‘Glamping’ blends nature, modern luxuries

by Emily Canning-Dean

Summer is almost here, and families and individuals all around Northeast Ohio are excited to plan their vacations and spend some time in the great outdoors.

But even though they enjoy communing with nature, the idea of “roughing it” for many doesn’t sound like much fun.

Enter the world of “glamping.”

This new type of vacationing has grown in popularity, and many venues throughout the state are offering accommodations for vacationers who want a camping experience but also want to enjoy many of the creature comforts provided by modern living.

Joe Lisa is one local providing that unique blend. Lisa started after college when he and some friends purchased property near the Grand Canyon, put up tents and outfitted them with air mattresses, cozy comforters and electricity.

“It took off really well, and then when COVID happened, we bought another property near Joshua Tree National Park,” he said. “At that time, everyone was fleeing to the outskirts of California, and we were there in the outskirts.”

Later, Lisa said he learned online about a houseboat in Key West that was the most frequently booked Air BnB in the country. “I wanted to bring that Key West vibe and glamping to Ohio,” said Lisa, who grew up in Van Wert.

So last May, he opened SoLStay Lodging in Sandusky.

SoLStay is made up of houseboats and cottages on the waterfront. Cottage amenities include private decks, designated workspaces, washer and dryer, full kitchens, Smart TV’s and electric mounted fireplaces. Lux houseboats include air conditioning, a kitchenette and views of the lake and marina. Restroom facilities are walking distance from the houseboats and include toilets, showers and sinks.

“We wanted to offer a whole spectrum for people,” Lisa said. “If you don’t want to be on the water, you can be on the land. There are options if you want more of a camping experience or less of a camping experience.”

Spots like this are cropping up all over Northeast Ohio.

Mohican Hideaway’s take on glamping includes glamping domes located on land that has direct access to the Mohican River. The Brickhaven resort equipped its tented domes with kitchenettes, bathrooms, lofts, private hot tubs, furnished patios and outdoor fire areas. For more information, visit discovermohican.com.

Roosevelt Glamping in Wooster offers lodgings with modern luxuries among a spring fed pond, hiking trails and natural waterfalls. Their Hidden Valley Cabin boasts heat and air conditioning, WiFi, Smart TV, a king-sized bed, luxury bathroom with linens and robes, a private screened-in porch with a fireplace, a fully stocked kitchen, a gas grill and a hot tub. For more information visit rooseveltglamping.com.

Lisa, 27, said he thinks glamping is here to stay.

“I think for people my age, we want to build a life resume. We want to be out there in the world having experiences that we find fulfilling, and I think the glamping experience allows us to do that,” he said. ∞