Boheme Retreats Does Comfortable Camping in the Catskills

For the owner of Boheme Retreats in Livingston Manor, it’s all about getting everyone loving an outdoor camping adventure.

Anyone can pitch a tent and glamp in nature. But Keva Niver, owner of Boheme Retreats, had a specific type of camper in mind when she opened her vintage RV resort—located on part of Covered Bridge Campsite just outside Livingston Manor— back in 2022.

“My goal was to see more diversity in the outdoors,” says Niver, who works full-time at a solar company in Brooklyn, when she isn’t on-property, and is the mother of four kids, ages 15–21. She’s also determined to entice first-time campers (especially people of color) and watch as they lean into the experience, transforming from jaded urban dwellers to camping aficionados who see the joy in counting the stars at night—and can’t wait to return season after season.

“We’re trying to reach anyone who doesn’t usually spend time in the outdoors. About 70 percent of our guests have never done this before,” says Niver. “We want them to feel OK trying the nature thing.”

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Keva Niver
Keva Niver

In regard to how she came up for the idea for Boheme Retreats, it was very much based on personal experience. As she explored the campgrounds of the Hudson Valley, she realized that she wanted to create a new kind of camping option in the region. As an avid, Black RV camper, I realized that there was a need for more representation within the camping space. Not only did I not see any campground owners that looked like me in all of my many road trips, but I rarely saw any BIPOC people within the spaces I traveled. I realized that I had an opportunity to change the narrative and create the change that I so desperately wanted,” Niver shares. 

This season, she’s building on what her guests have already enjoyed most, including waterfall picnics and three-course chef dinners, served either creekside or under the covered bridge nearby. “We host these dinners just as the sun is setting,” says Niver, adding that the pescatarian meals prepared by local chefs such as Erik Kinealy-Hill (Have Knife Will Travel) and Johnny Anderes (High Meadow Project) might feature Maine mussels, Beaverkill trout “en papillote,” and custard milkshakes and strawberry coulis for dessert. “The best part of the dinner is that everything is cooked on a fire by the creek. My guests absolutely love this experience.”

About 70 percent of our guests have never done this before. We want them to feel OK trying the nature thing.

She’s also prioritizing group stays this season, including booking yoga retreats led by diverse BIPOC instructors, and inviting hiking groups from the city to experience a few days in the country.

“Overall, the focus is getting rid of as many barriers as we can and to just make it easy to have that overnight adventure in nature,” she explains.

Niver, who is from Tampa Bay, Florida, started hiking and camping in college and that’s when she discovered she loved it. She was also always into vintage campers and cars. “From an early age, I’ve been all about retro things,” she says. “There’s something about the classic lines and overall design that speaks to me.”

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Boheme Retreats

This season, she’s adding a new camper named Maya—in honor of Maya Angelou. In total, there are now six 1960s- and ‘70s-era campers (spaced 25 feet apart), all named for inspiring Black women, such as Rosa (Rosa Parks) and Shirley (Shirley Chisholm)—and all lovingly restored and designed by Niver and her husband Rudel Felicien.

Each charming camper (a few are even pet-friendly) boasts a full bathroom and a stocked kitchenette so guests can either make meals indoors or outside on a grill-topped firepit. “If guests don’t want to cook their own meals, we’re about a 10-minute drive from Livingston Manor’s main street and there are tons of cute restaurants there,” she says.

Boheme Retreats

No matter if you’re in a group or want to fly solo, there are endless things to do while you’re staying at Boheme, including going tubing or fly fishing in the Willowemoc Creek (Livingston Manor is known as the birthplace of American fly fishing) or doing a 20-minute hike to the waterfall within the Willowemoc Wild Forest via a trail connected directly to the campground.

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In the end, it’s the connection Niver’s guests make with the natural world—and the safety they feel within that space—that fulfills her the most. “When I started Boheme, I wanted to see more diversity within the RV parks and within the camping world in general,” she says. “I feel so good knowing that I put in this effort and now people feel it’s a safe place.”

The Boheme Retreats Campers

If you’ve been wanting to connect with nature, but don’t quite know how, this escape in Livingston Manor is the perfect place to start. First, you’ll have to choose from one of Niver’s renovated vintage trailers—let’s take a peek at your options.

 

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Fannie

If you’re looking to take your furry friend on your camping trip, Fannie might just be the trailer for you. This 1964 Franklin will comfortably fit four adults, a child, and—of course—your pet. Inside, you’ll find a full-size bed, a convertible RV bed, a small loft bed, and a private wet bath with a shower and toilet. Cook delectable meals in the kitchen, then savor them in the blue patio chairs that match the trailer’s exterior.

 

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Leona

Leona is the ideal trailer for a summer trip with your besties. The orange and yellow color palette on this 1973 Coachmen has a warm, welcoming feeling that radiates summer vacation fun. Inside, you’ll find a cozy queen-size bed and a convertible full-size bed to fit you plus three of your pals. Complete with a bathroom and kitchen, your stay in Leona lets you camp in your comfort zone. 

 

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Maya

The newest addition to the Boheme Retreats fleet, Maya is a 1966 Pathfinder with big personality. It’s perfect for two people, with an RV full bed and a dinette that converts to a full bed, as well as a kitchen. There’s a half-bathroom with toilet inside, but interested visitors should note that the private shower is outside (hey, you are camping after all). P.S. The passage to the bathroom is on the narrow side.

 

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Rosa

Rosa is a 1963 Shasta with a pink color palette. The modern Bohemian design adorning the vintage trailer makes for a truly nostalgic stay. The cozy, full-size bed comfortably accommodates two campers, and the RV is outfitted with a private wet bath, shower, and toilet. It’s so Instagrammable that you’ll want to spend the whole trip snapping pics, but don’t forget why you came to experience the great outdoors in the first place.

 

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Shirley

This trailer might look quaint on the outside, but its interior has a vibrant and exciting design. Shirley is a 1978 Dutchcraft trailer that can sleep three people between its full-size bed and day bed. Plus, it has a shower, toilet, and sink. The floor is tiled with delightful yellow square tiles that add a pop of color to the trailer. The bedroom wall has an eye-catching, jungle-themed wallpaper, making the space even livelier. 

 

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Zora

This sleek black 1974 Lark is perfect for a couple’s getaway or a solo camping trip at Boheme Retreats. Inside is a full-size bed as well as a convertible twin bed (during the day, it folds up and transforms into a small dining area), a kitchen, and a bath. Be forewarned: This trailer has a low ceiling, so it’s best for campers 5’11” or shorter.

This article originally ran online in April 2023. It was updated with additional content and information from our July 2024 print issue.

Related: 3 Trails Perfect for Spring Hikes in the Hudson Valley

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