Take fuss out of camping with glamping in South Haven, Mich.
Some say the prescription for health and happiness is to eat right, get enough sleep and spend time outside. Time outdoors boosts energy and the immune system; it can enhance creativity and restore focus; and it just smells great, too. But if you've had camping experiences that were less than pleasant or you're just too spent to set up a tent and haul and cook your meals, glamping is camping without the work. It allows you to revel in the night sky, sleep in a bed and awaken to the rising sun and hot coffee someone else has already brewed.
Glamping, a combination of "glamorous" and "camping," was officially added to the dictionary in 2016. It's big out west in California, Utah, Colorado, Washington and even Texas, and the vacation trend has traveled east to places like Tennessee, North Carolina and upstate New York. The Midwest? Not so much. Enter The Fields of Michigan, the first luxe glamping opportunity in the Midwest located in a working blueberry field in South Haven, Michigan.
Owned by South Haven native and Hinsdale resident Irene Wood, The Fields is just two-and-a-half miles from the lively tourist town and its lovely beaches, yet far enough for an authentic nature getaway minus the work and discomfort often inherent in snoozing outdoors. South Haven is about 150 miles from Arlington Heights.
If you make the 2½- to 3-hour trip from the suburbs, you'll have just a short walk from your car through the blueberry fields to reach one of 10 platform tents featuring a king-size bed with high-end linens; a small bathroom and shower en-suite; a desk and seating area; and a wood-burning stove when the nights are chilled (or a cooling unit when heat and humidity persist). There's already wood in the tent so you can keep it stoked overnight, however, staff will start it for you before nightfall. Zip up the canvas to keep out the mosquitoes and moths and drift off to the sound of croaking frogs and the comforting scent of wood burning.
Local chef and South Haven native Sean Hale will have coffee, juice, fresh seasonal fruit, local granola, pastries, egg creations or blueberry pancakes awaiting each morning in The Willow, an open-air building with tables, chairs and sofas a few steps from the tents. Breakfast is complimentary, but lunch and dinner can be purchased a la carte, too.
You might opt for an outdoor yoga session right in the field after your sunrise breakfast or maybe a visit to the South Haven Farmer's Market or a tour and sip at Fenn Valley Vineyards, just a short drive away. The family-owned vineyard has a roster of events such as summer evening cookouts and popular fall tours that go into the vineyard to taste grapes and the wine the little orbs produce. Fennville boasts a brewery and taproom for seasonal suds fans -- Waypost Brewing is co-owned and operated by brewmaster Hannah Lee.
The Fields is a half-mile from the Kal-Haven hiking trail, so pack your running or hiking shoes or have The Fields reserve a bike for you. Staff can also set you up with fishing, sailing, dune rides, cheese-making sessions and more. "U-Pick" is fun on the working blueberry farm that produces nearly 40,000 pounds annually (peak harvest is July through mid-August). Fill up on Great Lakes history at the Michigan Maritime Museum and work on your tan at South or North Beach with Lake Michigan swimming, a playground and a pier that hundreds stroll day and night. Then, it's back for a beach read and a nap on your king-size bed in a luxe safari tent at The Fields.
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The Fields of Michigan
154 68th St., South Haven, Michigan, (269) 341-0154, thefieldsofmichigan.com/
Room rates start at $329
• Glamping Hub lists 27 different kinds of glamping experiences including yurts, treehouses, domes, tipis, caves, barns, huts and safari tents. glampinghub.com
• Hipcamp is an app that's a kind of airbnb for camping, offering access to national, state, regional and Army Corps parks in all 50 states as well as private land owners who list ranches, farms, nature preserves and other areas including glamping opportunities. hipcamp.com/
• Tentrr has a curated list of fully rigged campsites on private land such as a glamping operation in northeastern Wisconsin situated on a 100 year-old, 100-acre family farm. tentrr.com/