Barbara Radcliffe Rogers
Parents and grandparents may feel a wave of nostalgia as they walk down the main street toward the archway entrance to The Pier at Maine’s Old Orchard Beach. Maybe a few of the shops are a bit smarter now, and there are fewer gaudy T-shirts and googly-eyed lobster toys, but the atmosphere is still tinged with anticipation and scented by enticing aromas from Pier French Fries. It’s the classic beach town: an old-fashioned boardwalk, ice cream, saltwater taffy and a merry-go-round that wheezes out old familiar calliope tunes.
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The idea is far from new – African safari camps have been doing it for decades, bedding guests down in room-sized tents with carpeted floors, real beds and en-suite loos. But until a few years ago, it hadn’t caught on outside the African savannahs. Europe was first to embrace glamping, and it is from France that Huttopia expanded into the United States, opening its first glamping resort near Conway in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.