Once you've gone glamping, you'll never go camping. At least that's what some of us declared. I happen to have kids who love to sleep in actual tents so I'm not off the hook. But now that I've experienced the great outdoors in luxurious accommodations, I've got the glamping bug! Little Yellow Couch had it's first foray into extending our monthly party into a weekend adventure. Here's how it unfurled:
We rented two yurts which is about as close to roughing it as Karen can stand. (I, on the other hand, am much more rugged and can definitely sleep in a tent as long as I have an air mattress). Here are the "BEFORE" photos:
Lots of creative and fun-loving gals who are pros at glamping go for the retro 1950s - 1960s look. They own the sweetest airstreams or teardrop trailers and fill them with vibrant kitchy dinnerware, linens and picnic gear. We do love this look but we had something different in mind. I have always dreamed of going to Kenya on safari, in the classiest of ways. Not that I want to support the division of the haves and the have-nots...in fact, I think everyone deserves a turn at living in luxury in out-of-the-way places, just because it's wildly entertaining. Anyway, my ideal version of glamping is to do it up the old-style British aristocracy version. Without the servants.
Now, to be clear, we didn't go out of our way to buy anything expensive for this trip. We already owned the couch (naturally). We borrowed the rug. We picked up a few of the smaller items at thrift stores and the rest came from our houses and those of our guests. We don't want you to think you have to spend loads of money to recreate as a glamper! For the sleeping area we brought super soft white linens because of their timeless, elegant style. We hung reproductions of art prints above the bed to add to the feel of a well appointed bedroom. Next to the bed was a bedside table with a vintage travel clock, a framed photograph and a candle for reading.
In Victorian times, travelers would set up their portable writing desks so that they could send letters home and write about their adventures in their journals. To give a nod to this very civilized practice, we used a vintage suitcase on top of a folding table. We set a serving tray inside to use as a flat surface. While you may not want to bother with this while glamping, you could easily set up a little writing area like this in your home!
In the bathing area, we set up a vintage water basin and pitcher and had a mirror hanging behind it so we could refresh our make-up and tidy up our hair. We thought the peacock feathers were a nice touch...sort of reminded us of the eccentricity of those wealthy world travelers who collected flora and fauna on their adventures.
As for the living area, no yurt would be complete without a little yellow couch! We also laid out the oriental rug (this was the BEST idea ever) and had candles on top of our steamer trunk and on the little side table where we could set our drinks and appetizers while socializing. The rug allowed us to comfortably walk around in bare feet and not feel icky. Icky is not good. Karen does not do icky. And I don't think I can ever do icky again. So from now on, "no rug, no camp."
Before getting the little yellow couch fully situated, we decided to take a few photos with our mascot outside. I mean, why not? It seemed obvious to us that if you're going to the trouble of lugging your antique velvet couch all the way to a campsite, you might as well set it down in several woodsy locations to fully appreciate it's versatility. We asked all of our guests to wear something that reminded them of Meryl Streep in "Out of Africa." I'm sure they thought we were out of our minds. But these are "All In" kind of gals and they gamely complied with our wishes and are looking quite smashing, don't you think?
After setting up our yurts and taking photographs were were all a bit weary and hungry. And in need of a cocktail. The plan had been to start a fire and get cooking but thankfully it started to rain. We had no choice but to change into our cocktail dresses and hit the town. And it made sense to dine out on the first night so we wouldn't have to do any more work. Work is so tedious after all.
Once we were back "home" we all slipped into our PJs and hunkered down for the night. Admittedly, even with real beds, none of us slept very soundly. There were several treks to the toilets with flashlights, tripping over tree roots and trying not to notice the very large bugs gathered around the florescent lights in the bathroom. The next morning, two of our guests made a coffee run, which was soooo appreciated, especially since I forgot the Keurig. After showering (25 cents for every 3 mintues of water...I thought Karen was going to die over this particular barbaric notion), we put on our sandals (I don't think any of us even considered bringing "sensible" shoes) and hit the antique stores in Plymouth.
Afterwards, we decided taking a walk down to the lake wasn't going to be too taxing and so off we wandered. Happily we found a beautiful scene with docks, beach and calm water so we dipped our toes for a while, enjoying the light breeze and warmth of the sun. (This is the part when we felt like we were true campers and probably would be earning some kind of merit badge for hiking or something).
We then had all night to start our fire, cook our steaks and set up our dining area. Transforming a sap-laden picnic table simply by covering it in white linen does wonders. Naturally, we brought our china, stemware and silverware, plus cloth napkins and brass candlesticks. I couldn't tell if the other campers who passed by, staring at us, were impressed, jealous or thought we were crazy. One of them simply said "Kinda fancy, don't you think?" I'm guessing they went with "crazy."
Oh, but camping sure does bring out your appetite! We had the stamina of kings when it came to food. Every site had a grill so it was easy to cook the steak. I had brought along cooked pasta, (sealed in ziploc bags with a little olive oil) to avoid having to boil water at the campground. We added the pasta to an aluminum foil packet of fresh veggies (also prepped at home), salt, pepper, herbs and Parmesan cheese and stuck the packets, all wrapped up, right on the fire for about ten minutes. We sliced the steak, poured our pasta onto our plates and dug in for a leisurely meal. We ended the evening around the campfire eating roasted marshmallows. No one can resist a good, burnt marshmallow when you're roughing it in the woods!
It was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend. And I'm pretty sure Karen would be open to the idea of glamping again, as long as I promise there will be no bugs. I'm going to lie and tell her that we're choosing a bug-free campground. I think she'll believe me when I say they exist because she doesn't get outside much. Please share your glamping (or camping) stories and photos with us! We'll post them in our Glamping Resources Guide!
P.S. A big thank you to Sam O'Donoghue of the accessories shop, So Sam for additional photography.