Let’s face facts. Not every guy is the burly outdoorsman seen on rolls of paper towels. Some women, but not every woman, wants to fish, hunt for game, or hike mountain ranges. We also realize that many city kids think a day in Prospect or Central Park is considered a month in the wilderness.
If your guy, gal and gang are more L.L. Bean than Dick’s Sporting Goods, let it be. Let it be! There is nothing worse than city slickers posing as cowpokes, mountain folk or lumberjacks when they actually are more comfortable reading a good novel in a hammock with a jaw-dropping vista to sooth the soul. This doesn’t mean city dwellers don’t appreciate and respect the great outdoors.
For those who like a few reminders of civility in their rural experience, following are my suggestions to pitch a tent, park a trailer or just open a log cabin door. These camp or glamp hot spots are all within driving distance of NYC.
Are you refusing to give up the beach season? Hither Hills State Park is just 122 miles from New York City. I call it Camp Al Fresco. Brushing up against the turf near Montauk, Long Island you can pitch or hitch your portable home on the beach. The campground is open until mid November with playing fields, “walking dunes” of Napeague Harbor and woodlands filled with Russian olive, oak and pine trees. Let me not forget the breathtaking sunrise, sounds of crashing waves and wafts of briny air.
What to include for your beachy getaway?
Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean the sun can’t damage the skin. In fact, most people don’t realize that you need to wear sunscreen all year long including overcast days. To remedy the damage of the wind, elements and keep the dreadful melanoma at bay, I recommend you bring this duo by La Jeanell.
The Simply Thirst Moisturizer Créme applied after washing your face will nourish the skin with Hyalurionic Acid and make your puss fresh, hydrated and youthful. Then apply their Daily Sunscreen Skin Protective. I recommend this because of the SPF level 55 to help shield out UVA and UVB rays. Keep your skin healthy and celebrate your natural skin tone and level of melanin — don’t poison or toast it. In other words, excessive tanning has gone by the wayside and seaside since the 1970’s.
To Shop: La Jeanell
Then Camp: Hither Hills
Open until the end of October, head up to North-South Lake in the Catskill Mountains and some of the best fall foliage, fresh air activities and a nearby yards of the vine with a drink made from liquified grapes. This is geared towards campers practicing adulting.
One of the largest and most popular state campgrounds in the Catskill Forest Preserve, this area offers scenic beauty, historical sites like Alligator Rock and the Kaaterskill Falls. Be forewarned that there is an abrupt change in elevation about 540 feet above sea level.
Let’s Camp: North-South Lake (Catskills)
Shower in a pouch
What to bring? I recommend Alpine Provisions Cedar & Sandalwood Body Wipes. Camping on the trail makes it a bit questionable about proper facilities and a box (12 count) of these should last your entire trip. Just open the pouch and wipe away the dirt and grime from limb to limb (not the face or private parts). You will feel refreshed and ready for another hike to the peak. The scent is as alluring as the nature surrounding you.
Stop and Shop: Alpine Provisions
Defining itself in between camping and glamping, the KOA Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Mountains Campground may be just the right return to nature for you. As a fellow Pennsylvanian, I can attest for the beauty of NEPA and I always get a magical feeling when heading from the city to my birthplace. When I reach the Delaware Water Gap — a trip that I’ve made over 1000 times — a warm and comforting sensation comes over me like a down filled comforter, warm cup of cider and a welcome hug. I consider this location super-family friendly with activities for every season.
Game night on the trail
This KOA is open year round with a store on grounds and nearby outlets in the event that you forget something. Just because you are away from home doesn’t mean you have to cancel the family game night. I recommend Le Puzz. What can be more fun than gathering around the camp side table with snacks and creating a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle? There are many fun and beautiful images to choose from. I recommend Freaky Deaky and Big Sally.
Fit this into your groove: Le PUZZ
Off to camp: Delaware Water Gap Pennsylvania
Kick out odors
After all that hiking and marching around in outdoor sports, it’s wise to have the Arm & Hammer Shoe Refresher Spray at hand. This spray deodorizes all types of footwear including sneakers, boat shoes, boots, the world’s ugliest Crocs and even moccasins. Trust me, you’ll be glad you packed one of these convenient and travel friendly cans. The odor defense ingredients will refresh all footwear and bring a pleasant face on your family staying in such tight quarters.
Collective Hudson Valley is, in my opinion, one of those perfect getaway places from the concrete city. This bucolic retreat is located on Liberty Farms (a working organic farm and equestrian center), with easy access to Hudson’s shops, boutiques and galleries, before or after a variety of outdoor activities such as horseback riding, biking or antiquing. You can kick back and relax or take in the scenes from local festivals to historic sites — the choice is all yours.
Note: Part of the Collective Retreats brand of luxury camping retreats in stunning locations are created in places where traditional hotels simply can’t exist. They offer high-standard tents with 1,500 thread-count bed sheets and suspended chandeliers while supporting their local farmers, family businesses and resident artisans. What sets these places apart from other lodging are the bathrooms. Yes, the baths are anything but boring, modular and shabby.
If you and your mate are self-proclaimed foodies with challenging palates, this just might be the place of your culinary camping adventure.
What to schlep?
Dudes! Don’t mess up this vacayy away from the citayy. Bring along some cologne for the romantic evenings under the celestial sky. I suggest you compliment nature with Abel Green Cedar cologne. The unique combination of a twice-distilled Texas cedar and wild harvested Atlas Mountain cedar make for a distinctive, alluring fragrance. The top notes of magnolia and heart of wood makes the scent 100% natural. This along with your favorite music is bound to create some howlin’ in the mountains.
MinxNY “Aromasoles” Therapeutic Oil Infused Slipper Socks. These comfortable and functional slipper socks are infused with natural therapeutic oils. I tried their Lounge Socks infused with bourbon and shea butter. The non-skid traction dots on the bottom will keep you well balanced and anything but tipsy. The bourbon, I am not so sure. Your feet will appreciate the warmth and soothing sensation after all that rock climbing.
Vermont holds a special place in my heart. If you are willing to make the trek a little longer outside of NYC and/or have never visited the Green Mountain state, I promise you will be amazed at the beauty and friendliness of the people. During one of my visits, I was pleasantly surprised as a New Yorker to encounter two rugged young men fixing a truck on the side of the road. I was on my bike and they stopped their work just to wave and say hello. It’s normal human behavior for them.
There are many ways to camp up here in the place of sugar maple trees. You will encounter everything from tree houses, campsites, cabins, yurts and more. The ultimate in glamping for me is at Beforest Gardens.
At the base of Quimby Mountain in the town of Sharon, Vermont is this attractive storybook cottage resting at the edge of a small wildlife pond. It’s on an ecological mini-farm with their very own chicken flock. For those who can’t fathom to rough-it in the great outdoors, perhaps this is your stepping stone into nature and the world of camping without losing the security blanket. Check out the following site for this and more options off-the-beaten highway in Vermont.
Tough & Durable
I chose them for the color and kept them for the quality. XTRATUF, worn by Alaskan commercial fishermen for decades because of their durability, is another thing to bring along with you on this outing. Even if it doesn’t rain, you’ll be glad to keep your feet dry while wading in the water’s edge. The brand’s iconic Ankle Deck Boots are now becoming a mainstream trend with men and women alike wearing them in urban locations as a fashion statement. From bold colors and patterns to neutrals, the Ankle Deck Boot is becoming a staple in everyday style.
The Take Away
With the city lights on the horizon and signs for your bridge or tunnel guiding you on the road, it’s time to go home and leave behind not a single footprint that you discovered and existed on a mountain range, in a prairie, at the water’s edge of a stream, lake, pond or ocean. All you can take home are the memories and a promise to return. However, it is possible to create a sense memory of your trip. Try the Mountain Sage Soy Wax Candle from Gentlemen’s Hardware. This candle with a reusable stone pot will help bring the outside in and remind you to book next year’s camp or glamp.