WALDOBORO — Heading into the Maine woods, sipping on a cocktail and being fed by a private chef is not your ordinary camping experience.
At Tops’l Farm in Waldoboro, however, the ordinary and more traditional camping experience is not what Sarah and Joshua Pike aim to provide.
Rather, they provide glamping, a new way of camping.
“We are more proudly offering a very rustic ‘more-like-camping-experience’ with comfy bedding and extra pillows to give people a soft space to land,” Sarah said.
Both Pikes are grew up in Maine, with Josh growing up in Farmington and Sarah on an organic farm in Montville, surrounded by animals.
“I wouldn’t say that the lifestyle was one I loved as a child, but I know it had a huge impact on my development and the reason why I am drawn to what we are doing today,” she remarked.
Before Tops’l, Sarah founded a frozen food company, but decided to alter her career path after a decade. Josh, meanwhile, currently splits his time between Tops’l, skiing, splitting wood on the farm and working for a digital marketing agency he cofounded.
When searching for property to buy, the Pikes quickly fell in love with the expansive and 83-acre property they now own on the Medomak River.
“[The property] had us by the heartstrings from the beginning,” Sarah recalled.
The evolution of Tops’l Farm came not long after closing on the property with the Pikes focusing on creating a unique camping experience centered around the premise of creating an escape to nature and a taste of a more simplistic existence was beginning to appeal to a larger audience.
“Sensing this trend and a desire for more experiential travel, we decided to harness our love of gathering people together and the outdoors and would love to share our farm with others,” Sarah said. “We have held that premise as our north star — making it easy for people to shed their hectic and busy lives for just a moment at our farm.”
The Pikes offer a heaping of onsite activities for their guests, who can sleep in tents or cabins, including foraging, paddle boarding, fly-fishing, archery, croquet, tree swinging, organic gardening, egg collecting, bee keeping and goat observation.
Wild crafted cocktail classes (which combines foraging and cocktails), ax throwing, archery and massages in the yurt highlight the property’s most popular activities.
The farm comes alive, Sarah said, when groups takeover the property for corporate or wellness group retreats and for the handful of weddings they host each season.
On top of the property takeovers, the Pikes offer public culinary events and dinners each season, including middle of winter dinners at their remote yurt.
Looking ahead, Sarah is excited to continue providing their unique camping experiences and welcomes the challenge of refining their offered experiences.
“I’d like to think we are close to nailing the types of things we are doing, and just need to work hard to continually improve and learn to get better at those things,” she said. “We have tried several different concepts over the past few seasons — some have worked, others have not. I’d say we are in a constant state of refining and seeing how we can be better.”
In the future, Sarah envisions creative pursuits, such as foraging, charcuterie and cheese-making becoming fixtures on the farm, though she noted it is a challenge to attract area experts interested in teaching classes during the summer.
With a dock added this summer, the Pikes intend to add additional water activities, such as fly fishing classes and puffin tours, to their offerings.
Sarah’s hope, she said, is to attract business to the community and create the opportunity for people to spend the night in the woods with ease and comfort.
“As this type of camping is fairly new, we love to think of ourselves as a bit of a blank slate for people to come and make their own experience come to life,” she said. “We simply want to take down any barriers to getting people outside for the night, while staying true to a camping experience. While it might be hard for some to leave the comforts of home for a night or two, we know the benefits will be long lasting.”
Reach George Harvey at: firstname.lastname@example.org.