Once you turn off the highway onto the dirt road in Caledonia, Nova Scotia, solitude waits to restore your soul and ignite your senses at Mersey River Chalet & Nature Retreat. From the hypnotic sound of the babbling river, to the smell of evergreens towering overhead, nature welcomes one and all to this sanctuary that is nestled beside Kejimkujik National Park. It’s also quite possibly the best place in Nova Scotia to take in some serious stargazing.
A Truly Unique Stay
I had the pleasure of resting my head for the night in a Tipi. Everything I needed was on-site, with a communal kitchen, bathroom, shower and even canoes! There are also smaller chalets, a lodge and Tipi Village, and for larger groups there is the log house and the larger chalets.
Inside my tent-like dwelling, there were two twin beds and one double. With the forest as my new neighbour, it felt like I was hidden away from everything. A sense of childlike wonder washed over me; I was being let in on the secret surrounding this sacred earth.
If those trees could talk they would tell you the real story of this land but no words needed as I explored the hidden treasures of nature on this 350 acres of land, they also have walking trails close by to explore. Not only did I bathe in the beauty of the forest, I also had full run of the river; it called to me and I could not resist getting as close to it as possible.
Being accessible is very important to the owners of Mersey River Chalet & Nature Retreat. A boardwalk surrounds the property and its breathtaking view, making the property and its facilities wheelchair accessible. There is room for all with suitable accommodations for varying types of adventures.
Animals All Around
When you visit you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a mother snapping turtle hatching her eggs. According to the owners, they can be quite cheeky having once witnessed a mother turtle walk right into the office. I was too late for the turtles but I managed to spot a couple of bunnies. The owls and loons sang me to sleep while I burrowed in my tipi for the night.
It would also be very easy to find more adventures to keep you busy while discovering this area of Nova Scotia with Kejimkujik National Historical Park only 5km down the road. After my night in the Tipi I stopped in to get my feet wet for the first time at this exceptional Canada Parks location.
Kejimkujik can keep families and individuals busy for days. With over ten hiking trails, plus 5 biking trails, swimming, and with the option to rent canoes and kayaks, there is nothing stopping you from taking in all the sites. The routes vary in distance allowing everyone the freedom to go at their own pace.
At night, you can rent a dark sky kit from the visitor centre to aid in some of the best stargazing this province has to offer with its Dark Sky Preserve onsite. The kit includes binoculars, a map of the night sky with a guide on what constellations are visible during the time of your stay. It is definitely worth the five dollar investment for the rental. And you get to keep the guide.
Kejimkujik natural history shares the story of our countries Mi’kmaw culture which is not something to be overlooked. The park educates its visitors, allowing them to explore a preserved area where Mi’kmaw ancestors once hunted and fished. The rock engraving petroglyph tour is a must but be sure to sign up ahead of time as they only allow 20 visitors per tour. For more information on what the park has to offer click here.