Reader Participation Day, Valentine's Edition: For That Romantic National Park Getaway, Lodge or Tent?

Which is it, folks? Does national park romance blossom in a lodge, or a tent? NPT file photos.

With Valentine's Day this Sunday, it seems only appropriate that this week's question revolve around romance. So tell us, would your beau/significant other prefer a national park getaway spent in a lodge, or in a tent?

Comments

My husband and I have been tent campers since we were married. We "discovered" the Lodges about 10 years ago once our money options for vacations became less strict. It would depend on where we were, if we were at Yellowstone (his favorite Park), the Old Faithful Inn is our first choice. The ambiance and wonderful memories of that special place are romantic to us. This summer we are doing our first backcountry hike together in Glacier NP (my favorite park) and I am sure that our tent camping experience will be equally romantic!
Connie

I'll take Option #3: Cabin. Lodges don't appeal to me because they're full of other people. Tents are great when the weather is right, but I hate erecting tents in rainstorms. Plus, depending on how romantic things get, tents can be a tad uncomfortable unless you find a nice bed of pine needles or sand to pitch it on. A rock to the kidneys really ruins the mood.

Hmmm, depends on the situation. Sitting by the fireplace at the Old Faithful Inn and watching it snow outside is much more romantic than watching it snow from a tent. My ex huband and I attempted a romantic trip at Yellowstone by canoeing across Lewis Lake to Shoshone Lake and spending a couple nights there. Add a freak snowstorm with heavy, wet snow, grizzlies nosing around our campsite, and cold, foggy, miserable weather, and we cut the canoe trip short and opted for the warmth of Old Faithful. Much more romantic when you're warm and dry.

Cabin

Most of the year we'd opt for a tent and an isolated campsite, with only the occasional night in a lodge for variety and a nice hot shower. However, Feb 14th, in Zion? We'll be spending the night in a hotel!

It might be a matter of definition. Some places that call themselves lodges have exclusively or primarily cabins, such as Old Faithful Lodge & Cabins.

There are definitely certain types of accommodations. Yosemite NP has everything including true camping, tent cabins (Curry Village, Housekeeping Camp, White Wolf, High Sierra Camps, employee housing), rustic cabins (Curry Village), motel rooms (Yosemite Lodge), deluxe hotel rooms (Ahwahnee Hotel), and luxury cabins (Ahwahnee Hotel's cottages).

As far as tents go - I always use an air mattress, and so do most of the other car campers I see. There's no reason to sleep directly on a rock. Even most backpackers use closed-cell foam or self-inflating sleeping pads. Just take a couple of standard sleeping bags and zip them together to make a couples bag. Of course one can optionally **ahem** cuddle for warmth (I think I'm going to be sick).

My last trip we went car camping, although I owed my wife lunch at the Ahwahnee Dining Room. One of these days I'm going to save up enough that we splurge with a couple of days staying at the Ahwahnee Hotel.

The most romantic thing to me is hiking together and
sharing a bar of fancy chocolate on the trail.
We've been married over 43 years and we've been hiking together for almost all that time.
(The couple that hikes together stays together.)
But we've belonged to hiking clubs for most of that time and it's a big part of our social life.

As for accommodations, I love backpacking, if I need to backpack to get someplace.
Car camping saves money.
Cabins with cooking facilities seem the best. We cook breakfast and pack our lunches
and eat out, if there's someplace to eat out.

Happy Valentine!

Danny Bernstein
www.hikertohiker.com

Yosemite NP has everything including true camping, tent cabins (Curry Village, Housekeeping Camp, White Wolf, High Sierra Camps, employee housing), rustic cabins (Curry Village), motel rooms (Yosemite Lodge), deluxe hotel rooms (Ahwahnee Hotel), and luxury cabins (Ahwahnee Hotel's cottages). YPW

My husband and I also have enjoyed the Wawonna Hotel down by Mariposa Grove! Tom plays a killer piano, it's relaxing listening to him play while we are waiting for dinner!

Connie

Connie Hopkins:
My husband and I also have enjoyed the Wawonna Hotel down by Mariposa Grove! Tom plays a killer piano, it's relaxing listening to him play while we are waiting for dinner!

I had dinner there once in December 2005 the week after Christmas. I was really, really hungry and was either going to eat there or find a place in Oakhurst (Erna's Elderberry House would have been nice ;) ). The lobby was a happening place, with lots of people staying warm with hot beverages like mulled cider and Irish coffee.

I tried coming back there in Feb 2007 on a Monday for lunch. Unfortunately the Wawona Hotel wasn't open. I found out that they cut back their operations during winter. They only operated for two weeks around Christmas, and then weekends (open Fri/Sat nights) only until spring.

And nice CAPTCHA phrase - "traffic clear". Certainly doesn't sound like Yosemite.

We like lodges for special occasions. Tents would be good if we could still sleep on the ground, but those days have passed.

I tried coming back there in Feb 2007 on a Monday for lunch. Unfortunately the Wawona Hotel wasn't open. I found out that they cut back their operations during winter. They only operated for two weeks around Christmas, and then weekends (open Fri/Sat nights) only until spring. YPW

Good to know! We have been there as early as April as well as summer. We have stayed at the Washburn Cottage (bathooms in the room itself) as well as the main house (bathrooms outside of the rooms). The breakfasts in the dining room are wonderful! During our visit in the summer of 2006 an antique car club was meeting there and my husband (amateur photographer) took some wonderful sepia photos of the old cars in front of the hotel! It feels like I have been on a time machine every time I look at them!

"Traffic clear"? certainly not in the summertime!

Connie

Connie Hopkins:
Good to know! We have been there [Wawona Hotel] as early as April as well as summer.

At least in 2007 they were open winter weekends. I looked up their current schedule, and it looks like they're completely shutting down during the winter.

http://www.yosemitepark.com/Accommodations_WawonaHotel.aspx

Wawona Hotel in Winter

Wawona Hotel is temporarily closing it's doors for part of the 2009-2010 winter season. Wawona Hotel will be:

OPEN
December 18, 2009 - January 2, 2010 for the holiday season.
For Spring and Summer starting March 26, 2010.

CLOSED
November 29 - December 17, 2009
January 3 - March 25, 2010

Curry Village Tent Cabins are the worst camping experince I have ever had in a National Park. The tent cabins are very close to one another so you can hear your neighbors every word. Curry Village security was a no-show for hours after quiet time. On our first night a couple of tents down from our tent it sounded like a celebration in Iraq going on for hours. Cell phones don't work there so there was no way to call the Park Rangers. On the second night some folks thought it would be fun to bring a small baby camping in 40 degree weather. The baby cried most of the night. If you don't need to sleep and enjoy hearing all sorts of loud, rude people then Curry Village will be like going to heaven for you.