We Went Glamping in a Forest Pod—Here’s What It Was Like
Going off the grid was easy in this cozy spot nestled high among the trees.
Welcome to Treetop Haven
Underlying notes of moss and bark—warm, reassuring and earthy—encapsulate our accommodations that hover among the trees. It is the first time my husband, Terry, and I have literally gone off the grid as new parents, with our five-month-old daughter, Alice. These are not the haphazardly laid floorboards and rope ladders sometimes found in a kid’s backyard tree house. Instead, the five geodesic domes (a cross between a tree house and a pod) are more like something to be found in the pages of a children’s book in which Baloo the Bear may drop by—but there are no bears here in this magical setting.
We fall asleep and wake up to a loud chorus of chirpy, melodious bird calls emanating from the surrounding foliage. There is a hot tub located on one side of the surrounding deck, and in the evenings, we soak amid its therapeutic bubbles while feeling as though we are a million miles away.
But Treetop Haven, where we are staying, nestled in Albany, P.E.I., is not too far from our home in Summerside. Each tree pod contains the perfect blend of modern amenities, including a hot shower, a fully equipped kitchen and camping essentials (such as a barbecue). Our family decided to go out on this limb to leave the barrage of bad news and social media behind. And now we are finally here, curled up in our little “Humming Bird” tree-pod bubble for the ultimate nature hideaway.
The benefits of “forest bathing”
The Japanese have long practised shinrin-yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath”; forest bathing is said to alleviate stress, fatigue and feelings of depression. With all the world’s insecurities and changes lurking around every corner, it is undoubtedly time to refresh our minds, bodies and souls.
Being out in nature is how I spent my childhood in South Africa—no phones or screens of any kind. Among other beautiful experiences, I recall watching monkeys swing across the branches of the trees in our backyard. They howled with excitement as the bananas came out in crates, to be passed by hand for feeding. Zebras trotted across the dusty rural routes. And I hurried after my parents, hiking through the towering Drakensberg Mountains, where we camped.
I hope to give my daughter similar experiences here in Canada so that she can also appreciate the great outdoors and quality family time—something I have learned to enjoy a lot more, thanks to the pandemic. Slowing down, valuing family and friends, and being present are lessons these past few years have taught me.
Treetop Haven has no Wi-Fi or television but does offer an on-site trail, nearby red-sand beaches and plenty of local wildlife. We were glad we brought our binoculars to spot the variety of birds in the trees.
Check out more great bird-watching spots across Canada.
The great outdoors
Our Humming Bird tree pod gives the nod to the tiny bird it is named after, with a painted wooden picture of a hummingbird along a small corridor leading to a bedroom. The pod itself measures 425 square feet and is perched nine-feet-up in the trees; with its sizable circling deck, it feels much more expansive. And even better, it is the most private of the five tree pods, making it ideal for those with babies. We get our lunch, a barbecue pulled-pork pastry, freshly made on-site from The Handpie Company, which is not too far down the colourful lupin-lined road from where we are staying. During the day, we take Alice for a dip in the sea at Chelton Beach Provincial Park. The park is famed for its red sand. Of course, we are not at the beach too long because of the baby’s delicate skin under the hot sun, but there is something so fun about watching her little expressions while she splashes in the warm salty water and digs her toes into the soft sand.
Towards evening, it starts to rain, so we return to our pod. We watch the rain pour down the tarp and listen to the spa-like sounds that help Alice drift off to sleep. We cook, read, and watch the changing scenery outside from the comfort of the couch as the wind whistles through the woods. Eventually the storm breaks and, for a moment, the sun shines through the clouds. I listen to the memorable chorus as the birds begin to emerge from their hiding places and sing their wild songs.
Author Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote about this landscape in her much-loved books based on the Island. In Anne of Green Gables, she penned, “You never know what peace is until you walk on the shores or in the fields or along the winding red roads of Prince Edward Island…”
I understand that line better now. At Treetop Haven, removed from the rest of the world, we feel at peace in the truest sense of the word.
Next, discover 10 essential experiences on the east coast of Canada.