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Renovated Linger Lodge RV Park reopens in east Bradenton

Linger Lodge RV Park weathered Hurricane Ian and is back open after repairs and improvements.


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After a week at Linger Lodge RV Park, Tina Naulton decided to make the park her home for the next six months. 

Naulton, who is from Maine, was so impressed with the renovated park that she has chosen to live there while working as a travel nurse at Manatee Memorial Hospital. 

“It’s good so far,” Naulton said. “The amenities are pretty awesome, and I love that the restaurant is on site.”

Naulton might not have known that only weeks earlier the RV park suffered significant damage from Hurricane Ian, with its fence ripped apart, half the grounds flooded and downed trees everywhere.

On Nov. 11, it was like Hurricane Ian never happened. The grounds had been cleared and a new fence installed.

Linger Lodge RV Park balances being modern with maintaining its Old Florida charm. (Photo by Liz Ramos)
Linger Lodge RV Park balances being modern with maintaining its Old Florida charm. (Photo by Liz Ramos)

Naulton spent that evening working out in Linger Lodge’s new gym, which was added during the RV Park's renovation that took almost two years. 

It also is an amenity that made it through Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida three days after the RV Park had reopened on Sept. 25.

More than a month after the hurricane, Friedrich Hoffelner, who manages the RV park, said more than 20 trees have been cleared and a hole in the Linger Lodge Restaurant roof, caused by falling tree, was fixed. 

“The hurricane was bad luck, but they happen here,” Hoffelner said. “Looking forward, we are happy. We have a good team now. We love to work together, and it’s fun. We’re glad to be open.”

Hoffelner said many of the guests at Linger Lodge are insurance adjusters, roofers and others who came from northern states to assist residents in the aftermath of the hurricane. 

“We also are getting a little bit of the snowbirds already,” he said. “We already are seeing a lot of bookings.”

Before the renovations, Hoffelner said Linger Lodge had a lot of electric, water and sewer issues, but now there’s new electric installations and the campground is on Manatee County’s water and sewer system. 

With Linger Lodge’s renovations, the RV park has 139 lots. 

Naulton is staying in the new section, which she said is quiet and peaceful with a lot of greenery. 

Hoffelner said the new area had a residential house on it before it was removed to make room for 42 new RV spaces.  

As Tropical Storm Nicole approached Florida Nov. 9, Hoffelner said there wasn’t much the Linger Lodge staff could do to prepare. 

“That’s Florida,” he said. “You have to live with them.  It doesn’t make sense to panic with every tropical storm."

The new clubhouse, pool, pool cage, bathrooms and gym didn’t sustain any damage from the hurricane or the tropical storm.

That was important since the new clubhouse was a major upgrade, providing activities for visitors such as a pool table, toys, a play area for children, and a large screen for movies. 

The pool area has a resort-style pool and a jacuzzi.

Besides new bathrooms, the RV park has a laundry room with washing machines and dryers.

“A lot of people were asking especially for a pool area,” Hoffelner said about the renovation. “Everybody coming down from the north, they like to hang out in the pool and the clubhouse. It's a great place where they can go if it’s raining or if they want something to do in the evening. We can do movie nights or sports nights, and we can cater from the restaurant. I think there will be a lot of activities we’ll be doing in season.”

Bryson Babineaux plays pool with his dad, Brandon Babineaux in the clubhouse. The Babineauxs, who are insurance adjusters, are staying at Linger Lodge RV Park helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. (Photo by Liz Ramos)
Bryson Babineaux plays pool with his dad, Brandon Babineaux in the clubhouse. The Babineauxs, who are insurance adjusters, are staying at Linger Lodge RV Park helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. (Photo by Liz Ramos)

Brandon Barbineaux, an insurance adjuster from Lafayette, Louisanna, was enjoying the upgraded facilities last weekend, like the clubhouse. 

“I’ve never seen anything like this at an RV park,” Barbineaux said. 

Naulton said she looks forward to Linger Lodge hosting activities. She hopes there’s a bingo night or cornhole. 

“We’ve been in the pool,” she said. “I love having the gym on site, but I hope they do some activities.”

Hoffelner said although there are new facilities on the campground, the staff members also have stayed true to Linger Lodge’s Old Florida charm. 

There are taxidermied animals hanging in the clubhouse and a giant alligator is hanging on the wall in the office next to the front desk. 

“It’s a historic Old Florida area and that’s why people come,” Hoffelner said. “People from the north like this Old Florida style, and we tried to keep it in all the upgrades.”

 

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