Living in Toronto can be overwhelming at times. I grew up in the suburbs and moved to downtown Toronto five years ago for school. In an instant, I was thrown into the hustle and bustle of morning and evening commutes, rush hour, sitting under fluorescent lights, and people rushing quickly to their next destination. Most of the time, I actually quite enjoy “city life” and the never-ending noises and movement that come with it. However, when you’re constantly surrounded by this from day to day, that’s when you can start feeling a little overwhelmed.
Hence, come Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat. This was by far one of the unexpected best highlights of 2017. And it was also organized rather last-minute too. Where do I even begin? At around September of last year, I was feeling this sense of being immersed in the “city culture” for too long and longed for some time with nature. Normally, I Google “Best nature walks in downtown Toronto” and go for a nice hike around the varying parks and forests in Toronto, however, in discussion with my family one day, we discovered a hidden gem called Whispering Springs just an hour drive away from downtown Toronto (https://www.whisperingsprings.ca/). It wasn’t a nature walk per say, but rather, it was a “glamping” site.
What is glamping, you ask? Good question, I didn’t know either at the time. It’s really just glamorous camping, in that you are able to have a fully immersive camping experience, but with the added luxuries of things like a pre-pitched tent-cabin, furnished bed including pillows and bedding, a fully stocked bathroom (bathrobes and a tub included!), a fridge with some kitchen appliances (like a toaster and coffee machine), and a heater. Really, what more could you ask for?!
This is really luxury camping at its best. This is perfect for those of us who don’t really have an interest in getting down and dirty in traditional camping and also for camping junkies who want to experience some added convenience and luxury.
It truly was a treat for all the senses. Not only was our cabin-tent beautiful and comfortable, but it was situated right beside a serene pond/springs, surrounded by the forest -so that we were living in comfort while also being very connected to the nature around us. When we went to sleep at night, we fell asleep to the crystal clear stars in the night sky, and upon waking up in the morning, we woke up to a breathtaking view of the springs, the morning dew on the trees and ground, and birds literally chirping right outside our cabin. I really can’t make this stuff up -it’s that good.
The glamping grounds are complete with several trails for those who enjoy hiking, an outdoor pool and hot tub found right in the middle of the grounds, activities like tennis, and this coming spring, the hosts informed us that horses will be joining the retreat grounds!
Speaking of, not only were the grounds itself breathtaking and incredible, but the owners of the grounds were some of the most hospitable and warm people I’ve ever met. Because it is a smaller, family-run retreat site, there aren’t too many people staying there at a time, and as a result, we were able to enjoy a quiet camping experience and the hosts had the capacity to get to know each visitor better and provide quality service. Everything from a warm welcome when we first arrived, personally showing us around our tents and the grounds, to the thoughtfulness of hand-delivering us our breakfast straight to our cabin in the morning made our glamping experience better than what we could have ever expected.
While I imagine glamping to be a great experience during the warm summer, in my opinion, going during the fall time was one of the best experiences I’ve had yet (I believe Whispering Springs is open May -end of October and closes during the winter). We went in October and it was a little chillier than if you went in the summer, but there’s something about camping with that chilly fresh air, and you get the added bonus of seeing the beautiful leaves changing into vivid orange and red hues -making hikes and taking in all the nature there even more picturesque. And not to mention, each cabin site comes with its own fire pit, so starting your own fire and roasting marshmallows in the cool, crisp fall evening elevates camping to a whole new, memorable experience.
If you ever feel like you need a break from the busy city, crave time to reconnect with nature, or simply want to treat a loved one to an unforgettable, unique outdoor experience, I definitely recommend glamping at the Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat.
Here are a few pictures I captured during my time at Whispering Springs -I hope you enjoy looking through these as much I did taking them! Already thinking about the next time I can go back…
Note: This post is not sponsored by Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat. My experience there was genuinely just that incredible that I wanted to write a blog post about it. Hope you enjoyed reading it!