Over the summer, we went "glamping" among the redwood trees in Sonoma County. You may have read my last travelogue where I vowed not to travel long distances with our tantrum-prone toddler. This was a perfect get-away, only a little over an hour away from San Francisco, and like camping but with convenient and glamorous amenities.
We rented an airstream camper with AutoCamp Russian River. In the parking lot you are welcomed with a Radio Flyer wagon to help transport your luggage. It also conveniently fits toddlers.
The camper was chic and had everything we needed. A separate bedroom for us, a pull-out couch for Harlem, a modern bathroom with hotel-like products, heating, and its own patio for cook-outs.
There were also common spaces to hang out in, like this lobby, outdoor fire pits, and hammocks.
There were also luxury tents you could book. These were super cute too.
We only stayed for one night. Because the only problem with glamping is that it's expensive! But we made the most of our trip and were grateful to have the experience.
We arrived on Saturday and had lunch at Big Bottom Market in downtown Guerneville. This area is well-known for wine tasting. Our family came here a few years ago with friends on my birthday when Harlem was still small enough to carry along easily (blog post on that trip here). Now that he's constantly on the move, a visit to a winery wasn't in the cards for us, but I drank every opportunity that I could.
After lunch we went down to Johnson's Beach for a dip in the Russian River. You can rent canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats here, but kids have to be at least 5 years old. They also had a snack bar with ice cream, wine and beer. Harlem loved swimming with his floaties, trying to catch the ducks. I would consider coming back here and renting one of their cabins, which are much more rustic but affordable.
We had dinner at Boon Eat + Drink. The food was good but coming here was a mistake. Harlem was so tired from the driving, swimming, and excitement of our cool digs, that he had major melt-downs at the restaurant. We resorted to sticking an iPad in front of him and headphones in his ears to finish our meal in peace. If I could re-do this dinner, I would've just gotten a pizza or brought our own BBQ for the grill back at AutoCamp. One family was grilling chicken tandoori there and it looked/smelled amazing.
For dessert, we went back to our campsite to make s'mores. Pro tip: roast your marshmallow and then insert your chocolate into the hot marshmallow to melt the chocolate.
At the end of the night, it was so nice to be able to take warm showers (though I went last and the water heater gave out on me a bit) and put Harlem down on a soft bed with the heater on and sound machine plugged in. Russell and I watched TV in our room before going to sleep and Harlem slept through the night.
The campground is tolerant of families, but clearly states that they are an "adult-focused property" and parents should hold their children to a high standard of behavior. We did our best, and we were relieved to see several families and young children on site. Harlem made friends with a girl camping next to us. They ran around all night on the lawn and they may have been shrieking a bit. The manager came to shush them but was very nice about it.
Harlem and his friend hung out again the next day, "playing" chess and going around the campgrounds trying to solve a mystery. The lobby served pastries and coffee for breakfast and you could squeeze yourself a fresh glass of orange juice.
At the end of our trip, Harlem said he "loved" his new friend. We joked that she was his first love.
Before heading back home on Sunday, we took a short hike in the Armstrong Redwoods State Park.
Overall a very successful trip. Maybe next year we'll try some real camping. But I could get really used to this glamping business. I've learned (and continue to learn) that if you're going to travel with a toddler, make it as easy as possible on yourself.
Here's a video too of our experience, enjoy!