By the time we checked in, it was about 5:30pm on a Wednesday and the sun was just beginning to set. At that hour, with the trees silhouetted against the darkening fall sky and twinkly string lights casting a soft glow around the campfire, the vibe was hushed and just a tiny bit spooky — like at any moment we'd hear the howl of coyotes approaching from the distance.
Of course, Firelight, a stylish little Finger Lakes "glampground" tucked into the woods behind Hotel La Tourelle isn't really all that remote. Just a quick 8 minute drive from downtown Ithaca, the most threatening wild animals around are most likely to be college students eating cheap Thai food and drinking $2 beers in the Commons 3 miles away. Not that you'd ever know it, though: On the first night in our kitted-out canvas tent, with the smell of campfire in our hair and our fingers cold from the autumnal air, the moon was so bright and the sky was so clear that it felt like we were much, much farther away. We snuggled up in the fancy king-sized bed under the giant feather duvet, and listened.
Though we never heard any coyotes, we did hear this: The soft rustle of a million golden leaves and the quiet coo of a dozen owls nesting in the branches above.
Not quite roughing it, but just rustic enough.
good to know
Ithaca by Firelight Camps is open from mid-May through the end of October. Though lanterns, super comfy bedding, towels, and a regionally-sourced continental breakfast are included in your stay, propane heaters are not — and you'll probably want one to keep your tent toasty on chilly nights. We did. Rent one from the lobby tent — where you can also buy s'mores kits — for about $20. Though you can't have your own campfire at your tent, the communal campfire is pretty great — they keep it going pretty much all day long, and there are tons of comfy chairs to cozy up in nearby, plus tons of locally-made wine to drink while you're there.