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Glamping brings luxury into camping

Exploring the great outdoors traditionally conjures images of sleeping on the hard ground and cooking over an open campfire. No creature comforts allowed.

Then, there’s glamping.

Glamping is camping in comfort, with accommodations as good or better than home. Glampers draw closer to nature or unique urban experiences while staying connected to technology, eating fine cuisine and sleeping in soft beds.

“Glamping is a trend in the experiential travel space that has been around for some time now,” said Peter Mack, CEO and founder of Collective Retreats, a travel company offering a collection of luxury glamping retreats. “The experience takes the traditional notion of camping and adds elements of comfort and luxury.”

According to Mack, glamping has steadily been gaining popularity for the last decade. It entices glampers of all ages to enjoy nature.

Some local residents have integrated luxury home comforts into their recreational vehicles.

Glamper Jona-Marie Price plans to travel the country in style, without losing any of her creature comforts aboard her recently acquired 33-foot Entegra Coach.

“I have the luxuries of everything I have in my house,” said Price, who recently retired after spending 20 years as a fine art dealer. “You take the home with you to the spot.”

Her RV is personalized with art pieces, recliners, special bedding and Wi-Fi.

“That’s a big thing,” Price said of the Wi-Fi. “If you don’t have internet, it’s hard to function and plan your trips.”

Her Entegra features a queen-size bed, full-sized shower and an extra-large spare bunk she uses as her spare bedroom. Price even outfitted the exterior with a special light package that moves to music.

“We’ve had a lot of fun with it,” Price said of the light upgrade done by Cree8 Studios, a stage-fabricating house.

Glampers Roger and Carolyn Wagner travel in luxurious style aboard their 39-foot Tiffin Allegro motor home. The couple joined the glamping ranks after Roger retired in 2007.

“It’s a home that goes 70 mph,” Roger Wagner said with a laugh. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

The couple’s foray into glamping resulted from their love of travel into remote locations to experience the beauty of nature but without losing any of life’s luxuries.

“We have all the conveniences of home,” Roger Wagner said, “although it’s a little smaller environment. We have our stuff in the bathroom, our clothes in the closet, access to a washer and dryer. We love that.”

So far, the couple have logged more 100,000 miles, traveling back and forth across the country eight times. Their motor home comes complete with reclining captain’s chairs, multiple flat-screen televisions, full-size couches, king-size bed, 19-cubic-foot refrigerator with full-size freezer drawer and ice maker, microwave, shower, air conditioning, and washer and dryer.

Once at their destination, the couple creates a cozy outdoor living space with a rug, chairs and television mounted on the side of the RV.

“I love the luxury,” Carolyn Wagner said. “Glamping removes any of the negatives of primitive camp life, allowing us to be away from home in a camping-style environment without having to rough it.”

The Wagners typically stay in KOA campgrounds, which offer conveniences such as power, water and cable. These campgrounds also can offer a diverse range of amenities including swimming pools, group activities, jacuzzis, classes such as yoga, live music and dancing.

“(If) you don’t like a place, you can take off,” Roger Wagner said. “It’s not being tied to a second home or to a hotel room for several days.”

With the plush accommodations, their three cats even get to make the journey.

“It’s great,” Carolyn Wagner said. “I love when we can bring them with us.”

“By bridging the gap between comfort and outdoor adventure, glamping is one way that travelers can unplug and explore the great outdoors without focusing on the logistics and worries of uncomfortable accommodations,” Mack said. “By removing this worry, travelers focus on the experience and on taking in their surroundings.”

Mack’s Collective Retreats offer the glamping experience in Colorado, New York, Montana and Texas with luxury tent and room accommodations to fit every traveler’s style. The accommodations feature 1,500 thread-count sheets, private en-suite bathrooms and personal decks.

“Each retreat is designed with a specific aesthetic inspired by the location of the retreat and outfitted with locally curated decor and furniture to give a strong sense of place,” Mack said. “Each guest room includes plush beds, an in-tent French press coffee bar as well as selection of teas, electricity and Wi-Fi.”

The cost of staying at various glamping locations ranges anywhere from $22 a night on up. Collective Retreats nightly rates start at $150 and vary depending on availability.

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