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Posts Tagged ‘astro-tourism’

Travel & Leisure magazine has just published its list of the world’s top 12 stargazing locales, including Trout Point Lodge in the Acadian Skies & Mi’kmaq Lands Starlight Tourist Destination, as number 6. Author of the  article and online slide show entitled “Ready to Feel Small? 12 Otherworldly Locales Perfect for Stargazing,” Lindsey Olander, works as an editor at the magazine, including coordinating entries for its annual Global Vision awards. Now owned by Time, Inc., Travel & Leisure has 6.6 million readers.

The article identifies Trout Point as the world’s first certified Starlight Hotel, an honour it received from the UNESCO-backed Starlight Foundation in 2014. The Lodge was among just 2 accommodations mentioned in the article as superb astro-tourism destinations, the other being Ayers Rock Resort in Australia.

Trout Point Lodge has offered guided astronomy outings for the past few years, and in 2014 built a special stargazing platform also noted by Travel & Leisure. The Lodge’s owners Charles Leary and Vaughan Perret spearheaded the effort to have the surrounding area contiguous with the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores Tourism Region, declared a certified Starlight Tourist Destination. Leary & Perret are officers of La Societe Touristique Bon Temps d’Argyle, which officially sponsored the certification effort. Acadia First Nation helped sponsor the project. Olander noted: “The area was once the home of the indigenous Mi’kmaq nation, whose stories about constellations explained the changing of the seasons and other universal phenomena.”

Trout Point lies immediately adjacent to the vast Tobeatic Wilderness Area, which is now a Starlight Reserve. There are no sources of light pollution anywhere within the 104,000 hectare reserve, making for splendid dark skies at night.

Other places on the top 12 list include the Atacama Desert in Chile, Galloway Forest Park in Scotland, and Jasper National Park, also in Canada.

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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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