SURRY — The one and only “glampground” in Surry, Under Canvas Acadia, opened May 13 off the Surry Road.
Under Canvas calls itself the “ultimate outdoor destination hospitality experience, connecting people to each other, to extraordinary places, and to the planet. Its upscale, safari-style accommodations perfectly embrace their natural surroundings while featuring indoor luxuries, allowing everyone to discover their outdoor self in comfort and style.”
Under Canvas locates its campgrounds near national parks. In a few instances, the camps are a 30-minute drive from a national park. The company currently operates nine locations near Yellowstone and Glacier in Montana; Moab, Zion and Lake Powell-Grand Staircase in Utah; Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee; and Grand Canyon in Arizona.
The Surry property is the company’s first East Coast location.
General Manager Lisa Margraff said the opening has gone smoothly.
Captain and author Linda Greenlaw, who Under Canvas has contracted with to provide guests with sunset tours and lobster fishing trips, has been the star of the show, so to speak.
“The sunset tours are huge,” Margraff said. Greenlaw has been the favorite part of people’s stays here, she added.
Under Canvas is using just a portion of its 100-acre parcel.
“We’re only using about 25 percent and that’s all we plan to use,” said Margraff.
The glampground has 63 tents, some of which are staggered in an open field with a view of the bay. Other tents are nestled in the woods. There are also tiny canvas tents, called “hives,” for children.
Part of what makes the campground a glampground is that the canvas tents are erected on platforms and include a flush toilet, shower and wood-burning stove as well as furniture — a bed, sofa, chairs and end tables.
The chilly Memorial Day weekend had staff lighting fires for many guests who had never lit a wood stove before.
There isn’t electricity in the tents but there are portable chargers for smartphones and other devices.
“You’re unplugging here, getting back to nature,” Margraff said.
The site features an expansive welcome center where guests can relax and have breakfast and dinner, prepared by Bar Harbor native Nick Pappas.
The company provides free s’mores every night on the patio around fire pits.
If you’re interested in staying at the glampground this summer, bookings are currently only two to three weeks out, Margraff said. Rates start at $299 a night.
Under Canvas is community-minded, the general manager said. “We want to go into the community and help make it better. We work with the Shaw Institute doing some research on the green crab issue.”
Speaking of the environment, a couple of Surry residents were concerned to learn that the glampground had been spraying the herbicide Roundup on the grounds.
Roundup has been banned in neighboring Blue Hill because of health concerns surrounding its main ingredient, glyphosate. Bayer, the maker of Roundup, has agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits that claim that the chemical causes cancer, according to a report last June in Forbes.
Margraff explained that the spray had been used to get rid of poison ivy near the tent sites and would never be used by the water.
Oct. 10 will be the last night to camp and the property will begin closing down for the winter on Oct. 11.