Wanderlust: Your Guide to Glamping in Connecticut

Ditch the tent — and the cellphone — on your next camping trip.

Getaway tiny cabin. Photography courtesy of Getaway.

Sometimes you don’t have to go very far to travel worlds away.  

That was certainly the case last August, when my kiddo and I took off on a glamping adventure in the nearby woods of East Haddam, Connecticut, for a weekend free of work, deadlines, college applications and the never-ending news grind.


Getaway tiny cabin interior. Photography courtesy of Getaway.

We love camping, but aren’t that fond of the bugs and dirt that come with it, so we spent a night in a Getaway tiny cabin.

It. Was. Heaven.

Comfy queen bunk beds? Check! Hot showers and flushable (indoor!) toilets? Check! Heat and air conditioning? Check and check!

The cabins are tiny — like 140-to 200-square-feet tiny — but every space is thoughtfully designed. Ours had cozy queen beds, a tiny indoor table, a big window looking out to the woods, a lockbox for phones (I stored mine, but Alex, my teenager, wasn’t quite ready to do the same), a two-burner stove, mini-fridge, heat and air conditioning and towels and toiletries. Outside, we had a firepit and firewood, chairs and a picnic table.

It was drizzly the day we checked in, so we read for a little while before heading out for our first destination, Gillette Castle inside Gillette Castle State Park in Hadlyme. (Don’t be like us — it can sell out, so buy tickets online before you visit.) The gorgeous stone structure is the former home of William Gillette, an actor best known for playing Sherlock Holmes on stage. It’s now a museum filled with memorabilia and tons of rooms to explore, all atop a hill with the Connecticut River coursing alongside. (The castle reopens May 24 for tours.)


Gillette Castle. Photo by Dana Laverty.

For dinner, we visited nearby Tavern on the Hill for plenty of low-and-slow barbecue with all the fixins. Afterward, we headed back to the cabin for s’mores by the fire and unwound with a puzzle inside. We finally called it quits around midnight, after snapping 500 pieces into place and yawning for two wonderful, phone-free hours.

After checking out, we headed to Two Wrasslin’ Cats Coffee House and Cafe in East Haddam for lunch. The eatery in the circa-1784 building serves up breakfast and lunch fare like the Cat-prese wrap with fresh mozzarella, tomato, spinach and pesto, and the Tomcat Turkey with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. If you’re lucky, owner Mark Thiede — a retired molecular biologist — will take you inside the adjacent cat lounge where the resident kitties live. Squee!

We ended our weekend with a visit to the Book Barn in Niantic, a dream destination for any bibliophile, with several buildings chock full of titles in a bucolic, garden-like setting. There are even bookshelves outside, along with several benches and sitting areas and — yes — more cats!

I hope we can sneak in another visit before Alex heads to college in the fall: just a mom, her kiddo and precious memories made under the stars, with nary a phone in sight.


Two Wrasslin’ Cats Coffee House and Cafe. Photo by Dana Laverty.