There are few joys in life as great as swimming in a natural pond, standing in the woods under a solar shower, falling asleep to a wood burning stove, or hearing nothing but the sound of birds overhead.
It was late-July and I found myself deep in the northern Catskill Mountains, far beyond any trace of cellphone range or Starbucks chains. I had spent the morning reading in an Adirondack chair, sipping black coffee and eating blueberries next to a bonfire. The land slopped down in front of me, leading away into the hills. Sixty acres of woods stood behind me. There was silence and crisp air that held the chill of a morning in the mountains.
No, I hadn’t pitched my two-person tent in the wilderness, nor was I visiting the estate of some long-lost relative—I had found Tentrr, a remarkable new way to find quiet and comfort in some of the most serene and private tracts of land in the northeast.
Tentrr has sprung up as an answer for folks looking to go a little deeper in nature and further from anything that remotely hints at being crowded. With just one site per property, Tentrr allows its guests to experience total solitude. Each site comes equipped with worldly comforts like a bed, wool blankets, and real dishes, as well as some rustic elements like a camp toilet and solar shower. Similar to Airbnb, each site sits on privately held land with different natural amenities on offer (i.e. mountain views, swimming holes, woods, etc).
Working with local environmental groups, Tentrr finds some of the most bucolic land and builds a wooden platform, Adirondack chairs, and a picnic table, constructs a roomy canvas tent with a wood-burning stove, sets up a fire pit, platform bed, and camp toilet. The hosts add everything else, which in my case included the contents of a dream camp—warm and comfortable bedding, a curated selection of books, lanterns, flashlights, coffee, tea, dishes, and binoculars. Each site comes with a five-person dome tent should you wish to turn your getaway into a large gathering and many have the options for mountain bike rentals.
Now in its second season, Tentrr’s stronghold is the Catskills where they work with local environmental groups such as the Catskill Forest Association and the Delaware Highlands Conservancy to perfect their model. They are rapidly expanding with a few properties in Connecticut, and plans to lay stakes in Massachusetts and Maine are underway (sites should be ready as early as August).
Somewhere between swimming in the cool pond and sleeping beside a wood-burning fire, it hit me—a private wilderness was just one zip away. I had found perfection in a canvas tent.
Tentrr’s season runs from May through October.
Where I stayed: Roxbury Mile High Camp.