Four years ago, Brooklynite Janet Huey and her boyfriend, Colin Green, were browsing listings on Airbnb when they stumbled upon a safari-like setup in Woodstock. The site was operated by New York-based Terra Glamping, which offers roomy tents with ultra-comfy mattresses, plush amenities and a full-service on-site concierge. Huey, a 30-year-old freelance performer, was instantly smitten.
“It’s everything you want from a hotel, but in nature,” she explains. “It’s a little oasis away from the city, where you can really immerse yourself, relax and explore. You can’t hear the hustle and bustle — you can barely hear the tent next to you.” Huey has already booked a weekend at Terra’s next pop-up, which has moved downriver and out East — to Cedar Point County Park in East Hampton.
It was the Suffolk County Parks Department which kick-started the new Cedar Point project, requesting proposals to help juice usage of its conventional campsite overlooking Gardiner’s Bay. After reviewing several bids, the agency selected 4-year-old glamping specialist Terra to debut this season. Along with 30 sleeping tents available for booking (double occupancy, from $300 at TerraGlamping.com), the outfit will provide two lounge tents, a dining tent, a fire pit for s’mores and a grilling area. Bathrooms will be in luxury trailers, with private cubicles each featuring a shower, sink and toilet.
“Glamping is different from camping,” Terra CEO Rebecca Martin explains. “The interior of the tent looks like a hotel room, and you don’t lose your creature comforts — we have marshmallowy duvets and a dresser. But the canvas is breathable, so at night, you have fresh air coming in. And we’re on the bay side, so you hear lapping water on the beach, which is incredible white noise.”
Glamping has been popular in Europe and Australia for some time (although the concept suffered a reputation ding here via the recent Fyre Festival fiasco, where accommodation was promised in glamping-style tents and woefully underdelivered).
But Terra and other local outfits — see Camp Rockaway in Queens and Collective Retreats, with a site on Governors Island — all aim to bring a positive, entry-level outdoorsy experience to New York city slickers.
Such glamping sites are an ideal place to disconnect, per Martin, who warns that the East Hampton site is deliberately not equipped with Wi-Fi (although there is cellphone coverage). “People need this digital detox now, a place in the country where you can sit outside, read a book and watch the water. We need to train ourselves to do that once more.”
That’s certainly the appeal for Huey and Green, who are now engaged.
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