Do you love the outdoor experience of camping, but dislike the lack of amenities of a four-man tent and a sleeping bag? Then maybe glamping is for you.
“Glamping,” short for glamour camping, is the latest Millennials craze, and affordable sites are popping up around the globe.
According to Wikipedia, glamping started in the UK in 2005, and has its roots in “earlier forms of luxury camping like the 1920’s African safari sites,” and is the “modern equivalent that combines both yesterday’s amenities and today’s technology.”
And, there is a glamping site near you.
Nick Phoenix is the manager of Coldwater Gardens, a glamping and cottage complex that opened last year about 15 miles north of Milton.
Boasting 352 acres with 8 miles of roads and hiking trails, vegetable gardens, aquaponics, and 1.5 miles of creek front, Coldwater Gardens is “an eco-resort that balances agriculture, hospitality and environmental restoration,” Phoenix said.
The site has six glamping tents situated along a sprawling hillside. Amenities with each tent include a queen-size bed, mini-fridge, kitchen hutch, charcoal grill and a fire pit. They also have a shower, outdoor lounge chairs on the stoops, coffee pots, fans, and linen is provided for the bed as well as an electric blanket for winter nights.
“We have the simple amenities, but it’s still camping,” Phoenix said. “All you have to bring is food.”
Bradley Mims, who lives in Pensacola, had his first glamping experience in June at Coldwater Gardens.
“My girlfriend wanted to do something special for my birthday, and she found this place online,” Mims said. “I love it! Yesterday we saw the honey bees, went down to the creek, and visited the tree house … that was cool.”
But it’s the quiet that fascinates Mims most.
“You can’t hear a car running, or anything,” Mims said as he relaxed in a lounge chair on his tent stoop. “And electricity in the tent is the best bonus ever!”
Phoenix, who visits the different sites in his golf cart, said guests like to sit around the campfire and watch the sunset, and seem to enjoy the whole back-to-nature camping experience the resort provides.
“One guest was so appreciative he gave us a staghorn fern that is about 62 years old,” Phoenix said.
Phoenix keeps the fern in the Terrace, a building that seats up to 150 people used for weddings, reunions and other occasions. Phoenix said wedding parties are a big part of their business because the glamping tents and cottages together can house up to 47 people and still provide privacy and a place to escape.
Located a ways down from the Terrace, past the koi pond is, for some glampers, the most important building … the bathhouse.
“I was a Boy Scout and I’ve seen some dirty bathrooms,” Mims said. “But the bathrooms here are very clean … that’s nice.
“We are already talking about when we can come back! It’s quiet, and away from everything … it’s perfect.”