Orlando to Labelle
On Friday morning, February 3rd, at approximately 11:00 a.m. we sadly bid farewell to Fort Wilderness to head to our next destination, Riverbend RV Resort in Labelle, FL where we’ll be until February 17th. Labelle is approximately 128 miles from Orlando and about 20 miles east of Fort Myers on the west coast.
Our planned route was to take Interstate 4W towards Tampa, taking exit 55 to Route 27S. Although Route 27 is mostly a six lane divided highway, it proceeds through a lot of small towns with shopping centers, stoplights and congestion. Otherwise it is a nice easy drive. Because we didn’t know anything about Labelle, we decided to stop at Walmart in Avon Park (about halfway) to pick up a few items. After we left there and passed through the town of Sebring, the scenery drastically changed to farms with grazing cattle and miles upon miles of orange groves.
After a rather uneventful drive, we arrived at Riverbend RV Resort around 4:00 p.m. Similar to some of the other RV Resorts that we have stayed at, this resort only allows Class A motor homes and has 315 sites and four park models that are owned by the owners association and can be used by guests of the owners. When we went inside the office to check in, we were greeted by a very friendly staff person. The office was quite large and is well stocked with Riverbend shirts, mugs, glasses, hats, as well as some general grocery items.
Read our detailed review of Riverbend.
Once all the paperwork was completed, we were escorted to our site #189 by Rich, who owns a site here. During a conversation with him, we learned that many of the owners defray their costs by volunteering to work in the restaurant, helping with events, working in the office, etc. Rich was very nice but as he left, he backed into the side of our van with his golf cart, causing the bumper shroud to pop out of place. Luckily the shroud is plastic and did not sustain any damage and with about 20 minutes of work Rob was able to restore everything to like new.
Shortly after we arrived, our next door neighbors, Louie and Sophie, who are originally from New York but have lived here at Riverbend for six years, offered to take us on a tour of the resort in their golf cart which was great despite the fact that it was dark.
On Saturday morning, the RiverBend’s Breakfast Boys served up pancakes, omelets, scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy along with coffee and orange juice at the clubhouse. All you can eat for $5 – you can’t beat it! They do this every Saturday so you can be sure we’ll be there next time around! We ended up sitting with a couple from NH and two of their friends who were visiting them. Skip and his wife own a home with a coach house in Lake Wales and were only here for the weekend. They are new to the RV world so it was fun talking with them.
After breakfast we walked outside to view the Riverbend trains near the front of the restaurant – it was created by the Riverbend and Southwest Florida Railroad Club back in 2008. They have over 1500 feet of track with pneumatically controlled switches, a 35 ft. long trestle, two rivers, and three villages named Alligator Flats, RiverBend, and Frogmoor. They run FN3 and G Scale narrow gauge trains. The trains are battery operated, remote controlled and are exact replicas of trains that are still running today. To see them in action see the video below.
After watching the trains for a bit, we took a walk down to the boat docks on the Caloosahatchee river and then returned to our site where we hopped on our bikes so we could continue to explore the resort.
More facts about the resort….
- Each site here is approximately 50′ x 100′ (extra large sites comparatively speaking) with 20, 30 or 50 amp service (our site is 50 amp).
- All sites have either a 10′ x 14′ or 10′ x 16′ structure on the lot. These can be configured by the owners with a sitting room, an extra bathroom or a bedroom.
- Being a condominium the owners are responsible for the overall operation and management of the resort.
- All of the lots here have been sold but some are available for resale with prices ranging anywhere from $60K to $120K depending on the location, the landscaping, etc.
- The resort has it’s own state-of-the-art reverse osmosis water purification facility producing several thousand gallons of sparkling pure water every day.
- To further enhance their fully self-contained resort status, they also have their own sewer treatment plant and Geothermal is currently being added to heat the pool.
- The Riverbend Restaurant is open to the owners and their guests for lunch and serves dinners on other nights of the week. They seem to have a lot of activities available at all times.
- There are four lakes, each with at least one lighted fountain and foot bridges.
- There is a boat dock available for use by the owners on the Caloosahatchee River, which is part of the ICW (IntraCoastal Waterway).
- Sprint 3G is strong as is Verizon 3G. All major TV networks are easily received OTA but cable is also provided. DSL is available as an option for $1 per day or $20/mo. Power is excellent at 123V with one 50A plug per site.
Here’s a video of the trains:
And more photos:
Another paradise resort! The Breakfast Boys know how to put on a splendid breakfast. Where are the grits? Price is right! Jim says “WOW! on the train pictures.
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