• Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

Northeast News | Glamping Brings Swope Park Camp Back to Life

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Jun 30, 2021

Abby Hoover
Chief Editor

Suite Tea, the Kansas City-based hospitality company known for its elevated camping suites and unique experiences, proudly announced its new partnership with Kansas City, Mo., Parks and Recreation, paving the way for a glamping village in the heart from Kansas City to Swope Park.

Suite Tea at Camp Lake of Woods is Swope Park will feature a total of six glamping suites that can accommodate up to 26 guests. The Whole Person was on hand to tour the suite which will be made accessible to people with disabilities.

“Glamping” is camping with additional comforts and accommodation. Suite Tea offers spacious, high-end bell tents with large memory foam beds and gadgets like generators and air conditioners to help camping newbies and camping experts enjoy their experience every time they stay. .

Camp is located within walking distance to other Swope Park activities such as Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park, Swope Memorial Golf Course, short drive to Kansas City Zoo, Starlight Theater, miles of trails of hiking and biking trails, and conveniently located for downtown, stadiums and other Kansas City metro attractions.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with Suite Tea here, it is a local business run by two women,” said KC Parks Acting Manager Roosevelt Lyons. “We are happy to not only have people who know the park, who appreciate it, but who will add something to the park here. We are grateful for their hearts for this area.

Co-founders Tiffany Watts and Heather Shelton opened their first glamping site at Watkins “C” Ranch in Kansas City, Kansas in mid-April 2021, and have since built a strong team of employees and investors.

“We’re so grateful to be here,” Shelton said. “When we started Suite Tea, we really had no idea how it would evolve and where we would end up, so when the opportunity came up to partner with Kansas City Parks and Rec, the absolutely amazing Leslie Alford, we were honestly in shock.”

Shelton described their elevated glamping experience as all the best parts of camping with the amenities and accessibility of other vacation rentals.

They saw it as an opportunity to bring everything they wanted to bring to their community in a very personal way. Each suite will have its own identity and distinctive decor, giving guests a little something different to expect in each village.

“It’s great to be so connected to everything here,” Watts said. “You get a sense of nature and beauty, you can indulge in it while you’re here, and then you can just walk out and say, ‘Here’s it! “”

Plus, the scenic park will take visitors off the beaten path and immerse them in one of Kansas City’s crown jewels.

“As far as I’m concerned, one of the best reasons for that is that a lot of our urban families don’t always have the opportunity to go out, who don’t always have access to it, it gives them a really easy and fun, social way to do it,” Lyons said. “Maybe you don’t have a rucksack and rucksack or the fishing rods needed to camp, but you can come here in your own backyard…and just enjoy the outdoors and all the benefits of nature.”

Swope Park contains one of the only limestone mesic forests and wetlands in the country, which Lyons says are very important to preserve. The group has undergone environmental impact studies and has made arrangements so as not to interfere with the habitat.

Lake of the Woods is a man-made lake created more than a century ago, according to an article by Kansas City historian David Jackson.

“A horseshoe-shaped lagoon was dug in the early spring of 1908, and the reservoir which was to supply it was formed by constructing a huge dam 35 feet high and nearly 100 feet long across a small branch through which the waters of the Big Blue River escaped into a natural basin,” Jackson wrote in 2020. “The surface water area of ​​Lake of the Woods is 10 acres. which is 6 feet lower than the lake, is 25.5 acres (it is exactly one mile long around its outer shore).

A 1908 “Kansas City Times” article reported that, “It lies in a hollow encircled by a range of low hills a quarter of a mile south of the park’s suspension bridge over the Blue. The sides of the hills are covered with ‘dense vegetation of trees stretching to the water’s edge. In summer, their overhanging branches will form shady retreats for exploring canoeists. A row around the lagoon, stretching three quarters of a mile, across the channel and to the extreme southeast corner of the meandering lake, will provide an afternoon’s exercise for the most valiant paddler.

As the landscape and the road map changed in the decades that followed, generations of Kansas citizens discovered a love of nature at Swope Park. Suite Tea co-founder and CEO Tiffany Watts grew up visiting Swope Park, and now she returns to hike Camp Lake of the Woods with her mother and daughter. One of their hikes about a year ago inspired Watts to find a way to fix the Blue Mills cabins at Camp Lake of the Woods, one of two city-sponsored residential camps in Kansas City in the 1960s. , 70 and 80.

“Here we are a year later, we have this opportunity to come to our city and make an impact, so we’re so excited, so full of gratitude, and my cup is so full,” Watts said. “It’s huge for us. It’s a dream come true for all of us. »

Camp Lake of the Woods was a general residential camp, offering activities such as swimming, horseback riding, and archery. It consisted of Franklin and Kaw Landings, respectively for older boys and girls, and Westport and Blue Mills for younger campers.

A portion of the proceeds from each stay will go towards rehabilitating the Blue Mills cabins at Camp Lake of the Woods, which are now dilapidated and unusable.

“I never imagined I would do something like this here,” Watts said. “Tents are huge for us, okay, but being able to take the Blue Mills huts and revitalize them is the dream come true for me.”

They received a huge response from people sharing memories of Camp Lake of the Woods and were inspired by the history and potential of the cabins.

“It’s such an important part of what Kansas City is, it brings so much value to the city and not many people for years have come to Swope Park and Camp Lake of the Woods so much because over the years , things have passed, and now we can bring Swope Park back to life,” Watts said.

Regarding safety, Watts said that when camping people should always be aware of the risks, but the camp is generally quiet. A conservation officer lives nearby in the camp and the gate at the entrance is locked at night for security.

“We believe in people, and people are inherently good,” Watts said. “We believe in Kansas City and the people of Kansas City. They’ve been supporting us in such a big way – great support – so we’ll take it one step at a time and see how it goes. We are not naive that something could happen.

Imagining the new opportunities this reconstruction will bring to Kansas Citians and historic Swope Park, Watts and Shelton plan to begin renovations this year and expect to be able to offer both tented glamping and cabin stays at the The Blue Mills cabins at the start of their Spring 2022 season.

They will be offering reservations, which opened June 25 on suitetea.com, through October 31.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect a correction. The employee on site is a conservation officer, not a ranger.