Domingo Alfaro and his wife, Marie, have spent at least 15 winters at Rincon Country East RV Resort in Tucson, Ariz. And while there are many parks that pride themselves on clean, inviting facilities, it was Rincon Country’s wood shop that drew Alfaro to the 460-site resort. Here he not only found an assortment of tools and equipment not typically available in RV parks, but also other RVers with an interest in woodworking.
Over time, Alfaro said, Rincon Country East’s RVers added to the wood shop’s offerings by holding fundraisers and recycling aluminum cans to purchase tools and other equipment they can share.
“The park had some equipment to start with,” the 78-year-old Alfaro said. “But little by little, we bought more saws and drum sanders. We will get a band saw in a couple of days.”
Earlier this year, Alfaro and other RVers at the 55-and-older resort were busy making rocking chairs, bowls, baby cradles and rocking horses. And while they often make these for children and grandchildren, they also donate handmade items to charity. Rincon Country East and its sister property, Rincon Country West, also have several quilting groups that get together throughout the week to make quilts for themselves and also to give to local charities and other organizations, including the local veterans hospital, the Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse and the Ronald McDonald House.
“I just stopped by the sewing room last week to see what they were up to and they said they had finished 13 quilts that day,” said Jordan Kelley of Rincon Country’s marketing department.
“People complain that there is so much to do here [they] can’t do it all,” said Judy Fried, a Tucson resident who volunteers her time and talents teaching pottery, ceramics and lapidary classes to guests who stay at Rincon Country West.
“We have equipment and people who are willing to volunteer to teach,” said Fried, adding that Rincon Country is better equipped than most parks when it comes to having facilities and equipment for drying and firing pottery and ceramics.
But while many Rincon Country guests enjoy the resorts’ wood shop, pottery and ceramics classes, others are drawn to the resorts’ busy activity schedule, which includes more than 100 activities a week during snowbird season (between October 15 and April 15).
Activities this past winter at Rincon Country West, with its 1,140 sites, included an old fashioned ice cream soda night, which was paired with the showing of movie classics, line dancing, wine tastings, and live entertainment, including a performance by the University of Arizona’s Steel Drum Band. The resort also provided several educational seminars covering financial and health care topics from annuities to Medicare.
Activities at Rincon Country East included arts and crafts classes, line dancing, bocce ball, horseshoes, billiards, bingo and shuffleboard, while live entertainment included concerts featuring the music of the Big Bands, country western, blues and swing.
Improvements have also been underway at both Rincon Country resorts.
“We are continuously improving the appearance and modernizing our two resorts,” said Rincon Country owner George O’Leary, who spent more than $1 million installing new electrical lines, resurfacing park roads, erecting new perimeter walls and making other improvements during the past two years.
These improvements, while upping the aesthetic appeal, are also enticing for snowbirds who want a clean, well-kept, safe and secure place to spend the winter.
O’Leary himself comes from the northern climes. While he originally came to the U.S. from Ireland in 1956, he lived in Minnesota for 16 years before finding his way to Tucson. He built his first park, Rincon Country Mobile Home Park, in 1970, which he later sold. He then built Rincon Country East RV Resort in 1979 and began building Rincon Country West RV Resort in 1983.
With 43 years spent in the RV park business, O’Leary recognizes that he’s getting closer to retirement and now shares the management responsibilities of his two parks with his wife, Sandra, with future generations to follow.
He said, “People used to ask, ‘What’s going to happen when George retires?’ Now they have Sandra and the O’Leary family,” adding that he is setting up his park to remain in the family for at least the next 50 years.