Glamping: Camping Made Easy

‘Glamping is ideal for travelers 55 and up who are looking for a novel and restorative getaway’

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Glamping photos are courtesy Firelight Camps at La Tourelle Resort and Spa.
Glamping photos are courtesy Firelight Camps at La Tourelle Resort and Spa.

If setting up a camp and sleeping on the cold, hard ground in a tent doesn’t sound like a good time anymore, glamping may be the easiest way you can connect with nature without roughing it.

“Glamping” is a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping.” Instead of roughing it in a sleeping bag or lumpy cot, campers at most glamping facilities sleep between high thread-count sheets on a queen-sized bed on a raised platform. Most glamping sites provide a bedside chair and table, outside chairs, and picnic facilities. Instead of tiny, leaky tents, they enjoy a spacious safari-style tent, tipi or yurt. Plus, campers don’t have to set up a thing.

The food is lots easier, too. Instead of relying on their skills as an angler and hauling in all the other food they want to eat, guests are served by their glamping hosts, who usually treat their guests to gourmet meals made from local foods.

“Glamping is ideal for travelers 55 and up who are looking for a novel and restorative getaway,” said Emily Leedy, marketing manager at Firelight Camps in Ithaca. “The defining experience of glamping is an unforgettable night’s sleep in a furnished tent with luxury amenities instead of the hassles of traditional camping, like carting gear and pitching a tent. There’s magic in the contrast of being supremely comfortable in a plush bed while breathing crisp air and listening to birdsong.”

Hosts also provide thoughtful appointments like available massage therapists and spa treatments, communal campfires and recommendations to local events and activities. Think of glamping as an upscale B&B, but outdoors.   

“Luxury camping is ideal for older adults because you get all the benefits of sleeping in the forest without the effort of having to set up camp,” said Rachael Shafer, co-owner of Posh Primitive in Chestertown, near Lake George. “Folks are recognizing the value of investing in experiences, rather than buying stuff required to camp.”

Glamping facilities like to offer their own special amenities and features. At Mountain Horse Farm in the Finger Lakes town of Naples, guests sleep in a traditional Sioux tipi.

“Glamping is a wonderful way to connect to nature and each other, without giving up luxury,” said owner Suzanne Vullers. “Add a couple’s massage or other wellness offering to make your stay at Mountain Horse Farm even more special.”

The facility functions as a horse and cow rescue. Guests can choose to groom horses or cuddle a cow as part of their getaway. Mountain Horse also hosts horsemanship clinics presented by guest industry experts.

Glamping offered the perfect way for Toni Hobbins of Madison, Conn., to celebrate her 80th birthday. She had heard of Posh Primitive from her niece two years ago and decided she needed to gather her best eight friends to go glamping.

“I went camping when the kids were little,” Hobbins said. “It was roughing it. This is not roughing it at all but being outdoors in the natural world. It is very pleasant. Each site is well furnished and the beds are comfortable. They had very good bedding.”

That’s a big contrast to her memories of camping with her three children: hauling a tent trailer, cooking endless pots of spaghetti and waking up sore.

“The name is ‘posh’ and it really is,” Hobbins said of her most recent experience at Posh Primitive. “The owners put a lot of time and effort into making it special.”

She liked the enclosed showers and real bathroom available for guests, as well as the meals provided. Breakfast and dinner are served at the campsite, and guests may ask for a boxed lunch to take with them wherever they’re headed for the day.

“We went hiking and swimming,” Hobbins said. “There was so much to do — or you can choose to do nothing.”

She added that all of her guests were well over 55 years old and enjoyed a good time relaxing and visiting area attractions like the Adirondack Experience in Blue Mountain Lake, New York.

“Every single person thought it was a wonderful place and had such a good time,” Hobbins said.

She encourages potential glampers to investigate where they intend to go.

Firelight photo by Rita Kapoor Wojick.
Firelight photo by Rita Kapoor Wojick.

“There are a lot of glamping areas now in New York, New England and across the country,” Hobbins said. “See which ones look good and have good reviews.”

Glamping Sites

Where They Are:

Glamping sites in New York include:

IthacaFirelight Camps (www.firelightcamps.com; 607-229-1644)

Rockaway Park Camp Rockaway (www.camprockaway.com)

Ghent Collective Hudson Valley (www.collectiveretreats.com)

Chestertown Posh Primitive (www.poshprimitive.com, 518-744-6808)

Roxbury Bellfire Tipi (www.bellfirefarm.com)

Woodstock Glamping at Woodstock Meadows  (www.facebook.com/glampingatwoodstockmeadows)

Naples Mountain Horse Farm (www.mountainhorsefarm.com)

Johnsburg Camp Orenda (https://camporenda.com, 518-251-5001)

Darien Center Glamping at Darien Lake (www.sixflags.com/darienlake/accommodations/glamping, 585-599-2211)

East Meredith Harmony Hill Retreat (http://harmonyhillretreat.com, 877-278-6609)

Research at www.glamping.com/destinations/north-america/united-states to find a glamping site out of state.