A Modern Twist on Camping
A Q&A with Hive events; the company built on the footprint of the airstream trailer.
Photos by Jenn Bakos & Jennifer Mowry
Back in 2006 when Lance Davis and Graham McKissock met as neighbors in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, food trucks were booming onto the scene. The two entrepreneurs, powered by their love of food, drink, and music, became inspired to create their own mobile experience after Lance spent a year restoring a 1978 Airstream trailer. Enter Hive, a mobile event space that can serve as a bar, promotional space, meeting space, or just about anything their client’s request. The first iteration of Hive was a renovated1983 Airstream trailer that was used as a mobile bar for Graham McKissock’s wedding in 2012. The two then decided to add a second trailer in 2015 – another Airstream from 1974 – andacquired 15 luxury ‘glamping’ tents that are complete with a bed set and stylish décor.
The Airstreams have been perfect for weddings and events as an alternative to a regular bar, providing a more personal way to lounge and celebrate as they can be styled to the client’s liking and go with any theme. The Hive team offers custom drink menus to go along with their client’s vision, budget, and number of guests. And as big supporters of all things local, their specially designed drinks often feature distillers like GrandTen, Bully Boy, Privateer Rum and Berkshire Mountain, as well as New England Brewers like Trillium, Notch, Night Shift, and Cambridge Brewery.
We were lucky enough to hang out with Hive for the day at the team’s vacation spot in the Berkshires and get a real feel for what they are all about. We sat down with Lance, his wife Alexis, and a few team members (and their dogs) to chat about their experiences with Hive and New England.
Tell us about who you are and what you do. How did Hive start? What is Hive all about?
Hive began with a couple of good friends sitting around in a living room, drinking wine, and talking about starting a food truck out of an Airstream. It was around the time the food truck movement was gaining momentum in Boston. The hurdles of getting into the food business seemed daunting, so instead of a food truck, we came up with the idea of a mobile bar as an alternative to the white tablecloth bars we had seen at so many events.
What do you love most about Hive and the events you work?
Whether its being used as a mobile bar for a wedding or a meeting space for a corporate pitch, it draws people in and creates a warm and inviting atmosphere for celebration or collaboration. We love how much other people are drawn to the space we created.
Tell us about the glamping tents and how those came about? How can customers purchase or use these?
An opportunity came about for us to purchase the glamping tents, which are 10 x 10 canvas tents that can serve as sleeping or secondary lounge spaces. They really go hand-in-hand with the vintage appeal of the Airstream and the theme of travel and outdoors. We have up to 25 tents for rent. Each is outfitted with a bed, linens, a rug, a side table, chairs, and a lantern.
Are there any public events you will be at soon so people can check out Hive?
We just had a public event at a park opening in Boston. We are always looking for more opportunities to do public events, though!
What has been your favorite experience with Hive so far?
The polishing of the Airstreams was a labor of love. Hours and hours of work that left us going home absolutely covered from head to tow in black residue! We looked like we had just come out of the coalmines, seriously. The wood that lines the interior of the first Airstream was purchased in Rhode Island from some guy’s backyard shed. It was a bunch of cedar siding painted red. We milled it all down ourselves and customized it to the curved design of the trailer.
Do you have any favorite camping places in New England?
We love camping! A few favorites are Mohawk Trail in Western Massachusetts and Mount Cube in New Hampshire.
Favorite camping drink or summer drink of choice?
Well, for legit camping/backpacking, quality bourbon in a flask does the trick. But definitely something light — a classic daiquiri with mezcal instead of rum is a favorite this summer. Recently
we’ve done celery infused gin with lemon and Thai basil simple syrup, which is incredibly refreshing. We’ve also been experimenting with house barrel-aged gin, which is great in a Negroni.
What are your favorite things about New England?
New England captures the spirit of travel and adventure that the Airstream represents. You can traverse the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire, go east to the rocky coastline of Maine, south to the dunes of the Cape, west through the farmlands of Massachusetts to the Berkshires. If we weren’t doing events all the time, we’d take off for a few months with Hive for a New England road trip!