Business

New Eastern Long Island Kampground owners bringing ‘cozy camping’ to the site

Camping in Greenport is about to get a little more luxurious.

The new owners of Eastern Long Island Kampground confirmed last week that their plans for the 23-acre property include the construction of cozy cabins and addition of “glamping” — glamorous camping — tents.

“It’s exciting and there’s so much potential here,” said Sean Magnuson, who purchased the property with business partner Christopher Winter for $6 million late last year. “But to keep it a campground, we need other revenue sources.”

The facility currently offers 186 campsites for tents and trailers. Their plans call for eliminating 33 tent sites to make way for 20 450-square-foot cabins located in the woods on the southern edge of the property. Twenty tent sites would remain.

“It’s the perfect set-up,” Mr. Magnuson said on a recent tour of the campground, which originally opened as a Kampground Of America in the 1970s. Each cabin will be equipped with two-bedrooms, a private bathroom and fully stocked kitchen with gas range, microwave, coffeemaker, refrigerator and sink. Mr. Magnuson said that he hopes to keep the colors neutral with lofty ceilings and plenty of light.

Each unit will also feature flat screen TVs, outdoor gas grills, AC and heat and custom fire pits.

Two of the cabins will be fully ADA compliant, featuring one bedroom and wheelchair access and a new pavilion and rec room are planned near the new cabin sites.

In addition to the new cabins, several glamping sites are also proposed. 

“That’s the new thing these days,” Mr. Magnuson said, though they prefer the term “cozy camping.” 

While he’s not sure how many glamping tents will be pitched, he said each 16-by-20 foot canvas tent will be outfitted with queen beds, flat screen TVs, small kitchen appliances and have its own private deck with a custom fire pit and grill.

Additional guest twin beds and cots would be available for children and guests.

The cabins, which they anticipate to be ready by midsummer, will be offered at $350 a night while the glamping tents, available at the start of the season on May 1, will be available for $225 a night.

Plans to bring glamping to Greenport come after several municipally-owned campgrounds on the East End have turned to the model to attract a new generation of campers. Roughing it is no longer required at Wildwood State Park, where several cabins debuted in 2018, or Cedar Point County Park, which now offers glamping sites.

 “We’ve seen the trends, especially with millennials,” Mr. Magnuson said. “We’re thinking of this as destination camping—it’s a mix of the best of both worlds.”

Market research firm Arizton released data last year that projects the glamping market in the United States to grow to a billion-dollar industry by 2024.

The property is a slice of paradise for the men, who each grew up camping with their families in North Dakota and Cape Cod.

Mr. Magnuson, who grew up in North Dakota and Mr. Winter, a Long Island native, first got involved with the campground two years ago after their IT business was hired to bring WiFi to the campground.

“We really hit it off,” Mr. Magnuson said of former owners Myron and Donna Goldstein. “We had the same vision for the campground. We wanted to keep it a campground.”

Mr. Winter describes the purchase of the property as “kismet,” and stressed that they don’t want to alienate their seasonals — some of whom have been camping at this home away from home for more than 20 years. “It’s a tight community,” he said. “And we don’t want to see it turn into anything else.”

The men hope that additional upgrades, including cleaning up an existing rec room and adding a pool table, darts and outdoor archery course will appeal to families with children. They also plan to screen outdoor movies this summer on their lawn and offer shuttle transportation into Greenport Village for campers.

The men agree that it’s a labor of love. Before Ms. Goldstein turned over the keys and headed for Florida, she told the men that it was their turn to be stewards of the property. 

“We hope to be having that same conversation with somebody else when we’re 78,” Mr. Magnuson said.

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