Canada’s Secret Hideaways

Tucked away in all but forgotten fishing villages, surrounded by century old forests and pristine bays, these alluring inns and lodges are steeped in pastoral charms and offer nature-loving guests the opportunity to kayak among seals, hike or horseback ride to secluded picnic spots and swim in refreshing lakes. All, of course, followed by soothing spa treatments and sumptuous meals featuring local organic edibles.


Pender Island

A stay at this Arts & Crafts inspired resort—think handcrafted wood furniture, rustic stone fireplaces, richly patterned sofas and drapes, and nautical themed paintings by local artists—overlooking a pristine and secluded bay is about romantic escapades or active family get-togethers. Lodging options include two- and three-bedroom villas equipped with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, gas fireplace and private BBQ decks overlooking the ocean; detached cottages, nestled among the tall pines for utter privacy, boast separate living and dining rooms, kitchens and wood burning fireplaces, soaker tubs and marble showers, and even some with private outdoor hut tubs; and rooms in the waterfront lodge are decorated in warm earthy colors, crisp white bed linens, gas fireplaces and furnished balconies perfect for taking in the sun setting over the marina with a glass of bubbly or local pinot in hand.
Out the Back Door Rent a kayak, canoe or mountain bike from the activity center for a guided or solo tour of the island—you’ll spot soaring eagles, deer, sea otters and maybe even whales. Or join Captain Dan on a charter vessel for a marine excursion that includes wine tasting at a vineyard in neighboring Saturna Island and a stop by a seal rookery. After a day of outdoor adventure, book the spa’s signature jade massage, which uses locally grown lavender, cedarwood and peppermint to stimulate the circulatory system and help balance yin and yang. From $169;

Sunshine Coast

ROCKWATER SECRET COVE RESORT Located just northwest of Vancouver and accessible only by float plane (30 minutes) or by ferry service followed by a scenic coastal highway drive, British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast gets its name thanks to the number of annual bright days that outnumber gloomy ones. (Southern California this it ain’t, though). If there’s such a thing as camping elegance, Rockwater has it. Roughing it here means staying in one of 15 recently designed tenthouse suites, made of sturdy canvas, and connected by a treetop boardwalk perched among the Arbutus trees. It won’t take much effort to settle into your Zen inspired tent, which is outfitted with plush king size bed, Japanese-inspired shoji screens, a heated slate floor and a hydrotherapy soaker tub. A remote controlled gas fireplace keeps things toasty at night.
Out the Back Door Follow a day spent kayaking the calm waters to a uninhabited nearby islet for a private picnic of sandwiches prepared by the resort’s kitchen or strolling through an old growth forest with a deep tissue massage in your tent or in the resort’s Spa Without Walls, a tented treatment room on the bluff overlooking the ocean. Lodge rooms from $169, tenthouse suites from $379;

Nova Scotia

TROUT POINT LODGE Reminiscent of an Adirondack hunting lodge, this intimate haven adjacent to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area and on the shores of Tusket and Napier Rivers is all white spruce logs and chiseled local granite. Inside are eight bucolic but comfortable rooms, some featuring stone fireplaces, canopy beds made from saplings and draped in Egyptian cotton linens, bay windows or private decks. Paintings by local artists hang above log-trimmed walls and handmade log-and-twig furniture while bathrooms feature BVLGARI amenities. Gourmand guests and day visitors can partake in the ongoing Creole-meets-maritime culinary program, with lessons focusing on cheese-making or Cajun seafood dishes that comprise halibut, scallops or tuna caught fresh that day.
Out the Back Door Exploring the local system of rivers and lakes from your borrowed canoe, kayak or paddleboat you might spot bears, moose or flying squirrels in the surrounding woods. From $165;

FISHER’S LOFT Nestled on the hills of Port Rexton, a quiet fishing town on the rugged coastline between New Bonaventure and English Harbour is Fisher’s Loft. Here, a collection of quaint Cape Cod cottage style buildings characterized by steep, pitched roofs and clapboard exteriors echo the historic architecture of Trinity Bay in the late 1800s. Many of the Loft’s whitewashed rooms, which are furnished with forest green or tomato red colored rocking chairs, writing desks and queen size beds especially handcrafted by a local artisan, feature cathedral ceilings and oddly angled windows with ocean or garden views.
Out the Back DoorThe owners will pack a gourmet lunch of grilled seasonal vegetables, grown onsite, on crunchy rustic bread, and provide directions to Sherwink Trail, a coastal trail that gives shutterbugs ample opportunity to photograph whales and icebergs that originate in Greenland and are said to be the fastest moving on Earth. Evenings end with four-course meals that include carrot-ginger soup and organic green salad, roasted Atlantic salmon with mushroom risotto and chocolate torte with blueberry coulis. From $226 including breakfast and four-course dinner;


INN ON THE LAKE Along the famed Alaska Highway and sitting on Marsh Lake (the northernmost in a lake chain that stretches from the Pacific Coast to the Yukon River) is this remote inn, which is surrounded by pristine forests and mountains and exudes a homey atmosphere thanks to floral sofas, checkered tablecloths and a guitar tucked in a corner near the wood burning fireplace. Built of massive spruce logs, the cabin accommodates up to 20 guests in unfussy rooms decorated with pretty hand carved wooden beds and chairs. Chill out with a glass of wine in the library or solarium overlooking the cobalt blue lake and loosen tense muscles in the sauna.
Out the Back Door Don’t miss a hike or paddle under the midnight sun in summer; dog mushing is the thing to do in winter. The best place to witness the ethereal Northern Lights is while you soak in the outdoor hot tub. From $179;


Sunshine Coast. Flickr Photo by Tom Magliery.

Rockwater Secret Cove Reort

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