By Stefanie Jackson – After nearly 57 years as a family business, Cherrystone Family Camping Resort, in lower Northampton County, was sold by owner Chad Ballard III to Sun RV Resorts, a division of Sun Communities Inc.
“Since 1964, Cherrystone Family Camping Resort had provided a beautiful space with exceptional amenities for generations of families to make memories on Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay,” Ballard said in a March 9 press release.
“We’re excited to see how that is continued and improved upon with Sun RV Resorts,” he said.
The Cherrystone resort, with more than 700 camping sites, covers more than 300 acres just north of Cape Charles and west of Cheriton. The portion that was sold had been owned by the Ballard family since 1938, according to public record.
The property did not become the Cherrystone Family Camping Resort until about 26 years later, when the campground opened on Mother’s Day, 1964.
Ballard sold approximately 218 acres to Sun RV Resorts on March 4 for more than $9.8 million.
“It was not a decision that was made lightly, but one I’m confident was the right one,” Ballard said.
“Finding someone to put the same dedication and care into the park that we have in the past was at the top of our priority list, as well as someone who was committed to caring for the employees and guests,” he said.
Blue Water Hospitality, of Ocean City, Md., will partner with Sun RV Resorts to manage the campground and “ensure Cherrystone continues its storied history of hospitality excellence and employee satisfaction,” the release stated.
Ashley Forbes, general manager of Cherrystone campground, said she looks forward to working with Sun RV Resorts and Blue Water Hospitality, and “they have a tremendous reputation in the campground industry and share the same values that Cherrystone has.”
“We are very excited about what this partnership will bring to Cherrystone in the future,” she said.
Cherrystone Family Camping Resort “has positioned itself as an exceptional campground not only on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, but on the East Coast,” the release stated.
Cherrystone claims a high rate of guests who repeatedly return to the resort to enjoy the location and amenities, including the beach, five swimming pools, four fishing piers, three playgrounds, a dog park and beach, a bait and tackle shop, a cafe with a lounge and arcade, and a general store.
Cherrystone offers water activities including boat rentals and charter fishing. Additional activities include mini golf, volleyball, cornhole, horseshoes, and shuffleboard.
Holiday events are held throughout the spring and summer, from Easter to Labor Day, as well as theme weekends such as “Shipwrecked” and “Wild Wild West.”
Cherrystone campground also prides itself on “the employees that make (guests’) vacations so memorable with their genuine smiles and unmatched work ethic.”
Sun RV Resorts rents RV sites, tent camping sites, and cottages and cabins at about 150 locations nationwide, with an emphasis on the southeastern region.
Its parent company, Sun Communities, is a publicly traded company that has invested in manufactured housing and recreational vehicle communities across the U.S. and in Canada since 1975.
Sun Communities owned, operated, or had a financial interest in 432 communities and nearly 146,000 individual sites in 32 states and Ontario, Canada, as of Sept. 30, 2020.
Blue Water Development was founded in 2002 and its portfolio includes campgrounds, hotels, and attractions from Maine to Florida.
According to the press release, the Ballard family looks forward to enjoying Cherrystone campground as guests and will continue to own and operate the neighboring Cherrystone Aqua-Farms, which specializes in cultivating and harvesting clams and oysters.
Chad Ballard said, “we are confident we have found the right person to continue to operate and invest in Cherrystone, its people, and the Eastern Shore community.”