Agrotourism Meets Camping in Northern Idaho
When was the last time you woke up in a wall tent, milked a goat, showered outdoors and picked your lunch from a garden all on one trip? You can experience this and more on a vacation where farming and camping collide in a truly unique agrotourism experience.
Huckleberry Tent and Breakfast located in the Idaho Panhandle, is no ordinary experience and more than just a step up from regular tent camping. It could be considered luxury camping to most, but true campers- don’t worry this is not a chichi glamping a.k.a glamour camping experience; you won’t find any on-call masseuses here.
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Instead this is a perfect camping experience for those looking to unplug, relax and get back to nature without all the set up. Huckleberry Tent and Breakfast is located 45 minutes from Sandpoint and less than 10 miles from the Montana border in the North Idaho wilderness.
Once you arrive, park your car, and merely unload your food and clothes into a garden cart and wheel your way to one of the 3 tent sites spread over 52 acres.
And the luxury part? It begins with a raised, wood planked home away from home complete with a queen sized bed and wood stove all enclosed in a 12′ X 14′ screened canvas tent. Roll the canvas up and you have a room with a 360 degree view without the bugs! Each camp site offers a kitchen complete with sink, stove, small dining table, pots, plates, silverware and a pantry stocked with board games, cards, insect repellent, several lanterns, makings for s’mores, spices, coffee and more. And what is more luxurious than a roofless shower and a private outhouse when camping?
While it will be tough to tear yourself away from the serene beauty of your own private camping space, I strongly encourage you to head to the main house and enjoy a full farm breakfast. Whipped up each morning by the owner of HTB, Christine, this is also just about the only way to potentially meet fellow campers. One of the unique features is the fact the campsites are set up so that each has its own trails making them totally private.
The main house is the home to Christine, her husband Timothy and their children and where they live an almost completely self sustained life in their eco friendly and solar powered home. It is also a full working farm, so make sure to arrive for breakfast before the chickens have been let out of the barn. This is a site to behold! Hundreds of chickens all flitting and flying their way into their fenced pen in a feathered frenzy. It’s really just about the funniest moments I have ever encountered!
Christine invites guests to spend as much or as little time as they want exploring the farm. Some campers want a completely private and quiet time and never venture to the main house at all. When I visited with my husband and six year old son, we spent a lot of our time hanging out on the farm.
Christine is available for guided tours of her amazing garden and most likely she’ll hand you a basket to fresh pick anything ripe and ready that you want to take to your campsite for lunch or dinner.
Then head over and say hello to the horses, pigs or ask if you can feed the chickens or collect their eggs. In fact, while we were there Christine gave my son a lesson in milking a goat.
By this time, the day should be warming up. So, head back to your campsite for a really freeing experience. Find the biggest pot in your kitchen. Then with old fashioned water pump begin to fill the pot. Warm it up on the stove. Repeat, until you have filled the shower bucket. Hoist it up and make your way to the attached outside shower located in the middle of nature. You won’t find a more invigorating shower experience.
The rest of the day can be spent hiking the trails around your campsite, hanging out in the rocking chair on your front porch or enjoying a leisurely lunch in the outdoors.
If you are in the mood for a bit more adventure, drive just a few miles and cross the Montana border and head another 50 miles to the Kootenai National Forest for a hike in a grove of ancient Red Cedar trees. The mouth of the trail .9 mile nature trail is just off a parking area. The trail is an easy walk on a gravel path, and small bridges that span the creek in a winding loop through this old-growth forest. You’ll also see hemlocks and lots of ferns and keep your eyes peeled for woodpeckers and lots of other birds that make their home in this cool and shady grove.
On your way back to Huckleberry Tent and Breakfast, stop by Big Sky Pantry–a small market and deli–for ice or any other provisions you might need for dinner. The deli is quite nice and offers an array of meats, cheeses and fresh made sandwiches. Or for a treat, try a soft serve ice cream cone.
Once you’re back at your campsite, load up the fire pit with your never ending wood supply. Prepare dinner on the open fire or in your woodsy kitchen, then sit back and enjoy the beauty that surrounds. If you are quiet enough you may even have a moose walk through your campsite.
While you prepare your s’mores watch the sunset as it changes the night sky from blue to lavender and then black as the stars begin to pop out in abundance.
As your day comes to a close, light the pot belly stove in your wall tent, climb into the four poster queen bed and snuggle under all the warm quilts. With the sounds of nature surrounding you, drift off to sleep in the middle of the Northern Idaho wilderness.
What & Where:
Huckleberry Tent & Breakfast (180 Thunderbolt Dr, Clark Fork, ID; 208-266-0155) Open April 15-November 15
Kootenai National Forest (506 US Highway 2 West, Libby, MT; 406-293-6211)
Big Sky Pantry (1018 Mt Highway 200, Noxon, MT; 406-847-2662)
Getting to Huckleberry Tent & Breakfast: From Sandpoint, Idaho head east on Hwy 200 for 23 miles to Clark Fork. From Clark Fork stay on Hwy 200 and head east for another 3.3 miles. Take a left at the “Hershy Farms” sign (Bear Hill Road). Stay on gravel road and go .3 mile and take right on Cougar Loop. Go 1 mile and take right on Taos Place. After .2 mile Taos Place turns into Thunderbolt Drive. Go another .2 mile to driveway.
Getting to Kootenai National Forest: take ID-200 to the Montana border. Continue on MT-200. Turn left onto State highway 56 and then a right on US-2.