By Tai Alexander
Imagine yourself getting close to nature with an overnight luxury experience known as glamping. On a global scale, glamping—short for “glamorous camping”—provides guests the opportunity to spend the night in a safari tent, yurt, treehouse, renovated vintage trailer or teepee, often with the amenities of a four-star resort.
Settle in to an authentic handcrafted English shepherd hut at Camp Buttercup, near Dexter. With heritage dating back to the early 16th century, this type of hut was a mobile shelter for shepherds caring for their grazing flocks and newly born lambs.
This 18-by-7.5-foot “Bluebell” hut is complete with oak flooring, custom wet bar with a hand-sculpted English Shaw clay sink and polished chrome faucet, a counter space for breakfast, tea or wine tasting, an en-suite washroom with a shower, a full-size Tuft & Needle mattress with the finest fabrics and custom furnishings and art.
Retreat packages, created by hostess and proprietor Victoria Schon—a certified holistic health coach, allow visitors to relax and reconnect with themselves and their natural surroundings. Activities such as bird watching, paddling along the nearby Portage Lake “Chain of Lakes,” biking through Dexter’s newly constructed riverfront park or participating in the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival in August, make for a truly unique experience.
Mandala Adult Coloring Classes are also offered at Camp Buttercup, on select dates throughout the summer. Painting mandalas has long been known for increasing concentration, relieving stress and enhancing creativity with simple tools such as markers, crayons and watercolor pencils.
Stretching out along a 229-acre wooded site near Torch Lake and the Jordan Valley, Bella Solviva is a newly-opened amenity-focused luxury camp resort. Providing services to make the camping experience easier and more relaxed, the three-season property offers plenty of space between sites to eliminate the crowded feeling of traditional facilities.
A work-in-progress under the direction of Brad and Sandy Carlson, Bella Solviva will ultimately feature about 230 sites including safari tents, tree houses, bed and breakfast suites, vintage RVs and cabins. The resort will also offer several themed areas to provide a variety of experiences for individuals, couples, families and groups, including horseback riding, kayaking and canoeing, hiking, mountain biking and more along the property’s rolling hills, nearby waterways and lush woodlands. Other amenities on the table include a fitness center, catered meals, cooking pavilions and more.
The eco-resort will be developed in several phases over multiple years, with a goal of being 100 percent energy independent by the time the entire project is complete. Green building principles will be utilized as Bella Solviva develops, including the installation of solar panels, wind turbines, hydropower and heat generators. Guests will also notice a strong commitment to reuse and recycle during the day-to-day operations.
Throughout the state, both private and public campgrounds are looking to ancient primitive cultures for some of their lodging structures. Used as a dwelling by nomadic Mongolian peoples in the steppes of Central Asia, yurts are canvas-like tents built on wooden platforms. With their thin walls, occupants are able to hear the sounds of nature outside, while relaxing in the unique comfort inside with features such as actual beds and furniture, wood-burning stoves, cooking spaces and more.
Wild Cherry RV Resort in Lake Leelanau, in the heart of Leelanau County’s wine country, offers a four-person yurt located in a secluded wooded setting. The space is equipped with a queen-size bed, one twin trundle bed, day bed, dresser, table and chairs. A portable bathroom and two-room tent shower are located just a short walk from the yurt. For a romantic touch, guests can request flowers, wine, cheese and fruit be waiting upon arrival.
Additionally, three Michigan state parks also feature yurts—including Craig Lake, Pinckney Recreation Area and the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
Reprinted from the Summer 2016 issue of Michigan BLUE Magazine.