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Archive for the ‘Tobeatic Wilderness Area’ Category

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.”

The new stargazing platform provides unobstructed views of the sky

The new stargazing platform provides unobstructed views of the sky

Located in a particularly dark night-time zone of southwest Nova Scotia, Canada, 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 http://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 http://www.fundacionstarlight.com.

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Kayaking the Tusket and Napier Rivers, relaxing in the outdoor cedar sauna, and tasting acclaimed cuisine have satisfied guests of Trout Point Lodge since in opened in 2000. This year, however, a bevy of new experiences and activities await those who travel to stay at this haute rustic log building on the edge of Atlantic Canada’s largest pristine wilderness area, the Tobeatic at some 103,780 hectares.

In addition to guided fishing, kayaking, and hiking, Trout Point will have two staff astronomers for star gazing tours. The Tobeatic’s near total lack of light pollution means some of the best night skies for astronomical observation in the world. The Milky Way and meteor showers become simply captivating in such environs. Special astronomical binoculars, laser pointers, and a powerful Meade 10″ telescope will help bring into focus wonders from out of this world. A star-gazing tower that will bring you above the treeline for unobstructed views of the full night sky is also in the works.

There will be new geo-excursions to explain and interpret the unique geological and glacial features of the surrounding landscape, which was sculpted by the last Ice Age. Another topic will be the unique history of the area explaining why gold, tin, rare metal, and quartz mines dot the nearby landscape. A solar telescope will provide for daytime observation of the sun and sun spots.

Registered Massage Therapist Brendon Smith will provide in-room massage and advice on wellness when not offering guided walks on edible wild plants and mushrooms. This compliments the already rejuvenating aspects of staying at Trout Point, including spring-fed mineral water from the main lodge taps, soaking in the tannin-rich antioxidant waters of the Tusket River (that’s where the river’s distinct whisky colour comes from), enjoying a wood-fired hot tub, and the natural benefits of Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.” Biologists have exclaimed at the Lodge’s air quality, testified to by the rate lichens that drape the trees & landscape. Lichens are some of the most sensitive beings to air pollution. The point is that just being at Trout Point, deep in the pristine Acadian Forest (part of the northern boreal forest) has real benefits, besides just getting away from the “madding crowds” of daily life. Acclaimed research from Japan has zeroed in on the numerous benefits of forest bathing. These include enhanced fitness, accelerated healing, increased mental focus, and improved biological responses to reducing stress, and fighting disease. Nearly every guided excursion or self-motivated activity at Trout Point will involve forest bathing and more.

2014 will also see the Lodge’s alpacas put in charge of carrying lunch, snacks, and water for guests on hikes in the wilderness area. Trout Point acquired three breeding age animals in 2013, and welcomed two babies last fall. The alpaca manure is combined with kitchen waste and composted to fertilize the extensive on-site gardens, while that blanket or throw in your guest room may just come from Trout Point’s own fleece. The gardens expand every year, producing an astounding variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers that see their way onto the daily menus. Those participating in a cooking experience may find themselves picking ingredients for the class as well.

The tradition of nightly live music before and after dinner will continue, with at least three lodge staff members contributing their talents at different times. Local Acadian French musician Gerard LeBlanc will play each Thursday during the summer as part of the regional Musique de la baie series. Thematic cooking classes five days a week will round out the offerings.

About Trout Point Lodge

Atlantic Canada’s sole member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Trout Point offers 5-star accommodations, dining, and outdoor experiences for up to about 34 guests. Located at the confluence of the Tusket and Napier Rivers, the Lodge touches the southwestern border of the vast Tobeatic Wilderness Area, about 3 hours from Halifax and 45 minutes from Yarmouth, NS. In 2014, Yarmouth is home to the Nova Star, a daily cruise ferry operating between Maine and Nova Scotia.

Trout Point consists of the handcrafted, log & stone main lodge with eight guest units, Beaver Hall with four guest rooms in a shingle-clad chalet, and 2 lakeside cottages. The main lodge boasts a Great Room, 8 stone fireplaces, library, and various dining venues.

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Trout Point Lodge proudly announces that it appears on the top 10 list of eco lodges published today by USAToday Travel. The worldwide list of accommodations that “adhere to green values, offering nature adventures in a sustainable setting” was compiled by veteran travel journalist Larry Bleiberg and green vacation expert Irene Lane of greenloons.com. The article forms part of the popular national newspaper’s “10 great places” series.

“You’re not sleeping on a straw mat on a dirt floor. There are opportunities to stay in very comfortable accommodations” says Lane in the article. While emphasizing Trout Point’s outdoor activities such as star gazing, fishing, kayaking and mountain-bike safaris, the article also pointed to the Lodge’s emphasis on local foods. “You have local delicacies, which, from an eco standpoint, is great,” states Lane.

Other hotels on the top 10 list were as far flung as Ecuador, Kenya, the Czech Republic, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Trout Point was the only Canadian property. Earlier this year, Where magazine placed the Lodge on its list of “15 Deluxe Wilderness Retreats for All Seasons.”

USA Today remains number one in total daily print circulation in the United States. It also has one of the largest average-issue print audience of any national newspaper, with 3.2 million readers daily.

Trout Point Lodge opened in 2000 next to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Secluded at the junction of 2 river, Trout Point offers the “darkest night skies in eastern North America,” as noted by USAToday. The 2012 season starts May 1.

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Trout Point Lodge, Relais & Chateaux is pleased to announce that it is the only Canadian property featured an article on “tackling the backcounty in luxury” in the May, 2011 edition of the widely circulated magazine Men’s Journal.

The Lodge is among 7 hotels & resorts chosen for the article, which distinguishes each property for the range of activities offered along with a rugged, natural location. The distance of each hotel or resort from a Starbuck’s is also taken as an indicating of pristine remoteness. Trout Point leads in this criterion, being 162 miles from the nearest of these popular coffee outlets.

“The real charms of this cozy, 100-acre forest retreat are earthbound” notes the article, after mentioning Trout Point’s new staff astronomer. “The white spruce log and chiseled granite main lodge, surrounded by water on three sides, where a Celtic guitarist and fiddler jam beside a roaring stone fireplace; renowned Cajun & Acadian cooking classes; and naturalist-led kayak and hiking trips . . .”

Other properties mentioned include Lake Placid Lodge, also a member of Relais & Chateaux, in the Adirondack Region of New York (3 miles from a Starbuck’s), and Tordillo Mountain Lodge in Alaska (70 miles).

Men’s Journal has a circulation of over 722,000 and is the “sister” publication of Rolling Stone magazine.

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Nova Scotia’s only member of Relais & Chateaux announces a new 1800 square foot suite along the Tusket River and the advent of guided astronomy excursions for its 2011 season. The Lodge will also open May 1 for its first year of year-round operations after 11 years.

Dubbed simply The Forest Suite, Atlantic Canada’s largest hotel suite will boast 2 wood-burning fireplaces, decks overlooking the flowing Tusket River, 28′ cathedral ceilings, a full kitchen dressed in green slate, and a spacious bathroom with separate tub & show plus double sinks. The suite will be available May 7 if not earlier.

Trout Point also offers 1 standard room, 7 junior suites and 1 full suite in the main log & stone lodge, as well as a 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom cottage.

The exclusive Nova Scotia wilderness resort has also hired a staff astronomer—graduate of St. Mary’s University’s Astronomy & Physics program—to lead experiential outings into the Tobeatic Wilderness Area. Trout Point & The Tobeatic have the darkest night time skies in eastern North America, even darker than Kejimkujik National Park, a Dark Sky Preserve. The astronomer will offer interpretive outings on themes such as: Constellations and their Greek Mythological Origins: Laser-guided Tour of the Night Sky; Meteor Showers: Night Sky Tour with Emphasis on the Observing and Understanding of Meteors; and the Summer Milky Way. Guests can combine a romantic candle-lit dinner with a postprandial learning experience unmatched almost anywhere else on earth.

As in recent years past, the Lodge will also have guides for kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, and fishing.

Trout Point employs about 15 people during its peak operating season from May to late October. This year, the Lodge will stay open year-round, including dining, through with a leaner staff in low season months.

The Lodge has become known as a destination that reflects unique Nova Scotia experiences. It was among 10 finalists worldwide chosen by the National Geographic Society for its Geotourism Challenge, Power of Place: Sustaining the Future of Destinations. It has been a member of the prestigious, Paris-based Relais & Chateaux Association since 2009. Late last year the Association asked Trout Point to be one of 18 model member properties for experiential tourism for its World Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.

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Trout Point Lodge has entered the Geotourism Challenge 2010: Places on the Edge, Saving Coastal & Freshwater Destinations. You can see the entry here. The Challenge is sponsored by the National Geographic Society, Ashoka’s Changemakers, and the InterAmerican Development Bank.

Trout Point was among 10 worldwide finalist in the 2009 Geotourism Challenge and a delegate to the 2010 Geotourism Summit.

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Take a look at selected clips from the series Fenetre sur la monde, broadcast on the French Escales travel network in late 2009. The narration is in French.

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