In 2018, Governors Island introduced the option to sleep over through a glamping experience from Collective Retreats, and this year they'll be bringing it back with some new offerings, the most notable being private boat rides.
Last year I got to experience the overnight stay during a complimentary press preview, and after a dinner disaster (the chef was sick, and frozen veggie burgers were brought in from the mainland) my friend and I were offered a treat to make up for it: a boat ride. And it turned out being one of the best experiences of my life, hands down. We spent an hour or so riding around with the delightful captain John Carter, who took us all the way to the 59th Street Bridge, and then swung back around towards the Statue of Liberty. We idled just feet away from the Lady in the still of night, and it was incredible. So quiet, and just the three of us (and whoever was on that nearby yacht!), right in front of this iconic statue. "Sounds cool for you," you may be saying, but I'm not an asshole, I am only telling you this because now you can experience it.
Collective Retreats is offering a private boat excursion for an additional cost of $150 per person. It's not cheap, but does include a boat ride for up to 8 passengers, with a picnic basket from Collective chefs. They will also have private boats to escort guests to the retreat who are checking in after-hours.
And if you want to just book your own boat tour without the glamping, I cannot recommend John Carter's service enough! I grabbed his card after our tour last year—you can contact him at boatridenyc.com for rates.
Back to glamping. Collective Retreats will also host activities for the public (a.k.a. those not paying overnight guests) this year, including yoga and meditation, and public dinners, as well as weekend brunch and drinks at the bar at Three Peaks Lodge. The menu is new, too: "The all-new cuisine will feature the bounty of the Hudson River estuary (clams, shellfish, fluke) with a Mediterranean soul... [it] will emphasize the spices Hudson sought in his quest for a new trade route with Asia, and the beverage program will emphasize New York spirits and female winemakers. "
And they're going full 1950s Catskills, with activities like croquet, kite flying, macramé, and dance classes. Just like Baby would have wanted. This will all be a part of their Field Days, which are open to the public on Saturdays for a cost of $25/day, and will also include scavenger hunts, hat-making, yoga, meditation, and campfire s'mores.
And now, SOME TIPS I put together based on my experience last year:
- Use the free bikes! You are assigned a cabin number, which is the number on your bike, though no one seemed to follow this last year (the bikes should be in or outside of each cabin instead of at a communal rack). Anyway, make sure you get a bike and use it, it's fun to cruise around the island particularly after most people have gone home.
- Bring snacks! Coffee and s’mores are included, but you might want more.
- There will be a full bar and you can bring your drinks around the grounds and back to your tent. You are not allowed to bring your own alcohol, so definitely don't even think about stuffing a flask in luggage even though no one will ever be the wiser...
- You are kind of on your own here, meaning you need to bring your own fun: Scrabble, cards, sex, whatever!
- After hours, you are not allowed to leave the campgrounds, which makes the above point more important.
More info here, where you can also book reservations (which run $75 to $650/night). Note: dinner and drinks are NOT included in this price, not even with the incredibly expensive $650/night tents, so you may want to bring your own food.