What happens when a group of rowdy bikers team up with some nuns? Just ask the guides who offer luxury-style camping and zip-lining at Long Point Eco-Adventures on Lake Erie.
When four motorcyclists and four nuns signed up (separately, of course!) for a zip-lining adventure and ended up in the same group, the guides were apprehensive. “They had a bit of a panic attack because they were so completely different,” recalls course manager, Adam VanPaassen. “But you really don’t have any option but to bond,” he adds. “So by the end of the tour everybody was joking and laughing and having a great time.” That may be one reason why Long Point Eco-Adventures see more than 8,000 visitors each year.
The eco-company has added more activities to this gorgeous 37 acres of lush woods in Norfolk County, offering mountain bike and kayak trips, star-gazing tours and guided mushroom forays into the Carolinian forest. The list of opportunity for adventure doesn’t stop there. Since you’re outdoors, why not live like a lumberjack? Take your group axe throwing to see who has the best aim. Ride the Bine for an afternoon tasting local wine, beer, and cider. Zodiac boat rides are offered on Long Point Bay, taking you on an exhilaratingly fast zip to Long Point, the world’s largest fresh water sand spit. Stretching 42 km out into Lake Erie, Long Point is said to be the most remote and vast piece of wilderness left in Southern Ontario. Kayak fishing tours are also available for beginners and expert anglers alike. Your guide will fillet your catch for you to take home or bring it to a local restaurant where it will be prepared for you.
The addition of luxury camping was a natural (if not trendy) fit. Glamping – the term for glamorous upscale camping – ideally combines fun with the great outdoors in a destination that’s not far from home. Recently Camping Pods have been added, provided by the Algonquin Pod Company. These are the most rustic accommodations – they still provide a cozy bed but don’t have electricity and there are shared outhouses. There are five queen pods and five double twin pods, all with hardwood floors, glass sliding doors and a private deck.
Each of the 15 wilderness suites is outfitted with all the comforts of home, including: luxury beds, sliding glass patio doors and flush toilets. Each cabin is covered with a coloured-canopy built by a local boat top covering company and made from old greenhouse screens. The brown board flooring is made from emerald ash trees. To make sure campers are cozy at night, the cabins have infra-red heaters and electric blankets. VanPaassen describes it as “luxurious without going overboard”. “It’s quite a few steps up from camping,” he notes. Some wilderness suites look into wooded areas while others have a beautiful view of the Turkey Point marsh. On a clear day you can see the lighthouse at the tip of Long Point.
While zip-lining is their biggest attraction, their weekend packages are very popular. The Quintessential Escape combines an evening at the Burning Kiln winery across the street, star-gazing at the observatory and zip-lining. Do you have to be in good shape? Well, “if you can walk a brisk mile you can do all of your activities,” says VanPaasen. Do you have to love adventure? Definitely, even if there are nuns in your group.
by Denise Davy
Long Point Eco Adventures
St. Williams Conservation Reserve
Turkey Point Tourism
Port Dover tourism