Travel: Sawmill

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Sawmill remains the premier Florida gay campground setting the standard for gay camping in Florida.

Sawmill recently underwent [another] management change sweeping out the past and welcoming in new leadership with an expressed policy of guest first. New management includes a decorations designer, recently from Walt Disney World in Orlando, with the goal of returning Sawmill to the days of decorating to themes.

Three years have passed since Sawmill became a Coop. The property is being updated with consistent diligent effort. Much is not made of efforts to bring the facility into the twenty first century; we all expect the toilets to flush. And flush they do, better than ever with investments in state of the art septic systems that produce the same effluent delivered to golf courses and roadway medians in purple pipes.

Suffering through growth and change is often a messy process and usually the death knell for a business. Sawmill turned that around. Crowds continue to grow and most weekends cabins and RV sites are sold out.

Sawmill is a seventeen-year-old property that has seen little investment over that time. Neglect has left the infrastructure in disrepair. Though a great deal has been done in the past several years, much remains to be done. The laundry room is a sore point for both residents and guests as housekeeping usurps it several days each week, machines are regularly out of order and the laundry room itself is in a state of general disrepair. Shower rooms need updating. Both projects are on the drawing board for 2015. Roads have been improved and cabins have been renovated.

Blade is now a smoke free area with plans to convert it to a community room open daily for refuge from bad weather with dedicated Wi-Fi, furnishings including seating and pool table and several flat screen monitors. A new dog park is slated for completion in the second quarter of 2015, a gift from Sawmill residents. Now that same sex marriage is legal in Florida Sawmill offers complete wedding packages including a ceremony in the new lakeside gazebo, flowers, accommodations, catering and all out fun.

Another new addition to Sawmill is the Bunk House. The Bunk House offers a bedroom with private bath, bedrooms with shared baths and common sleeping areas. It’s already a huge hit with guests who arrive as strangers and quickly become friends. A new conference room furnished to accommodate up to twelve is now available.

Lucy’s is the reception desk and general store. The poolside bar, Splash, offers food service serving a variety of well prepared and reasonably priced entrees and appetizers, and though smoking is still tolerated umbrella tables outside offer respite. Sawmill’s nightclub, Woody’s, is open Thursday through Sunday with live DJ on Friday and Saturday nights; smoking is still tolerated inside Woody’s. A community campfire burns weekend nights in the Courtyard and is often the center of after hours gatherings. Nature trails wander the wooded area near Ricky Lake.

Sawmill has taken the first steps to creating a smoke free indoor environment, though momentum to make it permanent appears timid. As Sawmill moves into new group markets there is pressure to make all public facilities at Sawmill smoke free.

Though licensed as clothing optional, nudity is currently limited to the pool area, Thursdays, and posted Bare As You Dare theme weekends. Management is discussing widening the nudity policy to include more, perhaps all, days.

As Sawmill continues to strive for a customer first experience, management knows the most difficult challenges are to keep the experience fresh, develop new ideas, and create new reasons to visit Sawmill. One such effort is a recent reunion weekend reintroducing old members to the new Sawmill. Changes occur daily and if you haven’t been to Sawmill, or haven’t been in a while, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Sawmill is a member of Friends With Benefits, a community of gay campgrounds that allows a camper with a valid membership at another FWB campground to try out Sawmill with a half price membership in their first year.

Located about an hour from both Tampa and Orlando Sawmill is easily accessible for locals and visitors alike.

http://FLSawmill.com
21710 US 98
Dade City FL 33523
352-583-0664
Located two miles south of FL Route 50 immediately across the Withlacooche River; from the north slow down as you cross the bridge then immediately turn left


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