Nestled in more than one hundred acres of old growth forest in a secluded property in Grafton, a handful of deluxe safari tents and cozy bell tents welcome visitors with pillow-y beds, soft rugs and an atmosphere of sanctuary. Why is all this fabulousness in the middle of the Northumberland County wilderness? Hello, glamping.

Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat is the culmination of John and Nancy Corcoran’s wish to help people reconnect with nature without being separated from the comforts of modern living. Veterans of the hospitality industry, the Corcorans have transformed this property just enough to provide campers with a luxurious vacation without destroying what’s naturally beautiful about the land. Four kilometres of hiking trails and spring-fed ponds full of local wildlife are complemented by a guest lounge and pavilion, and a saltwater pool and hot tub, effortlessly meshing the experience of outdoor living with the pampering of a five-star hotel.

The tents are equipped with electricity, fridges, bathrooms that include soaker tubs, and an outdoor dining area for classic, camp-style BBQ cooking. (If you don’t feel like lugging groceries along with you, you can order a BBQ Basket for dinner, or one of the popular Breakfast Baskets, overflowing with baked goods from nearby St. Anne’s bakery.)

Whispering Springs is perfect for people who don’t like camping or have never camped before; John and Nancy built it with an eye to providing a perfect middle ground, especially for couples made up of one camper and one non-camper. As close to nature as you’ll be, this is definitely not the same as roughing it in the woods with a tent and a sleeping bag.

The tents are positioned to give guests as much privacy as possible so you can truly unplug, but there is a communal bonfire is hosted once per week, plus visitors can gather at the Watering Hole, where bartender and expert mixologist Dave whips up cocktails. Local craft beer from Williams Street Brewery is also available.

Whispering Springs offers cluster tents for group getaways as well, and is now experienced in hosting special events like bachelorettes, corporate events and weddings. The outdoor Forest Chapel is like stumbling upon a fairyland, with rustic pews and hanging antique filigreed windows surrounded by soaring trees.

Special retreats are organized throughout the year, including a Glamp Yoga Retreat in August, which is a week of yoga and wine-tasting. The Health and Harvest Retreat returns in September after its popularity last year, with nutritionist Chris and yoga instructor Adina teaming up to guide participants through a week of wellness, yoga and organic food sourced from Whispering Spring’s onsite vegetable garden.

For 2019, Whispering Springs will be open from June 2 until the middle of October. Bookings began in January and weekends usually fill up fast, so plan to book a few months ahead if you want to secure specific dates.

Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat
141 Mercer Lane
Grafton, Ont.