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Camp Aramoni brings boutique camping experience to site less than two hours away from Chicago

CBS Chicago logo CBS Chicago 8/6/2022 CBS Chicago

TONICA, Ill. (CBS) -- In the town of Tonica – less than two hours away from Chicago and right next to Starved Rock State Park – a hidden treasure sits on 96 acres of preserved land.

A husband-wife dup transformed a decades-old abandoned brickyard into Camp Aramoni – a new, boutique campground with 11 safari-style tents. Camp Aramoni is the first of its kind in Illinois.

The tents are not your typical camping tents – more like glamping tents. They're equipped with luxury amenities, air conditioning and heating, several bedding options, a shower, and a bathroom.

Each tent, which was manufactured in South Africa, can accommodate between two and six guests. The tents are all named after native Illinois wildflowers: Bellflower, Blazing Star, Foxglove, Nodding Onion, Partridge Pea, and Sweet William, to name some, but not all.

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The price of the night includes breakfast and a gourmet dinner. For lunch, you can ask for a picnic à la carte with the Vermilion River as a backdrop.


Video: Old, abandoned brickyard in Tonica, Illinois becomes Camp Aramoni (CBS Chicago)

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"We want our campers to make their experience their own. We want them to do what they want to do. They have all the amenities of home here, and if they want to stay completely unplugged on their deck all day listening to the birds and watching an occasional eagle fly by, that's what they should do," said cofounder Jennifer Bias. 

You don't have to break your back hauling armloads of wood over to start a campfire either. Every night, a staff member lights one for you at your personal fire pit – and they bring you complimentary S'mores for which the marshmallows are made onsite.

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It took the owners five years to bring their vision to life and for everyone to enjoy.

And if that's not enough fun, there is hiking on groomed trails, fishing, and biking – and Starved Rock State Park is about seven miles away.

Bias told us it is a family affair. Her husband, daughter, and son work tirelessly to make it an unforgettable experience for everyone.

"You know, our love for nature and for family and friends – that's what we want our guests to experience," she said. "And you know, they may come here as a stranger, but we certainly want them to leave as a friend."

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