I still love getting in a car and taking off on a long drive. Ben and I never fly to South Padre Island, we always opt for the six hour drive that takes us through the famous King Ranch and the rich, fertile valleys of South Texas. I think my love of car trips goes back to my childhood when each summer my dad would fix up the way-back of the station wagon with mats for us to sleep on and my mother would buy some new puzzles and toys for our amusement. Then, we would drive out for an extended vacation. In Texas, it can take easily take two days just to reach the border, so driving to another state can be a trip itself. My family drove all over the United States, even up to Canada one summer when we went to the Worlds Fair in Seattle. We used to visit all the Worlds Fairs. We never camped out though –instead, we always stayed in motels along the way, as long as there was a swimming pool.
I’ve always had a romantic vision of camping in a trailer, driving to some beautiful spot next to a mountain or a lake, stopping wherever the scenery calls out to you. Lately, it seems a lot of people share this vision, except they are actually doing it, not dreaming about it. But camping today is not like camping when we were growing up. It’s now called, Glamping - camping with all the luxuries of high thread sheets and plush towels, Ipods, Ipads, and flat screen TVs. Glamping sites are popping up all over the United States and the craze is popular in Europe and Africa too. There are two kinds of Glamping. You can stay at a camp site that provides romantic tents ala Out of Africa. Or you can provide your own shelter – a trailer. Glamping at a tent camp doesn’t give you the freedom to pick up and move to another site, something that a trailer does.
The trailers themselves are divided into two categories – vintage and new. You can buy the most luxurious brand new motor home, big enough to live in it permanently. Or you get a smaller, vintage trailer from the 50s and 60s - and restore it. Restoring vintage silver Airstreams and Shasta trailers is all the rage right now. Woman especially are attracted to vintage trailers which you can get for a song and then restore it yourself. Scores of blogs unite this group of women who proudly name their trailer and decorate it for the seasons: “Christmas in the Turquoise Tessie” ‘The Fourth of July in the Cherry Jean’s Shasta.” Many of these women belong to Glamping Clubs where they get together and show off their restored trailers at state parks. Perhaps the biggest of the Glamping groups is called “”Sisters on the Fly” – a group that caravans together and then fly fish, ride horses and sit around the camp fire in their cowboy boots. Of course, with most Glamping groups, there’s one day set aside when the doors of all the trailers are opened for touring.
Sisters on the Fly in caravan. It looks like they have so much fun! HERE
To be sure, you don’t have to join a group to Glamp. You can do it quietly, with just yourself and your family. Something tells me that if Ben and I ever did buy a vintage trailer, we would be on our own, as opposed to joining a club. But, we probably would be missing out, it does look like there’s a lot of fun to be had on the back roads of the U.S. these days.
Hmm, exactly WHAT kind of fun was going on in those hotels on wheels?
Wow. There must really been something behind the saying ‘Trailer Trash!”
What a great way to escape from the city – in a vintage shiny silver Airstream.
Now, this is the way to go – with a gorgeous vintage car pulling a shiny vintage Airstream.
This is what I get to pull a vintage trailer – a restored Jeep Wagoneer.
As a country, we’ve had a long fascination with trailers. Even Hollywood joined in – this 1953 movie, The Long, Long Trailer starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
But, this 1985 movie, Lost in America is one of the funniest movies about trailers – the plot revolves around dropping out of society and living in a trailer – with a nice sized “nest egg” that is promptly lost.
If you’ve never seen Lost in America – rent it today! If you’ve seen it – watch this You-Tube video for some great memories.
Ralph Lauren even jumped on the Airstream craze. He redecorated 4 vintage trailers to sell in a charity auction. This Bambi Airstream had a classic red, white and blue theme.
This Ralph Lauren Airstream was decorated in a western theme. Over the years, these four trailers have sometimes come up on the resale market.
The inside of the Western themed Ralph Lauren Airstream. Of course, it was totally gutted and completely rebuilt.
This smaller Airstream is actually located on Ralph Lauren’s Double L ranch in Telluride, Colorado. I love the way the tree limb holds up the awning.
A glimpse inside Ralph Lauren’s trailer with its authentic rough wood floor.
Matthew McConaughey made a big splash when he showed his Airstream in Architectural Digest. He actually lived in his trailer for years. It is parked in Malibu, right on the beach at the Malibu RV park. Yes, Malibu does have a trailer park!
“I’ve always loved driving. Driving is, number one, where I get some time with myself. Number two, it’s the main place I catch up on music. And number three, it’s the best way to see the country.”
McConaughey’s trailer, named Canoe, is new, a 2004 Airstream that he completely customized. He added a satellite dish, a BBQ pit, and a custom built banquette to fit his lanky physique.
Matthew’s Airstream, complete with a surfboard and U.S. flag.
Orchids and Malibu – this is a trailer?
The kitchen is fully stocked.
A sitting/sleeping area at the front of the trailer.
His bedroom – he calls it the Honeycomb.
Dusk at Malibu – with the satellite dish visible.
Yes, there really is an RV park in Malibu.
The Malibu park takes reservations for the night, week, or longer. If I had a trailer – I would be staying right here.
This trailer park provides the Airstreams – you don’t have to bring your own. But, you miss all the fun of driving out to your final destination.
A newly issued Airstream. Some people prefer to buy vintage Airstream and renovate them, but others like the mod cons that come with the brand new models.
Inside the new Airstream. Very streamlined, an almost contemporary interior.
Vintage trailers have an appeal that the new ones lack. This is an early woodie trailer. Precious!
The vintage trailers come in bright and pastel colors.
A great vintage trailer blog is Nancy’s Vintage Trailers. To read all about her red and white shasta and other trailers for sell, go HERE.
If you own a vintage trailer, you have to get a striped awning to go with it.
This red vintage Shasta is a popular model. Everything should be color coordinated when restoring a vintage trailer.
Here the old station wagon matches the trailer with its yellow and white striped awning. Stylizing the camp site is very important when Glamping.
This red and white Shasta has 50s style stools. A great web site to visit is Vintage Trailer Crazy HERE.
Black and white and pastel blue. The awnings really “make” the vintage trailers. Cute vintage trailer blog HERE.
This one is black and white and yellow.
This trailer is really coordinated – blue and white stripes on the awning and the chairs. They have a blue picnic table and a blue bicycle built for two.
Cute campsite with a coir rug and vintage chairs.
This camp site is really decorated, it even has a fountain! The Hawaiian theme is a popular one for the vintage Airstreams. Love the huge bottle of tequila.
Some people like to keep the vintage interiors as-is. This pink 1959 trailer had minimal restoration work done. Pink is another popular color, as is turquoise blue.
Turquoise décor in a restored trailer that kept all the original elements. Many of the vintage trailers have a 50s vibe. Visit this Amy’s Vintage Trailers for more restored vintage trailers HERE.
Cowgirls is big theme in retro trailers. It’s popular to dress in cowboy boots and huge petticoat skirts while Glamping, southern style.
Western themed trailers are popular. Love the turquoise refrigerator and black and white checked floors.
Looking the opposite way at the western themed trailer. Got to have that flatscreen even though it’s done in an authentic 1950s décor.
The vintage trailers almost always have wood walls. Purists wont’ paint them, but I probably would! Here, pink and white with black and white floors. Even the toilet is pink!
Another western themed vintage trailer. Bring on the 50s!!!
And the bedroom – all done in western kitsch.
This trailer is western, without the 50s kitsch. It has terracotta floors.
Zen style Airstream – reminds me of the Hotel San Jose in Austin HERE.
This 1959 pink and white trailer was completely restored and it’s totally adorable.
Her name is Audree. Naming your vintage trailer is a must.
Audree is all white, turquoise, blue, and pink. Many vintage trailers are restored by women and their interiors reflect this.
Audree’s dining room with its turquoise and white striped curtains. Read the story about this renovation HERE.
Shabby Chic is another popular look in retro trailers. This trailer went all white. Love their camp site with the white table, plates, and lantern.
Inside, everything has been painted white – it’s hard to tell it’s a vintage trailer - just darling!
The bedroom has a cute black and white bedspread. Cute lamps and headboard.
At night, a curtain with a batik print hides the bedroom from the living area. I really like the décor of this trailer and it would be close to what I would do with mine. Read about it HERE.
This darling Shabby Chic styled trailer is based in Europe. You should read everywhere she has traveled. I think this one is really cute too. I like them when they are painted all white. Read all about this one HERE.
This is Nora Pearl, a 1972 Timberline trailer that’s been completely restored in a Shabby Chic style. Her color is turquoise with hints of pink.
Nora Pearl’s owner writes a great vintage trailer blog HERE.
Not all trailers are kitsch. This one designed by a man is very contemporary.
This is his bathroom. Incredible for a trailer.
Another view of the bathroom. Love the shower.
New Airstreams look like this. They come in different colors and styles, but the new ones don’t have the charm of the renovated ones.
But, you do have all the mod cons, plus they are clean and fresh.
Ben would probably love the new ones, while I think I might like an older trailer. I think most couples would be the same – the man would want a new trailer and the woman would like a romantic vintage one.
This new one is nice with the dark cabinetry and striped seats – I live this version.
The bedroom, again with the dark cabinetry.
From the outside, this trailer looks like it will be vintage inside.
But inside, it is totally contemporary – and fun.
Looking from the bedroom out.
I love these smaller, silver Airstreams. This one is so pretty with a cute stripe canopy, with a matching red rimmed wheel.
The Bambi Airstreams are adorable. Love this!
A new Airstream that looks like a Bambi.
Sunset magazine writes about trailers and parks. The articles are online and are a good reference. HERE.
If you are in Cape Town, South Africa, visit Grand Daddy’s hotel. On the roof, there are a group of airstreams that you can rent, instead of an inside hotel room. For information on the hotel, go HERE.
A look at the top of Grand Daddy’s hotel – the Airstream park. Each trailer was decorated by a different artists and they are highly unique.
One of the trailers is pink, everywhere. The pink living room.
The pink bedroom.
This trailer is powder blue and white polka dots.
The polka dot bedroom.
This one is green and red – love the painted floor, ala Mary McDonald.
The kitchen and bedroom. What a cute idea for a hotel - your choice of a room or an Airstream. Which would you pick??
Big Daddy has another property in Cape Town. This one has houses connected to Airstreams.
The living room is in the new building and the bedroom is in the Airstream. Each one is different, again designed by artists.
One of the Big Daddy Airstream bedroom and bathroom. I love this one!!!
A lot of businesses restore Airstream. In Austin, Texas, there are several of these. Here is the Cornucopia in Austin.
Again in Austin, cupcakes in an Airstream. Must be good, look at that line.
The store Adelante in Austin has an Airstream named Curb Service that is a traveling store. HERE.
Inside the Adelante Curb Service Airstream – seagrass and wallpaper. Too cute!
Another business in an Airstream: Paris Montana from Arizona shown parked at Round Top. HERE.
“Constance” is rented out for advertising shoots in England.
Bliss Lounge travels to Round Top and back, several times a year. HERE.
The famous Magnolia Pearl with their painted Airstream and vintage car that pulls it. They sell their clothes out of the Airstream at places like Round Top.
The inside of the Magnolia Pearl Airstream.
It even has this vintage bathtub! HERE.
This bright yellow trailer is totally color coordinated with its matching truck.
Inside the yellow Boler, it looks like a 50s diner.
The owners of the Boler must really love yellow!
This trailer and Mini are darling pink. I love the matching cars and trailers.
Matching 1960 Pontiac station wagon with Tee Pee trailer – in bright turquoise.
Perfect trailer for UT fans - burnt orange and white .
Some people use Airstream in their gardens as extra rooms. This landscaper uses this as an office/studio.
Another garden Airstream.
This airstream stays put and doesn’t drive out – it is used as an office.
This Airstream is used as an extra part of a house. It reminds me of Out of Africa.
And looking the other way. Dreamy.
This beautiful trailer is from California. The owner is an interior designer. Look at their camp site! Zebra rugs lanterns – mirrors. SOOOOO cool!
Their living area. This is a really upscale Airstream. Love the fabrics and the rug. Beautiful.
Curtains close off the bedroom. Ebony wood in the kitchen and on the walls.
The bedroom. Love the curtains at the back instead of a door.
The kitchen has a Corian countertop – marble was too heavy for the airstream. This looks like a house. This is such a beautiful, beautiful trailer. I could be very happy here!!! It shows you – even with a brand new Airstream, it can still be sophisticated and chic – the Airstream designers should look at this for direction. HERE.
This trailer is owned by a blogger and interior designer. Again, it’s another super chic new Airstream that shows you that Glamping can be sophisticated and trailers can be beautiful, not just kitschy. When this blogger took a trip through the Mojave Desert and back down to Marfa, Texas, she wrote about the trip on her blog. Her campsite is always set up with two pink flamencos and beautiful trendy green directors chairs. The rug is a checkered racing mat. Finally, a white cloth covers the table. Beautiful!
Another view of their campsite – love the quilted material on the chairs.
They pack dirt bikes to go exploring around the camp site. This is what I call Glamping!!
A collage of pictures of their trailer.
Inside the trailer has black walls and stainless appliances. Orchids and new pillows make it custom.
Another look at their trailer. The green color really pops against the black.
While driving to Marfa, they stopped at this art exhibit – A faux Prada store, stocked with just one of each shoe – not two. Isn’t this a great picture? It really shows the vastness of Texas, with the mountains in the background on the right.
Here’s what Judith has to say about Glamping: ‘It's great being in such a vast expanse of wilderness, but I wouldn't want you to be suffering from a lack of small luxuries. Your refrigerator is stocked with all your personal favorites ( fresh organic free range everything) and the flat screen TV / sound system are stocked with Mozart, Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers and Abba. In addition to the aforementioned music and movies, know that there are Pratesi sheets on your bed, dupioni silk pillows to cradle your head and a french press for your freshly ground coffee. Your shower is stocked with hand milled soap from Provence and there are a stack of crisp ironed linen napkins for your breakfast tray.’
To read more about this Airstream, go to Studio Judith HERE.
My absolute favorite trailer I found on the internet is this one from the Peacock Alley family. Peacock Alley is based out of Dallas, Texas and a few years ago they customized this Airstream and took it on the road to showcase their gorgeous linens. I love Peacock Alley – they have the best of the best and this trailer is just an extension of their wonderful taste.
Here they are all set up outside a store, somewhere in the great U.S. The 1979 Airstream “Steel Magnolia” was completely renovated by the Peacock Alley family – and it shows. It’s adorable.
Gosh. I love this. I would do an Airstream just like this – seagrass and white linens and bamboo blinds. I absolutely love this!!!!
All the fabrics are Peacock Alley.
Here’s a change of pillows – blue.
The kitchen. Stainless appliances.
The other side of the kitchen – cute fish prints.
Cute vintage fan. Drapes divide the living space from the bedroom.
The bedroom, looking towards the living area.
The bedroom with different Peacock Alley linens – ready to sell.
Stocked with white towels and white sheets and white bedspreads. This is such a cute Airstream!
Even the bathroom is cute.
Read all about the Peacock Alley Airstream HERE.
Glamping in Spain.
Two books from Amazon. This on custom interiors: HERE.
And this on Airstreams, in general. HERE.
Read more about Glamping HERE.
I hope you have enjoyed this tour of vintage and new trailers.
Now, I have to go convince Ben that he wants one!!!!