With COVID-19 running rampant, we decided to spend our Thanksgiving remotely, allowing us to disconnect and spend some TRUE quality time together. (How rare is that these days?!)
After realizing all of our local State Park cabins were taken, I searched for pet friendly camping sites and stumbled upon a campsite that immediately caught my eye as the main image was a waterfall. As a photographer constantly wanting to learn more, I have been wanting to get better about waterfall pics and create those gorgeous, blurred cascades falling off of those huge, tall rocks.
Much to my surprise, this was a campsite that has two sites...one that sits adjacent to and another that sits on top of a waterfall! WHAT?! Is this real life?! So my mind went something like this:
- It couldn't possibly be pet friendly, right? YEP, it was.
- It couldn't possibly be kid friendly, right? YEP, it was.
- It couldn't possibly be affordable, right? YEP. it was.
- It couldn't possibly be available for our desired dates, right? YEP, it was.
Needless to say, it wasn't a hard sell to Matt, he was in.
(Here's a pic of said waterfall that I took while there. Gorgeous!)
We booked our trip on Vrbo but after, I researched and learned about all things Tentrr. The company, from what I gathered, was started because the founder kept having trouble finding pet friendly places to stay. It's a remote, almost effortless camping experience on at least 10 acres of private land, with a "wow" factor.
(Worth noting that if you want to book a Tentrr site, to try and do so directly through their site. We paid a decent amount of service fees booking through Vrbo. Lesson learned!)
(See that tiny little whitish blip in the middle? That's our tent! Hellllo, privacy and seclusion!)
The site we stayed at was Beaverdam Falls, located in Covington, VA our near the Allegheny Highlands. The Tentrr site on top of the waterfall is called, "Top of The Rock". An incredible site with an incredible view! There was contactless check-in/out and everything is sanitized so we felt comfortable staying here considering the pandemic.
(Rope bridge from Top of The Rock)
The Tentrr Signature has just about everything you need for the ultimate glamping experience...a huge canvas tent, Adirondack chairs, picnic table, fire pit, dry storage, queen mattress, extra dome tent, trash can, sun shower, heating supplies, a loo and MORE. Yes, MORE.
Our CampKeeper, Beau, also provided masks, hand sanitizer, lanterns, batteries, fire starters, firewood, cookware, shampoo/cleanser, plenty of water, wine key and bottle opener, information about nearby attractions, tiki torches, etc. and also offered extras such as cozy bedding and guided tours. The site has no cell service, so you are truly off the grid, though you can connect to WiFi and a landline in an emergency at the cottage near the front of the property.
The site we chose was "Stick Marsh", which sits adjacent to the falls. Still provided a beautiful soundscape at night, but also had more privacy, while being a bit more kid and dog friendly.
(As you can see, the site has just about everything you could need...and more!)
Having a kid and a dog, you still end up bringing quite a bit, but the effort is totally worth it! We made sure to still bring sleeping bags (to use as blankets and/or to snuggle in when it got cold), pillows, extra dinnerware and cookware (I brought a teapot and french press, can opener, tongs, spatula, steak knives, etc.), cooler with plenty of food and drinks, pantry bag full of snacks and condiments (gotta have s'mores!), a string of battery powered lights for extra lighting in the tent (great for night time board games!), a crate for our pup and tie out cable so he could venture around the campsite without a leash, while still being secured.
Something I HIGHLY recommend is the reversible cast iron griddle I bought. Not only can we use it at home, but it was perfect for me to grill steaks on the first night, and a egg, bacon and pancake breakfast on the next day. You can use it over a campfire, or just as easily over a butane camping stove, even the one burner ones!
(This thing was great for all things cooking on our trip. A must buy!)
A big hit with the family was the very innovative Tentrr Camp Loo, or as we affectionately called it, the Poo Loo. It's a simple wooden box with a toilet seat and a bucket inside that's lined with a CleanWaste bag supplied at the camp. It has a powder that serves as an odor fighter and bulking agent that allows you to simply tie the bag up and place it in a trash bag when ready to dispose. Ours was in a nifty, private pop up tent but the loo is totally portable and can be placed anywhere on the campsite...you can even bring it inside the canvas tent at night.
(Our handy, dandy Poo Loo!)
But let's get back to talking about what we came here for...THE SIGHTS. This piece of property is just beautiful, with views of the mountains from our tent and such a magnificent waterfall, with additional cascades peppered throughout the property. My daughter got food to feed the trout which were very visible in the clear, blue/green water. You're allowed to swim in it when it's warmer outside! (Mo, our pup took a dip while there.) Definitely one of the many reasons to go back.
(I mean...does it get any better than this?!)
(View from inside our spacious tent...not shabby at all!)
The biggest surprise came at around 4:30 a.m. on the first night when Matt went to go get more firewood for the wood stove (more on that in a bit). We didn't realize that this site is one of the best in the area for stargazing. The view was absolutely breathtaking and unbelievable, thousands of constellations and stars as if you were standing in the middle of a planetarium! Our family normally does not venture outside at 4:30 in the morning, especially when it's cold out, but we absolutely made an exception on this trip!
(While I wasn't able to capture all of the stars, I did snag these awesome photos of the moon and some constellations! Definitely shows how clear and dark it gets outside.)
One of the struggles we had during this trip was heat. The tent can get drafty once the temps drop. The propane heater that was provided would not come on to save our lives. I got it working once earlier in the day but not when we needed it. We had a walkie-talkie in order to reach Beau, the CampKeeper who was wonderful, but it was Thanksgiving and we had the woodstove, so we figured that would suit just fine.
While the woodstove does provide heat, it's fairly small and requires a bit of attention. Matt had to stay on top of it just about hourly in order to keep us warm (temps were in the upper 30's), which takes away from sleep and being able to relax. Absolutely thankful that we had it though!
(Mo probably had the best time out of all of us. Tentrr is truly dog friendly!)
If I had to change anything about this trip, it would be for it to be a bit earlier in the year...before Daylight Savings Time so we could have more daylight for fun, warmer so we can swim and not have to worry about heat at night and more greenery/color on the trees. I would definitely want to bring a telescope and would also make sure we spend an extra day or two out there so we can explore more of the Alleghany Highlands.
(Beaverdam Falls will be closing for about a month during this winter, so be advised if you're looking to book a future stay!)
(Humpback Bridge in nearby Covington, VA)
(None of the links or recommendations on this page are compensated. Just an honest review and fun finds that I've stumbled across and can vouch for!)