ROCHESTER, Minnesota - Labor Day weekend is often seen as the unofficial end of summer, and that means many people are getting one last outing in before cooler weather comes our way.
Barb and Roger Philip have owned and managed the KOA just off Interstate 90 south of Rochester for about 30 years. During that time, they've met many faces traveling to Southern Minnesota, or just passing through as they make their way to their final destination.
"We'll get a lot of stopovers, in today, gone tomorrow. Heading for Mt. Rushmore, head to Wisconsin Dells, whatever they can do to get out and enjoy."
For them, 2020 has been a busy year, with July and August being especially busy, as many just needed to shake off some cabin fever and get outside. While Labor Day weekend has always been busy for them, they feel that visitors picked up a bit this weekend.
"I know it's going to slow down, but kids are going back to school or virtual school. It will slow down, but that's ok, we understand."
For the last month and a half, Scott and Breanna Kirchman have set up camp at the KOA. Their family, which also includes 6 kids and 2 dogs, live in their camper fulltime, as Scott recently retired from the military and Breanna is a contractor with Mayo Clinic, and recently arrived in Minnesota from Kansas.
"Barb and Roger are the only ones that allow firepits, the playground and pool. They're really the only campground that we've found that has stuff for kids to do," Scott said.
"It's nice and quiet out here. It's very quiet," Breanna said.
"We don't have to worry about cars and traffic. We can have campfires and s'mores when we want," Scott said.
From the moment they arrived, they knew they picked the right spot.
"She'll [Barb] come by and she'll give our youngest rides on the golf cart, and gives our big boys Legos to put together. She'll come by and play with the dogs."
Now that this camping season is about to wrap up, the Kirchman's hope that campgrounds can be even more prepared for an influx of visitors.
"I'm hoping that next year, for the sake of all of us, and our mental and physical well-being, that we can get out and camp and enjoy the outdoors around other people without having that fear," Breanna said.
And they know where to come for their next stay.
"Barb and Roger are definitely part of our family now. They're great."