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Basically, it's camping for people who hate camping.
A night in the woods without access to a fully functioning bathroom and my six-step skincare regimen isn’t exactly my idea of a weekend well spent, so I’ve never been keen on camping. (I was also raised by immigrant parents who, after more than three decades in this country, still cannot fathom the idea of leaving one’s warm, hydro-equipped home for a middle-of-nowhere tent you have to set up yourself in the name of leisure. And, to be honest, can you blame them??)
Glamping, on the other hand, is something I can totally get behind: you get the comforts of that warm, hydro-equipped home while still being connected with nature (or something like that) and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Plus, “glamping,” a portmanteau of the words “glamorous” and “camping,” is just really fun to say. And when it comes to glamping, it doesn’t get anymore glam than a yurt (another fun-to-say word!).
I had never stayed in a yurt up until two weeks ago, when I was invited to spend an evening on San Juan Island, one of four ferry-accessible isles of the San Juan Islands in Washington state (though not the one that Oprah owns a home on!). However, I fear I won’t be able to reside in a yurt ever again because the one I stayed in—one of seven introduced at Lakedale Resort‘s “glampground”—just set the bar too damn high.
Exactly how high, you ask? Well, definitely higher than the the yurt’s 12-foot domed ceiling (an impressive feat!), which housed the following amenities: a pillow-top king bed and queen-size sleeper sofa; a bathroom with running water and hot shower; a kitchenette that comes ready with wet bar, coffee maker and refrigerator; a large flat-screen TV with Netflix and Hulu apps (the yurt is equipped with fibre optics, so you can keep up with your Stranger Things binge sesh while out in the wild); and a spacious deck outfitted with your own private hot tub, dining table, BBQ and Adirondack chairs. Oh, and there’s wifi.
Basically, this is a camping for people who hate camping. (Or those who need a break from pitching their own tents.) And while the conveniences mentioned above may seem to take away from the essence of spending an unplugged night in the woods, you’re still within walking distance of classic camping pastimes: swimming in fresh-water lakes; fishing and boating; s’mores making at a nearby fire pit. And if you have tots in tow, Lakedale offers family-friendly activities, too, like paddleboard classes, and jewellery-making and T-shirt-tie-dying sessions.
For those looking to lean into the property’s luxe offerings, there’s even a Gourmet Glamping series that teaches attendees how to cook up a multi-course meal over a campfire. (Wine pairings included, obvs.) My only complaint was the lack of window coverings on the yurt’s, uh, windows (save for the blinds in the bathroom), though that could just be my paranoia of always being watched kicking in… After all, like the spirit of camping calls for, we are (practically) in the middle of nowhere.
Lakedale Resort is situated on San Juan Island in northwestern Washington state. The island is accessible by ferry from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, about a one-hour drive from Bellingham or a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Vancouver.
This story was originally published on May 9, 2019.