When I reserved a tipi for four online, I didn’t know quite what to expect. But as part of my 2014 resolution to spend more time in the great outdoors, I finally had the “glamping” trip that had lingered on my weekend travel bucket list for years confirmed on the calendar. So on Friday evening, four of us piled into the car and set out for the 2.5 hour drive to Narvon, Pennsylvania.
Never heard of it? Chances are you never will, because there’s not much going on in this part of the word. Situated near Lancaster, in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Narvon isn’t even a town; it’s an “unincorporated community.” As we drove through the winding, dark road through the woods I repeatedly checked the GPS to ensure we were on the right track toward our tipi.
Fortunately, the campground we were headed for was hard to miss. Lake in Wood was in full festive mode, greeting new arrivals with an explosion of Christmas decorations. When I checked in at the front office, the man who handed me my keys informed me quite matter of factly that the campgrounds were decorated “because last week was Christmas October.” No further explanation needed!
Once we arrived at the tipi, I knew the trip had been worth it. I mean, how many people can say they’ve spent the weekend in one of these?
The tipi was outfitted with all the essentials: sleeping arrangements for four, a sink, a mini fridge, and a bathroom with a shower. It even had a television and, more importantly, a space heater.
OK, so maybe a tipi with electricity and cable isn’t the most authentic thing on this planet, but in mid-October when it’s chilly and dark, this girl is not going to complain.
We woke up the next morning to sunshine streaming through the top of our tent and set out to explore the Lake in Wood “camping resort.” This was no remote, off the grid camping excursion – it was more like a miniature town, complete with unique accommodations like a treehouse and covered wagon alongside RVs and “real” campers pitching tents. The property also has a lakefront yurt, which was the site I originally had wanted to book but it was all sold out. I have to say I was happy in the end that the yurt didn’t pan out, because the tipi was pretty fabulous.
Treehouse, bus and wagon photos: c/o Lake in Wood
We quickly realized that an obsession with Christmas wasn’t the only quirk that Camp Lake-in-Wood possessed. Peeking out at us at every turn were gnomes of all shapes and sizes. There was even a gnome-themed mini golf course and Gnome Cafe on site.
Our first adventure of the day was to the grocery store, which happened to be a 30 minute drive away. Like I said, Narvon isn’t exactly centrally located. We stocked up on grilling necessities, snacks and wine, since it was apparent that this was the only food we’d be finding during the weekend, before returning to camp.
When we returned, we decided to embrace the gorgeous fall weather and head out for a hike. There are hiking trails attached to the campground, and after we found them we set off into the woods. Unfortunately we hadn’t quite researched where these trails lead (#CityGirlsCamping), so after about 45 minutes of aimless wandering we decided to turn back. Our legs had gotten a workout, we’d seen some beautiful fall foliage, and it was time to make our way home to the tipi before dark.
Back at the campsite it was time to start a fire and make dinner. I’m not going to lie: four girls who live in New York City were not fully prepared to build a fire and operate a grill. But after a quick run to the camp store for a fire starter and a YouTube tutorial of “how to light a grill,” we were practically pros.
Foregoing unhealthy BBQ food for a more nutritious meal, we chopped up bell peppers and made grilled chicken skewers which were delicious, although slightly burnt since we probably left them on a tad too long. As much as I’m a city girl through and through, something about dining by candlelight in the middle of the woods is just perfect.
The rest of the evening was spent getting cozy around the fire, toasting marshmallows (which were organic and GMO-free, of course), sipping wine, and cracking up about the fact that we’d ended up on this random tipi adventure in Pennsylvania thanks to a Google search.
Believe it or not, I’ve been real camping before. I actually backpacked through the White Mountains in New Hampshire for a full week, eating powdered food, sanitizing my water with iodine and not showering. That’s one trip I’ll never repeat. But a tipi filled with real beds, running water, and electricity with a grill and picnic table outside? Now that is much more my style.
Here’s to many more glamping trips to come! Looking for more glamping ideas? Follow my Pinterest board.
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