To be honest, I didn’t even want to go stargazing.
After a long drive, followed by paddling a canoe up and down the Tusket River and a five-course meal with wine, what I really wanted to do was stay in my comfortable bed.
But virtually every guest at Trout Point Lodge takes advantage of the complete absence of light pollution to gaze into the sky (many come just for that purpose) and I had promised, so at 11 p.m. I dragged myself off to join Alex Putz, staff astronomer, at the stargazing platform.
It was the right decision. We happened to be at Trout Point on a cloudless night and even with the naked eye, the sky was spectacular. It’s clear to see how the Milky Way got its name — the sky is dominated by long, wavy beautiful shapes that look, well, milky. Mars glowed red on the horizon, while higher up I saw a shooting star and a satellite.
But when Putz fired up his giant telescope, the show really started. He showed me Andromeda, the galaxy next to the Milky Way, then Jupiter and Saturn, its rings clearly visible. On some nights, Putz guides eight or nine guests through the universe. I was the only one stargazing this night, and I wished I’d gotten my wife out of bed; this is a unique experience.
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Trout Point Lodge is honoured to Canada’s only destination featured in this elite global list in the Globe and Mail’s recent article on Six Bucket-List Destinations for Devoted Foodies.
SEAFOOD EXPERTISE IN NOVA SCOTIA
The fishing industry is ingrained in the East coast culture – even Costco and McDonald’s have offered lobster sandwiches.
Trout Point Lodge, a luxury retreat in southwestern Nova Scotia, teaches visitors how to choose and prepare lobster, and even to use the entire crustacean to make bisque, owner Patrick Wallace says. Instructors have Michelin-star experience.
Guests can also forage for local berries and chanterelle mushrooms, often included in that night’s meal. The menu recently offered pan-fried sturgeon loin and rainbow trout prepared tableside. “It makes for a great spectacle for our guests to have it filleted and served in this way,” says Mr. Wallace, who runs the resort with his wife, Pamela.
Other packages include guided night-sky walks under one of North America’s darkest skies in the UNESCO-designated Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve, and ice and geology excursions in the Tobeatic Wilderness Area.
Details: Trout Point Lodge is three hours from Halifax or 40 minutes from the ferry that runs daily from Yarmouth, N.S., to Portland, Maine. Packages start at $1,459 a couple for two nights including meals and a cooking class. www.troutpoint.com.
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Have you ever dreamed of spending time in the forest, where the hustle and bustle of city life fades away for a few days, to a place in nature that feels so off the grid that even your cell phone connection doesn’t work? Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia is that place.
A meandering country road leads you to what could only be defined as “luxury in the wilderness”. Japanese maples at the main entrance catch sunbeams on their leaves, and the timber-built lodge is a seamless work of art where every log seems to fit into place perfectly.
BIRDINGYou will notice lots of ruby-throated hummingbirds flitting by with racing wings. They love Trout Point and travel up from Mexico and Central America to congregate out here. The breakfast room area seems to be where they like to hang out the most, so have your camera ready.
Trout Point has so much unspoiled nature to explore, and with only twelve guest suites, you don’t have to share it with loads of people. The lodge even has its own Staff Naturalist, who is happy to take you into the woods for a guided meditation.
You will feel any stress begin to ebb away once you relax and breathe in the great outdoors. You can even head out for a kayak ride along the Tusket River, surrounded by the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, the largest protected expanse in the Maritimes. After a day of activity make your way for a dip in the wood-fired hot tub situated by the river, or warm up in the cedar barrel sauna.
The restaurant at Trout Point is the perfect intimate setting for an evening of culinary delights. Each dish draws from a local element. Chef Andreas Preuss knows how to utilize the ingredients around him, from fresh seafood, local cattle, and garden grown finds. Be sure to make a reservation for the 4-course dinner and bring your palette.
STARRY NIGHT SKIES
Trout Point is one the best places in the world to stargaze with no obstruction. The Lodge boasts the title of the “worlds first starlight hotel”. They even have there own live-in astronomer that will take you out at night along a boardwalk to a star gazing platform in the middle of the nowhere. On a clear night you will feel as though you could touch the stars. Head back to your rustic suite in the woods and prepare to sleep like a baby from all that fresh air.
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Trout Point Lodge is thrilled to receive our 10th consecutive Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator for our wine program. Carefully selected by our sommelier, our wines complement our exquisite cuisine.
Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia, the world’s first Starlight-Certified hotel, is taking its renowned stargazing a step further with the launch of specialized Astrophotography Workshop Packages.
Now guests at the Lodge will not only enjoy the starry skies during their visit but will also head home with professional night sky photographs they take themselves.
“Our dark skies and stargazing excursions are hugely popular with our guests,” says Patrick Wallace, who owns Trout Point Lodge along with his wife, Pamela. “Seeing our amazing night skies come alive is an experience you’ll never forget. The workshops give our guests the chance to develop their expertise and learn new techniques.”
Workshop participants hone their dark sky photography skills during nightly excursions on the Lodge’s stargazing platform, which offers unspoilt panoramic views of some of the darkest night skies in North America. During daily photo editing workshops, participants learn basic and advanced editing techniques and how to work with photographic and telescopic equipment for best results. Every participant ends the program with a digital repertoire of their own dark sky photos.
“We expect some friendly competition among our guests for this season’s best night sky shot,” said Wallace.
Trout Point Lodge, located in East Kemptville, Argyle Co., has been the leader in popularizing stargazing in Nova Scotia after bringing awareness to the quality of its dark skies. In 2014, following the Lodge’s certification from the UNESCO-backed Starlight Foundation, the surrounding area became known as the Acadian Skies & Mi'kmaq Lands Starlight Tourist Destination.
“Our guests are blown away by our amazing night skies,” says Alexander Putz, Trout Point Lodge’s Staff Astronomer. “Our workshops are a perfect choice for those who want to develop their nighttime photography skills, while enjoying everything else Trout Point Lodge has to offer.”
This summer, the night sky viewing will be even more spectacular than usual. On August 11th and 12th, the Great Perseid Meteor Shower will offers its best views in Nova Scotia. “If the skies are clear, we expect to see up to 150 shooting stars in a single hour,” said Putz. “That’s more than two a minute!”
On clear days, Putz also offers guests the unique opportunity to solar gaze using Trout Point Lodge’s advanced solar telescopes.
“The nights are the star of the show,” said Putz. “But our solar telescopes offer an amazing opportunity to safely view the sun and its powerful spectacle in ways few people ever get to enjoy.”
Astrophotography Workshops are available all season long. For more information, pricing and to book, please go to http://www.troutpoint.com/packages.html
Contact Patrick or Pamela Wallace at (902) 761-2142.
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Never have I ever… bubbled in a wood-fired hot tub by a river
Trout Point Lodge3 hours from Halifax in East Kemptville
The Experience: Under a blanket of stars, visible thanks to its prime location next door to the dark sky preserve of Keji, Trout Point Lodge brings a weekend of romcom-quality romancing to your relationship. The remote property is surrounded by a lushly wooded landscape with rivers, lakes and marshes. The key here is to take in lots of forest bathing, a Japanese self-care therapy which helps alleviate stress and tension. We know how hard it is to escape the hustle of your everyday lifestyle, so spending time among the trees, whether by sweating in the riverside cedar barrel sauna or meditating on the floating docks is essential. There are also kayaks and canoes at your disposal for exploring the many waterways that grace the lodge.
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Trout Point Lodge is thrilled to be featured in Wine Spectator's Turning Tables.
Award of Excellence winner Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia, Canada, brought on Jonas Kwekkeboom as sous chef for this season; executive chef Andreas Preuss returns for his second season. The resort's restaurant, which offers a 180-selection French-focused wine list and a four-course prix-fixe menu, will be open through October.
"We are always raising the bar of quality, creativity and service and [Kwekkeboom] brings a fantastic skill set to the team," Preuss told Wine Spectator via email. "He's also been a big help in planting our on-site vegetable and herb gardens this season."
Trout Point Lodge is proud to be featured in "10 Hot Tubs Worth The Journey" by Bedandbreakfast.com.
This is no ordinary wilderness camp. At Trout Point Lodge, a luxury Nova Scotia retreat, guests can expect award-winning architecture, handmade furniture, wood-burning fireplaces, and an all-around sophistication that melds nicely into the Canadian wild. Everything here is handcrafted to soothe. Those looking for an outdoor soak can find a barrel sauna, a fire pit, and a unique wood-fired hot tub right on the rushing Tusket River. All are worthy warm-up options after a brisk river swim and before a night of stargazing the pristine, pollution-free skies.
Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia is pleased to announce that it will be featured in a new international cookbook celebrating the 25th anniversary of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH).
Over 215 hotels are featured in this enticing culinary manual. Trout Point will be the only hotel representing Canada. The recipe submitted by the Lodge's chef/proprietors Vaughn Perret & Charles Leary, and accepted by the British editorial team in charge of the project features local Nova Scotia ingredients, prominently lobster and scallops. "Scallop and lobster ravigote with asparagus & organic quinoa" appears alongside an illustrtive photo of the dish.
Printed to the highest standards in full colour, the glossy Small Luxury Cookbook will be bound in hard covers, and distributed through all participating hotels to their guests. Tens of thousands of SLH Club Members will also receive copies.
The Small Luxury Cookbook will be unveiled at the SLH International Conference later this month in Marbella, Spain. Trout Point Lodge has been a member of the prestigious boutique hotel group since 2011. The cookbook will also have a directory of all participating hotel restaurants.
In 2014, Trout Point Lodge was named among the World's Best Restaurant Hotels by the Five Star Alliance.
Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia will be the world's first certified Starlight Hotel, a distinction given by the Starlight Foundation headquartered at the Canaries Astrophysics Institute in Spain. The Starlight Initiative is backed by UNESCO, the International Astronomical Union, and other international organizations.
"We believe it is fair to give special consideration," wrote Foundation Managing Director Luis Martinez, to "establishments whose owners have been pioneers in promoting a Starlight Destination in their area."
Located in a particularly dark night-time zone of southwest Nova Scotia, Trout Point has developed astro-tourism offerings, including having a permanent astronomer on staff, over the past four years. This year the Lodge added a 16'x16' star gazing platform and new telescopes, including a solar telescope for daytime use. The Lodge lies adjacent to the vast Tobeatic Wilderness Area at the confluence of the Tusket and Napier Rivers.
To be certified as a Starlight Hotel, Trout Point had to submit an extensive application and data on sky quality.
Lodge proprietors Vaughan Perret and Charles Leary have spearheaded the effort by a local non-profit society to have the region surrounding Trout Point declared a Starlight Reserve and Tourism Destination. This included visiting the Canary Islands to view best practices and meet with Foundation officials. Last year, the Lodge's astronomer took the numerous scientific measurements of sky quality necessary to achieve regional certification. The application was done by La Société Touristique Bon Temps d'Argyle, of which Perret is the Chairman.
The Lodge has hosted numerous guests anxious to get a glimpse of unpolluted night time skies filled with stars, an increasingly rare possibility in most urban areas.
Martinez said: "The Foundation aims to bring Rural Hotels and Houses into the movement for 'Astronomical Tourism' as an efficient way of spreading the joys of contemplating the starry skies among the customers and to encourage them to learn more about the marvels and mysteries of the Universe. This is why we attach so much importance to building a network of establishments which are qualified and accredited as 'Starlight Rural Hotels and Houses', beginning with the most representative."
Perret and Leary have worked tirelessly to gain support for the project from the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, the Southwest Nova Tourism Task Team, the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, Acadia First Nation, and the Municipalities of Argyle, Clare, and Yarmouth.
This region of Nova Scotia has a pronounced lack of light pollution, lending it some of the darkest and clearest skies for astronomical observation in North America.
About Trout Point Lodge & The Starlight Foundation
Founded in 2000, Trout Point Lodge lies immediately adjacent to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area. Rated 5 stars by Canada Select, the Lodge is also a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The web site is www.troutpoint.com.
The Starlight Foundation is the body in charge of the operational management of the Starlight Initiative, providing human resources and means for its development and promotion. The Starlight Initiative was launched in 2007 from a proposal of the IAC supported by UNESCO - MaB Programme, UNWTO, IAU, and other international conventions such as UNEP-CMS, SCBD, and Ramsar Convention, and is designed as an international action in defense of the values associated with the night sky and the general right to observe the stars.
The final aim of this Initiative is to promote the importance of clear skies for the humankind, emphasizing and introducing the value of this endangered heritage for science, education, culture, technological development, nature conservation, and tourism. The web site is www.fundacionstarlight.com.