Glamping in Ithaca: A Weekend Among the Waterfalls
October 4, 2019
Last updated on October 28, 2019.
If you’ve ever heard anything about Ithaca, New York, it’s probably that ‘Ithaca is gorges.’ Because it is! That’s been the slogan for Visit Ithaca for many years, because the city is full of gorges and waterfalls – making the area gorgeous! Ithaca has long been a favorite area of mine to visit. Being just over an hour south of me, it’s an easy day trip. But, one thing that had been on my ‘bucket list’ to do was to go glamping in Ithaca. This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be hosted by Visit Ithaca at Firelight Camps. Keep reading to find out how it exceeded my expectations!
Glamping in Ithaca – What to Expect
Firelight Camps is located just a ten-minute drive from downtown Ithaca, and yet it feels much farther away. The campgrounds are a little hidden off of Danby Road, behind John Thomas Steakhouse and La Tourelle Hotel & Spa. Drive through their parking lots and turn right behind the hotel.
Check-in is located in the large tent at the center of the grounds – the one that looks like an event tent. Inside you’ll find the check-in desk located next to the ‘store’ and the bar. There are also living and dining areas in the same space.
Glamping is In Tents
Ha! I’m full of corny dad jokes right now. But honestly, glamping isn’t intense at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The tents themselves feel like little oases where you can ‘get away from it all.’ In the safari-style tents complete with stylish furniture, you’ll feel right at home. Plus, each tent is completely private with its own balcony with rocking chairs. Incredibly peaceful.
Eating & Drinking
You don’t need to worry about packing a cooler for this trip! Remember, glamping is the glamorous form of camping, and in Ithaca they know how to feed you! A locally-sourced farm-to-table breakfast is included each morning. Indulge in farm-fresh eggs, yogurt, English muffins, pastries, and more!
If you’re staying in for dinner, you can purchase local foods like hot dogs, sausages, and veggie dogs to roast over the fire. Rotating sides are available. Still hungry? There are snacks available in the camp store. I highly recommend the Piggery pepperoni. Trust me on this; it’s amazing.
Firelight Coffee & Local Drinks
Firelight also roasts its own coffee, and it has a great story behind it. The beans come from a Nicaraguan farm owned by friends the owners made while they were in the Peace Corps. The coffee is roasted locally in Ithaca, then served at the camp all day and night. You can even purchase some to take home!
The bar in the main tent is also stocked with local beer, cider, and wine. Or you can order yourself a hand-crafted cocktail. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch happy hour from 5-7 when you can buy a beer and get half off of a second.
The perfect way to end a day of glamping in Ithaca is by roasting marshmallows over the fire and making some s’mores for dessert. You can buy homemade s’more kits right at the bar and sticks are available next to the firepit. Yum!
Activities at Firelight Camps
As if there isn’t enough to do in Ithaca, Firelight Camps has a variety of activities to keep you entertained. The common area inside the tent has a collection of books and board games for you to play. You’ll find two firepits surrounded by Adirondack chairs and some comfy outdoor seating.
Looking for something more active? You can choose from bocce ball or corn hole. Then, when you’re ready to relax, sway yourself to sleep in the hammocks up on the hill.
Also, Firelight has some excursions for an additional charge – including foraging hikes, yoga, and even massages.
Is there electricity? Four of the 19 tents have electricity in them, but you’ll also have access to electricity in the common area. There are lots of outlets and even phone charging cords available to use. Also, each tent comes with three lanterns that also have USB outlets in them – good enough to charge your phone overnight.
Are there bathrooms? Yep – up the hill, next to the parking lot is the bath house. You’ll find toilets and showers for you to use, complete with fresh towels, soap, shampoo, and conditioner.
What if it gets cold at night? Don’t worry! The campgrounds have you covered – literally. On nights that are expected to get colder, heavier blankets will be on the beds. The electric tents also have heaters available.
Is the campground dog-friendly? Yes! All of the non-electric tents allow dogs for an additional charge. Looking for more advice about traveling with your dog? Check out this article.
What do I need to bring? Good question – both seasoned campers and those new to glamping can find out what to pack in this list.
Accessible through trails from the campgrounds, Buttermilk Falls are probably the most famous waterfalls in Ithaca, and have one of the prettiest hikes you’ll ever do. The main entrance with the largest fall is located at the northern end of the park (use the South Hill address on Google Maps). Now it’s a healthy hike up to the top along the gorge, but let me tell you that it is worth it! The views along the trail are stunning – make sure you cross the road and see the southern part of the trails as well.
I like to pack a picnic lunch with me and take a break up in the grassy area near the south parking lot.
Lucifer Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park
While Buttermilk may be the most popular, my favorite Ithaca park is Robert H. Treman. There’s something about the mixture of natural rocks with those built into beautiful staircases and walkways that is perfection. Plus, the 115-foot Lucifer Falls is a gorgeous site. Walk up the stairs to the get the best view. It’s a steep climb, but it’s worth it!
One of the most photographed waterfalls in New York, Taughannock Falls, is known for both its beauty and it’s commonly mispronounced name. Let me help you out on this – it’s pronounced “Tuh-GAN-ic”. Locals usually get a laugh out of listening to others attempt to say the name.
Have you ever been glamping?
Or have you been to Ithaca? I want to hear about it! Tell me your glamping recommendations in the comments.