by Arleigh Rodgers
A secluded campground in Rushville has been turned into a flourishing Airbnb business that attracts visitors from around the country and around the globe by Rainey Jones and her husband and business partner Jeff.
The couple offers camping-style residences that allow visitors to get close to nature, including a Yurt – a structure that originated in Mongolia – and a Savannah Safari-themed tent.
A lake on the property allows for paddle boating and other activities, while hiking trails, concert venues, and all the beauty the Finger Lakes Region has to offer are available nearby, says Rainey.
Guests are treated to Rainey’s home-cooked, locally sourced meals crafted from seasonal fruits and vegetables, and can enjoy a sweet treat from a gourmet s’mores bar or a sip of the couple’s home-brewed apple-pear cider.
Before starting the Airbnb business, Rainey spent 24 years as a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled her nine children, while Jeff retired from a 30-year career with the highway department. The couple does the bulk of the work involved with running the business, but are assisted by their daughters Savannah and Mercy, who conduct the business’ social media, and sons Ezra and River, who landscape the property.
“Jeff does the heavy stuff,” Rainey says. “Nightly we’ll go down, and he’ll start a large bonfire for the guests, light the lanterns around the camp so it looks beautiful. I do everything from decorating to making the beds and doing the laundry and washing, keeping things clean and tidy in the tents.”
Jeff says Rainey’s gift for hospitality is what makes their business such a success. “She meets strangers in Walmart and Wegmans and invites some for Thanksgiving dinner,” he says. “One year she hosted 53 people for Thanksgiving. Hospitality is her niche.”
The couple have met memorable guests over the years, including a bachelor party of United States Marines who left the campsite cleaner than when they arrived and a group of 19 guests for whom Rainey made five different kinds of shish kebobs. Rain didn’t deter the party; Rainey moved the guests inside and the festivities continued.
Guests come from as close by as Buffalo and Rochester and from as far away as Vermont and Texas – even Belgium and England. At the end of a stay, visitors sign their names in a communal guestbook. “Thank you for a great stay!” the Ladies Ultimate Frisbee Team from Belgium wrote in magenta colored pencil, accompanied by a drawing of a smiling teacup with flushed, light pink cheeks.
“Thanks for three days of peace and tranquility for two new empty nesters!” wrote guests Matt and Jenn. “It was exactly what we needed … and the food was delicious!”
Emily and Matt from Rochester wrote in the guestbook about their stay in July, “Peaceful and very relaxing. Delicious breakfast! The bullfrogs were a little crazy, but otherwise a great weekend. We will be back.”
“My favorite part of our work is meeting people from all over,” Rainey says. “Camping people are just so easy to please. They love the whole idea of community. I feel like I’m preparing a guest room every time somebody makes a reservation, and I love that. I love having guests. That makes my day.”
To book a reservation, click on the following links: