Would you go goat glamping in the Hudson Valley?
Admittedly, it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when envisioning an escape in the region. Yet upon closer consideration, the appeal becomes obvious. Not only is the experience in the picturesque Hudson Valley, but it’s also an all-in-one retreat that’s just the thing when it comes to destressing and disconnecting.
And, fortunately for Hudson Valleyites, it’s right here in Red Hook.
If “goat glamping” sounds like a new concept, that’s because it is. Airbnb host and longtime Hudson Valley resident B.J. Forte only launched it in August 2020. Of course, all it took were the words “goat” and “glamping” for the one-of-a-kind overnight to take off in a heartbeat.
“We have been booked every weekend since we started in August,” Forte admits. “The feedback has been great! If you love animals, especially goats, this is a truly unique way to spend a lot of time with them.”
If the five-star reviews on Airbnb’s website are any indication, then “Goat Glamping” is a hit in the Hudson Valley. In fact, it’s so successful that Forte earned Superhost status with Airbnb shortly after launching the experience. She explains that guests love it because it’s the full package and offers them a chance to disconnect and recharge.
“With goat glamping, guests get to enjoy the luxuries of home inside the RV and the wonderful world of dwarf pygmy goats outside the camper,” she enthuses. “Outside, the goats are eager to meet the guests and love interacting with people.”
So what does a stay at the Hudson Valley’s very own goat glamp-ground look like?
To start, the Airbnb retreat off the beaten path. With an idyllic spot in a quiet corner between Rhinebeck and Red Hook, Forte’s goat glamper is a true retreat. On the grounds, upon which Forte also lives, a decked-out 27’ RV camper fits three guests, with one full bedroom, a bunkbed, and convertible bed. There’s a full bathroom with a combined tub and shower, as well as a kitchen area with an oven, stovetop, microwave, fridge, freezer, and sink. Guests can dine at the built-in table or, if they need to get a bit of work done, set up their laptops, since the RV has excellent WiFi.
Outside, the experience continues with multiple experiential entertainment options including a grill, a portable fire pit, multiple lounge chairs, a badminton net, and space for yoga. Forte goes above and beyond to ensure visitors have access to creature comforts like a coffee maker, kitchen basics like pans and utensils, and towels and sheets. She also maintains strict COVID-19 protocol, including wearing masks, social distancing, thorough cleanings, and spacing out stays between guests.
And did we mention the goats? As the stars of the show, Forte’s goats are a friendly bunch with charming names like Snickerdoodle, Vanilla Bean, and Saddlebags. They live with two miniature ponies, along with a handful of rescue cats under Forte’s care. Together, the motley crew adds country charm that delights children and adults alike. As part of the stay, Forte offers guests the chance to go on walks with the goats, bond with them in the yard, or, if they’re up for it, unwind with goat yoga.
“We allow the goats to hang out with guests while relaxing in the yard, toasting marshmallows, playing badminton, or doing goat yoga,” she says. “Guests are always amazed at how friendly and funny the goats are.”
And that’s just on the grounds. A short drive away, a world of opportunity in Red Hook and Rhinebeck awaits. Outdoor attractions like Burger Hill, Ferncliff Forest, and Poets Walk Park are all nearby, along with lengthy list of Hudson Valley restaurants and shops.
In regard to why guests love goat glamping so much, Forte thinks it all comes down to the destination’s healing environment.
“Animals are extremely healing,” she observes, adding that it’s hard to beat the experience of sitting under the stars in the Hudson Valley countryside after a day spent petting the animals. “It’s rooted and an organic connection with the animals. I don’t think you can put a price on that right now.”
In fact, that healing mentality is part of the reason why Forte was inspired to launch goat glamping in the Hudson Valley in the first place. A serial entrepreneur and empath by nature, she felt the need to try something new after her prior diagnosis of a brain tumor.
“I’m a big fan of reinventing yourself,” she says. Once clear of her tumor, she launched goat glamping as a way to connect with others during the pandemic, earn extra income, and share her love of animals with an extended community. In the summer of 2020, she also published her first book, Matches Made in Heaven: An Unforgettable Journey. A work of biographical fiction, the book is the first in a series of three and includes references to the Hudson Valley.
Looking ahead, Forte hopes to stay as busy as ever and continue to share her passion for animals and the Hudson Valley through her Airbnb program. If all goes well, she plans to partner with a local yoga studio for private goat yoga classes and is also considering a larger goat glamping site with multiple yurts for an even more comprehensive goat glamping experience. Plus, she hasn’t ruled out eventually opening another cat café either. She loved her time with Morgan’s and, if the opportunity presents itself, might one day renew that concept in the region.
“I’m a single mom,” she says. “You have to be creative. [Goat glamping] is affordable and unique, and I love meeting new people. It’s a source of joy and laughter.”