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Glamping: Mixing luxury with the great outdoors


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IRWIN — What happens when you cross the words glamorous and camping? You get “glamping!” That’s exactly what I got to experience at the Valley Village Tiny Homes and RV park.

It’s not like I’ve ever had a huge problem with camping, but my experience outdoors was definitely enhanced this time with electricity, plumbing, temperature control and lighting all inside a themed tent. Let’s not forget the advantage of Wi-Fi – a definite plus if you have some last minute work emails you’ve just got to respond to or maybe a Netflix episode to catch up on.

I know what you’re thinking. What’s the point of camping if you can’t get away from modern day conveniences? The great thing about glamping is combining the comfort of the indoors with the majesty of the outdoors. You really can have it all.

Bedroom in the Dream Catcher tent. | Natalia Hepworth,

I caught up with Rachel Werner and Shane Fisher – the masterminds behind the glamping site in Swan Valley.

“A lot of people want to go camping but they really don’t enjoy the comfort of it,” Werner says. “We wanted to create a space where people could actually come, get the experience of being outdoors but be comfortable and have kind of the luxury of home.”

Fisher refers to glamping as “princess camping.”

The glamping site host four tents, and a tiny house that was featured on the hit television show ‘Tiny House Big Living.’ Each of the tents is themed with décor to match: Zen, Dream Catcher, Wild West and Arabian Nights. The lavish decorations in the tents look expensive, but the couple got them for bargains while shopping garage sales in Arizona. They say the ideas for the tents’ themes progressed as they bought various furniture and décor.

Living room area inside the Dream Catcher tent. | Natalia Hepworth,

“I thought all the women would love the Arabian Nights, (but) just as many ladies love the cowboy tent,” Fisher says.

Fisher and Werner say they see couples come to the site as a compromise – the ladies can enjoy the amenities of glamping and the men can have the excitement of the great outdoors.

“It’s been nice to get those bookings — the middle ground. When the men do come, they set up their grills, all their necessities for camping, yet the ladies are here in style and comfort,” Werner says.

Bathroom sink inside the Dream Catcher tent. | Natalia Hepworth,

On the off chance you don’t have a camp grill or Dutch oven, glampers can prepare meals at the clubhouse, which is available on site. Guests are welcome to enjoy cooking, treats, popcorn and movies during the glamping experience.

If the canvas tent is too much of an authentic experience, guests can book the Tiny Shoebox House, as it’s referred to on HGTV and the DIY Network.

Werner, Fisher and their builder, Phil Henrie, built the house in record time last summer — 60 days.

Bathroom shower and toilet in the Dream Catcher tent. | Natalia Hepworth,

“It’s been a huge hit. Everyone loves staying there. It’s a tiny house that’s not so tiny,” Werner says.

Werner and Fisher say their vacation ventures aren’t stopping at their glamping tents and tiny home. They’re ready to take things a few steps further.

“We want to give people a unique experience when they come here. We want to make it a place where people actually stay and enjoy themselves,” Werner says. “Shane had the idea of going with a semi-trailer.”

Glamping Clubhouse | Natalia Hepworth,

Fisher says they’re planning to repurpose a 53-foot semi-trailer and put a common wall in the center of it “like a townhouse.”

They’ll place two doors on each end with two bathrooms, two living rooms and two bedrooms.

“So it’ll be a tiny bedroom townhouse,” Werner says.

They also want to add stargazing decks to the top of their prospective townhomes. Along with the new additions to the park, they’re hoping to include a food wagon to feed glamping guests and kayaking adventures to add to the vacation package.

Tiny Shoebox House | Natalia Hepworth,

“We want people to come and stay for three or four days – especially locals from Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, Rigby, Rexburg and all those surrounding cities,” Fisher says. “We’re going to go as long as we can until the weather stops us.”

Find the tiny home and glamping tents Zen, Dream Catcher, Wild West and Arabian Nights on Airbnb, or call and book directly at 208-403-1419. Guest can book through October or maybe longer, weather permitting.