Glamping with Grandma: A Tale of Two Campgrounds

October 2, 2015

I’ve written before about my limited experience with camping. I’ve gone only a handful of times in my life, and they were all spread years, if not decades, apart. While I’m not necessarily a girly-girl, I’m not really a “roughing it” type either. I want to sleep on a mattress of some sort. I’d also like to not have to stalk through bushes and pitch-black woods to go pee, which I do often. I’ve watched enough Friday the 13th movies to know better.

Part of my non-camping nature likely comes from my parents, who weren’t really fans of sleeping in the great outdoors either. Imagine my surprise, then, when my mom and her fiancé decided to take up camping as a new hobby. And it’s the kind of camping I can get down with because it involves amenities, mattresses and nearby toilets.

Now, my mom felt a little unchuffed when I described her approach to camping as “glamping” a while back. It’s not really glamping, as that tends to be a bit more luxurious. I mean she does spend a lot of time outdoors on these trips. And there are often bears around the campsites she goes to. And we definitely roast marshmallows (while drinking wine) around a campfire. But that’s where the resemblance to old-school camping ends. And I think that’s fine. Because I am her daughter and I like my comforts. So I like this…gla-camping? 

This summer, my family had two camping experiences with my mom. Here’s a quick run-down, with pictures, of each.

Frontier Campground, Ocean View, New Jersey

We spent my mom’s birthday weekend down at this southern New Jersey campsite. My mom and her fiancé Milton have a camper and that was the hub of the site. They also erected two tents with air mattresses for their guests to sleep in along with a canopy under which we could sit and relax. Fittingly, we stayed right near the public bathrooms, which was a great convenience until I realized they play 80s music in the lavatories all night long for some reason.

Father and son sleeping on hammock Campfire Baby sweeping outside

It was hot as heck that early June weekend, which made for some stickiness. None of us slept well, including Finn, who decided to hijack our air mattress. Three in the bed and the little one said, “Roll over, roll over.” The campground itself served its purpose, but it felt a little crowded against other campsites. On the plus side, there was a park with swings for Finn in addition to a little mercantile where you could pick up last-minute supplies. Also, the campground is within driving distance of Ocean City and its boardwalk.

Lehigh Gorge Campground, White Haven, Pennsylvania

Now this was more my speed. Finn and I went up sans Brendan, who had tickets to the Eagles-Jets game, to spend another birthday weekend with my family, this time for my sister. And this time, my mom and Milton had a parked RV which they had bought over the summer. It was great to have indoor space to use, including a bathroom, shower and full kitchen. My mom graciously let me and Finn sleep in the bedroom while she and my sister took the pull-out couch.

Toddler sitting in train Toddler sitting on green chair in dark Toddler smiling outside

The community itself was a bit nicer than Frontier Campground, with retirees and folks from the area making the area either permanent residences or vacation homes. It was quiet, there were friendly neighbors and we had space to spread out. There was also a playground here, plus a pool and covered picnic area for use in warmer weather. The campground is within driving distance of several attractions. We visited Knoebels amusement park, an hour’s drive away, which has rides, entertainment and food for both kids and adults. The quaint town of Jim Thorpe is less than a half-hour away.

So these are my two quasi-glamping experiences in the US to date. I’m not going to lie—it’s growing on me a bit. And now that there is a whole community around glamping, I’m excited to seek out other opportunities for exploring the great outdoors in comfort.

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