I like to camp. Or at least I did. I’m still hanging onto these memories of what camping used to be like growing up and then married before children.
Camping was actually vacation.
After our first few camping trips with children, my fantasy of family camping was slaughtered by continual bathroom trips, sanitizing and then re-sanitizing, everything getting dropped in the soggy dirt, running out of outfits the first day, mud tracked into the tent, mosquitoes, cold and of course, no sleep.
It was another one of those times I had to call my mom and say, “thank you.” I never noticed how much work went into family camping because mom and dad just did it all. I just had to show up and play my little heart out.
However, recently the outdoors and I had a rematch and my dream of family camping has been reinvigorated.
The Arnold family went “glamping.” And my husband would prefer if you didn’t tell his friends.
Glamping is also known as “glamorous camping.” It is the marriage between the rugged outdoors and the Hilton. I would say it was the right match for our marriage as well — me being a bit of a city girl and my husband being a man who wants to just live among the sage brush and elk (no tent required).
Therefore, while I say how amazing it was, keep in mind that my husband’s beard grew a little smaller — especially anytime I used the word “glamping.”
The glamping idea arrived while I was planning our much-anticipated summer family road trip. We would travel down the coastline of California, through the beautiful redwoods to Mendocino.
From Mendocino we would then cut over east to Lake Tahoe for a few days before heading back north.
To break up the hotel stays, and cost of hotel stays, I started looking for an alternative option for a portion of the trip. I wanted to throw in a different experience and camping wouldn’t work because then we would have to pack all of our camping gear into an already loaded SUV.
After some research, I fell upon The New Mendocino Campground. Mendocino is a picturesque coastal town south of Fort Bragg in California. Nestled above the ocean and Big River on 37 acres of serene wooded hills was once the home of a run-down and unused campground. After a creative couple got their hands on it and put in some major TLC — it opened as a brand new luxury camping experience this summer.
And boy was it an experience.
No setting up a tent. No blowing up a mattress that would only go flat in a matter of hours.
We quickly unloaded our bags into a large wall tent on a wood platform including a covered porch. Our family tent spaciously held a king size bed and two bunk beds equip with down comforters, nice linens and wool blankets.
Lanterns, bath towels, coffee, tea and mugs sat upon vintage stagecoach trunks, as well as a note on tips to exploring the area.
In the evening, fire wood and starters were brought to our site for the fire pit. Chairs were also provided for comfy sitting.
Gross camping bathroom? Fear no more. This bathroom was renovated with heated tile floors, and private stalls with hot showers that included spa quality shampoos and soaps. It was even a luxury bathroom experience which is usually unheard of when you’re camping.
Hot water, and hot water bags were provided for guests and chilly nights or for tea refills as we sat by the fire playing Yahtzee.
After a restful night sleep, a basket of fresh breads, fruit, coffee, cream and beautiful china were placed on our front porch. We dined luxuriously, yet we were in our pajamas on a picnic table in the woods.
I was in camping heaven, and our girls can’t wait to go camping again.
A number of other glamping sites are popping up throughout the country — many of them on the West Coast.
Happy camping — or should I say glamping?
Brittany Arnold is a once city girl turned small town green-acres girl. She loves kissing her bearded axeman and cuddling her two daughters. Sometimes, she writes.
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