Best Camping Spots: Not-so-Roughing It

In case sleeping on the ground is more than you can stomach.
FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

GLAMPING
Structurally, it might not be so different from the accommodations at that overnight camp you went to as a kid, but, nowadays, staying in a canvas-walled platform tent is referred to as “glamping” (short for glamorous camping)—at least as far as us pampered grownups are concerned.

And pampered you will be if you get your glamp on at Alexandria Nicole Cellars ($150/night, available May–September; ancglamping.com) in Prosser, Washington, where three safari-worthy platform tents are situated between grapevines with views of the Columbia River and luxed out with Persian rugs, comfy queen-size beds, electricity, front decks with propane firepits and barbecue grills, and private bathrooms with running water and showers. Glampers also get a complimentary wine tasting at the vineyard’s tasting room up the hill before retiring to their tents for the night.

Another alluring option is Lakedale Resort ($149–$279/night; lakedale.com), which, besides offering more than 80 sites for tent campers, rents out 13 wood-floored “canvas cabins,” with sleeper sofas and front porches bedecked with Adirondack chairs, picnic tables and fire rings perfect for toasting marshmallows. Couples will especially enjoy Lakedale’s standard canvas cabins, and families or groups can share a larger, 450-square-foot version with two queen-size beds and a sleeper sofa. While Lakedale’s glampsites do not have electricity or running water, shared shower/bath facilities are a quick walk away.

And retro glampers rejoice: Lakedale also offers up two vintage Airstream trailers tucked between pine boughs lakeside with a private deck for your use and a free harmonica for you to take home. 

 

Farther afield and a bit more patrician is the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort (three-night packages from $4,650; wildretreat.com) near Tofino, B.C., where some two dozen “outpost deluxe” guest, dining and lounge tents are connected by boardwalks under a teeming temperate rain-forest canopy. Each guest tent, which consists of a wood floor and framing, with canvas walls, houses hand-carved, wood-framed queen or twin beds, lush down duvets, thermostat-controlled propane wood stoves, antique dressers, pressed-glass oil lamps and candles galore. Wood-fired boilers send hot water to private showers and sinks, while off-site generators provide power for electric lights, hair dryers and wireless Internet to all the guest tents. Private cedar-clad outhouses behind each tent allow guests to discreetly compost their waste. The all-inclusive resort is fashioned after the Adirondack Great Camps of the 19th century. The food—slow and local to the extreme in all the right ways—is taken communally in dining tents. On-site massage therapists can work out every kink. If you can afford it, go.

YURTS
You don’t have to be a 12th-century Mongolian nomad to spend a night or two in a yurt anymore. Just head for Cape Disappointment on southwest Washington’s Long Beach and rent your own ($70/night; 888.226.7688; parks.wa.gov/yurtsandcabins/capedisappointment). Each of the state park’s 13 yurts sleeps six on bunk beds and futons, is heated, and shares shower-equipped bathrooms with tent campers. Best of all, you can walk

TEEPEES
At Fields Spring State Park in southeastern Washington’s Blue Mountains, visitors can go native by retiring for the evening in a real wood-and-canvas teepee after a hard day’s hiking, biking and wildlife viewing. Crafted locally in the tradition of the Plains Indians who made them famous, the park’s teepees have wooden, raised floors and spread to 18 feet in diameter. BYO sleeping bags, pads, food and other camping amenities. The park also has 20 standard tent sites and bathrooms with showers and a picnic shelter for all to share ($20/night; 509.256.3332; parks.wa.gov/yurtsandcabins/fieldsspring/).

Dig Deep Into Wine at the Northwest Wine Encounter

Dig Deep Into Wine at the Northwest Wine Encounter

An intimate affair for wine lovers who get their geek on over things like the impact of soil, weather, terroir and altitude
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A flight of wine awaiting tasting at one of the educational panels

If you love good wine—really good wine—you’ll want to put Northwest Wine Encounter on your radar.

Haven’t heard of it before? That’s not surprising. The inaugural event, which I attended last spring, was an intimate affair with space for just a few dozen wine lovers who got their geek on over things like the impact of soil, weather, terroir and altitude on winemaking, learning about these during educational panels led by some of the region’s finest winemakers. And, of course, it helped to taste through flights of really fine wine as the winemakers offered insights and perspective.

The return engagement, on the weekend of April 28-30 (from $485/person including lodging, events and gala dinner), will follow a similar format and will once again be held at Semiahmoo Resort, a lovely spot overlooking Semiahmoo Bay, with the U.S./Canadian border and Peace Arch in view across the water. This year, there will be room for around 100 wine lovers (sign up for Northwest Wine Encounter here).


Winemakers and guests enjoying Friday night’s bonfire at Semiahmoo 

This quintessential Northwest location was chosen to complement the local wines that are the focus of the weekend. At Semiahmoo, Mount Baker frames the view in one direction, the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound in another. At one time in its history, Semiahmoo was also the site of a salmon cannery. Hard to get more Northwest than that.

The 2017 winemaker lineup includes a few superstars from Oregon and Washington: Chris Figgins of Leonetti Cellars, Walla Walla’s oldest winery; David Merfeld of Northstar Winery, Chris Upchurch of DeLille Cellars; Tony Rynders of Panther Creek and wine grower Mike Sauer of Red Willow Vineyards. New this year is the addition of a British Columbia winemaker, Walter Gehriner of Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery.

 

At last year’s events, the panel discussions were interesting, but the Friday night kick-off event was almost worth the price of admission alone. It had the air of an informal party where everyone was enjoying each other’s company. All the winemakers were in attendance, pouring and chatting about what they love most: making wine. The party eventually spilled out onto the beach where a bonfire warmed the crowd. Marshmallows optional, wine required.