Camping? Nope. But Glamping? Absolutely.

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By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

I am not a camper. Even as a kid, the idea of sleeping on the ground did not appeal to me. I wanted to be a Girl Scout for the cute, green outfit and sash full of badges but, ultimately, gave it up due to the relentless, camping trip requirements. While I enjoy being outside, I don’t like dirt, bugs, wild animals, or walking to a community bathroom in the middle of the night. Not my idea of a good time.

However, “glamping” is right up my alley. Thanks to some super creative people (and websites like Pinterest) surviving in the good, ol’ outdoors has taken on new meaning! And, since my husband is an avid fan of shows like Running Wild with Bear Grylls and Survivorman with Les Stroud, but is married to ME….I figured that I would surprise him for our 25th wedding anniversary with an overnight in the elements.

Thank goodness for Collective Retreats! If you didn’t catch their segment on Good Morning America over the summer, I’ll fill you in on the details: it is basically an opportunity to pretend to be low maintenance when you are (in reality) very high maintenance. You DO sleep in a tent. However, this is no ordinary piece of canvas strapped to a few poles. It is a gorgeous, luxurious, hotel-like setting complete with 1,500 thread count linens, cool chandeliers, electricity/bedside phone chargers, and high-end interior design. The package I chose also had an attached “bathroom” tent complete with a rain-style shower and full flush toilets. (Otherwise, this trip would not have happened).

Glamping in style. Image Courtesy ABC News.

There are several Collective Retreat locations across the country (Colorado, Montana, Texas) but we chose the site on Governor’s Island, New York. Originally a military base and home to the Coast Guard, it is now considered a city park. It was SO cool to see the New York City skyline from this spot. The Statue of Liberty was directly across from us!

Because we were there in late October and not at the height of the summer season, the island was relatively desolate. Fortunately, the weather was cooperative (albeit cold with the wind coming across the Hudson River) for us to spend the afternoon hiking.

We ate our meals in the Three Peaks Lodge which was a charming tent that included couches and a big screen for movie watching in the evening. After dinner, we went out to the firepit to roast s’mores and drink wine.

It was, essentially, the only way that Kelly camps. And, my husband had fun, too!

Collective Retreats is closed until June 2019 but my tip is to book EARLY. They are expanding their packages with tons of new options (including an Outlook Shelter which are re-purposed shipping containers that have 180 degree views from the glass encased bedroom).

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