Flames erupting from the blazing embers indicate the end of the evening campfire. The forest is dark and quiet, except for the presence of a stopped owl nearby. A few feet away, the large, cozy tent home comforts, illuminated by a light wire, promises another night of rest and tranquility after a full day of outdoor activity.
This is the essence of “glaming”, a pleasant summer experience that is one step above normal camping.
The sturdy wooden and canvas trapeze-style tent, inspired by the French-Canadian trappers of previous years who relied on a rugged shelter to survive in the wild, is the signature residence in Hatopia Southern Man in Sanford. Located in a pine and oak forest with a sand pond, the resort has more than 80 tents and a handful of small cabins in the vast plains.
All Hotopia camp sites are walk-in and located around the main lodge, a short distance from the main parking lot. After check-in, you’ll grab a handbag and move your luggage to the gravel lanes for your stay. You don’t need too much – some clothes, food and personal items – because by design, Huttopia provides all the essentials for camping.
Each Hotupia tent and cabin is equipped with electric light and warmth, comfortable beds, bathrooms and showers with linen and towels, full camp kitchen, mini fridge and storage locker. Outside there is a table and chairs on the terrace and a gas grill, as well as a fireplace, picnic table, folding chairs and a bundle of wood near the threshold.
“We want to take people outdoors, reunite them with nature, and reunite them,” said Margax Bosan, Hatopia’s brand manager. She is the daughter of Celine and Philipe Bossanne, the founders of the company, who started their venture in France in 1999. Hatopia has since reached more than 60 locations in Europe, Canada and the United States, with The Sanford location opening in 2019.
“Hotopia offers easy accommodation for Camp Two with a few extra touches, which makes it a little more comfortable,” Bosan said.
The standard rate for a Trapper-style tent for two adults – with electricity, a bathroom, a king-size bed and other amenities – is 40 540 for a two-night stay. Children under the age of 18 can stay with adults for free, but there are also large tents to accommodate families.
The lodge is the center of activity in Hatopia, and here you can rent a canoe or stand-up paddle board to explore the sand pond, which is also a great fishing spot. There is also a sandy beach area for swimming and sunbathing. The lodge has board games, or you can slip into the hot pool, lounge in the cradle, or play a kissing game.
The lodge’s bistro offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with a little French flavor, so if you don’t like cooking in your tent, you don’t have to go far for a good meal. Fresh and delicious menus include brick oven pizza, sandwiches, salads and ketchup, sweet and savory crepes, croissants, coffee and more, as well as local microbreweries and French wines.
There’s a lot to keep you busy on site in Hatopia, that’s for sure, but being located in downtown York County, it also makes for an excellent base camp for adventure around the area. For hikers, in particular, there’s plenty to see and do, starting around the corner with a short board walk on the George E. Suite Ecology Trail, from the Sanford-Springville Weatherway Trust. On one of the numerous reserves owned and operated.
The Bonig Beg Mountain Conservation Area is just a few miles to the west. Under the auspices of the Great Works Regional Land Trust, the 870-foot peak offers hikers a view of the summit from Mount Washington to the Atlantic. All told, the Land Trust has 18 natural reservoirs along the trails in the area. Mount Agamantix and its 40-mile trail are within amazing distance, as are the properties of the Yorkland Trust and the Catland Land Trust. Along the coast, walk to Laudholm Farm and Rachel Carson’s National Wildlife Refuge’s Wells Reserve is great.
Huttopia Southern Maine is one of the many opportunities to shine in Maine. Not only are there tents and cabins, but also yurts, small houses, tree houses and much more, all centered around the simple pleasures of having the best quality time outdoors with friends and family. Get glamping this summer; It’s great fun with a twist!
Carrie Cash of Mount Desert Island is an experienced hiker and freelance writer. His latest book, Beer Hiking New England, will be available later this year. Follow Kerry’s more adventures on Facebook and Instagram @careykish.
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