Weekend Getaway: Returning to Nature in a Retro Retreat
Photos: Robert Hicks
Amenities (including showers, laundry, wifi)
Bikes to rent
By Anne Dylan
Like a postcard from the past, the Starlite Classic Campground, perched at the entrance to the Royal Gorge in Cañon City, is speckled with colorful vintage travel trailers. Surrounded by expansive views, whitewater, natural hot springs, and ziplining, this groovy getaway offers an escape into nature with a glimpse of the good ol’ days.
The campground showcases a kaleidoscope of classic RVs ranging from mid-century modern 1950s styles through 1970s; like a living history museum themed with period artifacts, from Melmac dinnerware to flocks of flamingos in the yard.
Starlite was the brainchild of owner Sylvia Davids and Larry Hill, who met at a vintage camper rally in 2006 and became business and life partners. “We have a mutual addiction to vintage trailers,” Davids reflects.
Between them, they owned a collection of the restored gems, and wanted to showcase them. The campground they discovered, then abandoned in disrepair, was the perfect place to create their vision for a retro retreat. Starlite Classic Campground opened soon after they purchased in early 2010.
A retired electrical engineer, Larry, also opened his Retro Restoration shop in Cañon City, where he custom designs vintage trailers from the frame up and attracts clients nationwide. His specialty is crafting “canned hams” built from the 40s through the mid-60s and resurrecting them with detail and grandeur beyond what they were originally.
Designing and outfitting the trailers is Sylvia’s passion, including identifying period artifacts and colors. “Some of the most popular colors were fluorescent pinks, bright oranges, electric greens, and smooth turquoises,” she described. Each trail
er is appointed with towels, linens, and stylish interiors plus private patios with awnings, party lanterns, lounge chairs, and fire pits, all uniquely tailored to the era.
Sweet Sally, a little 1962 Shasta painted in Tropical Rose, has her wings and original aluminum exterior. Sally’s interior is refinished in blond ash wood, pink upholstery, and checkered pink and white flooring. In the evening, a string of antique owl awning lights illuminates the patio.
Guests can blend up a Mia Tia in the Polynesian inspired Tiki Bago, a 1973 Winnebago Brave lined with dark wood and bamboo and featuring its own tiki bar with an original hand crank blender outside.
Those feeling a bit “groovy baby,” will want to check out Shaggy, a 1972 Ken-Craft; this was a high end rig for its time, sporting original oak interior, beaded curtains, lava lamps, a disco ball, and outdoor hibachi.
Hitched to a restored teal 1958 Chevy Biscayne, the 1962 Tepee Flamingo Lounge is perfect for two, with flamingo themed linens, retro kitchen with ice box, and a patio full of pink flamingos.
Sophie, the latest addition, a glitzy, riveted 1966 Streamline Countess, is appropriately staged Hollywood style with red carpet outside and celebrity photos throughout, along with Oscars and a dressing room for added glamour.
In the center of the campground is the iconic and expansive New Moon trailer from the movie The Long, Long Trailer. “Tacy and Nicky (Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez) buy a 1954 New Moon and embark on their honeymoon, so we call this our Honeymoon Suite,” Sylvia explains. The trailer is hitched to a shiny 1950 Dodge and surrounded by a white picket fence. “In the movie, Tacy collects rocks from their travels, so we encourage guests to sign and add a rock to our garden.”
A curiosity shop on the property offers provisions and memorabilia, like retro sodas, magnets, mugs, popsicles, and s’mores kits. Along with a dose of nostalgia, the campground has modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, cabins, camper hook-ups, a swimming pool, shower facilities, mini golf, laundromat, playground, and free bicycle lending.
From retro enthusiasts to weekend warriors who want to feel the vintage vibe, the Starlite Classic Campground boasts a one of a kind experience by taking visitors back in time surrounded by unrivaled views and abundant recreation. Here everyone finds the perfect travel trailer for a retro retreat for a getaway to remember.