Where Everybody Knows Your Name

“Have you been to Betty’s? You have to go to Betty’s.” Chances are, those are the words most people hear when they first learn about Betty’s RV Park from one of their fellow RVers, which is how you learn about Betty’s. Someone else has been here and experienced the magic and they want to share this special place with people they meet on the road.

Betty’s RV Park is located in Abbeville, Louisiana, home of the Giant Omelette Festival. Betty built the RV park in her backyard in 1999, a few years after she retired. That’s right, it’s in her backyard. It’s not on the beach, the sites are close together, and there are no laundry or shower facilities, but anyone who has been here will tell you it’s one of the best places they have ever stayed.

The magic of Betty’s RV park isn’t in the location or the amenities. The secret sauce of this place is Betty herself. With a nightly happy hour, frequent potluck dinners, and a knack for turning strangers into friends, Betty truly creates a community. It’s the only place we’ve ever stayed where other RVers came out to say goodbye and give us hugs as we were packing up to leave.

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J.C. and Gloria were two of the first people we met. They had been to Betty’s several times before and this time were staying for a month. They were most recently in Arizona but decided that Betty’s was on their way home to Iowa (it’s not, really). They just love it here so much that J.C. says, “Betty’s is on our way home from everywhere!”

Barb was also staying for a month. She and husband Rick are full-time RVers and whenever Rick has to travel for work they try to plan it around a stop at Betty’s. They know Barb will be safe here and will have plenty of friends to keep her company while Rick is away. We didn’t get to meet Rick because he was in Ethiopia for work, but we did get to meet Barb’s “Flat Rick” who joined us at happy hour one night.

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Luc and Noelle, pictured above with Suzanne shortly after Luc was bitten on the arm by a very mean caterpillar, live in France but they leave a truck and small Fifth-Wheel trailer in Quebec. They come to the U.S. for three months every year and check out different parts of the country. Luc, a square-dance caller, is originally from Canada. He visited France 24 years ago to work at a square dancing festival and Noelle was the one who hired him. It was love at first sight and now they have a life together in France. And yes, in case you were wondering, Luc does get quite a bit of work playing Santa Claus every December.

And then there was George, who tells great stories and brought his own hot sauce with him when we went out for lunch. George showed up a few days after we did and we liked him right away. He is from Clarence, New York, which is just outside of Buffalo. When his dad passed away, George had reason to pause and consider his own mortality. He decided that he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life working, so he sold his business, bought a Class-C motorhome, and is quickly adapting to the RV lifestyle. We have a feeling our paths will cross again.

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These are just a few of the very interesting and friendly people we met during our time at Betty’s. Even Noah made a friend. This is Noah with his new buddy Jax, who is 12 years old and also a rescue dog. Jax and his parents, Rick and Linda, are full-time RVers, so he had lots of advice to give Noah about life on the road. They didn’t let their size difference or color difference get in the way of their friendship.

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While we were at Betty’s we took a drive over to Avery Island, Louisiana, to tour the Tabasco Factory. The McIlhenny family started making their legendary hot sauce here in 1868 and, to this day, it’s the only place that Tabasco is made. The self-guided tour was interesting, if a little touristy, but we’re glad we went.

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We also made a few trips to Suire’s Grocery, home of the best shrimp po’ boy we’ve ever had. We were here four years ago and have been dreaming about it ever since. Suire’s is a hole in the wall in Kaplan, Louisiana, which is just down the road from Betty’s. It’s part grocery store, part restaurant, and the menu is spray-painted on the wall out front. It’s an experience. The service is friendly and the food is delicious. We’ll be back.

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The time finally came to leave Betty’s. With goodbye hugs, promises to keep in touch, and lots of great advice from our fellow travelers about other places to visit, we said farewell to our new friends. Betty’s RV Park is truly one of a kind. We left there reminded of, and inspired by, just how easy it is to connect with other people as long as someone makes the effort to say the first ‘hello’. And, because of Betty, we’ll be saying the first ‘hello’ much more often in the coming weeks and months. See you on down the road!

(And just for fun, here is the song we think about when we think about Betty’s)

Additional photos from our time at Betty’s:

 

 

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