Blogger Spotlight: Melissa Henderson

By Jessica Armstrong

When she is not bouncing from glamping location to glamping location, writer Melissa Henderson spends her time writing for her annually published magazine, The Violet Summer Zine, and her blog Mel Writes. Covering her travels, the latest trends, and more, Melissa has a passion for glamping that she could not wait to share.

altPhoto credit: Devin C Brewster.

Having visited two Glamping Hub properties, this cozy studio in Sag Harbor, New York and this eco-lodge in Lisbon, Portugal, this glamping gal knows how to enjoy a luxury vacation and do a summer escape right. Read on for her stories and advice on the best end-of-summer glamping getaways.

altPhoto credit: Devin C Brewster.

What are the best glamping getaways for the end of summer?

The best glamping getaways for the end of the summer are definitely right in your backyard. In Issue 2 of Violet Summer Zine, I feature Forever Bungalows in the Hamptons, because it’s a super close trip from my apartment in New York City. At this coastal getaway, you can still enjoy all the comfort of sleeping in a bed and showering while indulging in Long Island nature.

My other favorite glamping getaway is located in Comporta, Portugal, at the Cocoon Eco Lodges. The cover of Issue 1 of Violet Summer Zine was shot there with my iPhone camera! Again, if you take a two hour drive outside of Lisbon, then go another five kilometers down a dirt road, you’ll arrive at these super chic mini-houses.

It’s so peaceful and a great place to be completely not available. I remember waking up at 6 a.m. to make coffee, eat cheese, and swim in the man-made pond filled with lily pads and frogs. It's an unreal sight and truly off the grid.

altPhoto credit: Devin C Brewster.

Tell us about your ideal summer vacation (and what to pack).

My ideal summer vacation definitely includes snorkeling, swimming and wearing a bikini. My wetsuit is my favorite item to pack at the moment. I’m really into wearing neoprene, because it’s great for cold water destinations, as well as when you’re just cold on the beach and want to paddleboard while the sun is setting. So far, I have a neoprene wetsuit, a skirt, and a jacket in my summer wardrobe.

What things do you hope to cross off your summer bucket list while glamping?

I want to see a shooting star. I want to get more into stargazing at night. I have to remember to download the best astrology app before my next glamping trip.

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How many glamping trips do you hope to take or have taken during summer? Where? Why? Which was your favorite?

I’ve already taken a few glamping trips this summer! In June at a glamping site, which is located in the middle of the cloud forest in Quito, Ecuador. It’s also sustainable, as the lodge is located in the middle of the cloud/rain forest, so the irrigation system is still new. That means no throwing paper in the toilet!

Just to give you an idea of how deep in the forest I was, it was a three-hour drive through the mountains of Quito, which is 4,000 feet above sea level. You can only get there by car, and the roads are windy and unpaved at some parts.

The guides at the site really take care of their guests. It was really an honor to be lead through the rain forest by tribal leaders who know the landscape so well—they can point out which plants are used for which remedies and which animals are in sight. This was my favorite glamping trip, because I saw so many creatures, like toucan birds, translucent frogs, beautiful poison caterpillars, huge butterflies, ocelots...the list goes on! I even got to swim in a crystal green lagoon and bathe under a waterfall. It was a really magical trip.

My next glamping trip I wish to go on is to the Tiger Rock Island and Jungle in Pangkor Island, Malaysia. It’s apparently an “artists retreat,” and their Instagram account is giving me major jungle fever.

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What advice do you have for glampers trying to get in one last trip before fall creeps in?

The beauty about glamping is that you don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to do it. Most destinations are like two hours away by car or train, so grab your family or friends and just go! Another great thing about glamping is that you can still do it in the fall, because technically you’re not sleeping outside in a tent. Glamping allows nature enthusiasts to experience the outdoors with comfort.

You can follow the rest of Mel's adventures on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.