When the Crones family took over Deer Run Campground, in many ways they were starting out worse than if they had started from scratch.

“This place had a bad reputation because it was so run down,” Ray Jr. said, adding his father bought the campground at a sheriff’s sale. “My father, he’s a real go getter and he took it as a challenge.”

“Truthfully, when we bought it, it looked like a junk yard,” Beverly said. “You saw no grass, you couldn’t even see roads for all the leaves (and) there was junk cars parked all around.”

Gradually, with Ray Jr. and Beverly managing the campground, the family turned things around.

Deer Run Campground - Gardners, Pennsylvania

Deer Run Campground - Gardners, Pennsylvania


“I had a construction background when I came here so I was capable of doing all of the maintenance,” Ray Jr. said. “She came here with business experience, so she was capable of taking care of the business end of it and I was capable of taking care of the maintenance end of it so together we made a great team.”

Ray Sr. also has a background in construction and until this season, both he and his wife had been involved in the improvement and operation of the campground as well.

With everyone chipping in and by steadily making improvements over the years, the Crones have made Deer Run a success.

“Starting out the first year (we had) 20 people Memorial Day weekend, now we’re up to 150,” Beverly said. “We’d have more if we had more spaces.”

On top of brick and mortar improvements, a major key to the success of Deer Run has also been offering activities and a family-friendly environment, according to Ray Jr.

“We did a lot of camping as a family … and one thing me and my wife found was the kids gotta be happy,” Ray Jr. said. “If the kids aren’t happy, we’re not happy, and that’s something we based this on when we came here.”

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