Romance can be many things to different people. So when tasked to come up with some of the most romantic destinations in this beautiful country we threw the net wide. We settled on 10 unique locations – some perfect for cold wintry days, others ideal for summer sunsets and lots in between to appeal to anyone looking to spark a new romantic fire, pop the question or reignite a long-term relationship.
Take your pick from a mountain in B.C. that’s ideal for the thrill-seeking couple, a cozy log cabin in Quebec for nature lovers, a lodge in the Northwest Territories made for viewing the Northern Lights or a picnic spot in Newfoundland where ocean meets sky as far as the eye can see.
Luckily for us, Canada is replete with locations that simultaneously steal your heart and take your breath away, places that were made for romance. And by staying in your own backyard, you can save on your carbon footprint, too.
Trout Point Lodge
Trout Point Lodge is tucked away in the heart of the Tobeatic Wilderness, the largest protected area in the Maritimes. Highly coveted by couples who love its serenity and seclusion, its remote locale, on 120-acres of wooded estate, means it is also perfect for stargazing, which you can do from the privacy of your room in front of a crackling fire, from the wood-fired hot tub or a special platform built specifically for nature’s light show. (Trout Point Lodge was the first certified starlight hotel in the world).
Patrick Wallace, who has owned the hotel for the past six years with his wife, Pam, says most people come to the 13-room lodge for at least two nights, which gives ample time to sample the gourmet food and wine (the lodge has been a recipient of the Wine Spectator award the past 12 years), canoe, kayak, swim in the Tusket River, do yoga, forest bathe, try a cooking class, or wrap up in a blanket in their room, with a good book, and just be.
Open from May to December, the lodge’s most popular package is Romance in the Wilderness, which starts at $2,500 per couple for two nights and includes daily breakfasts, lunch, a romantic picnic lunch (the second day) with chilled French Champagne, tea-time cake and pastries, and candlelit four-course dinners.
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Qantas Travel Insider: These Wildly Luxe Canadian Lodges Need to Be on Your Hot List
You’ll love… Rustic luxury in ancient woods
At first it seems all’s quiet in this mossy green woodland but then your ears adjust: a hummingbird buzzes as it dips at a flower, a deer rustles behind a maple and a beaver clunks a log onto a dam. You’ll soon feel part of the ecosystem at Trout Point Lodge, a log cabin gone five-star on the edge of a UNESCO biosphere reserve, around a four-hour drive from Halifax. Pull on your boots and puffer jacket to go fly fishing, forest bathing or canoeing. Then stargaze around a firepit or retreat to the fireplace in your plush suite. The kitchen turns foraged, wild Atlantic ingredients into a fine dining experience, with dishes such as just-caught lobster with beurre blanc and wild berries dressed in Valrhona chocolate and garden herbs.
Local tip: The resort is open between May and October. Summer’s the pick if you want to see lively wildlife; book in autumn if saunas and crackling log fires are your scene.
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The Chronicle Herald: Exploring fun food, favourite flavours across Nova Scotia
Looking for a luxury wilderness escape that combines delicious food and wine with some of the most incredible star-gazing in all of North America? The Starlight Culinary Escape at Trout Point Lodge includes an artfully prepared four-course gourmet dinner featuring fresh, local ingredients.
After the meal, wind your way along the Tusket River and through the forest with your guide to enjoy local chocolates and sparkling wine under an inky sky filled with stars. Trout Point Lodge owner/operator Patrick Wallace calls it “the perfect indulgent getaway.”
“Fall is an incredible season where the colours come alive and the beauty of our wilderness home is on full display,” says Wallace. “What’s better than a hot cup of coffee on a cool fall morning or a carefree soak in a wood-fired hot tub under the stars?”
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"This luxurious small hotel empowers guests with its nature-based activities and programs"
The moon tonight is in the waxing gibbous stage,” says Rémi Torrenta, Trout Point Lodge’s staff astronomer and naturalist. “It’ll be full in a couple of days.” He pulls out a laser pointer as we stand together on the stargazing platform. We’re surrounded by fall’s colourful foliage, albeit muted by nightfall, but that’s okay because we’re here to talk about the stars and patterns above. “The Summer Triangle is made up of the three brightest stars from three different constellations,” he says. “And Vega,” he adds, now aiming his laser at a big white star, “is the brightest star tonight.” Torrenta is so full of information that I have trouble concentrating, so instead, I breathe in the almost-full moon and the silence of nature.
Trout Point Lodge, tucked into East Kemptville, beside the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve, may look like a cabin in the woods, but this small luxury lodge is a hotbed of experiences, from nature to culinary. It’s also a certified Starlight Reserve. In other words, it’s the perfect place to live (albeit temporarily) and learn.
Earlier in the day, I eased myself into a wood-burning hot tub beside the babbling Tusket River; nearby, 11 giddy painters from Australia committed the fall colours around us to their watercolour pads. I went forest-bathing with Torrenta, a sort of nature therapy where you slow things down and take it all in. We sat on a footbridge and slowed our breathing. I watched as a red maple leaf fluttered from a tree into the river, wound its way around rocks and floated away under the bridge. I canoed and also took an edible nature walk with Torrenta, where we dug up and nibbled on treats from the forest detritus, including starflower, white sarsaparilla and winter green. I learned that practically everything edible in the woods is a diuretic or blood congealer – and also delicious.
Back up on the stargazing platform, Torrenta says there is no light pollution in the area so we can currently see up to 3,000 stars and deep sky objects. The lodge has mega-telescopes on hand – we rolled ours down the boardwalk in a wheelbarrow – but even with the naked eye on a clear night in the Biosphere Reserve, one can spot faraway galaxies.
Tonight, the sky is unusually bright because of the moon, making it a touch difficult to pinpoint many of the celestial wonders. “The moon is the enemy of astronomers,” Torrenta says. Be it the magic of the moon or my room’s wood-burning fireplace; the fact that there were four types of homemade butter with my lunch; or the local gentleman strumming songs by request at the wee bar at night, every little thing about Trout Point Lodge adds up to something big. I fix my gaze skyward, smiling.
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Nestled next to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area in the heart of the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve, Trout Point Lodge may be Canada’s quintessential luxury wilderness resort and hotel. It’s the world’s first Starlight Hotel and the only Small Luxury Hotel of the World in Atlantic Canada. Can it possibly live up to the hype?
James Mullinger investigates...
This magazine was born out of the idea that there is a plethora of business leaders, creatives and tourism professionals doing world-renowned work out of Atlantic Canada who, despite being recognized and celebrated and embraced internationally, are not receiving the attention they deserve within the region.
A case in point is Trout Point Lodge near Yarmouth in Nova Scotia. One of only two Small Luxury Hotels of the World in Canada, the five-star lodge has welcomed visitors from Australia, Germany, England, the United States, Japan and China. But judging by my own personal piece of market research, it seems much less known in its home country.
A three-hour drive from Halifax, the 100- acre wooded estate is nestled in the UNESCO Southwest Nova Scotia Biosphere Reserve and borders the remote Tobeatic Wilderness Area, the largest remaining protected area in the Maritimes. The Tobeatic is characterized by unique barren landscapes with undisturbed glacial landforms including esker fields, moraines, kettles and outwash plains. The wilderness area protects remote and undisturbed wildlife habitat, expansive wetlands and pockets of old-growth pine and hemlock forest. And, make no mistake, Trout Point Lodge is the finest way to experience it.
Singapore-born Pamela Wallace and husband Patrick (originally from Montreal) bought the property in early 2018 after visiting the previous year and falling in love with it. Their business acumen and their passion for this property have combined in a match made in wilderness heaven. Pamela spent more than a decade at Travelocity Asia in Singapore before moving to Hilton Worldwide, so she knows what visitors want. Together with Patrick’s background in general management, this makes them ideal for not only sustaining the world-class reputation of Trout Point Lodge but also for taking it to the next level.
They are two of the most charming and delightful people you are likely to meet, and Patrick is a huge fan of the Grateful Dead, which in my eyes makes him a friend for life. “We already adored all of what Nova Scotia has to offer, but when we came to Trout Point for a weekend getaway in July 2017, we were blown away by what we experienced,” says Patrick. Committed to sustainability, this dynamic duo keep raising the bar. “The environment we are in makes our job easy,” says Patrick over a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire in the wood-panelled bar.
“The surroundings here do the work for us. We will never build a giant parking lot or cut down trees, and we are focused on continuing to up our green credentials. In a place like this where we are stewards of this wonderful property, we have a duty to do the right thing by guests but also behind the curtain too. If we are going to talk the talk, we need to walk the walk.” Indeed, the lodge is electric vehicle–friendly, with two charging stations, one for Tesla vehicles. Trout Lodge has been praised as one of Canada’s best hotels by The New York Times, Financial Times and National Geographic, and every guest I met during my stay was a repeat visitor. Which is astonishing since they were all from Germany and Australia. A long way to come to a place you have already been, but Pamela and Patrick are used to this. “Our guests have become our friends,” Pamela enthuses. “In this type of work you have to enjoy doing it because it’s 24–7. We love our guests — we just love seeing people unwind and relax like never before.” The lodge itself is an architectural masterpiece constructed from vast eastern spruce logs with fullscribe and dovetail-notch joinery, chiselled granite and sandstone. Its design pays tribute to the great wilderness camps of the early 20th century.
A three storey structure, it houses guest suites, the great room, mezzanine library, dining room, kitchen, two bars and recreation facilities on the banks of the Tusket and Napier Rivers. Perhaps most impressive, the lodge offers some of the finest cuisine outside of El Bulli (bold statement I know but, seriously, they are comparable) and a unique stargazing experience, for first-timers as much as for experts. Indeed, Time magazine labelled it “one of the planet’s best spots for stargazing.” Relaxation and adventures are the order of the day. And the two go hand in hand. Stargazing starts at 10:30 p.m. each evening. The guided kayak and canoe trip is a life-changing experience. As is the forest bathing, which involves exploring the woods for extreme relaxation while breathing in wood essential oils. A hugely popular stress management activity in Japan, it managed to relax me in a way I hadn’t thought possible. The best hike is to Billy’s Hill, the highest point in southwest Nova Scotia. At the end of the day you can hit the outdoor wood-fired barrel sauna and cedar hot tub, or enjoy a glass of champagne in the library before dinner while you devour the latest [EDIT] that adorns the bookshelves next to tomes about The Grateful Dead.
As for the menu, it changes every day, but as Chef Andreas Preuss told [EDIT], “We focus on the best hyperlocal products (that) our farmers, on-site gardens and forests have to offer. Every dish tells a story of place and time.” Be sure to opt for the five-course signature menu. When we visited in October 2019, our minds were blown by rainbow trout from Hunter River, Prince Edward Island, the one-hour Sous-Vide Farm Egg and the Tuna Tataki. And the cheese selection is worth every calorie. Chef Andreas’s incredible skill at gluten-free cooking means persons who have an allergy to the evil wheat don’t miss out. And the gourmet packed lunch ensures guests eat well even when kayaking or hiking all day. Fine dining? Check. Owners who become your friends? Yep. The best stargazing in the world? You’d better believe it. And, most of all, relaxation. It is rare that a trip makes me forget the outside world and sends me home feeling not only revitalized but with a new passion for life, but Trout Point Lodge delivered that in spades.
And you can relax however you wish at Trout Point Lodge. “You can do all of the hiking, kayaking, exploring and relaxing... or you can start drinking tequila at six in the morning,” Patrick jokes. “However you like to unwind, we are there for you.” And luxury adventure travel doesn’t come much better than that.
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If you went back to China after five years it would be completely different, but if you returned to Trout Point Lodge it would be exactly the same. Set on the edge of the world - or so it might seem to some - this luxury eco-lodge in Nova Scotia, Canada sits alongside 100 acres of swaying beeches, birches and maples. The pale blue Tusket and Napier Rivers flow behind the main lodge, offering a melodic soundtrack of gentle waves and babbling water. In fact, nothing assaults the eye for miles, as the lodge and grounds border a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, which in turn neighbors Kejimkujik National Park.
For decades, the jagged South Shore coastline has been a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Beloved for its pastel-hued fishing villages, expect to find front yards lined with clean washing and locals who radiate warmth and sincerity. Here the air smells of earth and viridity, while velvety moss and gibbous tree roots rule the pathways. Each year, as the summer comes to an end, the autumn delivers a crescendo of colors as the tree leaves transform from green to red, orange and yellow.
As you approach Trout Point Lodge, your GPS having lost signal miles earlier, it then hits how much of this area remains untouched by development. It’s not uncommon to see a deer wandering alongside the road or to drive uninterrupted by passing vehicles for what feels like eternity.
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Food-focused travellers, listen closely: we're serving up 25 Canadian hotels with the best food perks. From coast to coast, these spots are cooking something special and the recipe for success lies in inspired diversity, from First Nations’ first courses to delectable breakfast trays to sky-high chocolate cakes. If you think hotel food is an afterthought, you need to check out these game-changers.
#1 of 25
Trout Point Lodge (East Kempt, NS)
While this small luxury hotel is set in the rugged wilderness of Nova Scotia, you certainly won’t be roughing it. Sustainable seafood, produce from local partners, edible flowers and organic ingredients are the norm here. Bonus: breads and desserts are made in-house and there’s an award-winning wine list. Menus change daily based on what’s fresh and in season – think New Brunswick Swordfish Tataki with Wild Acadian Caviar.
Still have a few vacation days to use up? We'd spend them at any of these charming cabins, resorts and lodges.
Trout Point Lodge in Kemptville, Nova Scotia
There are few better places for a luxurious, rustic retreat than Nova Scotia's Trout Point Lodge. From forest bathing to stargazing with a staff astronomer, the property encourages guests to ditch their smartphones and reconnect with nature. Handcrafted log and twig furniture pairs with Frette linens in each of the lodge's plush accommodations, while a wood-fired hot tub and outdoor barrel sauna on the Tusket River offer ample opportunities to unwind.
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Enjoy Canada’s most colourful season with a getaway to one of these luxe lodges or resorts
Trout Point Lodge
East Kemptville, N.S.
This high-end lodge is a luxurious escape in southwestern Nova Scotia’s unspoiled wilderness. Situated at the edge of a UNESCO-certified night sky preserve, the sprawling Trout Point Lodge includes an eight-room main lodge, two guest houses, a spa, scenic hiking trails and, naturally, some of the best stargazing in North America. Start with a stroll along the bubbling Tusket River, then sink neck-deep into a wood-fired hot tub before tucking into a five-star, elegantly-plated dinner showcasing local ingredients and recipes, such as freshly-caught mussels in a white wine foam, parsley soup topped with local trout and a brown butter cream and fall-off-the-bone short ribs from nearby Richmond Highland Farms.
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Expect great seafood experiences at Trout Point Lodge in the maritime-rich province of Nova Scotia. Think salmon, mussels, oysters and lobsters, as well as opportunities to cook the local bounty at the lodge’s renowned cooking school. Take advantage of this isolated retreat on 40 pristine hectares next to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area with activities such as fly fishing, kayaking, riverside wood-fired hot tubs and a forest bathing experience. With its nature border and location at the convergence of two rivers, the lodge guarantees plenty of wildlife sightings including black bears, flying squirrels, grouse, deer, beaver, owls, loons and – if you’re in luck – moose. troutpoint.com