Get Your Glamp On!
Jul 1st, 2012 | By Mike Marino | Category: Spa/Resort Destinations, Travel
By Mike Marino –
Alright, raise your hand? Who hasn’t rolled out the ratty tattered Coleman sleeping bag for the first camping trip of the season? The first thing you notice is the repelling smell of mosquito repellent left over from last years bug battles. Then there is the forest perfume of campfires that have permeated the sleeping bag, not to mention your favorite plaid and proud Canadian lumberjack camping shirt? The camping times are a changing, especially in those wonderful wine regions dotting the state of Washington.
Camping has always been a Midwestern tradition for me when trekking in the forests of Hemmingway’s Northern Michigan. I’ve camped from Northern California’s Big Sur country to the stark beauty of Southern California’s Death Valley as well as the aspen filled Colorado Rockies and the mountains of Hawaii and the coastal region of Maine. When I relocated to the Peoples Republic of the Pacific Northwest, I was confronted with a more sensitive approach to camping called, simply enough…Glamping!
At first my outdoor alarm went off. Glamping? First there was Glam Rock, now Glam Camping. After investigation and exploration I discovered that glamping simply replaces your trusty aluminum canteen with a wine glass, and proprietors of such establishments pair wine and food, replacing the beans and franks campfire cuisine with a wine and dine flair. Don’t forget that Swiss Army knife! It’s the best of both worlds..the ever faithful MacGyver Swiss Army Knife with all the accessories you need from corkscrew to open your favorite bottle of camping chardonnay to a handy pair of tweezers that I have used on many occasions as a roach clip for those hard to handle miniscule rascals that were so tiny we’ve all inhaled one or two “hot” ones on occasion as we drew too hard on the flaming little guy. So get your “glamp” on…glamour camping is here and in effect, camping is now “glamping!” It appeals to those with a penchant for the outdoors that sort of kind of want to rough it, but rough it with a glass of Burgundy in hand.
Most glam-camp grounds maintain a rustic authenticity, so generally there are no television sets or other Inspector Gadget gismo’s to get in the way of the experience. Sometimes the glamp-grounds are stand alone with amenities offered, and some cases the glam-camp is located conveniently on the grounds of a winery and attendant vineyard so they can boast their brands with bravado. One glampground that is a must experience in Washington is the Cherry Wood Bed, Breakfast and Barn, run by Pepper and Tiffany Fewel. Your days will be spent wine touring and tasting and at night you’ll cradle in the comfortable bosom of your own private teepee. Have no fear if your not a fire starter they also have BBQ grills, compact refrigerators. In effect as the like to say at Cherry Wood, “Take the buckaroo culture of the Great Northwest and place it on the same latitude as Bordeaux and Burgundy regions of France, you not only get outstanding wines, but you also get a real western adventure!”
I had the “glamping” honor of interviewing trail boss, Pepper Fewel, about the Cherrywood philosophy, giddy up glamping and the Cowgirl Getaways! where you can kick up your heels with a weekend of riding, wine tasting and cowgirl camaraderie.
Q: How did, and how long ago did the idea for Cherry Wood come about and especially the unique idea of “glamping?”
Pepper: We have been in business with the rides and teepees for 10 years now. We have been living here and farming for 26 years. The way it started was that I invited friends from our cutting club to join me with there own horses 26 years ago to come and ride with me to the 3 wineries that were open at that time. Now there are 22 wineries within a 12 mile radius of the house. The last invitational ride was 68 horses and a grand time was had by all. I new at that time I might have a business.
There were no places for people to stay when they were in the area. So my husband, Terry, said why not put up a tent.. So I placed a teepee on the hill and have never looked back.
Q: The horses are ‘”rescued horses” yes?
Pepper: We do rescue as many horses as possible before they become French cuisine. We rescue dogs and horses. We try to place as many horses as we can each year even if we can’t use them in the string.
Q: What types of wineries do the tours take you too and what are some of the amenities?
Pepper: We try to go to the smaller wineries (boutique) if we can. We do go to Silver Lake and Culture(my son’s and daughter-in law’s wineries). Each ride we also hit different ones through the season for different reasons. Silver Lake has a beautiful view and less expensive wines. Cultura, has great wines and they put up a hitching post to accommodate us. We also have a court yard for the guests to eat in.
Q: I saw City Slickers and all of us “city slickers’ got a good laugh at our selves over that…but what is the Cowgirl Retreat all about and what activities are involved and what is the purpose of that particular retreat.
Pepper: Cowgirl Getaways, very much like city slickers. Our purpose is to let our guest see a different life style then the one they are use to. We expand their bubble just a bit. They are dealing with a 1,200 lb. animal on a one to one and up and personal level. It does stretch some peoples comfort zone. If they wish to just unwind or get serious about learning better horsemanship, we try to accommodate both wishes. Most of all it is for fun and letting down.
Q: How did the idea of teepee’s arise? Did you construct those yourselves from scratch and what is a night in a glam tent/teepee like and what is included as far as amenities?
Pepper: Teepees, we do put them up ourselves and cut the poles and skin them. Lots of work. We place queen beds, towels, robes, shower shoes, lights, chairs, down comforters etc. It is just like a regular room but in a teepee. Bathrooms are porta potties outside of the teepee and each teepee has it’s own. There are fire pits and BBQs with the teepees for cooking with small refrigerators in teepees.
Q: It seems to a be a real rustic Zen experience in many respects and being Washington State, a wine experience too! So how important is wine in the glam equation?
Pepper: We love living here and it is very rewarding for us to share our life style and area with others. I personally think that the wineries are a must in this experience. I say that because you mix a lot of rustic with something that is suppose to be refined and it is like eating something a bit sweet and salty (great combo). Not to much of either thing is great.
Q: What other activities are there in area for someone to do as far as the outdoors is concerned? Especially as regards to the arts and cultural environment in the area?
Pepper: Our area is mostly farm country. Lots of orchards, great produce, wine and rich Indian culture areas. There are two rivers to fish, also lake fishing, hiking, wine tasting, cultural center, you pick farms, and now horse backing riding and teepee stays. Toppenish is a small town of art and culture diversity ( Native American and Mexican). We encourage our guests to visit the Toppenish city.
Cherrywood is approximately 160 miles southeast of Seattle. For more information, directions and to get rates on various retreats, tours and special packages, visit their website at www.cherrywoodbbandb.com.
Mike Marino is a freelance magazine columnist, former managing editor of two Northwest newspapers, and did rock and roll morning radio in San Francisco. One reviewer said he is Frederick Lewis Allen on acid, and his style described as “wickedly wonderful” and “delightfully weird” A product of the Motor City, Mike left home at 15, and lived as a beach bum in Hawaii, on the streets in Haight Ashbury in the Sixties. He has authored four books including The Roadhead Chronicles where Pop Culture and Chrome Meet Asphalt and Art. The Roadhead Chronicles Booksite: http://www.angelfire.com/mi2/sfroad/page1008.html. Contact: email@example.com