Falling for Glamping

Published in the Fall 2020 issue of Travel Life Magazine

A few extra comforts — from fluffy duvets to bathrobes to breakfast baskets —can elevate your next camping experience

Glamping has an obvious appeal — total immersion in nature, but with a comfy bed, no worries about rain, and easy access to bathroom facilities and other amenities you wouldn’t get with camping. It’s the perfect social bubble.   

I recently had my first ever glamping experiences on two sites in Norfolk County, an area between Port Dover and Long Point on the north shore of Lake Erie. Like any good love affair, I fell for each glamping property for quite different reasons. Homegrown Hideaway is like the understated person that you fall for because you can really be yourself around them: they’re family oriented, totally down to earth, and when you’re together, you feel relaxed and at ease. Long Point Eco-Adventures is more like being around the person you love for their energy and enthusiasm, and enjoyment of the outdoors. They like some luxury, but they also like to kayak, paddleboard, maybe throw an axe (yup, you can do that too) and go mountain biking. And then after a full day, they want to chill with a beer (there’s a brewery on site) or a glass of wine (there’s an award-winning winery across the road) and then have dinner on a patio overlooking the marsh.

What kind of person are you most attracted to?

Let me give you more details so you can best choose your mate. Homegrown Hideaway near Port Dover has, as its name implies, the emphasis on hidden: each tent is set apart in its own wooded clearing, and are so private that the only people we saw over a weekend there were the owners, Caroline and Jon Jager, and their two charming young children. When the Jagers opened in July 2020, they hadn’t expected to be starting a business amidst a pandemic. For now, that means operating just two of their five tents so that each has access to its own toilet and shower facilities. Their Wooded Oasis is set in a clearing in the forest, while their Secluded Sanctuary is even more remote from the main road, and close to the Lynn River, with its own outdoor rainwater shower.

Each tent has a bed with puffy white duvets, towels and bathrobes. Although there is no electricity in the tents, there are plugs in separate washroom facilities, along with an outdoor kitchen for cleaning up. Both tents also have their own deck chairs, firepit and barbecue.

For extra pampering, $20 breakfast baskets can be delivered to your tent in the morning, with choices of everything from ingredients for farm fresh omelettes, to baked goods and a British brunch.

At Long Point Eco-Adventures, you can stay in safari tents (their “Wilderness Suites”) or wooden huts (their Elite or Deluxe Pods). All the suites and pods have beautiful hardwood floors, their own sink and toilet, hydro, space heaters and super cozy beds. The suites also have heated blankets on the beds, their own outdoor showers, private firepits and Adirondack chairs. While the pods also have access to firepits and showers, not all of them are private.

Overnight stays at Long-Point include a continental breakfast at their Marshview Patio, weather permitting, with lunch and dinner available à la carte. The eco resort also has a hopping microbrewery, Hometown Brew Co, on site, with live music Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons (if warm enough), and picnic tables and lawn space where you can enjoy it. Across the street is their popular sister company, Burning Kiln Winery, on what was formerly a tobacco farm. Here you can do a tasting, and drink their wines at the adjacent Canned Heat restaurant next door. The winery overlooks the shore of Lake Erie and Long Point, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

Fall activities include everything from hiking and biking, to pumpkin patch picking at local farms, axe throwing on site, and visits to the town of Port Dover and of course the beautiful stretch of beach at Long Point Provincial Park a half hour away.