Written by Dan Rubinstein.
To fire up the hot tub on the lakeside deck at the Algonquin Eco-Lodge, proprietor Robin Banerjee used to have to add a log to the woodstove every 20 minutes, for eight hours. Now, heated by the only micro-hydro generator in Ontario, the water is always steaming. Which makes it the perfect place to end a day at the hike-in lodge, a whisker outside the southeastern dogleg of the eponymous provincial park. Especially if that day’s itinerary included a moonlit swim and sunset paddle in your own private lake, a dinner with spinach lasagna and freshly baked bread, a canoe expedition upstream to a cascading waterfall, and a cold can of beer fished out of the creek, paired with a book in the hammock chair on Blueberry Point.
Algonquin Eco-Lodge offers all the thrills and serenity of the Algonquin backcountry without the planning and previsioning required for a multi-day canoe trip. Moose walk across the property, wolves can be seen on the far side of the lake, grey herons glide overhead, and pileated woodpeckers peck in the surrounding forest. “It’s for people who want to experience the wilderness but don’t want to rough it,” says Banerjee, who maintains 40 kilometres of trails for hiking or mountain biking, and, in winter, for cross-country skiing.
Inside the cozy and comfortable lounge, guests mingle over homemade meals and dip into the library of board games. A half-hour walk from the parking lot, you can’t hear any cars, and there is no cell phone signal. Two more things to savour from the hot tub.