It’s a relaxing getaway in the great outdoors, without the laws-of-physics-defying feat of erecting a tent, the swarms of biting bugs, or the back-breaking sleep on the cold, hard ground.
Glamping is the Instagram-worthy, glamorous version of camping, with the fine linens and niceties of a luxury hotel in the tranquil setting of a remote campsite.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” says Pat Gauvin, co-owner with his wife Emilie of Cielo Glamping Maritime, near Haut-Shippagan, on the storied Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick. “Our domes are quite private and you have the feeling of being under a tent but the security and the luxury like you have in a fancy suite in a hotel. They’re right there in nature by the water. You can hear the birds. You can smell the fresh saltwater that comes from the bay.”
Cielo has a suite of geodesic dome “tents” set in the woods on its 19-acre property. They’re canvas and wood structures that feature queen-sized beds with luxury linens, private hot tubs, patio barbecues, pellet stoves for the cool nights and air conditioning for the warm days. Each come with hammocks, a well-equipped kitchen and, perhaps most importantly, a private washroom with a hot shower.
The domes are placed to offer seclusion from one another and face la Baie St-Simon to the west, offering stunning views of the sun setting over the water.
Several kilometres of trails wind through the forest of the Cielo grounds and the dark nights free of urban light pollution offer up incredible views of the star-filled sky. On rare occasions, the Aurora Borealis put on a show, more often in the colder months at this year-round glamping resort, Mr. Gauvin says.
Cielo also has a commercial kitchen and bar, where it offers charcuterie boards with farm-to-table fare; one night a week the chef offers a full-course culinary experience featuring local delicacies, which include oysters, scallops, lobster and snow crab. The culinary nights also feature produce grown in Cielo’s own garden, local craft brews and live music and artists.
There is a sandy beach on the bay in front of the domes where guests can dig for steamer clams as well as an oyster harvest demonstration site. There are also ample opportunities for visitors to go fishing for their own dinner, Mr. Gauvin says.
But guests come – from New Brunswick, from Quebec, from Europe and the United States – less for all they can do than for the opportunity to do very little, he says.
“People [come here] to unwind and relax and recharge from their busy life,” he says.
A few hundred kilometres away, on the other side of New Brunswick, the new Ekö Nature Glamping eschews the oceanfront experience for views of the mountains, rivers and Lac-Baker, near Edmundston in Madawaska County in the northwest corner of the province. The U.S. border at Maine is short drive away in one direction and the Quebec border a shorter drive in the other.
Co-owner Scott Beaulieu says the resort opened up last year despite the pandemic because he felt the glamping experience was just what people needed.
“It was kind of a dream we have been working on for a long time... and I decided last year during COVID to go forward with the project. I felt that a lot of people needed to spend time in nature and disconnect with the real world that we’re living in right now,” Mr. Beaulieu says.
Ekö Nature’s domes include a pellet stove, heat pump for cooling, washrooms and luxury bedding. People love camping but they also like hot showers and a private, in-suite washroom and a hot tub, he says.
There are no TVs or internet access. Visitors have their cellphones but they quickly find they don’t turn to them so much, he says.
“The main goal is for them to spend time in nature and disconnect and relax,” he says.
Ekö Nature’s four domes are set into the mountainside of the Beaulieu family’s 235-acre property and feature panoramic views of the mountains and the entire lake. There are 50-plus kilometres of hiking trails, kayaking, paddleboarding, quadding and fishing.
In summer, the sun sets over the lake and in the fall, the landscape lights up with the bright orange, yellow and red hues of autumn foliage. The resort offers year-round accommodations and in winter, hiking trails become snowshoe and snowmobile trails and there is the nearby Mont Farlagne ski resort.
The picturesque tourist village of Lac-Baker has quaint restaurants and plenty of outdoors activities but the main attraction is the peace and quiet, Mr. Beaulieu says.
“Guests have the amazing panoramic view, the lake and the mountains… and all the accommodations that they would want in a hotel,” he says. “You almost feel like you’re alone in the wilderness.”
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