Perry campground welcomes back visitors

Al Davisreopened the long-shuttered Lily Pad as Remember When Campground on Memorial Day weekend.

PERRY, Mo. — When Al Davis sold his air conditioning business last year, his thoughts were retirement after a 36-year run as an entrepreneur.

He sold Davis Complete Air Conditioning to his business partner and aimed at settling down in Perry.

“I first started to come to Perry to hunt for mushrooms, which you can do year-round, and just fell in love with the people of Perry. I bought a house and started coming here when we were not working,” he said.

After he retired, Davis, 64, decided to purchase the former Lily Pad restaurant, gas station and campground, located just beyond the western city limits marker of Perry along Lick Creek. The campground had been closed for nearly seven years. “I like the location mainly for the garage, which is great for my antique cars,” he said.

Then, area residents started to urge Davis to reopen the campground, which has a mix of full hookups and primitive overnight camping spaces, because of the need for overflow camp sites around Mark Twain Lake.

“I was going to turn that area into an apple orchard, but once I saw all the deer tracks, it was clear I would need armed guards to protect the apples, so we decided to reopen the campground,” David said.

In April, Davis began to clear the overgrown weeds and grass in the RV area to create space for a campground.

Davis renamed the facility the Remember When Campground. His first paying campers stayed over the Memorial Day weekend. Although he has not had any campers since Memorial Day, he is hopeful that that business will gain steam as people learn about the campground.

His is running the business with his significant other, Blue Sandrock, and his son, Chad.

Davis said that he plans to work for many years to come.

“My dad is 87 and still building houses. He says a man in motion stays in motion, and I believe that fully,” David said. “As he says, if you stop you drop. All his friend have died because they just quit working and quit being active.”

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