Glamorous Camping At Its Finest

by Nancy Bestor

When I was growing up, my family did a LOT of camping. Every summer we’d camp for many, many nights in a tent at Memorial Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. My mother was the queen of camp cooking. I’d wake up to smell fresh coffee percolating on top of the fire pit, and bacon crackling in the frying pan, and there my mom would be, throwing sticks onto a roaring fire with a bandanna covering her hair. I remember spending my days riding around the campground on my bike, splashing in the swimming holes, and not having to be home until dinner or dark, whichever came first.

So when I had my own family, Bob and I dutifully took them camping, pitching our tent at the likes of Fish Lake, Union Creek, and Lake of the Woods, all campgrounds within an hour of so of Ashland. Every year however, we’d camp less and less, as I realized, I DON’T REALLY LIKE CAMPING, and CAMPING IS A LOT OF WORK! Sleeping on the ground (even with a nicely padded Thermarest), having to walk to the bathroom, or worse, squat down in the woods in the middle of the night because I don’t want to walk to the toilet, not showering for a few days, etc., etc. And who knew how much work adults put in when taking their family camping. Bringing all the cooking utensils, not to mention the food, setting up the tent and sleeping gear. When I was little and my family went camping my mom did all the work. Now that I’m a mom……yeah, I’m not liking it so much.

Thus it was with some trepidation that we planned a family bike riding/camping vacation for the San Juan Islands this summer. After looking for lodging, and not finding much in our price range, we decided to give camping another try. But this time it wasn’t really camping, it was, in fact, glamping. Yes, you read it right. There’s a new term in the camping world—glamping—otherwise known as glamorous camping.

Glamorous camping features spacious, safari-style tents with high ceilings, finished wood floors, and soft comfortable beds, and oh what a difference it made in my opinion of camping! We stayed at Lakedale Resort, on San Juan Island and our lakefront “cabin” included fresh sheets, plush towels, a lantern, and a full breakfast every morning, for $169 a night. We had a fire pit just off our doorstep, Adirondack chairs to look out over the lake, and did I mention comfortable beds? Unfortunately, the toilet and showers were still a short walk away, but I have to admit, that really wasn’t so bad. Plus, since we were on bikes, we didn’t bring anything in the way of cooking utensils, outside of a Swiss army knife. We ate breakfast at the mess tent (which included fresh hot coffee, eggs, pancakes, oatmeal, cold cereal, fruit and pastries), then rode our bikes five miles each way to Friday Harbor or Roche Harbor for a late lunch. We did make dinner back at the campsite, but we kept it simple with fresh baked bread, good deli meats and cheeses, fresh fruit, and cold Guiness Stout. The most cooking we did was smores over the campfire late in the evening. We spent our days roaming around the island on our bikes, and came back late every afternoon in time for a quick dip in the lake.

Now I know this is not truly camping, but I have to say, it’s likely to be the only camping I do from here on out. Unless my mother wants to camp with us.