Glamping in the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains
Story and photos by Erin Lindsey
Erin Lindsey runs the Escape Brooklyn blog with her husband Denny Brownell, and they are experts about getting out of NYC and into adventures with friends. To learn more, check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Glamping is a more luxurious form of traditional camping that still allows you to connect with nature.
World-renowned author and outdoor enthusiast Henry David Thoreau once said, “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” As the authors of Escape Brooklyn, a travel blog that aims to get people out of the city and into the outdoors, we couldn’t agree more. Whether it's spring, summer, fall or winter, we spend as much time as we can outside — hiking, canoeing, swimming, cross-country skiing or whatever else we can find. And once a season, we go camping.
As far as we’re concerned, an overnight outdoor adventure is the best way to reconnect with nature. And these days, with the advent of companies like Tentrr, camping is more accessible and hassle-free than ever. The small company, based in the Catskill Mountains of New York, creates unique campsites on private land. The sites are already set up upon arrival.
Tentrr's campsites are identical throughout their offerings. Each tent is made from a thick, weatherproof canvas, about the size of most bedrooms, and sits atop a raised platform. The tents are stocked with necessities: Think bug spray, a few lights, water, and — perhaps most importantly — an actual bed. During chillier months, wood stoves heat up the large tents, making for a memorable (and cozy!) year-round experience. Outside, each site has a fire pit, two Adirondack-style chairs, a picnic table and plentiful space. All of this comes together to create an easy getaway so campers can simply show up, kick back and stare at the stars.
Currently, Tentrr is only available in the Catskills, but it's got eyes on the entire Northeast and mid-Atlantic as the website grows. Campers outside the Catskills should check out similar-minded website Hipcamp, which lists campsite offerings on both private and public land throughout the U.S. Their definition of camping is a little broader, listing everything from tents to teepee to actual rooms in private residences — with the common thread being that they all offer unique experiences.
These days, more and more people are opting for glamping — a term short for glamorous camping. It varies from site to site, but guests often stay in tents with beds, wood stoves and sometimes even electricity. The idea is to combine the luxury amenities of a hotel room with the best parts of camping: fresh air, seclusion, waking up to singing birds and the great outdoors.
We tried glamping at Posh Primitive in the Adirondack Mountains, a scenic area in upstate New York that attracts millions of tourists each year, many who come to camp. We fell in love with this campsite based on its beautiful interiors, plentiful amenities and delicious meals. Each morning, breakfast is prepared for you in the combination rec room/mess hall; guests converse, compare plans for the day, then disperse. The space comes alive with storytelling over a warm meal when everyone converges again in the evening.
Since the Adirondacks are so big, the options for outdoor activities can be overwhelming, so the owners can help campers plan a day full of adventure — even if it’s just a short hike on their own private land. The entire place has four private campsites, which are far enough from each other to feel very private but close enough to not feel isolated in the woods. Posh Primitive is just one of many glamping experiences available — for more glamping venues in the same area, check out VisitAdirondacks.com.
A step above camping — literally — might be staying in a treehouse. They tend to be much cushier than tents, but the semi-permanent structures high in the treetops definitely create a camping sensation. We've stayed at three recently: the treehouse at Moose Meadow Lodge in Waterbury, Vermont; the Hermit Thrush Treehouse in West Pawlet, Vermont; and Whispering Wind Treehouse in Argyle, New York. All three listings have real beds, heat and electricity; they're also all built with multiple levels!
Last but not least, those afraid of heights but looking for the cushiness and views of a treehouse might enjoy sleeping in a geodesic dome in the Catskills. Owner Joshua Druckman grew up in South Florida, passing by the Epcot Center and its signature Buckminster Fuller-designed geodesic sphere quite often. Years later as an adult, Mr. Druckman came upon an opportunity to buy one and realized his childhood dream of having his own dome. The massive sphere can sleep up to 25 guests comfortably (though it’s priced for six) and is BYOB — bring your own bedding! Waking up in the dome is nothing short of magical. The structure lights up early in the morning and allows you to admire the sunrise from the comfort of your sleeping bag. At night, hang out by the bonfire, or cook dinner in the outdoor kitchen using ingredients from their garden (or a local farm).
Glamping is a simple way to experience the outdoors without sacrificing too much comfort. With so many options, now is a good time to plan your next adventure.