not how Susan and Ron Hart’s family have operated for the last 38 years, and not only has it kept them current with what their guests want — a move that certainly takes a lot of untiring effort in this day and age — it earned their park, a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) Holiday near Fredericksburg, Va., the “2014 Franchisee of the Year” designation from KOA.

When announcing the honor for the Fredericksburg, Va./Washington, D.C., South KOA at last year’s convention, KOA President Pat Hittmeier said, “The Harts are true believers in the KOA brand. They have always done a wonderful job of using the tools we offer to better develop their campground for their campers,” he said. “It’s a wonderful place, and absolutely deserving of being our 2014 KOA Franchisee of the Year.”

While it is, of course, the biggest honor on the shelf at the Harts’ 114-acre, 117-site KOA, it’s certainly not the only one. Heck, the 2014 Founder’s Award and President’s Award from Billings, Mont.-based KOA joined others on the shelf.

“KOA has always had some sort of award program, the Award of Excellence, we were rated an A+, we’ve been pretty much fortunate to always get whatever the award is that year,” Susan Hart said — though not to brag.

Indeed, she and Ron were amazed to earn the top honor for this year, and pushed them to raise the bar.

“That was quite a shock for us,” Susan said. “We were quite honored. It spurred us on to want to be even better, to make more improvements, and to be worthy of it,” she said.

“It’s quite an honor to be recognized by your peers. We look up to KOA, we would not be the campground that we are if it wasn’t for them,” she continued. “We attend convention every year and always come away with an abundance of new ideas and just valuable information that helps us to run our business and to stay competitive. It’s crazy to think of doing it all ourselves, how alone we would be without what we get from them,” she said. “All we know is we have never been so proud to have been recognized for doing a great job at what we love.”

Making The Most of History and a Unique Setting

According to WCM, there’s no question that the park has an impressive location, with Fredericksburg being a great jumping-off point for trips to Washington, D.C. Staying at the KOA, you’re only 45 minutes from the Washington, D.C. Metro’s Franconia-Springfield stop, the southernmost point on one of the country’s nicest public-transit systems.

It’s also less than a day’s drive from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and North Carolina.

And it’s a mere couple of miles off Interstate 95, the Eastern Seaboard traffic artery that runs from Miami to Canada.

There’s also a lot of history in the area, from four nearby Civil War battlefields to George Washington’s boyhood home (his adult home, Mount Vernon, is only 45 minutes away). In fact, in downtown Fredericksburg campers can visit Washington’s mother’s home as well as his sister’s home.

But it may be the campground’s unique setting that is its biggest draw, Susan said. While the location makes the park special, she said, she said the park’s greatest attribute is “certainly the feeling, the peaceful calm feeling that you get when you’re here, just our atmosphere.

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