Fall Weekend Getaway: Glamping at Posh Primitive Campground in the Adirondacks

Book this trip for chic tents, farm-to-table meals, and just-rough-enough outdoorsy appeal.

Posh Primitive Campground | Photo by Andrew Quijano

Posh Primitive Campground | Photo by Andrea Quijano

When I was growing up, my family wasn’t really the camping type. We lived in the woods in South Jersey, and its pestilent mosquito swarms, frequent snake sightings and dreaded gypsy moth caterpillars were quite enough of the outdoors for Mom and Dad. There was no way we were pitching a tent in the Pine Barrens.

And I’ve always felt like I kind of missed out. My 10-year-old son apparently felt similarly: Camping was on his summer to-do list, along with a note that read, “But absolutely NO GLAMPING.” I thought of this directive as my family and I headed to Posh Primitive, a luxury campground near Lake George dotted with custom-made safari-style canvas tents full of antiques and Pendleton blankets. Sorry, son.

When we arrived, I was a little worried about the temperature, which had inched up to 92 degrees. The four tents on this vast Adirondack property have neither fans nor air conditioners, which I guess would be a little over-the-top. But much to our surprise, the tents were perfectly comfortable even midday, and cooler evening temps made for great sleeping weather. My wife and I shared a queen bed, while each kid got a comfy cot. Bathrooms and outdoor showers are in the bathhouse, located just a few steps from the dining lodge and not far from your tent; for those who want to really get back to nature, there’s an outhouse with a compost toilet deeper in the woods.

Meals are served family-style in a communal lodge, where you’ll find no shortage of board games and books to enjoy by the wide wooden fireplace. John and Rachael Shafer, the husband-and-wife team behind Posh Primitive, both do the cooking; three meals a day are included. John tends to the giant outdoor grill and oven — he whipped up bison tenderloin one night — while Rachael harvests fresh vegetables, herbs and greens from her organic garden, located about halfway between the lodge and a trout-filled pond. After dinner, John builds a roaring bonfire outside your tent. This is camping? I thought. My parents didn’t know what they were missing.

The nearby town of Lake George is a bit touristy and commercialized, so instead we sunned, swam and fished at Million Dollar Beach, a 30-minute drive from camp. We caught a largemouth bass, which John grilled to perfection for dinner the same night. On the way back, we stopped at Nettle Meadow Farm, where you’ll want to stock up on the award-winning goat cheese. (If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a just-born baby goat, as we did.)

In the end, even my son — the resolute anti-glamper — came around. And I’m happy to say I’ve finally experienced “camping,” Pendleton blankets, organic herb garden and all.

Field Guide: Lake George Weekend Itinerary

Stay: Posh Primitive, 435 Stock Farm Road, Chestertown, New York; rates start at $356 a night.
Play: Prefer backcountry to beaches? Posh Primitive can arrange mountain or road biking trips for you, or set up a custom backcountry hike with the campsite’s in-house expert guide.
Eat: The tuna melts and Reubens at Main Street Ice Cream Parlor — just five minutes from camp — are local favorites. But the best meals are served at Posh Primitive, where they’ll pack you a lunch and send you on a long hike complete with 75-foot ladder ascents. Yikes.

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This article first appeared in Philadelphia magazine’s September 2016 issue.