Camping with Comfort, Convenience and Cookies – Monterey Herald

We have plenty of reasons to want to escape, to disconnect from the daily grind or the evening news. Luckily, we don’t have to go far into Monterey County to find a scenic hike or hike our coastal trails, take in the natural beauty of the landscape, hear the sound of the river or the crashing ocean waves. on the shore and feel the warm sunlight filtering through the redwoods.

Here we expire.

Although we may not feel ready to return home once the sun sets on the horizon, taking with it its light and warmth, not everyone is keen to pitch a tent, cook on a fire or sleep on the floor. For those who want to experience the beauty and benefits of being outdoors but prefer the comforts of home after dark, glamping might just be the answer.

This is where nature meets nurturing. Where people can experience the wonders of nature as well as the comforts and conveniences of indoor living. It’s a hybrid of glamor and camping, where you wake up to birdsong, in the warmth of a bed. We shower inside. We enjoy the benefits of “home” as opposed to dependency.

For Charlene Webber-Schuss and her daughter Elie Schuss, glamping meant a chemistry of long walks and short hikes, roasting marshmallows by the fire. (Courtesy picture)

According to reports, 30% of North American travelers have been glamping during the pandemic. Additionally, in a 2019 report from Grandview Research, 83% of travelers who would rather not camp said glamping allowed them to enjoy the outdoors comfortably, 63% also said it allowed them to take advantage of services that are generally not associated with traditional camping, and 27% appreciated that it alleviates the effort associated with more traditional forms of camping.

Whether we prefer a small cabin, a luxury tent, a teepee, a treehouse or a yurt – a round, portable tent built with latticework walls and radial rafters – we can expect to camp outside the standard.

Looking for a way out

Elie Schuss was ready for a break. The 28-year-old Carmel native, who works in the emergency department at Monterey Peninsula Community Hospital, is also working toward her May graduation from Capella University, with a master’s degree in nursing administration. .

“Urgency has an air of intensity, which compels colleagues to work together,” Schuss said. “Traumatic events have a way of bringing us together. When a patient is very ill, it requires immediate action from all of us, united to stabilize the patient.

In the home stretch of his master’s program, which includes completing an internship and presenting his final project, Schuss decided to get away from it all before his schedule really heats up.

After researching a series of hotel applications and finding anything that was booked or beyond her budget, she made one last call to try and secure a weekend break. “Mom, are you free?”

Elie Schuss and his mother, Charlene Webber-Schuss, 59, are registered nurses. Both have served in the halls of the community hospital – Webber-Schuss for 35 years, and his daughter, since graduating from the Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing in Monterey, in 2019 – the year in which his mother retired from nursing. It is a heritage that binds them.

A few months after her retirement, once COVID entered this community, Webber-Schuss felt the familiarity of her old days as a nurse, as she slipped into her personal protective equipment and returned to the community hospital. as a volunteer coronavirus vaccinator.

To date, she has administered over 800 vaccines.

Webber-Schuss had an idea for some respite and rejuvenation. She and her husband, Matthew Schuss, having decided they weren’t going to sit still during the COIVD, had started camping. They had purchased tents and other gear from Amazon, and created checklists online, including a packing list and a grid that mapped out the food they would need each day. They bought bins and kept them packed, labeled and ready to go.

The couple camped once in Napa and several times in Big Sur. They had planned to camp in Yosemite and Santa Cruz, but fires forced them out. They loved everything about their COVID campsite except sleeping on the ground.

Elie Schuss, who hadn’t camped since she was little, thought of a little more luxury. At the same time, she and her mother said, “How about we go glamping?

The luxury of recreation in the woods

For Elie Schuss and his mother, glamping meant an alchemy of long walks and short hikes, roasting marshmallows by the fire, while gazing up at the starry sky to find the Big Dipper, then entering a cabin. or a hut and to return to a warm and soft bed.

“I knew Elijah needed a break, to disconnect, to have some downtime,” Webber-Schuss said. “What better place than Big Sur to be off the grid, without cell service for a few days?”

The couple chose Big Sur Campground & Cabins, where Webber-Schuss had camped many times before. This time they chose a small cabin, with a full kitchen and bathroom, a bedroom with a comfortable queen bed and a futon in the living room, and running water and electricity.

“The cabin couldn’t have been cuter,” Webber-Schuss said. “And, when we arrived, they gave us firewood, ice, and the gift of two pewter mugs, a deck of cards, and a flashlight.”

During the day, the mother-daughter duo strolled along the river and in Andrew Molera State Park. They stopped at Big Sur Bakery and had lunch at the Big Sur River Inn. They also sat, for five hours one afternoon, reading by the fire and periodically warming their tea.

“Every time we walked outside,” Webber-Schuss said, “we could smell the cool, cold air, smell the other campfires, hear the jays squabbling in the trees or the flowing river. Inside, only a TV was missing, but we didn’t miss it at all.

Although they cooked their evening meals in the kitchen of their little cabin, mostly from foods they had prepared at home, for dessert they slipped in chocolate chip cookie dough and pecans in foil packets, warmed them over the fire, then ate their treat right out of the foil, topped with Madagascar vanilla ice cream. “Kind of like the chocolate chip cookie pan situation at the Forge in the Forest restaurant in Carmel,” Schuss said.

“Every day we built our own fire right outside the cabin,” Webber-Schuss said, “and got really good at it.”

Before leaving the cabin to return to Carmel, they asked each other to sum up the best part of their glamping getaway.

For Webber-Schuss, it was spending time with his daughter. “Having uninterrupted, sweet mother-daughter time with the ability to relax and not worry about anything else was the best,” she said. “We felt such an ease of being together.”

Schuss agreed with his mother but admitted the only mistake they made was not booking a third night in the cabin.

“If we had stayed another night,” Webber-Schuss said, “we could have gone on a bigger hike, if we wanted to.”

“If we wanted to,” Schuss said.

Big Sur Campground & Cabins is one of the many sites available for glamping (or camping) in Big Sur. For more information, visit

Comments are closed.