Glamping at Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley Campground
By Bob Tagert
So what is Glamping? Glamping is short for “glamorous camping” and has become a mainstay of outdoor recreation over the past decade. If your essential list contains things such as a real mattress, running water or an actual toilet, you can still find numerous options that bridge the gap between traditional camping and the comforts of home.
Last month we returned to one of our favorite places, the Shenandoah Valley near Luray, Virginia. We are familiar with both sides of the mountain at Thornton Gap since we do the Blue Ridge distribution each month. Our normal route is to come in on the east side at Sperryville and then cross the mountain into Luray. This we did, and when we reached Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley Campground we discovered that it was only a few hundred feet from Route 340 which runs between Luray and Front Royal. When we returned home we took Route 340 north to Front Royal and then picked up Interstate-66. This reduced the driving time substantially. A very pleasant discovery. We like to take every back road possible on our treks to Road Trip destinations and then the “fastest” way back on the trip home. The good thing about “Waze” and GPS is that you can pick and choose part of your route coming and going.
Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley is a serene slice of heaven, conveniently located just 20 minutes off I-81 and about four miles from Skyline Drive and Thornton Gap. The complex is nestled in the farmland atop a hill. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, the views are spectacular. The campground is close to Luray Caverns, the famed Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, the Shenandoah River and several Civil War sites. In addition to camp sites and the Yurts, they also offer both shady sites and open sites that can accommodate all sized RVs and trailers and they are big rig friendly. Each site includes a picnic table, fire ring, 30 or 50-amp electrical services and sewer. They have deluxe patio sites and deluxe tent sites as well.
Most all of the RV parking is located on a plateau at the top of the compound where the two cabins, the Pavilion, playground, jumping pillow (this is really a fun feature according to Lani), corn hole, a horseshoe pit and the very important laundry and pump out station are located. When we were there they were working on the volleyball sand court. From the plateau, the meadow gently flows to the lower section where the tent camp sites and yurts are located as well as the two swimming pools and the Dog Park. The campground also features two bath houses strategically placed on the property. Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley has two pools…the original one is pretty small (great for the parents to hang out and still be able to watch the kids) and the new one that is nice and large and can accommodate a large group of folks.
Since we were there mid-week, the campground was sparsely populated on our arrival but when we were leaving on Friday, it was starting to fill up. Campsites seem to come at a premium these days so I am guessing it would benefit anyone going on a weekend make a reservation early on.
Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley Campground Store has pretty much everything you need if you forget something – everything between s’mores parts to toilet paper and lots of fun stuff like the Moo Food (for feeding the neighborhood bovines) and bags of Mining “Ore” to sift at Spacious Skies Mining Company.
The staff of Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley are exceptional and very accommodating and will steer you in the right direction. In fact, upon arrival we were told that the internet connection here isn’t the “best”. We found that out when we tried to use the Pandora app on the iPhone so…bring along an old school portable CD player that plugs in or has batteries if you need tunes. We took advantage of the linen/towel package and opted to get firewood bundles and marshmallows from the store. For complete information on Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley campground log on to www.campatshenandoahvalley.com
When we arrived at Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley we were greeted by the friendly campground staff and given the low-down on the grounds and sent on our way to our Yurt – our home for the next three days. The yurt comprises the “glamorous” part of Glamping. “Yurt – a circular domed tent of skins or felt stretched over a collapsible lattice framework and used by pastoral peoples of inner Asia”. Instead of animal skins our yurt was canvas covered with a front door and two flap windows that are screened. The yurt we were in was approximately 21-feet in diameter with a clear dome on top with a ceiling fan in the center. There is a bathroom with sink, shower and toilet, a kitchen nook with essential utensils, a fridge, microwave and the ubiquitous Keurig coffee maker and it is air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. The queen size bed is in the middle and was very comfortable. There are also two very comfortable chairs at the foot of the bed. One of the downsides is the only place to sit and eat is the table with four chairs located on the front porch – kind of hard to sit and eat when it is pouring rain but we situated ourselves under the umbrella. Also included is a small gas grill and a very cool fire pit in front. The photos really don’t do this whole set up justice. The price is right as well – for about $120 a night you have the sense of being a “real” camper with the basics of home. Definitely something we will do again.
The campground is only three miles from Luray where you can find restaurants, grocery stores and other amenities. Here also you will find the Mimslyn Inn which is the upper end of accommodations in the area and they also have a great bar to visit. And…don’t forget to check out the famous Luray Caverns.
With fall approaching, it looks like “leaf peeper” season in September and October will be exceptional. Skyline drive and the Shenandoah Valley will be ablaze with the colors of fall. This is a fantastic time of year to make the Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop that traverses both Page and Rappahannock Counties. This loop features wineries, distilleries (Copper Fox is our favorite), eateries and points of interest. There is a stop for everyone! You can find everything you need to know about the loop at www.blueridgewhiskywineloop.com. All of this can be accomplished using your spot at Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley as a headquarters.