ROUGHING IT NOT YOUR THING? YOU CAN STILL GET YOUR FRESH AIR FIX WITHOUT ABANDONING THE LUXE LIFE
There’s something to be said for facing the great outdoors head on, pitching your tent at the edge of the wilderness and communing with nature. Rising at the crack of dawn, seeing the first rays of golden sunlight painting the treetops, hearing the rush of wild water and breathing in the musty fragrance of the forest … it’s the sort of singular moment that quietly expels every ounce of stress from your body.
It’s a singular moment, because that’s how long it lasts.
Soon, the mosquitos are feasting on every square centimeter of exposed skin, your back is waging a painful protest against the sleeping conditions, racoons make off with all of your food, and the folks in the RV parked right next to your campsite are already cranking up the morning jams on their 5,000-watt outdoor speakers.
IT’S THE SORT OF SINGULAR MOMENT THAT QUIETLY EXPELS EVERY OUNCE OF STRESS FROM YOUR BODY.
For those accustomed to four- or five-star luxury, camping can be a little too, well, rustic. These discerning types might instead do better with glamping.
Glamping, in case you’re not up on your portmanteaus, is a combination of the oxymoronic “glamorous” and “camping.” Today, the glamping industry offers a taste of the outdoors life paired with most of the comforts of home — comfortable beds, electricity and furniture in large safari-style tents; real bathrooms; if you’re lucky, air-conditioning.
Some of the best places to glamp are just a few hours away from the Lowcountry in the mountains of North Carolina.
At Paint Rock Farms in Hot Springs, you’ll find six glamping sites with private “boho-chic” screened cabins on a high bluff overlooking the French Broad River. Each boasts its own patio, firepit and picnic table; at the end of the day, tuck yourself into bed atop a memory foam mattress that’s a far cry from the typical camping air mattress and sleeping bag.
Or head to Blue Bear Mountain Camp just outside of Boone, where you’ll find a towering tepee, complete with queen-sized bed, dining table and chairs, and jaw-dropping mountain views.
And then there’s Asheville Glamping, founded in 2012 by Joanna Cahill and Patrick Lovett. Accommodations run the gamut from “Rosie the Riveted,” a vintage Airstream trailer, to “The Nest,” a treehouse for grownups — plus several geodesic domes, safari tents and yurts, many boasting air conditioning.
The company’s three properties are the perfect example of ultra-pampered outdoor living — a trend it helped define.
“We were the first glamping camp in the state,” Cahill said. “I didn’t start this camp because it was trendy — I’ve just always been into alternative structures. I grew up camping and spending time outdoors with my family. I just fell in love with that lifestyle. … As we grow up, there’s not a whole lot of that. There’s not a whole lot of play or opportunities to disconnect.”
In the spirit of disconnecting, one amenity you won’t find at any of Asheville Glamping’s lodgings is Wi-Fi access – although Cahill noted there is “perfect” signal if you’re on the Verizon network, if you’re worried about being completely out of touch with the civilized world.
As glamping continues to grow in popularity, more sites offering luxury-meets-wilderness lodgings are popping up all over the country. Under Canvas, a company with eight campsites adjacent to national parks, makes a stay in the Smoky Mountains or near parks like Zion, Yellowstone or Mount Rushmore a little more comfortable thanks to spacious safari tents with optional en suite bathrooms, king-sized beds and wood-burning stoves. There’s even daily housekeeping.
It’s a chance to enjoy Mother Nature in all her glory — but without pesky inconveniences like irritating mosquitos or hungry racoons.