"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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