The term glamping — a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping” — describes a camping style that features amenities not typically associated with traditional camping. Though classic-style camping is still popular throughout Daniel Boone National Forest, Izaac Rains and his father Kevin are offering an alternative: stays at one of five glamping tents set in the middle of 50 acres of forest.
A space to share
The Rains owned 50 acres in Daniel Boone National Forest for about 17 years before they figured out a way to give others access to the property.
“It was kind of a place that we just went as a family and with friends and that type of thing,” Izaac told The Courier Journal. “(But) we decided to open it up and share it with everybody. We didn’t want to hold it for ourselves anymore; it felt kind of wrong to keep it enclosed.”
Izaac and his father founded Dappled Light Adventures; and since this past April, they have been renting out 320-square-foot glamping tents. There are five tents total, each one placed about 50 to 100 feet away from the next.
“We designed the layout very intentionally,” Izaac said. “There (is) enough room for privacy, but (the tents are) close enough for people to feel safe. And if (people) wanted to rent in blocks … (they’re) close enough for community. … (There’s also) forest in between almost all of them, so you don’t have a view of somebody else’s tent.”
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Nests in nature
Each of the five tents — with the exception of The Cardinal Nest — are named after birds that are native to the Bluegrass State. The other four are The Oriole’s Nest, The Goldfinch’s Nest, The Green Heron’s Nest, and The Blue Jay’s Nest. The interior décor of each one differs slightly, but they all offer a similar vibe and the same amenities, including queen beds, sitting areas, a small clothing rack, a water hydrant, an outdoor charcoal grill, and a covered porch.
“I love the covered porch,” Izaac exclaimed. “It’s great in the rain because you can still enjoy (being) outside and … nature, (and) the sound of the rain hitting the canvas. And those string lights around the banister just look so pretty.”
He adds that since opening the tents to the public a few months ago, they’ve also added a bar to each of them. “And each one has a designated table and space (for) people to write, and sit, and just kind of hang out,” he said.
All the tents sit about 15 feet off the ground, which Izaac says helps keep the inside cool during the hot summer weather. Most boast cliffside views, too, and they all face the sunset.
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The tents also feature libraries, full of books that guests might enjoy reading while out in the woods, including picks by (native Kentuckian novelist and environmental activist) Wendell Berry, and other authors who write about nature.
“And we love (poet) Mary Oliver,” Izaac said, “so we have a good amount of (her) stuff. (And) I think all of (the tents) have a book about forest bathing,” a practice that encourages people to simply spend time in nature — no actual bathing required.
Cultivating a community
Glamping tent guests share an outdoor shower cool-off station, firepit, and covered pavilion with electric lights, a fan, and a grill at the main camp area. There is also a space dubbed Glamp Island, located in the middle of all the tents.
“We’re putting these things called sky nets in there,” Izaac said. “It’s kind of like a stargazing net that you can lay in or kids can play around on. (It’s) basically just a huge hammock that’s handwoven and elevated into the trees a little bit.”
He explains that there will be one sky net placed closer to the ground for children, and a second slightly elevated one for adults.
For guests who wish to explore the grounds a bit, there are many miles of trails to discover amid pin oaks, white pines, eastern hemlocks, and maple trees, to name a few. Though there aren’t trails on all 50 acres, Isaac says a solid portion of the property is trailed out.
“Those trails will get you to the waterfall, the overhang, (and) more forested trails on the property,” he said. “We (also) have a longer trail that takes you to the opposite cliff edge that actually looks at the cliff face that the tents are sitting on.”
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Each tent has its own fireplace — which Izaac tested during below-freezing weather — so the Rains plan to keep glamping going year-round.
“(We’re) grateful for all the people who have come out already,” Izaac said. “People have been unbelievably gracious, and kind, and have loved it and (have) been connecting with it. And nothing brings me — (and) I’ll speak for the rest of our family — more joy than than getting to see people enjoying this place that has been so important to us for so many years now.”
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nuts & bolts
Owners: Izaac and Kevin Rains
Homes: These are 320-square-foot glamping tents in Zoe, Kentucky that were built in 2022 and are available for rent by Dappled Light Adventures.
Distinctive elements: Queen bed; sitting area; covered porch (with or without cliffside views); charcoal grill.
Applause! Applause! Izaac and Kevin Rains would like to thank Zoe Rains-Hoffa and Katy Rains for helping design the interiors; the rest of their family, who have lifted them up in this venture; their building team, led by Derek Morland Blankenship; friends who have supported them and booked stays at the tents; and the Red River Gorge and Beattyville areas and communities that have welcomed them with open arms.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Dappled Light Adventures offers luxury ‘Glamping’ getaways in Kentucky
published 2022-07-08 12:19:44