FORT COLLINS, Colo. - It is a trend that’s been building for at least six years, and now it has come to Colorado’s Front Range.
Glamping -- glamorous camping -- is a way for the few, the proud, the well-to-do, to experience the great outdoors.
At Horsetooth Reservoir in Larimer County, that means doing it Airstream-style in a 31-foot, 2004 Classic. For $99 a night (2-night minimum), you can have it all -- full bedroom, bathroom with a shower, kitchen with gas stove, microwave, freezer, fridg, a jamming stereo system with MP3 jacks and even a flat screen TV with DVD.
But wait -- there’s more! Can you say "air conditioning?"
"It gives you all the comforts of like a hotel room, I guess I’d say," raved Lee Thielen of Fort Collins. "This is very cool! What county does this?"
Thielen and her husband booked the getaway in July while their house was being remodeled.
There are 560 campsites in the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources System, but so far only one Airstream for rent. A second is being considered for next year.
Purchasing the Airstream was the idea of Larimer DNR Director Gary Buffington. The county bought it in Georgia for $39,000, paid $2,000 to have it transported and another $6,000 for remodeling the flooring, furniture & infrastructure.
The Airstream is so popular they expect it to pay for itself in five years.
"The Airstream concept . . . is a piece of Americana. It’s like a ’57 Chevy or something like that, it’s something that just kiknd of oozes America when you look at it," said DNR’s Dan Rieves.
Airstream has been around for over 80 years. The aerodynamic, rounded aluminum shape is based on designs originally crafted in Los Angeles by Hawley Bowlus, the chief designer of Charles Lindbergh’s aircraft “Spirit of St. Louis," according to Wikipedia. Airstream RV’s are now manufactured in Ohio.
Just a 30-minute drive from Old Town Fort Collins, the South Bay campground boasts fishing, boating, a swim beach, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking of the iconic Horsetooth Rock & mountain biking.
The Airstream sits off the reservoir directly across Larimer CR 38E from the Stout store behind recently-planted ponderosa pine.
Glamping admittedly isn’t for everybody.
"Well, that’s like a city-folk camping; this’d be like REALLY camping!" laughed Jennifer Henne, who, with her husband Mike and their Brady-bunch family of seven were camping, old-school style, in tents with air mattresses.
But hey - if you can afford it, why not? For a 50-something news curmudgeon like me, I get a little tired of schlepping backpacks to 11,000-feet so I can sleep on the ground. Besides that, the firewood comes with the deal!
The Airstream is available until the end of September. For more information go to: http://www.larimer.org/naturalresources/airstream.htm. Pets must stay at home.