The anticipated “Grand Opening” season of Illinois’ first and premier luxury boutique campground, Camp Aramoni, is officially kicking off April 29th, 2022. The woman-owned and family-operated team opened for limited operations during a soft launch preview season from September to November 2021 after facing pandemic delays. Now, after five years in the making, Camp Aramoni is thrilled to invite guests to experience the destination’s completed picturesque grounds and riverfront setting featuring upscale accommodations, along with a line-up of interactive programming and events including a celebrity guest chef series, seasonal brunches, live music, partnerships with local artisans and purveyors, and much more.
Located near the state’s iconic Starved Rock State Park, Camp Aramoni made new life from the remnants of a former 19th-century brickyard, which was lovingly restored by wife and husband duo Jennifer and Tim Bias with their daughter Stephanie and son Jacob, being transformed into a luxe campsite and event space. The 96-acre grounds feature pristine forest terrain, tranquil ponds and native wildflower fields along the Vermilion River, with 11 elevated safari-style tents spread out for privacy. Each tent is outfitted with hotel-level amenities including air conditioning and heat, hardwood floors, king-sized beds, a cozy seating are, private en-suite restroom, mini fridge and personal campfire with nightly gourmet s’mores. The property boasts several main posts for various guest experiences, including The Barn, the campground’s refined rustic lodge, which offers dining areas where breakfast and dinner are served daily, a space for food and wine tastings and a general store stocked with sundries, snacks and grab-and-go meals. Just steps outside this space sits The Burlington, a restored 1971 Airstream Overlander RV converted into a coffee, espresso and cocktail bar with walk-up access.
Within the 96 acres, Camp Aramoni’s grounds feature groomed trails for hiking that wind through the forest, passing by crystal clear ponds and streams and regional wildlife. Guests can also opt for a la carte experience upgrades, including morning yoga classes, local wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, lawn games, canoeing and bicycle rides, as well as en-suite massages. Just a quick car or shuttle ride away are both Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park, known for their flourishing greenery, breathtaking waterfalls and steep sandstone canyons formed by glacial meltwater.
Focused on bringing an elevated level of hospitality to the great outdoors, Camp Aramoni will offer a top-notch chef-driven food and beverage program with seasonally-focused menus featuring hyper-local ingredients (including honey from on-site hives) available for delivery en-suite or for full-service dining at The Barn, with breakfast and dinner service included in the nightly package. The experienced culinary team, led by Director of Food & Beverage Cleetus Friedman who brings with him decades of experience at Chicago’s top venues like Heaven on Seven, City Provisions and Theater on the Lake alongside Chef Carson Barger (Social Kitchen, Tangled Roots Brewing Company), will curate everything from personalized food and drink packages for events, craft cocktail kits, local food and beverage tastings under the open sky, and gourmet picnic packages. Guests can also look forward to collaborations with area distilleries, breweries and artisans throughout the surrounding region as well as experiences at their campground-adjacent event space Bricks & Stones, including live performances, woodfired pizza evenings, and seasonally-focused community brunches.
Camp Aramoni is proud to announce the premier line-up for their 2022 monthly guest chef series, featuring a selection of Chicago-area culinary all-stars. In partnership with Chef Friedman, each visiting chef will help create a three-course family-style dinner menu, alongside a one-night-only demonstration and meet-and-greet at Bricks & Stones. The chef will also provide a signature breakfast recipe that will be featured during the week of their partnership alongside their dinner creation.
The calendar of hosted chefs includes —
- May 31: Rick Gresh, James Beard Foundation “Rising Star” and skilled craftsman (AceBounce, David Burke’s Primehouse)
- June 7: Gale Gand, James Beard Award-winning Pastry Chef and TV personality (Tru, Sweet Dreams)
- July 12: Paul Virant, four-time James Beard Award nominee and canning expert (Vie, Gaijin)
- September 20: Paul Kahan, three-time James Beard Award-winner and snout-to-tail aficionado (The Publican, avec)
- October 11: John Manion, Jean Banchet nominee and grill master extraordinaire (El Che, La Sirena Clandestina)
Camp Aramoni’s private event space, Bricks & Stones, was formerly the brickyard’s blacksmith shop during the 1800s and now serves as a venue for weddings, corporate retreats and other large functions. Great care was taken to preserve the rich history and industrial charm of the building, which showcases a grand fireplace, numerous brick kilns, plus modern amenities such as the elegant Bowers Suite, a multipurpose room named after the former superintendent of the brickyard. They will also offer a seasonal and customizable menu of elevated fare playing on the campground experience, presented by Banquet Chef Carson Barger. Bricks & Stones can accommodate 75 seated guests indoors and can accommodate large parties or festivals outdoors in their large open lawn featuring a covered pavilion, outdoor kitchen, and deck providing breathtaking views of the river and lush campgrounds.
Camp Aramoni is located at 809 N. 2199 Rd, Tonica, IL, 61370.