Huttopia White Mountains
The canvas tent starts to glow with morning light, birdsong surrounds us on all sides, and I can hear water lapping gently at the edge of the nearby lake. I stretch lazily, enjoying the forest noises around me, and then reality hits and my heart sinks. For all the delights of sleeping in a tent, the one hitch is always that morning trek to the bathhouse. But a moment later, as I open my eyes, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning with the realization that this canvas tent comes equipped with its own tiny bathroom. Granted, getting to the miniature shower requires a gymnastic move around the toilet, but still, it’s a bathroom. In a tent.
This “Trappeur tent” sits on a tranquil lake at Huttopia White Mountains, the first U.S. outpost of a French company that specializes in “glamping,” a trendy mashup of glamor and camping that brings some (or all) of the comforts of home to a woodland setting. Huttopia, about 20 minutes south of North Conway, New Hampshire, has a range of accommodations, from bare sites for RVs or tents up through actual cabins, with the Trappeur tent offering a delightful taste of roughing it, but with hot and cold running water.
The fully canvas tent has an open living area with a table and a little kitchenette that includes a dorm-size fridge, a sink, and even a full set of dishes, cups, and cutlery. The bathroom sits between two canvas bedrooms, each with a curtain for privacy. Beds have mattresses and sheets—though you’ll need to make the bed yourself. To keep the peaceful vibe, cars aren’t allowed at the Trappeur sites; wagons are available in the parking lot to roll your gear to your unit.
While the canvas tents on wooden platforms remind me a bit of Girl Scout camp, the other amenities are decidedly high-end. A tricked-out Airstream trailer serves up espresso and crepes in the morning and hand-tossed pizza in the evening, whipped up by a professionally trained chef. French pop music wafts gently from speakers in the Lodge Tent, which houses check-in as well as a camp store where marshmallows and graham crackers sit alongside French Cabernet Sauvignon. Amenities include a heated pool, a beach, and paddleboard and kayak rentals for tooling around the lake. And of course, the delights of the White Mountains, from hiking to Storyland, are just a short drive away. Huttopia offers low-key entertainment nearly every evening, from musicians to storytellers and even a magician.
Seeking a beach vacation? If your idea of glamor is more Out of Africa than upscale Girl Scout, Sandy Pines in Kennebunkport, Maine, delivers. While their Glamp Tents don’t offer en suite bathrooms, you won’t be making your own bed. Each accommodation is kitted out by a different designer, with high-thread-count sheets on king-size beds, statement lighting, throw pillows galore, A/C, and towels, not to mention trendy Beekman 1802 bath amenities. And if you’re bringing the kids, several of the tents have an adjacent teepee with a pair of twin beds.
Sandy Pines opened last spring and has already substantially increased its glamping offerings. Like Huttopia, it offers a full range of options, from bare sites for tents and RVs up to the Glamp Tents, which were so popular in the first year that four more were added for this summer, bringing the total to 16, each with a different theme. But if you’re looking for something less majestic and cozier, consider one of the new Hideaway Huts or Camp carriages. Custom-built for Sandy Pines, the Camp Carriages are tiny bedrooms on wheels, also awash in throw pillows on king-size beds, and they include a mini-fridge. The Hideaway Huts are even cozier—A-frame watertight shelters, barely bigger than the queen-size bed tucked inside. Both styles come with an outdoor seating area and fire pit.
No rustic bathhouses here—facilities are lined with subway tile and have individual bath/shower rooms. Activities include a heated saltwater pool, a kayak launch point, water equipment ,and bike rentals, with the powdery sands of Goose Neck Beach a half-mile away and Kennebunkport’s shops and restaurants within a short bike ride. New for this season, the campground will offer organized crafting classes for kids.
The pleasures of Sandy Pines roll back the clock; although the whole property has WiFi, you can leave the electronics at home and play cornhole or one of the complimentary board games in the craft tent. Grab an ice cream from the snack bar, or treat yourself to steamed Maine lobster. As the sun sets, visit the General Store in the Grand Lodge—the shop has one whole aisle dedicated to supplies for s’mores, not to mention local craft beers and gourmet beef jerky. Bring the marshmallows and chocolate back to your wooded site and enjoy a treat as the stars come out, before snuggling up amidst those throw pillows and soaking up the forest sounds.
Huttopia White Mountains Trappeur Tents:
Start at $120/night
57 Pine Knoll Rd., Albany, New Hampshire, 603-447-3131
Sandy Pines Glamp Tents
Start at $179/night
277 Mills Rd., Kennebunkport, Maine, 207-967-2483