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Camping & Glamping in the Hudson Valley

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I’m game for a lot, but when I take a vacation I like as many creature comforts as possible. It is one of the very reasons that I’m going on vacation; to get away from it all; cleaning, picking up, doing all the things all moms do, every day, no matter what. But I’ve had plenty of camping experience. I was a Girl Scout and spent many weekends and summer weeks in a rustic platform tent learning to be self-sufficient in the wilds of Putnam County. One time, in college, I thought it would be fun to join my then-boyfriend and his ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) family on a late-September camping trip in the Adirondack Mountains. Unfortunately, they were serious and took me seriously, and we hiked for miles with huge backpacks and ended up camping in the pre-fall snow. It was pretty much the real deal, and I pretty much was not. Hence, it was my last true camping experience. My husband picked up Cub Scout camping with our sons and so far, our daughter is on my team.

I am, however, practically alone, it turns out, in my group of friends. Many of them love camping and are growing quite creative in their pursuit of experiences. Some, now, have enthusiastically embraced “glamping” and I must admit, I’m intrigued. I’ve kind of “tagged along” a few times, joining them on the last day for breakfast by the fire and a hike with our dog. That is my version of tiptoeing into something; being a fringe participant long enough to see and even experience it, but not a commitment to stay.

The pandemic both curtailed plans and encouraged innovation. Some campgrounds closed, some added new rules and restrictions, and some used unique circumstances to up their game. Living vicariously through my resolute friends, I had the opportunity to open my eyes to what is happening in the Hudson Valley camping scene and it is dynamic. I love the reinvention of the traditional campground with the help of Airbnb, Tentrr, and just plain ingenuity. I may not be an expert on camping and glamping, but my friends are, so these detours were at their behest. It may be late summer, but rest assured watching the seasons change at any of these venues will be memorable and Instagrammable.

Harriman State Park
Ramapo, NY

Harriman State Park is in both Rockland and Orange Counties, and has several camping options including group camping and individual camping through Tentrr platform similar to Airbnb but specifically for camping and glamping. Through Tentrr there are a number of fully-equipped canvas wall tents conveniently located near hiking trails, beaches, and lakes. The park’s over 200 miles of hiking trails and 31 lakes and reservoirs also contain the Stephen and Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center. This campground is operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and it includes cabins and tent platform sites for every type of camping from glamping to rustic and traditional. Harriman State Park is open year-round and offers seasonal activities from boating to skating. The park has an interesting history of providing respite to the underprivileged beginning in 1913; well worth reading about.

Malouf’s Mountain
Beacon, NY 

Malouf’s Mountain is located in the foothills of the Fishkill Ridge. Created by owner Dick Malouf as a unique camping experience, it does not disappoint. The campground, with trails owned and operated by the NY-NJ Trail Conference, offers options for full-service camping; tarped platform sites with nearly every amenity available for rental to primitive, traditional rustic sites for your own tent. The owner offers a pick-up service for those traveling on Metro-North and options for transportation to local activities in Beacon and on the Hudson River. Malouf’s is open from April 29 – October 31, which includes plenty of time to experience the changing seasons in the Hudson Valley.

Hemlock Falls Camping
Parksville, NY  

This is glamping for adults only. Hemlock Falls Camping consists of four tastefully appointed,  fully equipped platform tents, all with detached baths and all the amenities that you do not think of when you plan a camping trip; queen beds, linens, strategically placed lighting, and all the beauty and peace of 40 acres of Catskill woods, waterfalls, and wildlife. There is access to 2 swimming holes to round out your experience. As with other glamping-only sites, guests (who must be 21 or over) cannot bring their own tents. It is not for that aesthetic. You will not regret it. Open from May 21st to October 12th, which is perfect for an upstate seasonal transition.

Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park
Carmel, NY

A personal and fan favorite that I reprise for many reasons and seasons, Fahnestock offers 80 traditional campsites year-round in part of the 14,086-acre park. The campsites do not have platforms, so glamping is limited to your own creativity and decorative ability. Hiking, swimming, fishing, and boating are the summer-season mainstays while skating, sledding, hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing dominate in the winter. The terrain, spanning from Putnam to Dutchess Counties, is diverse and robust, and the scenery and views are magnificent. 

Born and raised in Westchester, Nancy Sorbella’s lifestyle stories have been featured in several local and regional publications where she has also been a style and community columnist. She is the resident wordsmith for the Arthritis Foundation of NY and the Community Engagement Director by day, spending her free time exploring and experiencing the Hudson Valley. Follow Nancy for more of her adventures on Instagram @DetoursColumnist, Twitter @jsorbella or on Facebook at Nancy Niskin Sorbella.

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