During spring break, we had the opportunity to go yurt camping at Shenandoah Crossing in Virginia (you can read all about our trip here). And I have to tell you, ‘glamping’ was one of the best family vacations we’ve ever had![FYI: Glamping = glamour + camping. According to Wikipedia, glamping “describes a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with ‘traditional’ camping.”]
What’s not to love about that?
We stayed in a two-bedroom yurt at Shenandoah Crossing and absolutely LOVED it! I mean, it’s THE only yurt we’ve ever stayed in, but it was so, so, SO cool. Not only did it have bedrooms and a fully functioning (and super nice) bathroom with a walk-in shower, it had a full kitchen. Fancy, huh?
While, I was excited to finally experience glamping, I didn’t really know what to expect or how to pack for such an occasion. So here is some advice I would give to first time glampers.
Bring Food and Drinks
If you are glamping at Shenandoah Crossing, I highly suggest bringing some food and drinks. Each yurt has a full kitchen: sink, stove with an oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, dishes (including pots and pans) and even a toaster. Bringing some food with you will save you money, even if it’s just a few snacks and drinks. And the best part is, you don’t have to worry about loading up a cooler and getting ice.
Bring Games and Books
Our glamping trip only lasted for 3 days and we stayed really busy. However, in our downtime before bed, the kids were antsy for something to do; besides watch tv. (Our yurt had cable, 2 tvs, and a dvd player!) We took a few card games to play with them and we’re so glad we did. They not only came in handy before bed, but we relied on them while we waited for the bad weather to pass. If games aren’t your thing, bring a book or your computer/tablet (that’s right – your yurt has wi-fi!).
Bring Ear Plugs
If you are a light sleeper, make sure you bring ear plugs, headphones, white noise machine, or whatever you use to help you get to sleep in a (possibly) noisy place. While the yurt seems like a ‘real house’, you must remember that it’s practically a tent. The ‘walls’ are made out of canvas, which means that you can hear every little noise outside – i.e. animals, cars pulling up, people in neighboring yurts, etc. Thankfully, we didn’t have any noise complaints while we were there, but I’ve read several reviews where people complained about their fellow campers being too loud and keeping them up at night.
Plan Your Stay During the Summer
Our glamping trip was scheduled during early April, which was still cold and a little snowy. This meant that we couldn’t really do all of the outdoor activities that we had planned. Shenandoah Crossing is FULL of things to do outside. Honestly, we could have been completely entertained just staying at the resort if the weather had allowed us to hike, fish, or take a boat out on the lake. Plus, the outdoor pools and splash pad looked like so much fun, but it was too cold for those activities while we were there. Hopefully, we can take another glamping trip in the summer months!
Go See Some of the Historical Sites in the Area
Now, I know that I said that we didn’t need to leave the resort to have a good time and that’s true. BUT you should plan to see some of the historical sites in the area. Shenandoah Valley is steeped in rich Virginia history. We visited Thomas Jefferson’s home – Monticello – during our trip, but there was so much more that we wanted to see, such as James Madison’s Montpelier Estate in Orange or a Civil War Medical Museum in Gordonsville. We don’t consider ourselves big history buffs, but we still found these places interesting.
Don’t Wait to Get Last Minute Things at the Resort
One thing I wish we had done before arriving at Shenandoah Crossing was to buy milk. We brought some food and drinks with us from home. However, I had read online that there was a small general store on the premises of the resort and decided to pick up milk once we got there. I wasn’t aware that the store at Shenandoah closes early and they only sell small cartons of (overpriced) milk. I recommend that you don’t wait to pick up last minute items at the resort’s store. Instead, try stopping at a ‘real’ grocery store before you get there.
Don’t Pack Beach Towels
I knew that we would be visiting the indoor pool, so I brought along plenty of thick fluffy beach towels. However, that was a pointless waste of time, since extra towels were already provided. Inside one of the closets at the yurt was a stack of blue-and-white-striped pool towels. These were in addition to the regular white towels that stocked our bathroom. Don’t waste your time and trunk space bringing extra towels, because you will have plenty.
Don’t Be Too Loud
Earlier I mentioned possibly packing ear plugs in case you are a light sleeper. Along those same lines, you might want to watch your own volume while you are at your yurt. While the yurt we stayed in technically had 2 bedrooms separated by walls, these walls did not reach all the way to the ceiling. Thus, noise very easily traveled throughout the structure. When we laid down at night, we could hear our daughters whispering in their bed in the next room.
I saw many complaints on-line about people that had terribly noisy ‘neighbors’ that kept them up all night with obnoxious talking and laughing. Be a good neighbor and keep the noise to a minimum, especially late at night. Also, you might not want to talk about anything private or partake in any noisy “extra-curricular activities” because everyone will hear.
Glamping was an awesome experience to mark off of our Fort Bragg bucket list. I hope that these tips help make your trip to Shenandoah Crossing the best that it can be.