After a long New York City week of conferences and meetings, I was itching for some space and nature, and embarking on my first journey to Ithaca, New York would prove to be the perfect solution. Prior to my trip, I only knew of Ithaca as the home of Cornell University. Leaving this adventure up in the air, as I have many times before, often do with my adventures, I rented a car and embarked on a solo road trip north to spend a few nights of glamorous camping, or Glamping, at Firelight Camps.
Walking from the check-in area to my tent, I glanced up and noticed the trees were just beginning to turn their brightest spring greens. I breathed in the crisp fresh air. The lack of noise was enchanting. Immediately the noise also clamoring in my head followed suit and began to quiet. This plot of land had something special about it. It’s calm, cool, and collected vibe began to rub off.
Setting aside my suitcase, I loosely fell back and unfurled atop the billowy comforter. Relaxation hit me hard- the birds chirping, a slow and steady breeze blowing, and the sounds of absolutely nothing else- I didn’t want to move.
With eighteen tents in total, each complete with a forest-facing back porch and rocking chair, if you’d end up here by way of blindfold, you’d easily imagine you were in the middle of nowhere. The reality being you’re a ten minute drive from town, with the main road just up the hill.
Firelight Camps offers a perfect stay for all types of travelers. For the food fanatics, breakfast is impeccable – homemade granola, local bread from Wide Awake Bakery, freshly baked quiches, and their special blend of Firelight Camps Nicaraguan coffee. Perfect fuel for a day in the outdoors.
Just outside of camp, I discovered a wealth of food and drink spots to visit in and around Ithaca. I enjoyed tasting Port at Ports of New York, grabbing a cider sampling at Finger Lakes Cider House, and tasting homemade cheeses from Lively Run Goat Dairy.
For the active and early riser, you have unique access to sunrise trekking on trails, like Upper Buttermilk Falls, that lead to beautiful waterfalls with swimming holes.
Those looking for family time there is plenty of community space where you can play bocce ball together or gather around a campfire sharing stories over dinner, a glass of wine and homemade smores. The latter is where I needed up my first night- spending time with someone else’s family, who immediately felt like my own. After all, community is what brought Firelight Camps to life.
I had a chance to spend an entire day with co-founder Emma Frisch, a self-taught chef who appeared on Food Network Star. She and food and travel writer Simon Majumdar were sourcing and preparing dinner for a collaborative event the second night of my stay – part of Simon’s casual series #GiveUsABedIllCookYouDinner where he travels around when he’s not filming. When I asked Emma how her and her partner Bobby ended up here, she said, “We started this hotel so people could disconnect to reconnect – to tell stories to get to know one another.”
After all of the literal tastes Ithaca and Firelight Camps had to offer, I left with a small taste of my own on what life might be like if I lived here – in a very comfortable tent. I’d return to experience this all over again in a New York minute.
Firelight Camps not only offers overnight Glamping, but hosts other events, packages, and retreats.