No worries about waking up in a puddle of rain water when tent camping at Little Sugar Farm.
Guests can still savor the soothing sound of rain at night on a fabric roof when camping in style along Little Sugar Creek in Jane, Mo. Four of the farm's seven tents are on wood platforms and all come with homey comforts.
Three bell-shaped tents are set up on mowed green grass. They're portable and can be moved anywhere on the farm for a reasonable fee, even to the shore of Little Sugar Creek.
All tents have real beds with crisp linens, a compact refrigerator, coffee maker, heater and fan. Talk about luxury. There's even chandeliers on the ceilings. Campers share a common kitchen, shower and bathroom building steps away from the tents made of heavy-duty fabric.
How about getting squeaky clean under the stars? Soap up in the building's two outdoor showers after a day of hiking, floating and fishing, or go the conventional route in one of the indoor showers.
In the evening, campers gather around a crackling campfire ring, maybe with all the fixings for a batch of s'mores. There's an ample supply of firewood to throw another log on anytime.
"Glamping," or glamorous camping, is the term most used for this unroughing it outdoor experience. Paul and Jana Reishus, owners of Little Sugar Farm, call it luxury camping.
"Paul was an Eagle scout and this isn't the primitive camping that he used to do," Jana said. The idea is to help guests enjoy nature and each other outdoors with some added creature comforts.
Beds in each tent are arranged before campers arrive to accommodate a family with kids, a couple or a single camper. There's the queen setup with one large bed, or more of a bunk-house approach with individual beds.
The farm's 376 acres along Little Sugar Creek have been in their family for decades. Campers can roam a big chunk of the scenic property and its wide open meadows and tall, stately trees. There are mowed walking trails. It's a short walk to clear flowing Little Sugar Creek for fishing, swimming or relaxing with toes in the cool water.
It's still a working farm, with part of the property leased for cattle grazing and hay cutting.
When the couple got the notion to get into the luxury camping game, they traveled to a summit in Colorado to learn about the business. The Reishuses started renting a farm house on their place as a vacation home in 2010.
The luxury tents came later. They offer a package for groups to rent the tents and the farm house for a family reunion, retreat or any gathering.
The three-bedroom house sits on the creek the locals just call "Little Sugar." It sleeps up to 10 guests. Weddings, retreats and family reunions have been popular for celebrating at the farm.
"Our original plan was to be open from May 15 to Oct. 15, but the weather is such that we've expanded that to be open from April through November," Paul said.
The couple can arrange float trips for campers on Little Sugar or any nearby stream. Guests can book a massage therapist or yoga teacher who'll make a house call to the farm. The couple can have a professional photographer on hand to document weddings or shoot family portraits.
Virus issues limited activity at Little Sugar Farm last year. To celebrate the start of a full spring and summer of luxury camping, the Reishuses will host a grand opening and ribbon cutting at the farm on May 27. They'll welcome guests eager for an unroughing it camping trip.
Flip Putthoff can be reached at [email protected]