Less than two hours from downtown Toronto, former tobacco fields have become a stylish glamping site for urbanites wanting an escape from the big city. Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat provides all the necessities of a luxe boutique hotel paired within the natural beauty of Grafton in Shelter Valley in Northumberland County.
Manager Jenna Corcoran has hospitality in her blood: she and her extended family have an ongoing connection to nearby Ste Anne’s Spa (various family members owned, managed, and worked at the well-known spa), which led her parents to purchase land in the county. Seeing the growing interest in glamping, the Corcorans knew their 200 acres could transform into a lure for city dwellers who desired an eco-friendly wellness destination.
The first glimpse of Whispering Springs is the Watering Hole, the laid-back welcome tent. A check-in/guest hang out area, it’s a place to chat with fellow glampers, enjoy a glass of a Prince Edward County vintage or play a board game before indulging in the quiet surrounds of your safari tent. Adjacent to the tent, a pavilion provides a shady spot to read while the wood walkway leads to a salt-water pool and communal fire pit.
Guests can start their day with a yoga class, have a massage, consult a holistic nutritionist, or wander the forested paths.
Launched in September 2017 with five safari tents, Whispering Springs is doubling its offerings with 10 tents May 2018, traditional for two, deluxe for four. Each canvas safari tent is constructed within the trees on a wood platform deck, with a view of the spring-fed pond or the expansive horse pasture. All the creature comforts are included: rustic wood-framed king or queen beds dressed in luxe linens, mini-fridge and cooking accessories, coffee maker and kettle, solar lanterns, and an ensuite washroom with soaker tub, toilet, plush towels, and robes. Whispering Springs weddings have become very sought-after, because the location provides relaxation and great photography.
Vintage accessories are found within: old radios, wood coat racks, leather suitcases, historic map prints, and classic canvas camp chairs, while tent decks feature Muskoka chairs, a café table and dining chairs, and a nearby gas barbecue and firepit, making it easy to cook at a moment’s notice.
Room service arrives each morning with a breakfast basket delivery including seasonal fruit, croissants, homemade granola, and some surprise goodies. Guests can start their day with a yoga class, have a massage, consult a holistic nutritionist, or wander the forested paths. After sunset, a nightcap of local beer or cider at the Watering Hole bar beckons, as do gourmet s’mores at the communal firepit, eaten as constellations appear in the evening sky.
Offering a place to reset from a busy schedule (especially since cellular service can be elusive) Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat provides a welcome way to glamp well in Northumberland County.
Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat, 141 Mercer Lane, Grafton, ON.
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