If you want to get closer to nature, but not so close that you can feel its rocks in your back while you sleep, glamping just might be for you.
The term – a mixture of “glamour” and “camping” – refers to stays in luxury cabins and well-appointed recreational vehicles.
But true glamping has its roots in the safaris of Africa, where wealthy Europeans and Americans retire to comfortable tented accommodations while exploring the bush country.
“In a canvas structure, you hear the noises, you hear the birds. You can sense the outdoors. You can feel the wind blowing,”
Glampsites offer heavy-duty canvas tents that are already erected when a glamper arrives. Perched on a wooden deck is a real bed frame and mattress. Jutting from the front of the tent is a wooden porch area, frequently outfitted with a rustic table and chairs. Many glamping sites even offer electricity.
The trend has exploded in Europe and Canada, with many traditional campgrounds now offering glamping-style options. In fact, many of the folks staying in Darien’s white, canvas tents are vacationers from Canada.
But the trend has been slower to catch on here.
Glamping elsewhere in the United States has turned into a five-star event, complete with flat-screen TVs and air conditioning.
Camp Orenda, a glampsite in the Adirondacks, is celebrating a banner grand opening season.
“It has been totally off the charts,” said owner David Webb. “The trend is really starting to pop off.”
Patterned after traditional hunting camps, Orenda is big on comfort and beauty but not opulence.
The furnishings, while attractive, are unrefined. There are homey quilts on beds with handmade, wooden headboards and shelves made from 100-year-old barn board. Rough-hewn tables sport mason jars with wildflowers.
The $270-per-night rate includes a host of activities on its 40-acre retreat: fishing, spelunking, kayaking.
Most of Webb’s customers come from New York City.
“It’s great for parents who want to get kids away from the electronic devices and back to nature, but who don’t want to buy the tent and lug the camping equipment and everything else,” Webb said. “You’re still roughing it, but you’re doing it in style. Everything is taken care of.”