GlampingGrowing up, my idea of camping involved tossing a sleeping bag on the hard-packed earth and getting a terrible night’s sleep. If we really wanted to get fancy, we would sometimes drag old mattresses out from our basement and sleep on them under the stars in the backyard. Of course, when we discovered earwigs had made nests in the mattresses, we promptly ended that tradition. So for me, camping goes hand-in-hand with being dirty, sore and more than a little uncomfortable. And don’t get me wrong, I love it. So when I heard about something called “glamping”, a portmanteau for “glamorous camping”, my brain had a hard time reconciling what surely had to be an oxymoron. But glamorous is exactly the right word to describe the posh “wilderness suites” at Long Point Eco-Adventures, located on the shores of Lake Erie, Ontario. A king size bed, hardwood floors, running water, indoor plumbing, and a refrigerator—these luxurious tents are swankier than most of the apartments I’ve lived in. If you’re looking to enjoy the great outdoors, but cringe at the thought of “roughing it”, glamping may be the compromise you’ve been looking for. (See below for more photos.)
Zip-LiningAs nice as the wilderness suites are, however, it’s the activities outside the tents that will keep you occupied at Long Point. This includes a 2.5-3 hour zip line tour that sends visitors hurtling between platforms, high in the canopy of Carolinian forest. I’ve gone zip-lining in other places, including Costa Rica, and Long Point stacks up as a world-class experience. I particularly enjoyed how the guides took time at each platform to provide a bit of the history of the area and offered insights into the ecology of the area. More than just a thrill-ride, it’s a journey into the world of eco-tourism and conservation. After completing the zip line course and crossing the two suspension sky bridges, the tour ends with guests rappelling 40 feet down a tree. I opted to pretend I was Batman and went down headfirst. As the blood rushed to my head, and my harness crushed my groin, I realized that I was, in fact, not Batman. Lesson learned. Night zip-lining is also available, as are “zip and sip” packages that combine the thrills of flying through the treetops with a relaxed wine tour at the Burning Kiln Winery across the street. I’m glad they got the order right. A “sip and zip” tour might not be the best idea.
Observatory TourAs the sun set I made my way to the observatory for a night of stargazing and brain melting. Long Point is famous for its low levels of light pollution, making it an ideal spot to watch the skies. To be honest, I wasn’t overly excited about this portion of the trip. But after just a few short minutes, the kid inside me who had done his 3rd grade science project on constellations woke up and my inner geek took over. A beautiful combination of mythology and astronomy, the two-hour tour through the heavens ranged from tales of Hercules to the mind-bending physics of black holes. The guides spoke with genuine passion and infused the evening with a wonderful sense of awe and excitement. While one of our guides prepared the telescope in the observatory tower, our other guide walked us through the constellations in the sky, showing us how to find things like the elusive Little Dipper, Draco and Delphinus. Once the telescope was ready, we climbed up into the observatory and took turns looking at objects like Saturn, the Andromeda galaxy and other clusters of stars. I gave up trying to wrap my head around a lot of the physics. But suffice to say it was a humbling reminder of how tiny a speck we are here on Earth and a great way to put things in perspective.
AwesomeThe area also has great mountain biking and hiking trails and opportunities to go canoeing and kayaking, making Long Point Eco-Adventures a great one-stop shop kind of place. The wilderness suites are pricey but with Turkey Point and Long Point Provincial Parks just down the road, opting for more traditional camping is certainly an option. Long Point Eco-Adventures: zip, sip, break your brain and lounge in luxury. Awesome. Many thanks to Long Point Eco-Adventures for hosting me. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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