Glamping a big hit at Best Nest Farm
The first season of business at Mills County’s first private glamping venue has been a success.
Located 12 miles southeast of Glenwood, in the quietude of the scenic Loess Hills, Best Nest Farm provides guests with a unique luxury camping experience featuring overnight accommodations in one of two 1800s-style covered wagons.
The fully-outfitted, climate-controlled wagons can each accommodate up to four people and come equipped with a wagon-wheel table with two chairs, one queen bed, one twin bunk bed, luxury bedding and linens, dishes, USB ports, a full bathroom complete with a hot water heater, full shower, sink and flush toilet, AC/Heat unit, mini-fridge, microwave, Keurig, an outdoor firepit with 4 Adirondack chairs and a Weber propane grill.
“There’s no wi-fi, there’s no television, but pretty much everything else is there,” co-owner Marcel Devetten said.
Devetten and Amy Kern moved to the secluded 50-acre property from Omaha in June 2021.
“We wanted to move away a little from the hustle and bustle of the city,” Marcel said. “Get an acreage, get some animals. That’s really how it started.
“It took a long time to find this place and of course there was COVID in between.”
Shortly after Marcel and Amy moved to the farm, friends and relatives soon became frequent visitors and often stayed overnight while taking in and enjoying the natural beauty that encompasses the property. The frequent visits and praise about the beauty of their farm from friends and relatives convinced Marcel and Amy to turn their acreage into a glamping destination.
“The more we heard, we were like, ‘Well, if people so much enjoy staying here and we enjoy being here, maybe we can share that more widely,’” Marcel said. “Commercialize it and maybe generate a little revenue and give everybody an opportunity to stay here.”
Once they decided to start their business, Marcel and Amy had to decide what type of accommodations they would offer their guests. They attended a glamping conference and trade show in Colorado, where they saw everything from Native American teepees and geo-domes to tiny houses and safari tents.
“One of the weirdest things we saw was like a cave. It was like a Fred Flintstone house. It was very odd.” Amy said. “We just thought the wagons were unique and they look like they belong here.”
The wagons were purchased and delivered from a company in Kansas. Best Nest Farm is one of only a handful of places in Iowa and Nebraska that have the wagons.
Once the wagons were set up and furnished, Marcel and Amy were ready to open their business the public. They listed their property with Airbnb and began spreading the word themselves in and around Mills County.
“We actually went around to the community,” Amy said.
“We took our cards, talked about it. We went to the brewery, Bodega winery. We actually had the idea of collaborating. For our open house, we served Keg Creek beer and we frequently send people to Meg’s (Tabor) and Classic Café (Malvern) when they ask about places to go eat that are nearby.
“The chamber of commerce has been a very good resource for us, too.”
Best Nest Farm has been open for business for less than five months, but Marcel and Amy have already hosted guests from states as far away as Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Most of their guests, however, come from the Omaha metro area and southwest Iowa.
“They seem to love it. We’ve gotten really good reviews,” Amy said. “We had families tell us the day they check out, ‘Our kids don’t want to leave.’
“They’re amazed by the roominess of the wagon and everything that we have – all the amenities.”
The amenities include hiking trails along the wooded areas of the property, kayaking, fishing, feeding the alpacas and ducks and meeting the other fury animals that live on the farm.
“Kids seem to be particularly enamored with the animals,” Amy said. “They love the alpacas. Feeding the alpacas is a huge highlight.”
Guests also enjoying a campfire under the stars.
Marcel said their guests from the Omaha metro area are often surprised by the natural beauty of the property and the surrounding area.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for many people to learn how much beauty there is in their immediate backyard,” he said. “I think there are many people in Omaha and Council Bluffs that have no idea that we are just a half-hour drive and you can be in an area like this in the Loess Hills, but you can and it’s pretty unique.”
The cost of staying in one of the wagons is varies according the time of the year and day of the week. During the low seasons (mid-April to mid-May and mid-October to mid-November), the cost is $150 for a Sunday or weekday night and $200 for a Friday or Saturday. During high season (late May to mid-October) the cost is $175 for a Sunday or weekday night and $250 for a Friday or Saturday.
“That includes everything,” Marcel noted. “There’s no cleaning fees or anything like that and if you want to go out in a kayak, we don’t charge anything extra.”
Best Nest Farm officially closes for the season on Nov. 12 and won’t reopen until April 19, 2024, however reservations are already being accepted for next year.
Reservations can be made online at bestnestfarm.com or by calling 402-672-7414 . The property is located a short drive west of Highway 275 at 25978 Pathfield Road in southern Mills County.