This New Adirondacks Camping Spot is Part Glamping, Part Camping, and All Fun

Huttopia Adirondacks brings European-style glamping to New York this summer.

Huttopia Adirondacks
Courtesy of Huttopia.

When my family and I arrived at the new Huttopia Adirondacks, it was already dark out. Still, a smiling attendant at the front desk welcomed us, pointing out on the map which of the 79 tents was ours. And once she told us we would have to load our luggage into wagons and bring them to our tent, I was grateful ours was the tent closest to the main lodge. While I loaded our bags into the wagon my husband slung our sleeping five-year-old over his shoulder and grabbed our dog’s leash. Climbing up the small hill to the campsite, I began to get a little nervous. I’m not really into roughing it—this was supposed to be glamping.

Huttopia was founded in Lyon, France, in 1999, offering a nature-focused retreat that also provided certain comforts. Soon, the brand had spread to more than 60 properties across Europe in some of the most beautiful natural locations. It became known for helping people easily connect to nature and disconnect from the stresses of life. Its first North American outpost was in Eastern Canada in 2015, followed by the first U.S. location in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in 2017, with Southern Maine following in 2019.

Huttopia Adirondacks opened in early June of this year, and we were among the first guests to experience the 275-acre property at the base of Kenyon Mountain, just four miles outside of Lake George and just inside the blue line of Adirondack Park.

As we made our beds—we were provided with linens but had to make the beds ourselves, apparently a pandemic policy—I said out loud, “This definitely seems more like real camping than I thought.” Almost simultaneously, my son, who had woken up and seen the beds, said, “This isn’t real camping!”

Huttopia Adirondacks

Last summer, we had taken him camping for the first time at my in-laws’ behest, who had been begging to take him since he was born. Since they brought all the gear and took care of the food, my only complaint was about sleeping on the ground. My son had a blast and hasn’t stopped talking about it since. Huttopia Adirondacks was our compromise for this year—I still refuse to deal with buying and carrying tents, sleeping bags, a stove, and other accessories needed for true camping. And while I used to camp in my younger days, I had become accustomed (read: spoiled) to comfortable bedding and easily accessible bathrooms on my vacations.

Before the pandemic, we had been lucky enough to stay at Nayara Tented Camp in Costa Rica, a luxurious glamping retreat where you barely feel like you’re inside a tent, even though the walls happen to be canvas. Plush beds, wooden furniture, a deep soaking tub, and a private plunge pool are the norm there.

As I looked around our so-called Trappeur tent at Huttopia Adirondacks, I began to realize that there are multiple levels of glamping. What does glamping mean exactly, anyway? If it means a permanent tent with real beds, this qualified. If it means a bathroom in the tent, this (thankfully) qualified. If it means electricity, this qualified. But if it means fancy furniture, 400-thread count sheets, and air-conditioning, Huttopia Adirondacks was ineligible.

Still, when we woke up in the morning on our two separate sides of the tent (shielded by a big dark curtain that stood in for a door, with the bathroom in between the two sleeping areas and the living area in front of us) I realized the tent was actually well equipped and way more comfortable and spacious than the average one you’d pitch yourself.

The bathroom was small, but had a hot shower, well-functioning toilet, and potable water from the sink. Two simple but comfortable chairs sat facing a charming wood-fired stove. There was a large kitchen area complete with a good-sized refrigerator, gas stove with two burners, French press coffee maker, dishes and utensils, and any cookware you could possibly need for outdoor cooking and then some, including pots, pans, a strainer, cutting board, and even a cheese grater. There was even a broom and dustpan to keep things tidy. Waiting outside on our private deck was a picnic table and large gas grill, and in front of the deck was a fire pit with a cast iron cooking grate.

And perhaps best of all (for me anyway), there was a cheerful café in the main lodge, serving French-inspired food at an affordable price. Crepes at breakfast and pizza and salads at lunch and dinner, plus good coffee and juices. And if you forgot the marshmallows, pasta, or bug spray, the well-stocked camp store has it all and doesn’t overcharge.

Huttopia Adirondacks main lodge

Aside from the café and store, the main lodge is equipped with a small library and games like foosball and a ping-pong table, plus equipment like balls and water guns to keep kids busy. A large heated pool is currently under construction out front. A sign outside the lodge has a list of area hikes, lakes, swimming spots, and restaurants. After indulging in the fairly authentic French crepes for breakfast, we selected one of their recommended hikes, Pilot Knob Ridge.

Listed as moderate, it seemed like our son and dog would be able to handle it and we wouldn’t be too bored. It turned out to be excellent, with a gazebo midway that offered the perfect resting point with spectacular views of Lake George and the mountains, and a waterfall at the end that was beautiful and provided a pool at the bottom perfect for dipping our feet in.

After, we stopped by Million Dollar Beach at Lake George for a swim in the lake and returned to Huttopia for dinner. Somewhat guiltily, we got pizza at the café for dinner, but returned to our tent to light a campfire and roast marshmallows, satisfying my son with at least one true camping experience.

In the end, Huttopia is about options. Aside from our more tricked out tent, there are others that are smaller and some without en-suite bathrooms. If you feel like cooking over an open fire, no problem. Want to make it a little easier and just grill? Sure. Can’t muster up cooking at all? The café awaits. The best part is, whatever you decide, you don’t have to lug all the gear and tools necessary for camping and outdoor cooking—they’ve got it all waiting for you. Convenience is key here, allowing guests to stop worrying about the details and just be outside in nature and enjoy it.

But it’s not so fancy that you feel completely disconnected from your surroundings. There’s still no WiFi in tents, and it’s easy to feel like you’re in the semi-wilderness as you look out into the wooded area just beyond your tent. Here, nature is king and Huttopia ensures you don’t forget that.