With the constant hustle and bustle of life, people often seek the comfort of nature. For many, immersing oneself in nature entails strenuous hikes and challenging climbs. A growing trend emerges where nature enthusiasts can enjoy the serenity of the wilderness without sacrificing comfort. Following this, there is a craze for experiencing nature through wilderness lodges that offer a more intimate connection with nature.
These lodges appeal to those who desire to connect with nature leisurely, far from the typical adrenaline-pumping activities often associated with outdoor adventures. They cater to those seeking a more laid-back connection with nature, allowing guests to appreciate its beauty from the comfort of their cozy rooms or private balconies instead of trekking to reach vantage points.
Trout Point Lodge, a premier luxury lodge and resort in the Tobeatic Wilderness in southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, allows guests to appreciate nature's wonders at a pace that allows for true relaxation and rejuvenation. The lodge has undergone a significant transformation under the care of Patrick and Pamela Wallace, who assumed ownership in 2018.
The husband-and-wife duo fell in love with the lodge during their visit as guests and became passionate about preserving its charm while enhancing the guest experience. With a specific vision, the Wallaces have established three pillars defining Trout Point Lodge: luxury accommodations, exceptional culinary offerings, and an immersive wilderness experience.
The lodge's five-star rating by Canada Select showcases its commitment to luxury, boasting exemplary river or forest views from its suites. Constructed from giant Eastern Spruce logs, the main lodge shows meticulous craftsmanship. It pays homage to the Great Camps of the United States and Canadian Eastern Seaboard in the early 20th century.
Its main structure is a three-story marvel perched along the banks of the Tusket River. Each room is distinct but follows a common theme of comfort and Haute Rustic luxury, which are emphasized by the log walls and beam ceilings that provide a warm and inviting atmosphere. Meanwhile, Beaver Hall serves as an exclusive riverside compound. The ambiance of both exudes sophistication combined with the charm of the Canadian backwoods. With this, Trout Point Lodge blends history and contemporary luxury.
Trout Point Lodge is also known for its unique culinary experience that brings guests on a journey from Nova Scotia's land to the sea. It features European-inspired local cuisine that features Atlantic seafood, organic ingredients, wild woodland delicacies, and produce from on-site herb gardens. This dedication to sustainability reflects respect for the environment and support for local farmers and fishermen.
The lodge ensures that its commitment to culinary excellence extends to its long list of wine offerings, receiving the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine since 2009. "Our curated wine list punches way above what people would expect from our remote location," Patrick noted. All these contribute to Trout Point Lodge's prestige.
However, the primary highlight of Trout Point Lodge is the wilderness experience that allows guests to decompress and reconnect with nature. The lodge offers various activities that cater to different interests. Guests can indulge in forest bathing or yoga during the day and stargaze at night. "Since we're in the southwestern part of Nova Scotia, our location boasts some of North America's darkest skies. We have a stargazing platform positioned near the lodge so guests can enjoy the surreal experience of being enveloped in a dome of stars," the owners shared.
Other activities offered by the lodge include kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding on the scenic rivers. Those who wish to relax can bask in the wood-fired riverside hot tub and a cedar barrel sauna. Meanwhile, the wooden boardwalks and nature trails are perfect for leisurely walks to appreciate the unspoiled beauty of the Canadian wilderness. Patrick emphasized, "The wilderness doesn't need much intervention. Our role here is to be gentle curators. So, we let the pristine setting speak for itself. Guests who want to learn more about the wilderness can join an excursion with our team of knowledgeable guides."
Ultimately, Trout Point Lodge continues to provide guests with an unforgettable experience of immersing themselves in the untamed beauty of nature while championing luxury, culinary excellence, and a thoughtfully curated wilderness exploration. It invites everyone to slow down and reconnect with the natural world, whether through stargazing, kayaking, or indulging in massages surrounded by nature's wonder.
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Nothing in Atlantic Canada compares to the five-star Trout Point Lodge, our main base of operations for this excursion. Nestled in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and only 45 minutes from the Yarmouth ferry terminal, the rustic luxe property on 100 acres with private frontage on both the Tusket and Napier rivers is a fly-fisherman’s paradise and appeals to all lovers of rugged elegance.
“We offer luxury, locally-inspired fine dining and wilderness experiences that immerse our guests in the soothing calm of our pristine natural surroundings,” says Trout Point Lodge co-owner and innkeeper Patrick Wallace, who purchased the property in 2018. “And we have a great wine list too. Imagine the soothing effect of being alone with your loved one amidst unspoiled nature, with no noise but the sounds of the river and the rustling of the wind through the trees.”
He notes, “Add a gourmet picnic basket and a bottle of champagne and you start to feel what Trout Point Lodge is about—luxury meets culinary and wilderness in a unique offering.” Guided activities are a big part of the Trout Point Lodge experience and focus on mindfulness and wellness. “We love to explore the intricacy of our wilderness environment with activities such as mushroom walks, flora and fauna focused guided hikes, and of course stargazing, which many guests tell us is a highlight of a stay. On clear nights the expanse of stars is an unforgettable experience,” Wallace adds.
With wood-burning fireplaces and wood stoves throughout the property, a wood-fired sauna and hot rub perched on the river banks, a grand main lodge with twin stone fireplaces and a well-equipped bar, there are no televisions, room telephones, or even keys at this Hemingway-esque retreat—you don’t need them and wouldn’t want them anyway in this idyllic setting.
The restaurant, also located in the main lodge, serves up Michelin-quality meals and is a draw in and of itself. “Each dish is made from scratch and every ingredient is hand-picked—you will never see a foodservice company truck parked outside Trout Point Lodge,” the property proudly notes. The kitchen, they add, “deftly creates food brimming with flavor and subtlety,”
Its high-end interpretation of Atlantic Acadian cuisine is “distinguished by the finest regional products, intertwining local seafood, organic ingredients, wild woodland delicacies, and produce from the gardens to create an unforgettable dining experience founded on principles of sustainability,” Trout Point Lodge notes. That’s in addition to the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine it has held for nearly 15 years.
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The secluded wilderness of Trout Point Lodge, Kemptville, Nova Scotia
Anyone looking for a truly secluded luxury escape should head to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area in southwestern Nova Scotia. Here, you'll find Trout Point Lodge, a nature retreat so remote there's no cellphone service. But you can connect with the cosmos since it's a certified Starlight Hotel — a recognition given by the Starlight Foundation, whose Starlight Initiative is backed by UNESCO. Guests can go on guided stargazing excursions through riverside meadows to witness the beauty of one of the darkest skies in North America. If you're lucky, you might just see a meteor shower.
Trout Point Lodge has an on-staff astronomer and offers plenty of activities designed to help visitors take in the surrounding UNESCO biosphere reserve.
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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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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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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.