Glamping and a Restaurant Review (By CHLOE)

After our beach adventure, my middle America friend and I set off for a totally different kind of adventure: glamping on Governors Island.

Yes, you can go camping in New York City! Usually this would be way too expensive for me but I booked at the last minute for a weeknight and got a good rate.

It's a little surreal but also kind of awesome--at least after it cools down; we were pretty hot and miserable for our first few hours. But you get a really great view of Lady Liberty from your tent, and as the sun sets it's especially striking.
But you'll need to bring your own food in if you don't want to eat what's available on the island--and that's what I chose to do, because options are expensive and limited even if you're not vegan. So we stopped at By CHLOE on our way. It's a vegan chain with a restaurant near where we caught the ferry to the island. We took our food to the tent; hence the view of the tent's rug in these photos:
We had the mac n' cheese, which comes with shitake bacon. It was about what you'd expect in most ways--it's a sweet potato-cashew cream cheese sauce--but it was also oddly spicy and oddly tart, with a strong taste of vinegar. We didn't really like it much.
We also split a BLT, which got a little disheveled on the ferry ride, but was much better than the pasta. We both really enjoyed this sandwich.

Not pictured because we guzzled them in the heat of the ferry ride and walk to the campsite, I had a Blue Lagoon smoothie (blueberries, bananas, flax seeds, and oat milk) and my travelling companion had a watermelon mint lemonade. Those were both great.

My rating for By CHLOE is only about a 3/5. Service was slow (especially for Manhattan), they ran out of the smoothie I actually wanted pretty early in the day, and the pasta was weird (as noted above), but the BLT was amazing and we enjoyed the drinks we did have. I would probably try them again if I ended up on the southern tip of Manhattan again.

Our tent was pretty hot when we got there, too, but it cooled down as the evening progressed. It helped that we had a fan to put at the door to circulate the air, but we also spent some time in chairs we put in the shadow of the tent because it was really just so hot inside at first. I get that the white tents are pretty, especially with the glow of the lamps at night, but they're also a bit too sheer for keeping them cool in the summer. So I'd recommend to the managers of the campground that they consider switching to a darker and/or thicker tent fabric. Still, this was quite an adventure, and I may try glamping at some other places someday.
I didn't expect the two twin sized beds I booked to be pushed together like this, or the tent to be too small for the beds to have space between them, but I had my own bed! No sleeping on the ground! And we had electricity and WiFi! New Yorkers have figured out how to camp without camping.

The very best part was having Governors Island more or less to ourselves until the ferries arrived at 10:00AM the next morning. It felt sort of secretive and private. And I never realized just how much traffic goes through New York Harbor--boats constantly. I feel like I sort of made friends with the Staten Island Ferry. I swear that orange hulk was there 85% of the time I looked out onto the water.

All that time with nature and a city all at once made me pensive. I couldn't help but think a lot about the poem "The New Colossus" while I was there. I had a lot of feelings I didn't expect facing this symbolic welcoming to immigrants in the harbor this summer, with all that has been going on lately. It's hard not to reflect on what this symbol means (or claims to) when you're spending the night under the light of its torch, in a harbor that also includes Ellis Island. So for today I'll leave you with the Statue of Liberty and the poem on her pedestal in hopes that New York Harbor, like all of our entry points, someday lives up to her stated ideals.
The New Colossus
by Emma Lazarus (1883)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


  1. Sounds like you had a nice weekend, and it would have been delightful to have the area to yourself for a while in the morning.
    A real shame about the mac and cheese, that sounds very unappealing!

  2. I had no idea that this was a thing! The tent looks really beautiful and bringing your own food was a good call. The mac n cheese does sound really unpleasant but I'm glad the sandwich was enjoyable! I have never been to by Chloe and my desire diminished even more after she was pushed out but it is definitely a great option to bring along for a glamping excursion in NYC and I'm glad I could experience it through you! I also appreciate you reflection on The Statue of Liberty, what she stands for and how we seem to be losing sight of her purpose of welcoming people to their new beginning.

    1. I don't know the back story on By CHLOE. Can you share it with me?

    2. Sure! From what I understand Chloe opened it up with investors and then she was forced out of the business. So she basically got it up and running and they are using her concepts and food but then they forced her out of the business. That's my understanding at least. And it's sad because she seems like one of the kindest vegan influencers out there and she's worked so hard to bring the vegan message to the mainstream.

  3. Sounds like a fun adventure! Too bad about the mac & cheese, but yay for a good BLT!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Statue of Liberty and including "The New Colossus" <3

  4. Thanks for sharing the poem, especially now. :)

    ...and on a lighter note, wow, I've never heard of glamping in NYC. What a unique trip!

    1. Yikes, commented with my old Google/Blogger account...!

  5. The "glamping" in NYC sounds kind-of fun. I feel like that would be a nice compromise for my husband who has a not so great back. He insists that he can sleep on the ground, but I am doubtful lol

    Not too surprised about the mac and cheese. There is a recipe by Chloe for sweet potato mac and cheese and it doesn't have cashews but it has lime and cayenne. Maybe whoever was cooking the back went a little too nuts.

  6. Oh and I totally recommend checking out the podcast episode on Emma Lazarus, it is really interesting!


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