Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

La Tourelle & Firelight Camps: Glamping Project

July 15, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

If you haven’t Google image-searched “Glamping” yet, I would do so now, link here. When I first heard the term about a year ago I didn’t know what it meant, but it’s luxury camping (Glamorous camping, yes). State parks have dominated the car/tent camping getaway for a long time, but the business model is an amenitized, stepped-up version of just that, which sounds pretty cool. For urbanites, young couples and professionals without the space or time to store or transport a load of camping gear, this seems like an ideal solution to get some nature, but still maintain amenities you would find in a hotel. Apparently, it’s quite popular on the West coast.

La Tourelle has been through a series of Town of Ithaca approvals, partnering with Firelight Camps, a startup hoping to create a brand out of the pilot project. The plan is to build 25 of these tents in various sizes (13’x20′, 14’x16′, 16’x22′), with a common tent (already up), a large hot tub, firepit, bathroom and wash facilities, and outdoor grills. I took a tour with Scott Wiggins, owner and manager of La Tourelle, and took some photos below.

La Tourelle - Firelight_Page_12-1


The lower site used to contain two clay tennis courts, providing the perfect foundation for a stone patio and assembly area. The looped drive was graded and rocked over for the main camp, along with clearing of additional trails and staging areas for the tent sites.

Guests will have access to the August Moon Spa, John Thomas Steakhouse, and support from the La Tourelle staff during their stay. So far there’s been interest from folks planning wedding parties, young families, and large groups looking for a nice outdoor weekend.

La Tourelle - Firelight_Page_12

La Tourelle - Firelight_Page_03



The tents will come in two varieties (to test each out), with one having two posts and one beam, and the other with one main center post. The material is fire-retardant fabric with a rain fly over top.

La Tourelle - Firelight_Page_10

The platforms are being built with Locust posts and rough-milled Larch lumber for the decks (both species age well outside), requiring oversized joist hangers with long carriage bolts to secure the corners and beams. This first deck will be for one of the larger 16′ x 22′ tents, which includes a queen mattress, tables and chairs, and an open area in the back with a guardrail, rain cover and bug netting.

Many of the wooded sites have been cleared, seeded, and post holes dug, but for this season, the plan is to build six tents to be ready by early September, then more for next year.


Site Plan Review Submission from back in May available here

My Thanks to Scott Wiggins for the tour, and Robert Frisch of Firelight Camps