Glamping, eco-style

Cabins in the forest

We’ve just finished our three-week Workaway stint at Repere Boreal, the eco-cabins resort in the woods on the St Lawrence River in Quebec, so now seems a good time to write about it.

As eco-nomads, we were attracted to go there by the idea of the eco-cabins. They come in three types:

shiship

 

 

 

  • the Shiship, converted from old shipping containers, complete with compost toilet. As you can see from the photo, it doesn’t attempt to hide its origins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • the Maikan, a basic one-room cabin with no running water (no photo)

mashk interior

  • the Mashk, a more upmarket affair with the usual mod cons – kitchen, bathroom with shower, galleried bedroom looking out onto the birch trees.

The good thing about doing a job cleaning rooms every day is that you get to know the cabins intimately! Some of the great things about them were the way they had been located round the property, so that each one was totally private, yet just a short walk from the main building and its facilities. They each had outside space, with a camp-fire/grill set up and seating.

The cabins feel very much in harmony with the surrounding trees and wildlife. Chipmunks give their warning calls as you pass by, rabbits and foxes are close.

However, like our own compost toilet at home, which we gave up on in the end, the toilets in the Shiships struggle to cope. The fruit flies move in and multiply at an astonishing rate, meaning there’s no choice but to use toxic chemicals to get rid of them. Exactly what you don’t want to do.

I’m sure there are compost toilet models that work better, notably those with a large underground pit that can be rotated, rather than a removable drawer, as here. The owners of the resort are committed to improving things and finding solutions, and I am confident they’ll do so.

mashk roof terraceMore on the eco-resort – and on what we’re up to in Montreal at the moment – soon.

Any comments on glamping, compost toilets or anything else welcome. Let us know what you think!

 
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The camera never lies?

produits du terroir

 

Staying (and working) at a motel on an island, the Ile d’Orleans, which is very obviously geared towards tourism, has got me thinking more about image recently. Filling your motel rooms, getting people to come in for tastings of your local wine, cheese and cider – it’s all about presenting the right façade.  And it’s true, there are some beautiful vistas of the countryside and the river. And there are delicious local products. The sign outside the local service station/general store is enticing:

 

 

Inside, you do find local beer and chocolates. But also a lot of overpriced junk food. It’s a service station.

I was thinking that maybe, à la Facebook, this blog too has been guilty of presenting a sanitised version. For example, sunset from the motel terrace:

sunset view from terraceActually, I had to cross the road to get this shot, because this is the actual view, complete with cables (different time of day, obviously):

view from motel with cablesAnd at eight in the morning I recorded on my phone 8 vehicles passing within 50 seconds.

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Yoga is good for the environment

Looking after yourself One of the things we didn’t find time for back in our old lives was a daily yoga practice. We kept saying to ourselves, and each other, that we’d like to do it, but it always got crowded out by other things. We managed to practise yoga by going to classes 2 […]

Two wheels good?

Sign of the times? I hope not

One of the things that makes a place environmentally friendly, in my book, and probably for most people, is that it encourages people getting around by non fuel-guzzling means.

Walking, cycling, public transport, stand-up paddleboard …

So one of the attractions of coming to do workaway at this motel on the Ile d’Orleans was that it has a sideline in renting out bikes, e-bikes and speed-restricted electric mopeds. That’s great, but we have discovered that the general attitude on the island to cycling is less positive. I have never been in a place before that found it necessary to point out to motorists, using a big yellow sign, that cyclists might also use the road space:

bike signs
Watch out – bikes use this road!

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