Guest Spotlight: Lisette of "Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary"

By Hayley Donigan

Editor's Note: We'd like to introduce you to blogger Lisette of "Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary," who recently went on a luxurious getaway in Washington at this upscale cabin near Glacier. Read on to hear about her luxury camping experience and a brief interview about her first time glamping!

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A while back, I mentioned we were going on a little family adventure. We finally went on our adventure and stayed in a modern cabin in the woods. We enjoyed the solitude and location of our cabin, but most important was the time we spent together as a family. Our time there reminded us that we feel most alive surrounded by trees and breathing in the fresh mountain air, but also how we hope to one day have a cabin of our own nestled in the woods.

We stayed at our cabin for two nights and brought with us enough groceries so that we had no reason to leave other than for our own choosing. Aside from an afternoon of snowshoeing, we mainly just hung out at our cabin. So often with hotel rooms, we end up paying a lot of money for a place we hardly spend any time in, but renting this house allowed us to stick to our routine while still being on vacation. Jasper was able to have his own room and sleep when he wanted to, while we were able to enjoy the hot tub and relax by the fireplace.

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We loved all the natural light and airiness of our cabin accompanied by the warmth of the natural wood ceilings and open stairwell. We also loved the two-story space in the living and dining area and spent a majority of our time as a family there. In case we had forgotten something, there was a small grocery store, a couple of restaurants, and a bakery in the town of Glacier, which was roughly one mile away from our cabin.

When we arrived, there was a nice blanket of snow surrounding our cabin. We had hoped to be there during another snow storm, but all we ended up with was rain. We still savored the pace of our days at the cabin, however—each morning, we would sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast. Before we knew it, the clock said "afternoon", so we would try to take advantage of as much daylight as possible during those short winter days. Nights were filled with lots of playing with Jasper and the reminder that this slice of his life, although exhausting at times, will be a flash before our very eyes.

Our Interview with Lisette

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Choose three adjectives to describe the glamping site you stayed at before your trip and another three words to describe it post- stay. How did your expectations measure up to reality?

Before, I would have said woodsy, secluded, and quiet. The words I choose afterwards are modern, respite, and relaxing.

Who did you go glamping with, and what was your favorite memory that you made together during the stay?

I went with my husband and toddler son. Snowshoeing up at Mount Baker on a cold, windy day and then having a warm inviting cabin to come back to afterwards for hot soup and to relax by the fire was the best part.

What was the best part about the accommodation? How does it compare to past places you’ve stayed?

The best part about our cabin was the vaulted ceilings and the wall of windows. We were able to feel like we were connected to nature, even while we were indoors.

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Describe to us the area around the glamping site. What do you think the perfect time of year to stay here would be, and why?

The site is in a small community where they know your name and your coffee order if you are a local and are excited to see you if you are a visitor.

Tell us one thing about your first glamping experience that surprised you and why.

I was surprised by the variety of accommodations available. I always thought of glamping as primarily staying in a yurt, but glamping includes tents, tree houses, tipis, campervans, and more.

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If you could have invited a famous celebrity (dead or alive) over to your glamping site, who would it be, and what would you have done together?

Hands down, I would choose Oprah! I would take her snowshoeing and insist on taking a zillion selfies with her, and then we would come back to the cabin and sit by the fire. We would talk and talk for hours like we were old friends while sipping on drinking chocolate. In the evening, we would go into town for a meal, and everyone would be shocked that Oprah came to town.

What is your ideal food item and beverage for a glamping trip, and why? If you have a special secret or recipe, please share with us—if you’re willing, of course!

Hot brownie sundaes with ice cream are always a good idea while on vacation.

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Do you prefer a more active or more relaxing getaway? Which did you opt for at the glamping site, and what was the best related activity in the area?

I like a combination of the two, which makes winter getaways ideal. You can be active during the day and then cozy and relaxed at night.

Fill in the end of the sentence: “This glamping site would be the perfect place for ____________________,” and tell us why!

I would say a young family who likes the outdoors, cooks their own meals, spends quality time together playing games, and loves sitting by the fire and enjoying hot tubs.

Would you recommend glamping to family and friends? Do you see yourself going glamping again? Let us know why!

Yes, I would. It allows you to stay in unique places that you might not otherwise have access to or the energy to track down.

To find out more about Lisette and "Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary," be sure to check out her blog, Instagram, and Pinterest.

5 Ideas for an Unforgettable Galentine's Day

By Hayley Donigan

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Hooray for Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re single, in a long distance relationship, or simply looking to celebrate your friendships this year, it’s time to embrace the newest twist on this classic holiday: “Galentine’s Day.”

You wouldn’t be you without your closest gal pals by your side, so change up your usual weekend plans to incorporate this adorable new trend into your annual celebrations. We’ve got five great ideas for you to plan an unforgettable Galentine’s Day, so prepare to make everyone on Instagram jealous!

Idea #1: A Classy Brunch

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What could be funner than getting together with your best friends for a classy champagne brunch? Dig out all of your cutest mugs and host it at your house, or turn it into a picnic if the weather is nice! We recommend crepes, fresh fruit, and lots of croissants for the menu.

Idea #2: A Gift Exchange

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Who says that a friend can’t be your Valentine? Embrace the principles of “Secret Santa” and have a “Secret Cupid” gift exchange with your pals. Don’t be surprised if the present you get is better than any present a boyfriend has ever given you!

Idea #3: A DIY Party

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Gather up all of the nail polishes, face masks, and beauty treatments between you and have the DIY party to end all DIY parties. Scour the internet for ideas, and pamper yourselves with whatever you’ve got on hand. After you’ve all had makeovers, put on your nicest clothes, and head out for a night on the town!

Idea #4: A Wine Tasting Night?

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Crack out the cheese board, and put your basic wine knowledge to the test by having a wine tasting night with the gals. Send out classy invitations, and ask everyone to bring a bottle of their favorite wine and get dressed up. Once the conversation gets flowing, you might all decide to turn this into a regular plan.

Idea #5: A Weekend Getaway

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Present your best friend with a Glamping Hub gift card, so you can plan an incredible adventure for just the two of you! You can book somewhere for Valentine’s Day, or you can spend the day dreaming of all the possibilities for where you can head.

For more V-Day inspiration, check out The Best Valentine's Gift Ideas 2016, 10 Alternatives to a Valentine's Day Dinner, and the Top Romantic Breaks for February 14th.

Go Where the Natives Go: Montana

By Hayley Donigan

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Okay, so you’re not a Montana local, but you still want to go to the places where the natives go. We get it—there’s so much more to discover beyond the guide books. Dare to venture off the beaten path and open your eyes to the hidden treasures of this “Big Sky” state. Let us guide you through some of the most beloved places in Montana that are simply not to be missed.

Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks

Let’s be honest. These stunning national parks, however famous they are, are not to be bypassed, and you'll get to discover the gems inside them that many passing tourists don’t have the opportunity to see. Beyond Old Faithful, for example, you’ll find Point Sublime in Yellowstone National Park, which features stunning Yellowstone River views. Glacier National Park has Bowman Lake, which is unbeatably serene and acts as a great starting point for hikes.

Our Top Picks:

Stunning Deluxe Tents in Yellowstone, Montana alt

Exquisite Glamping Tents near Glacier National Park, Montana alt

Charming Small Towns

The state is dotted with quaint little communities and even ghost towns that are a delight for all who stop by. Travelers who open themselves up to exploring these gems rather than passing them by will see an authentic side to Montana that they might not have seen otherwise. From homemade apple pies to tiny antique stores, you will have a wonderful time embracing this simpler way of life.

Our Top Picks:

Authentic Native American Tipi Camping in Montana alt

Authentic Sheepherder's Wagon Set in Western Rocky Mountains, Montana alt

Big Sky

A trip to Montana wouldn’t be complete without hitting the slopes. With so many top-notch places to go skiing, it would be a shame if you didn’t give the sport a try, even if you’re a beginner. Big Sky is one of the best places in the state to get in touch with your inner skier, since it has two large resorts—one of which is the biggest resort in the state.

Our Top Picks:

Authentically Restored Northern Pacific Parlor Train, Montana alt

Cozy Cabin for Six with Ski Access, Montana alt

Our portal to Montana Weekend Getaways has all of the resources you'll need to plan a trip to this beautiful mountain state.

Guest Spotlight: Megan of "Mapping Megan"

By Hayley Donigan

Editor's Note: We'd like to introduce you to blogger Megan of "Mapping Megan," who recently went on a luxurious getaway in Australia at this sleek cabin on the southern coast of New South Wales. Read on to hear her luxury camping experience and a brief interview about her first time glamping!

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This part of Australia is known as the “Eurobodalla Nature Coast," due to its natural environment and prolific wildlife, and glampers are invited to come and reconnect with that special someone in pure, private bliss.

Encompassed completely by a lush, green forest, these detailed and stylish accommodations are far from any noise and distractions, and this intimate, natural setting blended with spacious and ultra-modern cabins allows for the ultimate romantic escape. This is Australian glamping at its best.

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There are five cabins total here, and each is located at least 100 meters apart and separated by a screen of natural forest. The privacy here is unparalleled. Privacy is what this property is all about, and your cabin comes in a secluded setting, offering you your own private section of the Australian bush. Each cabin has its own vehicle access, and there is ample space to park.

The perks of seclusion? Floor-to-ceiling windows in each room allow you to enjoy a spa in total privacy, overlooking the natural bushland. Sip on champagne in the hot tub while watching as kookaburras and crimson rosellas come out to play.

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When you think of a cabin in the woods, “rustic” is one word which comes to mind. These “bowers” are anything but that. Each cabin has a king-size bed, a two-person spa, and a double shower with piped music to the spa room. Between the outdoor shower and the spa, we didn’t have the chance to take advantage of the shower indoors. There is a flat-screen TV, a DVD player, and Wi-Fi access. Each cabin also includes a full-size washing machine and clothes dryer, as well as air conditioning and ceiling fans.

There is a genuine wood fireplace, a fully self-contained kitchen, and a private deck complete with a barbecue grill, meaning guests can be completely self-sufficient if they choose. Recline on your own private deck with a glass of wine over a sumptuous BBQ amongst the eucalypt forest. Pull out the bird seed from inside if you feel like inviting a few guests to join you. Each bower is set up with a bird feeder, too.

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Heated towel racks, candles, an impressive amount of literature on local adventure and sightseeing options, and even a modest selection of novels and magazines are provided. They have gone above and beyond to cater to everything you could possibly think to need.

Guests are welcomed with a complimentary breakfast hamper on arrival, which includes all of the best ingredients for a scrumptious breakfast. Bacon, tomatoes, sausages, fresh fruit, a selection of juices, croissants, and bread are all included. There are gourmet meal and picnic hamper options available, too; pre-order before arrival, and you will show up to a fridge that is fully stocked.

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Mark and Sue can arrange for luxury excursions, like surfing and yoga retreats or mountain biking and kayak tours. The property also organizes whale watching trips on either a charter boat or kayak, as well as visits to local art galleries and expeditions.

These sleek and romatic cabins in Broulee are one of Australia’s best kept secrets—stylish accommodations immersed in a natural forest unlike anything else you’re likely to find. The luxury, privacy, bush, and birds all make for an idyllic setting and one of the most sensational accommodation experiences in the world.

Our Interview with Megan

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Choose three adjectives to describe the glamping site you stayed at before your trip and another three words to describe it post- stay. How did your expectations measure up to reality?

From photos and online reviews, we could tell before we got there that this glamping site was luxurious, secluded, and tranquil. In terms of our expectations living up to reality, it was all of that and more. We were BLOWN away! This was our first experience glamping—I’m not sure that we’ll ever go back to primitive tents again now knowing camping can be like this!

Who did you go glamping with, and what was your favorite memory that you made together during the stay?

My husband and I took a romantic retreat, and it was wonderful to disconnect and step back from the excesses and complications of modern life. Sometimes you just need to seriously get away!

The whole experience was a favorite memory—the whole stay was pure bliss. I mean, an intimate, stylish cabin in your own private section of lush green forest—we never wanted to leave! A favorite memory, however, would definitely be sitting out on our BBQ deck in bathrobes as the rainbow lorikeets and crimson rosellas came down to our bird feeder. They’re the most unbelievably beautiful birds! Then again, there was enjoying champagne in the bath overlooking the rainforest and enjoying the luxury of an outdoor shower. It's too hard to choose just one highlight!

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What was the best part about the accommodation? How does it compare to past places you’ve stayed?

Attention to detail. Everything you could possibly imagine had been thought of, and that truly blew us away. It was the luxurious extra touches that made this stand out from previous accommodation experiences. They had gone the extra mile and not spared any expense.

For instance, there was outdoor lighting to highlight the surrounding forest if you chose to enjoy the spa after dark. Blinds for your floor to ceiling windows were provided so you could choose your level of connection with the wilderness outside. Heated towel racks, scented candles, a birdfeeder for the exotic birds—they go above and beyond to cater to everything you could possibly think to need.

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Describe to us the area around the glamping site. What do you think the perfect time of year to stay here would be, and why?

The site is hidden away in 100 acres of natural forest along Australia’s southeast coast, and just over one kilometer away you have the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean. There are rolling hills, native animals, and nearby national parks and state forests just waiting to be explored. There are over six miles of walking trails through the surrounding forest, and Illawong Nature Reserve is steps away and will lead you past native flora and fauna and eventually to North Broulee Beach.

The best time of year would be around October and November. This is shoulder season just coming into summer, so the weather is perfect, though mass tourism hasn’t yet hit!

Tell us one thing about your first glamping experience that surprised you and why.

How luxurious the accommodations were surprised me. I mean, this was above and beyond the standard we have experienced in many five-star hotels before, though with the rainforest right outside the door. We were expecting luxury camping, but I don’t think we were expecting something that rivaled an average hotel. For all intents and purposes, it was more a fully-functional cabin in the woods!

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If you could have invited a famous celebrity (dead or alive) over to your glamping site, who would it be, and what would you have done together?

Richard Branson, because I’m absolutely certain that if I can get him in a relaxed atmosphere, I can convince him to send me as the first travel blogger on the moon once Virgin Galactic starts their commercial flights!

What is your ideal food item and beverage for a glamping trip, and why? If you have a special secret or recipe, please share with us—if you’re willing, of course!

Bacon and eggs. It’s simple, straightforward, and not something we often cook at home, so it’s quite the luxury to indulge! Beverage-wise, champagne is pretty fitting when you’re taking a luxury retreat!

Do you prefer a more active or more relaxing getaway? Which did you opt for at the glamping site, and what was the best related activity in the area?

Generally, we opt for more active getaways, though I loved that when staying on a property like this, you can be as active or relaxed as you please.

You could head out on an epic all-day hike if you wanted to or stick to casual strolls along the beach. You could kick back on your private deck and enjoy the beautiful scenery on site, or you could head out for whale watching or water sports and then decompress in the evening. There really is something to suit every mood!

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Fill in the end of the sentence: “This glamping site would be the perfect place for ____________________,” and tell us why!

This glamping site would be the perfect place for me to live permanently! I would happily give everything away if I could live in this kind of paradise for the rest of my life. It’s the dream.

Would you recommend glamping to family and friends? Do you see yourself going glamping again? Let us know why!

Absolutely, and absolutely. We’re now glamping addicts. Camping will never be the same again!

To find out more about Megan and "Mapping Megan," be sure to check out her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Guest Spotlight: Glamping in Malibu

By Hayley Donigan

Editor's Note: We'd like to introduce you to one of our incredible Glamping Hub staff members and the experience of her first time glamping! Hayley, from our marketing team, stayed at this glamping ranch in Malibu, California, while on holiday with her mother.

Take a moment to think about the last time you truly disconnected. No phone. No TV. That’s what I did for two nights in Malibu to kick off the new year, and as soon as I got there, I realized that it was long overdue. How many of us spend our days working and running errands without ever stopping to take a moment just for ourselves? I know I'm guilty of it.

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This incredible ranch in Southern California encourages you to reconnect with the things in life that really matter—in this picturesque wilderness setting, you are asked to leave your ego at the gates and completely forget about time. That’s just what I did when I got there; I didn’t use my phone at all, and I consciously spent my days with no rigid plan or need to accomplish anything.

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Not only are you nourishing your own soul when you stay here, but you are contributing to a fantastic cause—part of the proceeds of this site go to supporting its many rescued animals. For me, those animals really stole the show. You can tell that they are well loved, and the particularly friendly goat and donkeys made my trip. If you’d like, you can pay a little extra to feed, groom, and get up close to the animals, and you can even go on a riding adventure with the horses.

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Of course, you don’t have to be a huge animal-lover like me to enjoy all the benefits of the ranch’s serene atmosphere. The views alone are enough to convince anyone that they need a bit more nature in their lives. Tucked away in the mountains, there are great hiking trails nearby, but we chose to have a more leisurely stay and simply let our eyes do the exploring. Each night, the silence lulled me into a deep, much-needed slumber.

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Another huge bonus of the location of this site is that several great beaches are just a short, scenic drive away. We weren’t willing to brave the waves in January, but driving along the PCH proved very rejuvenating. We also discovered wineries, shops, spas, and restaurants nearby, so this site really does combine seclusion with convenience very nicely.

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I think you'd struggle to find another site quite like this unique ranch in California. With a yurt, a tipi, and a cabin all on-site, you can return again and again to have a completely different experience each time. I will certainly want to go back to say hello to my new furry friends and keep my inner peace levels in check.

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All photos were taken by and are copyright of our featured guest, Hayley.