Atlantic Canada is seeing the development of a new kind of destination tourism — where one’s immersive experience in a natural location is the key to success.
“It’s growing, I think, because there’s so much awareness now of what you can do locally, said Tanya Hinkley, one of the owners of the new business True North Destinations. “People want to feel like they are part of the experience, but they also want to feel like they are doing something for the community, businesses and the environment.”
True North Destinations
Opening this summer, this unique, eco-tourist destination features geo-domes, community partnerships and adventure opportunities.
Located in Pleasant Bay, N.S., the budding business offers, “an eco-conscious luxury geodesic dome experience along Cape Breton Island’s Cabot Trail coastline offering spectacular ocean views and mountainside lodging.”
“The geodesic domes were an idea to partner the luxury of a nice suite with down-to-earth feel,” said Hinkley.
The domes are about 700 square feet and have the ability to accommodate five people. They have a bathroom, kitchenette, living room, outdoor hot tubs, barbecue and more.
While designing the domes, Hinkley said the business’s environmental impact was a key factor.
“We considered all of the options. Low flow water, electric heating, and more. We asked ourselves: wow can we combine these kinds of luxuries, reduce our emissions and do our part?” Hinkley explained.
She said True North has also partnered with local businesses as well as the Buddhist monastery in the area.
“You get your accommodations, the marine life, whale watching, seafood and the chance to learn meditation all with one package. It’s about the experience.”
True North is one of a couple of businesses in the Cape Breton area investing in eco-chic, experience-driven accommodations.
“Destination is absolutely the key,” said Paul Weinberg, owner of Cabot Shores.
Located in the highlands in Englishtown, they too offer geo-domes as well as yurts, a farmhouse, chalets, camping options and other lodging.
“In our case, a person’s lodging becomes part of the adventure,” said Weinberg.
Our authentic Mongolian yurts are a hand made work of art! Made from mostly natural and organic materials, they are a truly unique camping experience! Photo credit: Andy Burmillan #yurtlife #MongolianYurt #CabotShores#CabotTrail #Glamping #VisitNovaScotia pic.twitter.com/M43JSiKQxp— Cabot Shores (@CabotShores) July 30, 2018
“It’s participatory lodging…imagine walking out your door and being able to pick apple trees, or enjoying a nice wood fire in a yurt with a view of the water.”
He said there is a mix of cultural aspects at Cabot Shores. There’s live music twice a week, locally sourced food options, and the promise of adventure.
“Today, with so much at our fingertips, we’re all consumers. We’re all plugged in and we don’t have a minute to breathe. But when people come here, it’s like they can take a deep breath,” he said.
Also offering experience packages is Blue Bayou resort, in South Harbour, N.S. Opening this summer, its website says the resort is the “Heart of the Highlands.”
Offering 30 sites in total to stay in, there are king size and queen size options in their Geodesic domes as well as a tipi village. The village has a covered outdoor barbecue area, picnic tables and large kitchen sink.
All three destinations offer outdoor site and attractions, including kayaking, ziplining, taking in a hiking trail and more. Enjoy nights under the starry sky, take in a scenic trail, go from the salt of the sea to the hills to fresh water –- because in the case of these new offerings, life isn’t just about the journey, but about the destination.