Tom Cervenak, Marketing Manager, Virginia State Parks
In the fall of 2011 Virginia State Parks became proud members of the Virginia Campground Association, working as a team in promoting camping in Virginia. This is a regular series of our feature private campground of the month on our friends with VCA.
Just the name of Anvil Campground gives a sense of a strong powerful place. I found out how true this was during a recent tour of the facilities with brothers Chris and Ray Jump. The campground has been operated by their family, now the third generation, since 1954. They offer excellent customer service and a great place to camp. The campground is named as a tribute to the early history of the family. Their great-grandfather and grandfather both produced all the wrought iron work for the reconstruction and renovation of Historic Colonial Williamsburg in the early 1930's, much of which you still can see today. In the general store is the original anvil they used and some of their crafts, which make up a mini museum.
Today, the campground forges rich memories with so much to do during your stay and in the heart of vacation paradise. Its' location makes it the closest campground to all of the Williamsburg attractions. For a nominal fee, you can catch a ride on the shuttle service to all major attractions, including, Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Battlefield and Water Country USA, just to name a few. It may, however, be hard to tear yourself away from all the activities at the campground to visit these attractions. The campground has both premium and standard sites. Premium sites have 50 amp service and cable television and sewer hookups. The campground has Wi-Fi service, a swimming pool, 3 playgrounds, a basketball court, horseshoe pits and an arcade. The campground is open year round, making it ideal for a visit to the area during the upcoming Holiday season and shopping at the many outlets in the area.
If you want a step up from camping, try either the Blacksmith or Journeyman Cottages. Each of them sleep up to 6 people, are fully furnished with cable televisions, AC/Heating units, a fully equipped kitchen and linens are provided for you. In addition the Blacksmith Cottage also has a wood burning fireplace and a covered porch with swing for a relaxing stay. Pets up to 50lbs. are welcomed for a small fee, please check ahead for the rules and regulations so you can bring your best friend.
After a stroll through this 4 acre campground, it was easy to see why it is rated year in and year out as one of the top campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada by Trailer Life Directory. As nice as the facilities were, there was much more to the reason this is such a special place, the Jump Family. Hanging out with Chris and Ray felt like being with old friends. It came across how much they care about their customers and how proud they are of their heritage. I noticed the odd speed limit of 3.2 MPH and asked them about it. Again, in a tribute to a member of their family, it was the number their father wore on his football jersey. What a class act! So the next time you have plans to visit the Williamsburg area, consider a stay at Anvil Campground, it's a solid choice.
To request a complimentary Virginia Campground Directory of all association member parks, please visit www.virginiacampgrounds.com or send a self-addressed, stamped ($ .65) envelope to VCA Directory, PO Box 9928, McLean, VA 22102.
After learning the campground business from his dad, Chris Jump keeps family traditions alive in Williamsburg, Virginia
By Natalie Miller-Moore
Did your childhood involve a general store in the front yard and neighbors who moved every week? Well, it did for Chris Jump, who grew up at Anvil Campground, a Good Sam Park in Williamsburg, Virginia. Jump’s now the owner and all those years of living in a house on the campground property helped make him friendly and approachable.
Anvil Campground is a family business, run for several generations by the Jump family. The site was a soybean field in 1954 when a man driving a truck asked to park on the property for the night. Grandpa Jump got the idea for a campground, and it started with six sites. Today there are 60 sites as well as two cottages, named Journeyman and Blacksmith, a tribute to family history. Great Grandpa Jump was a blacksmith for Colonial Williamsburg, and his anvil sits in the campground’ general store.
Jump, 30, has been the owner since 2005 when his father passed away. He values what he learned from his dad and tries to follow the same work ethic. “We might be hooking up RVs at midnight for people who just arrived, or people might be knocking on my door for a new Internet code,” says Jump. “But it’s something we don’t mind doing because we take pride in taking care of our customers.”
As kids, Jump and his brother and sisters worked at the check-in desk, cut the grass and helped out at the Friday cookouts. “I would cook the hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, and we had a lemonade stand,” he recalls. “While other kids went to the beach, we worked on weekends doing whatever outside maintenance was needed.”
Despite all the hard work, Jump and his siblings clearly revere their father’s memory. In fact, the speed limit in the campground is a tribute to their dad. His football jersey number was 32, so it’s 3.2 miles per hour.
Jump says that “camping” at his Good Sam Park mainly means RVs = about 95 percent. “People used to come with pop-ups and truck campers. “He says, but now it’s mostly larger RVs, especially for people who come to Williamsburg as tourists. “So we had to adjust,” he says. “We added cable and Wi-Fi and made the sites wider.”
Today the campground has just 11 tents sites out of 60, and Jump says that the clientele is mainly families and retired people, not a partying crowd at all. “People are coming for the convenience of the location, not the type of camping you’d find in a national park. There’s Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens, Jamestown, Yorktown, and Water Country,” he says. “It’s actually pretty quiet during the day because people are off seeing the sights.”
Jump and his brother, Ray, the campground’s manager, like to share their local expertise. “We try to help everyone and usually have a personal chat about what they’d like to do,” says Jump. “We are lucky to live somewhere with so many things to do and things to see. I love it.”
Another thing he loves is meeting people from all over. Jump says that Canadians do a lot of camping, and Europeans often come and rent RVs to see the United States via the highways. They’ve even had guest from Australia and South Africa. “There are people from all over the world, with different stories, personalities, politics, opinions, and perspectives on world events,” he says.
Like many people in the tourism industry, Jump’s life ebbs and flows with the travel season. In the winter, it’s mainly spent making improvements. But in the summer, he’s busy from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Jump even scheduled his wedding after the busy summer season. He’s getting married this September. He and his fiancée won’t be RVing on that trip, but they look forward to meeting more fellow travelers in the future at Anvil Campground.
Did your childhood involve a general store in the front yard, a pool in your yard that you shared with a few dozen other folks and neighbors who moved once a week?
Well, it did for Chris Jump, who grew up at the Anvil Campground. He’s now the owner and all those years of living in a house on the campground property gave him an exceptionally interesting childhood here in Williamsburg.
“It was a unique place to grow up,” he says. “We had no neighbors, but actually the neighbors changed every few days,” as people came and went from the campground. Having lots of new friends every week made Chris friendly and approachable
The Anvil Campground is on a triangle of land between the railroad tracks and Mooretown Road. It’s a family business, run for several generations by the Jump family. The site of the campground used to be a soybean field until 1954 when a man driving a truck asked to park on the property for the night. Grandpa Jump got the idea for a campground and it started with six sites. Today there are 60 sites as well as two cottages, named “Journeyman” and “Blacksmith,” a tribute to family history. Great Grandpa Jump was a blacksmith for Colonial Williamsburg, and his anvil (that the campground was named for) still sits in the general store of the campground.
Today, brothers Chris and Ray (the manager) keep it running smoothly and try to stay ahead of trends in camping and local tourism. Chris, 30, has been the owner of the campground since 2005 when his father passed away. He values what he learned from his Dad and tries to follow that same work ethic as he runs the campground
“He taught us that it was hard work, and sometimes you work all the time because in a small business like this, you could be called on at any time. We might be hooking up RVs at midnight for people who just arrived or people might be knocking on my door for a new Internet code. But it’s something we don’t mind doing because we take pride in taking care of our customers,” he says.
Chris, his brother and sisters all were involved in the day-to-day tasks of the campground as kids. They worked at the check-in desk, cut the grass and helped out with the Friday cookouts. “I would cook the hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill and we had a lemonade stand,” he says. They continue to have events throughout the year for Cinco de Mayo, weekends for Race Fans and “Wizard’s World” for kids.
Owning a campground is fun and a lot of hard work. Chris said that his dad was the role model for them growing up. “Whatever he did, you did. While other kids went to the beach, we worked on weekends doing whatever outside maintenance was needed,” he says.
Despite making them work hard, Chris and his siblings clearly revere their father’s memory. In fact, the speed limit in the campground is a tribute to their dad - his football jersey number was 32. So it’s 3.2 mph - Just the right speed for a lumbering RV on the curved roads of Anvil Campground.
Chris says that modern “camping” at their site mainly means RVs – about 95%. “People used to come with pop ups and truck campers but now it’s mostly RVs, especially for people who want to come to Williamsburg as tourists. So we had to adjust, we added cable and WI-FI and made the sites wider.”
Today the campground has just 11 tent sites out of 60, and Chris said that the clientele is mainly families and retired people, not a partying crowd at all. Chris attributes that to all of the attractions in Williamsburg, the history and the theme parks.
“People are coming for the convenience of the location, not the type of camping you’d find in a national park. There’s CW and Busch Gardens, Jamestown, Yorktown and Water Country. It’s actually pretty quiet during the day because people are off seeing the sights,” he says
Chris and Ray also like to share their local expertise. “We try to help everyone, and usually have a personal chat about what they’d like to do,” Chris says. “We are lucky to live somewhere with so many things to do and things to see. I love it.”
Another thing he loves is meeting people from all over. Chris says that Canadians do a lot of camping, and that Europeans often come to the United States and rent RVs to see the US via the highways. They’ve even had guests from Australia and South Africa.
“There are people from all over the world, with different stories, personalities, politics, opinions, perspectives on world events. And we are lucky to get to meet them,” he says.
Another advantage to running a tourist-oriented business like the campground? They get to see all kinds of cool pets that people can travel with in their RVs. Chris recounted a story about a counting Yellow Lab who could bark the number you said and even do a little addition. Besides dogs, they’ve seen people walking their cats on leashes and even a rescued squirrel perched on a man’s shoulder. Some other interesting things he’s seen include luxury RVs with hot tubs and fireplaces, and he met a man on a quest to visit all the Hooter’s restaurants in the country.
Over the years, Chris has seen Williamsburg change. Even Mooretown Road, which was just a dirt road with a dead end in his lifetime, is now a busy thoroughfare. “Williamsburg seems busier, but there’s also more convenience,” he says.
Like many people in the local tourism industry, Chris’ life ebbs and flows with the high travel seasons. In the winter, it’s mainly improving sites. But in the summer, he’s busy from Memorial Day to Labor Day with guests.
In fact, Chris even scheduled his wedding after the busy summer season. He’s getting married in Puerto Rico this September. He met his fiancée, Cielomar, a marine biologist at VIMS, at a seafood festival in Gloucester four years ago. They are both looking forward to their beach wedding. They will not be camping or RVing on that trip but they look forward to meeting more fellow travelers in the future at the Anvil Campground.
Ann Emerson - Vice President and Publisher - Good Sam RV Travel Guide
February 24, 2014
5243 Mooretown Road
Williamsburg, Virginia 23188
Good Sam congratulates you and your staff at Anvil Campground for celebrating 60 years of providing great guest experiences to RV travelers! You and your family have shown a remarkable commitment to excellence for since your campground opened in 1954.
We can see why your RV Park was awarded a 2013 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, putting you in the top 10 percent of businesses. More important, your 9.5/9.5*/8.5 campground rating from the Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory shows us that you've taken great care in the areas of amenities, cleanliness and environment.
This milestone gives your campground a special distinction amongst the 2,100-plus Good Sam Parks across North America. Customer-oriented parks like Anvil Campground embody everything that Good Sam stands for: fabulous camping experiences in great locations with great service and amenities. The fact that you've weathered the economic ups and downs, demographic shifts and changes in customer tastes over more than a half century proves that you've stood by your principles of putting your guests first.
I wish I could join you for your 60 for 60 Pig Roast on March 1 to help you celebrate your six decades in business. In lieu of our attendance, please send us photos of the event for posting on our Good Sam Camping blog (blog.goodsamcamping.com). I think prospective customers would love to see your guests having fun. We'd also like to share your RV parks' story, as well as the history of your family's deep roots in Williamsburg.
Thank you for your service to the RV industry. Here's to another 60 years of making great camping memories at Anvil Campground.
Williamsburg, Virginia's Anvil Campground was a soybean field back in 1954 when a man asked the owner if he could park his truck on the property for the night. That incident planted the seed of an idea in the mind of Grandpa Jump, and be the end of the year he had six campsites. As blacksmiths for Colonial Williamsburg, Jump and his father knew a thing or two about striking while the iron is hot. Today their descendants run the aptly named Anvil Campground, now celebrating its 60th year. The 220.127.116.11*/8.5 - (now 10.0/10.0/9.0) rated campground is one of more than 2,100 Good Sam Parks that offer members a 10 percent discount on nightly stays. goodsamclub.com/travel
Sixty years of economic flux, countless hurricanes, multiple gas crises, a 100-year flood and an ice storm have never stopped four generations of Jump family members or their business – Anvil Campground. Today, Anvil Campground is 60-years-old and is owned by Chris Jump, one of the middle children of the newest generation of Jump family members.
And their story is a great one. The Jumps are here because of John D. Rockefeller and his movement to bring artisans from across the country, inviting them to come and restore Williamsburg to its original authenticity. James Riley Jump, great great grandfather to Chris and Ralph Jump, Chris’s grandfather both were blacksmiths and made the original wrought iron work used in Colonial Williamsburg’s restoration. Their work included crafting tools, locks, hinges, shutter dogs, gates and anything else needed.
The Jump family is proud of its past and present, which is evidenced by the blacksmith display in the campground’s General Store complete with the original anvil used to make all the original items - and in the meticulously clean grounds and sophisticated, first-class amenities on the grounds.
“I was told that the campground was never going to be what it is today,” Chris said. “But I’ve always been someone to look ahead. I was starting to see in my head what I wanted this to be. I always had faith and trust that it could be done.” Anvil Campground, located at 5243 Mooretown Road, started out as a soybean field. The land was leveled by hand, an 800-square-foot cinderblock house was built – the Jump family’s home in 1954 – along with nine campsites. Chris’s dad, Jerry, and his mother, Patricia, increased the campground’s capacity to 33 camping sites, which used to be a mix of permanent and rental sites. The campground now boasts two cottages and 60 full-time campsites, some large enough to hold the rolling million-dollar homes.
The campground now has a few tent sites, standard sites, complete sites and premium sites with 30/50 amp electric capability along with wifi and cable. Anvil was a 2013 winner of a “Certificate of Excellence” on Trip Advisor complete with shuttle services to all the major attractions.
At its 60th anniversary, Anvil is currently one of the highest rated campgrounds in the nation. “That’s pretty darn good for coming from a soybean field,” Chris chuckled.
Today, Chris runs the campground with his brother Raymon, who is the Operations Manager. Even Ray admits: “I knew we could always keep improving, but I never imagined the campground looking the way it does today with all the amenities it has.”
Chris and Raymon are very clear about who does what with the business. Chris handles the financial end of things, the marketing, the payroll – anything to do with paper, Chris said. Ray handles everything with the grounds. “We’re really ying and yang,” Chris said.
Listening to the brothers speak of by-gone years when they were boys makes even the most hardened heart wistful. They speak of past campground promotions of free Friday night cookouts where they would go crabbing with their dad to have crabs for guests that evening. They speak of the thousands of times they climbed each and every tree on the campground’s property – trees all planted by their family.
Chris recalled 2005, the year his father died. He was living in Richmond having just completed his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from VCU. He moved back home to take care of the family business. After moving the company’s bookkeeping from paper to computer, redesigning sites and landscaping, adding the 30/50 amp utility pedestals, Chris decided it was time to buy the business and go all in. In 2011, Chris took the plunge and became owner.
During the last seven years, Chris has seen the highest grossing years in the 60-year history of the campground, and 2014 is looking to surpass 2013 in revenue, which was already the second-highest grossing year ever.
As an Alliance member, Chris is participating in the “All in for August” summer promotion. “As part of that package, we’re offering 25% off the cottages here. We’ve seen our reservations for the cottages increase by 20 percent in only a 30-day span just from that promotion.”
In an effort to assure a successful summer season the Alliance and the Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee created the “All in for August” campaign, which offered free participation. The promotion “has definitely increased our marketing reach,” Chris said. Because Chris handles the website, he sees the benefit of having the Alliance as a referring organization. “The VisitWilliamsburg.com site is one of the biggest drivers to my website.” As an Alliance member, Chris highly recommends that other small businesses join. “You can do things on your own, but to be part of such a powerful organization with a sole mission of generating more money for you and the community, why wouldn’t you join it? They will drive more potential customers to your doorstep. We definitely reap the benefit, which is way more than what we pay in membership fees.”
For over 40 years the Good Sam RV Park and Resort Network have set the standard for the quality our Good Sam members expect during their RV travels. What started out with a few RV parks has grown to the largest RV Park Network with over 2,100 parks. Without your support, participation and enthusiasm in Good Sam through the years, our story could not have been so successful. Good Sam wants to recognize parks that have played a significant role in the Network's growth.
On behalf of Good Sam, I would like to congratulate ANVIL CAMPGROUND on its 31st Anniversary. It is quite an achievement to reach this milestone and it speaks to the quality of your organization.
We know the amount of ongoing effort it takes to consistently maintain high stardards in all areas of operations, and it is an honor to work with park owners of your high caliber whose hard work and dedication create a superb RVing experience for our Good Sam members.
Good Sam is proud to count your RV Park among its Good Sam RV Park and Resort Network. We look forward to maintaining our association with ANVIL CAMPGROUND and wish you much continued success.
In 1954, Ike was in the White House, Greater Williamsburg had a population of 25,000, and the recreational vehicle industry was in its infancy. In 1954, Ralph Jump and his son, Jerry Jump leveled a soybean field approximately 3 miles from the center of Williamsburg to create a trailer court. Friends told him he would go broke because he was too far from town.
Sixty-one years and two generations later, the Anvil Campground is a thriving business in the hands of owner Chris Jump and his brother, operations manager Raymon. The meticulous grounds belie the enthusiasm of the entire Jump family for their chosen business, with a focus on strong customer service and continual grounds and infrastructure improvement.
Anvil Campground gets its name from the Jump family’s proud connection with the Colonial Williamsburg restoration. In the late 1920’s as the restoration began to take shape, John D. Rockefeller canvassed the country for talented artisans and tradespeople to take on the task of authentically recreating the colonial town. Blacksmith James Riley Jump of Michigan, great grandfather of Chris and Raymon, was invited to participate, and moved his family to Williamsburg to take on the task. James and son Ralph made much of the ironwork used in the original restoration.
Under the leadership of Ralph, succeeded by son Jerry and wife Patricia, and now Chris, the campground has weathered many storms, from the gas crisis of the ‘70’s to economic downturns to literal floods, hurricanes and ice storms. The family has always bounced back. Today, Chris cannot imagine a better way to earn his living. “I love what I do,” says Chris, “so the challenges are all good.”
Chris took over the family business after his father Jerry passed away in 2005, and bought it outright in 2011. He has put his undergraduate training in business to great use, modernizing the internal management of the business and investing in infrastructure improvements from WiFi to recreation facilities to landscaping and utilities. Chris is proud of the campground’s top rankings
on travel sites TripAdvisor and Good Sam Park (a standard in the camping industry) and continues to be driven by the metrics that got them there: a friendly staff, high-end amenities, cleanliness, lush landscaping and a convenient location.
Chris also appreciates professional guidance when he needs it. After taking on the business, he turned to Middle Peninsula for help with his commercial insurance, health insurance, and financial planning. Says Chris, “I inherited a different agency. I didn’t even know the agent -- just got the annual bill. Middle Peninsula is a one-stop resource for me and they are all very responsive. I am very happy with the relationship.”
As Memorial Day weekend dawns, the Jump family anticipates a good summer season. The campground’s sixty sites, including eleven tent sites and two cottages, are in top shape and bookings are strong. The family is also on the precipice of a new era, as Chris and his wife Cielomar are expecting their first child any day. Middle Peninsula Insurance and Financial Services is proud to support this Williamsburg gem.
Anvil Campground is located at 5243 Mooretown Road
ANVIL CAMPGROUND AWARDED 2015 TRIPADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE
Recognized as a Top Performing Speciality Lodging as Reviewed by Travelers on the
World’s Largest Travel Site
Williamsburg, Virginia – May 28, 2015 – Anvil Campground today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. Now in its fifth year, the award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Certificate of Excellence winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.
When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period as well as business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.
“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at Anvil Campround and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Chris Jump, Owner at Anvil Campground. “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence,” said Raymon Jump, Operations Manager at Anvil Campground
"TripAdvisor is pleased to honor exceptional hospitality businesses that have received consistent praise and recognition by travelers on the site,” said Marc Charron President, TripAdvisor for Business. “By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive increasing hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”
TripAdvisor® is the world's largest travel site*, enabling travelers to plan and book the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools that check hundreds of websites to find the best hotel prices. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 340 million unique monthly visitors**, and more than 225 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4.9 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 45 countries worldwide. TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to millions of monthly TripAdvisor visitors.
TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP) manages and operates websites under 24 other travel media brands: www.airfarewatchdog.com, www.bookingbuddy.com, www.cruisecritic.com, www.everytrail.com, www.familyvacationcritic.com, www.flipkey.com, www.thefork.com (including www.lafourchette.com, www.eltenedor.com, www.iens.nl and www.besttables.com), www.gateguru.com, www.holidaylettings.co.uk, www.holidaywatchdog.com, www.independenttraveler.com, www.jetsetter.com, www.niumba.com, www.onetime.com, www.oyster.com, www.seatguru.com, www.smartertravel.com, www.tingo.com, www.travelpod.com, www.tripbod.com, www.vacationhomerentals.com, www.viator.com, www.virtualtourist.com, and www.kuxun.cn.
*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, December 2014
**Source: Google Analytics, average monthly unique users, Q1 2015
The Good Sam RV Park and Resort Network would like to congratulate Anvil Campground in Williamsburg, Virginia, for celebrating its 31st year as a Good Sam Park. Since its opening in 1954, Anvil has shown an unwavering commitment to customer service and has consistently offered the quality and value that RV travelers have come to expect from a Good Sam Park. We're happy that Anvil has chosen to partner with us for more than three decades, and we know this family-owned park will enjoy even more success in the future.
We were fortunate to find a family-owned campground in the middle of Williamsburg whose owners have something to say about it. The history of Anvil Campground goes back to 1954. The grandfather and great grandfather of this family were blacksmiths, who helped restore Williamsburg with their iron works, thus the symbol of the anvil was born. Small, quaint and equipped with swings, a pool (closed for the season) and an air hockey table, all of us were content on site. We were truly close to everything — including the mostly gently rolling train and tracks — making our navigation easy and fun. Best of all, the staff at Anvil Campground were enormously gracious and helpful. They welcomed us to the Southeast with our first “y’all” and lots of information, including great places for trick-or-treating. We felt at home.
Anvil Campground marks 65 years as a family-owned Williamsburg business
Anvil Campground has been in owner Chris Jump's family for three generations and 65 years. (Rodrigo Arriaza / Virginia Gazette) Rodrigo Arriaza Staff writer
MARCH 26, 2019. 4:00PM | WILLIAMSBURG
Before Busch Gardens, Water Country USA and countless other Williamsburg businesses and attractions first opened their doors, there was Anvil Campground.
In 1953, original owner Ralph Raymon Jump bought a soybean farm, where he lived in a small cinder block house with his wife and son, Jerry. As the story goes, a traveler approached the Jump family in the spring or summer of 1954 asking if he could park his camper overnight on their property.
“Ralph not only said yes, he also plugged an extension cord into a socket in his home and passed the cord out the window to the man, thus providing an electric hook-up for the first of countless campers to come,” said Patricia Jump, wife of second-generation owner Jerry Jump.
Thus, Anvil Campground was born.
The soybean fields were leveled by hand to make way for six original numbered campsites. And 65 years later, the four-acre campground is still running strong as a family-owned business.
“I’ll never forget, they told my grandpa Ralph that he was never going to make any money because we were so far out of town,” current owner Chris Jump said. “Three miles from Williamsburg, and back then that was way out of town, but now everything has grown around us.”
A photo of Anvil Campground from 1978. (Courtesy of Chris Jump)
The campground’s name takes its inspiration from the family’s history in blacksmithing. Chris said his grandfather and great-grandfather, James Riley Jump, contributed to the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg from 1929 to 1935 as blacksmiths, making original wrought iron works including tools, locks, hinges, shutter dogs and gates.
Through the years, the business was passed on from Ralph Jump to his son, Jerry, who ran the campground until his death in 2005.
“(The campground) is in your heart and soul. Jerry was 12 when he moved there, and he was there when the first camper came and stayed, so he grew up in it,” Patricia Jump said. “He would get excited and enthusiastic and put all his energy and gather input from people to make his projects go.”
Today, Anvil is home to around 60 campsites, four rental cabins and a number of modern amenities for campers. Patricia Jump said much has changed at the campground since she first began working there in 1974.
“The first laundromat was the washer and dryer in my house. They put the quarters in the palm of my hand instead of in a slot,” she said. “I remember being really busy and having lots of campers. When we moved over, the idea was to add to it, improve it and make it better, and we did little by little.”
Chris Jump took over the family business in 2005 at 23 years old after his father's death, and bought the campground outright in 2011.
Now 37, he said he’s worked along with his brother Raymon, the camp’s operations manager, to modernize Anvil by adding wifi, games and activities for families, and marina-style connectors at each campsite where RVs can easily connect to electricity, running water and cable.
RVs parked at Anvil Campground. (Rodrigo Arriaza / Virginia Gazette)
“We’ve brought it up to camping in the present day,” he said. “Now, there’s so much money in the industry and people spend so much money on their RVs, a lot of people have even sold their houses to buy an RV and travel, so they really expect and they want really high-end things.”
New additions for this year include new premium RV campsites with concrete pads, stone fire pits, picnic tables, grills and swings.
Last November, Anvil Campground was selected as one of four campgrounds across the country to be named among the National RV Parks Association’s parks of the year, taking home the National Small RV Park of the Year award.
Chris and his mother Patricia credit the campground’s success and longevity to the family’s attention to customer service and changing with the times.
“What definitely differentiates us is just how we take care of people and make everyone feel like they’re family,” he said. “I’ve been here for almost 14 years and it’s been in the family for a long time, so we just take the feedback and adapt, because we’re just trying to make them happy, so it’s just been a gradual thing.”
Chris Jump says he hopes to pass the family business onto his two young sons one day, if they’re interested.
“In an ideal world, if one of my sons would like it — I want them to do whatever they want to do, but you just never know if they’ll be willing and able to do it,” he said. “It’s a hard transition, but it just worked out for us, and after loads of work, here we are.”
Anvil Campground first opened on Mooretown Road in 1954, and marks 65 years in operation in Williamsburg as a family-owned business. (Courtesy of Chris Jump)
Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.
Anvil Campground: 65 Years of Historic Virginia Excursions
Good Sam Camping
March 21, 2019
Anvil Campground memories: Campground scenes of today and yesteryear. Lower left, founder Ralph Jump. Images courtesy of Anvil Campground
Virginia camping at its best: Anvil Campground in Williamsburg, Virginia, observes 65 years of forging great vacation experiences for guests visiting the Historic Triangle region.
Founded in 1954 by Ralph Raymon Jump on the peninsula between the James and York rivers, Anvil Campground puts travelers in proximity to popular Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Busch Gardens.
The big 65th milestone isn’t the only reason to party. Anvil Campground won the Park of the Year Award (Small category) by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) in November of 2018. ARVC bestows the “small” park honor on parks with 100 or fewer sites (Anvil has 60 sites, 48 of which are full-hookup). More than 3,000 parks are eligible to receive one of ARVC’s four park honors.
Anvil also enjoys the distinction of being a top-rated Good Sam Park for the last three years and is the second-highest-rated park in Virginia. The Williamsburg campground has been a Good Sam Park for 35 years.
New amenities along with a dog run at one of the park’s premium sites.
Anvil Always Improves
Despite the recent honors, the park shows no intention of resting on its laurels as it enters its 65th season. In fact, Anvil recently completed several major upgrades.
“Every year, we have continued to improve,” says owner Chris Jump, grandson of founder Ralph. The renovations include major upgrades to its eight premium sites, including fire pits, swing sets and new concrete pads. Also added are ADA-compliant recycled plastic picnic tables. In another recent improvement, Anvil outfitted every site with state-of-the-art utility hookups, with 50/30/20-amp electricity.
The utility posts include an amber light for nighttime connecting and hooks to hold an extra water hose.
A camping cabin at Anvil Campground.
Anvil’s Historic Ties
The constant striving to upgrade is consistent with the vision of Chris’s grandfather. Ralph Jump built the campground’s success by anticipating the needs of campers.
“We’re the only campground actually in town,” says Chris. “They told my grandpa he would never make any money because he is so far out of town. But now, the town has grown up around us. We’re right in the middle of things.”
Chris took the reigns of the RV park in 2005 after the passing of his father, Jerry Howard Jump. Jerry had worked with Ralph in clearing the soybean field that would eventually become the campground.
Nowadays, Anvil makes the most out of its geography. An hourly shuttle whisks guests from the RV park to some of the region’s top attractions, including Colonial Williamsburg (3 miles away), Busch Gardens, Water Country USA and Historic Jamestowne.
Jerry Howard Jump
The Jump’s family connection to Colonial Williamsburg goes far beyond a shuttle ride. Between 1929 and 1935, the family’s great grandfather, a master blacksmith, contributed to the renovation of
Williamsburg. He made much of the original wrought-iron work, fabricating tools, locks, hinges, gates and more.
Today, many of the guests stay at the park while visiting the 300-acre living history museum, in which costumed performers reenact life in Revolutionary-era America. Back at the campground, the original anvil used for the job is on display at the general store.
Costumed reenactors walk the streets of Colonial Williamsburg.
Rides, Slides and Wildlife
Travelers who prefer wild rides to history can find lots of thrills at Busch Gardens. Hop on a coaster like the Loch Ness Monster, dine in European-themed restaurants or enjoy fun family-friendly shows and live entertainment throughout the year.
The Alpengeist coaster at Busch Gardens.
Not far away is Water Country USA, Virginia’s largest waterpark at 43 acres. Cool off during hot summer days by racing down over 40 rides and attractions. Kids can get their hearts racing on exhilarating water rides like the Colossal Curl mega-slide, while adults can float along the lazy river or relax in the gigantic wave pool.
Historic Jamestowne, located on the James River, sends visitors back to the 1600s with its Colonial fort and amazing archeological sites. The nearby James River is a great place to launch a kayak or cast a fishing pole, and the same goes for the York River, which runs parallel to the north.
About two miles from the campground, the 360-acre Waller Mill Reservoir offers fishing, boating and kayaking adventures. Catch striped and largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill and catfish. A paved trail to the park lies just 200 yards from Anvil Campground. Guests can hike and bike this pathway for fun and fitness.
The Anvil Team, with their ARVC trophy, from left:
Brandyn Robertson, customer service; Raymon Jump, operations manager; Chris Jump, owner; and David Arington, lead maintenance.
Virginia Camping: A Family Affair
After a busy day of exploring, guests can keep the good times rolling back at Anvil Campground. Time your visit for the big 65th Birthday Weekend Celebration, May 10-12. The event will feature a cookout and live music. Participate in activities and games for campers of all ages. You can also commemorate your visit by visiting the general store for Anvil-related gifts.
In November, the campground celebrates its annual Jamboree, with more fun and games. Let your next RV vacation shape up at Anvil Campground.
Anvil Campground in Williamsburg is family friendly, dog friendly, and is the RV Small Park of the Year for 2019
28 April, 2019 by Olivia
Anvil Campground in Williamsburg, Virginia offers all the amenities of a regular campground plus pool, sand filled playground, WiFi, dog park, general store and so much more.
Looking for a family friendly and dog friendly campground in Williamsburg, VA that your kids will beg to come back to again and again? Anvil Campground in Williamsburg is just the place. Keep reading to find out about their pool, sand filled playground, high tech standard offerings, camp sites, cabins, beautiful facilities and its unique history.
Yes, this is actually a picture of Anvil Campground’s beautiful patio near the pool.
If you are like many of their guests, you will get hooked on the place; choosing this award winning campground the next time you return to see more of the Historic Triangle.
Plenty of room at Anvil Campground in Williamsburg
Proved them all Wrong:
“You will go broke opening a campground that far from town”, is what friends told Ralph Jump in 1954 when he set out to open a campground 3 miles away from Colonial Williamsburg. But Ralph and his son, Jerry Jump did it anyway, they leveled a soybean field and created Anvil Campground.
Fun Fact: Why did they name it Anvil Campground?
Blacksmith James Riley Jump of Michigan, great grandfather to current owners Chris and Raymon, was brought to Williamsburg by the John D. Rockefeller restoration project of Colonial Williamsburg in the late 1920s. James and son Ralph were both Blacksmiths whose work is still part of Colonial Williamsburg. You can find their anvil in the General Store at the Campground, and their water wheel right outside its door. Ralph named it Anvil Campground to honor their trade.
The Blacksmith Cottage at Anvil Campground will easily fit a family or two and has WiFi, full kitchen, bath, fireplace, TV, beds…it is ready to go!
In 2005, when Ralph’s son Jerry Jump passed away, his son, 23 year old Chris Jump decided he was going into the family business. Chris and his brother Raymon continued to update the campground to create a camping park that is both functional and a bit posh. They increased the number of sites to 60 and brought it into the digital age.
The Journeyman Cottage is the next building as you enter Anvil Campground and it sleeps six, has WiFi, TV, full kitchen, bath and all the comforts of home.
So what is it like? When you drive in the property you are greeted by two large cottages, The Journeyman and The Blacksmith, names reflecting the Anvil’s history. These will easily fit a family or two, who want to camp with all the comforts of home including TV, WiFi, cable, private bathrooms, kitchen…the works. Both cottages have outdoor space to grill, relax and even play some basketball.
What if I forgot something? Keep driving in and you will come to the General Store where the kids will delight at penny candy jars, all the fixings for smores, and all those items that you meant to bring but forgot, like milk. In the morning you can stumble over to the General Store for a free cup of tea or locally brewed coffee, and on the weekends enjoy some fruit and donuts to get your day started.
Amish made log-cabins at Anvil Campground
Not a cottage, more of a cabin camper? Past the General Store sit two of Anvil’s Premium Log-Cabins handmade by an Amish company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They are made with beautiful logs that you see inside and outside the cabins. Each has a queen bed in the front and two sets of bunk beds in the back; each cabin easily sleeps six. These are not only adorable but are a cozy alternative to a tent. They are insulated from floor to ceiling so the outside temperature will not be an issue, and they have a heating/air unit in them as well.
What about RV & tent camping? Outside, you will find each camp site has bright white utility hookups (Eaton Powerhouse Utility Pedestals) so that guests have electricity, superfast WiFi , cable, and water.
Eaton Powerhouse Utility Pedestals provide guests electricity, super fast WiFi , cable, and water.
Anvil Campground has everything you need for tent sites and RV spots! Wondering if you can stream a movie…the answer is: definitely. This is more of a glamping park than a regular campground. Wait till I get started on the bathrooms.
Poolside patio, umbrella tables and a lovely pool await you at the Anvil Campground in Williamsburg, VA
What to do? In the warm weather make sure to bring your swim trunks because there is a great pool, where you can relax while the kids burn off some energy. And next to the pool is a playground known as Beach Park. It gets its name from the 130,000 pounds of beach sand that covers the entire playground.
This is only one section of the sandy playground at Anvil Campground, Williamsburg VA
The playground includes a zip line, beach hammocks, twisty slide, big slide, bumpy slide, mini rock wall, rope merry-go-round with Sand Mountain, airplane seesaw, climbing dome, and the secret swing! The Beach Park is shaded by big trees, and is adjacent to a picnic area with hammocks hanging from the trees.
Campfires are surrounded by swings and a dog park so the whole family can enjoy roasting marshmallows.
There is also a small dog park perfectly placed next to the fire pit surrounded by swinging chairs so all the family and friends can be together. Your family may not want to leave.
Anvil Campgrounds has regular spaces and premium spaces that are both large enough to accommodate slide-outs
Enough space? If you are coming with a large RV, power, water, sewer and amenities will not be a problem. Anvil has regular spaces and premium spaces that are both large enough to accommodate slide-outs.
Premium RV sites are spacious, each having their own fire pit, ADA picnic table, grill and swing that has a fold down cup holder!
Their newest addition, the Premium spaces, each have their own new concrete pads where your private stone fire pit rests next to your recycled plastic ADA picnic tables, grill, and swing complete with center folding down drink holder! These have a large grass space as well.
Anvil Campground’s showers and bathrooms are not your typical campground facilities.
Now on to the bathrooms. The bathhouse has tile and granite throughout. The single showers have floor to ceiling tile and each have an attached dressing room with private door access. Translation: clean, private, functional and nice. The bathhouse is spotless and beautiful. The men’s and women’s bathrooms are identical, which in this case means the men’s room is just as fabulous.
Save $$ on parking at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Colonial Williamsburg and Water Country USA. Anvil Campground is the only campground that has a City bus stop at the entrance. So no need to pay for parking at Busch Gardens, Water Country or in Downtown Williamsburg – just hop on the bus.
Anvil Campground was awarded their “National Small RV Park of the Year” for 2019!
Who else has noticed this gem? The National Small RV Parks Association has noticed Anvil. Anvil Campground was awarded their “National Small RV Park of the Year” for 2019! The National RV Parks Association has almost 3,000 members eligible to be nominated for one of four “Park of the Year” awards. Parks compete against similar size parks. Anvil Campground won among parks with 100 or fewer camp sites. Anvil is also the winner of the Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor for 5 out of last 6 years. And it is a Top Rated Good Sam Park for 2019 as well as the past 3 years. It is the second highest rated campground in Virginia.
Anvil Campground Site Map showing campsites, cabins, pool, beach park and more.
Wait? How old are you? Anvil is having its 65th Anniversary this year making it the oldest campground in the state of Virginia and top 5 oldest in the nation, according to the National RV Parks Association. But do not let that mislead you. This campground is in its prime.
For locals and for visitors, Anvil Campground has something that will enable every member of your family to enjoy themselves.
Is Anvil Campground for tourists or locals? Anvil Campground is for everyone who likes the great outdoors; for those who love to tent-it to those who love all the comforts of home. Tourists will find it located in a great spot with easy bus access to all the attractions. Locals will find a great staycation experience for the family. Scout troupes will find adventure. Where else are you going to find a sandy playground, next to a pool, and fire pit right by your tent? All that while streaming your favorite music and then winding down the evening with a little Netflix under the stars?
Here is a video Anvil Campground produced to give you even more information…but you know that you have already decided to visit!