Ridgeback Lodge: The best glamping experience you’ll ever have

Get to Ridgeback Lodge before any other glamping destination.

Welcome to the most enchanting camping spot you’ll ever encounter.

There’s no gentle pitter patter of rain tapping on this rooftop. It’s simply chucking down. For someone who came to New Brunswick looking for a sunny beach vacation, you’d think I’d be upset. But there’s something about being cocooned inside a puffy marshmallow-like structure, while a tempest rages outside that makes one feel, well, a tad smug. I’m at Ridgeback Lodge, inside a Dream Dome and am pretty sure I’ve never been quite so blissed out.

Ridgeback Lodge: The best glamping experience you'll ever have

Good luck settling back into tent life after a stay here!

Glamping domes

Situated an hour away away from Saint John, Ridgeback Lodge allows you to bask in the great outdoors without having to sacrifice style points. Imagine bedding down in a super swish, mod igloo. These all white geodesic domes look like they’re part of a sci-fi movie set that was carefully plopped down in the middle of a forest.

camping dome

As you can see, it’s pretty spacious inside the Dream Dome.

Here, you’ve got your own private expanse, complete with a picnic table, BBQ and wood fired hot tub (more on that later). Indoors, the dome boasts wooden floors (laminate, but so what), and a small kitchenette with induction plates, running water and mini fridge. An entire wall of windows afford views of Kingston Creek, or would if those clouds would part. No matter, there are comfy chairs for reading, a propane fireplace and a super cozy queen bed. So cozy, I’m kicking myself for not snapping a picture of the mattress label. We’ve also got electricity(!), a shower and flush toilet. This, my friends, is serious glamping.

ridgeback lodge glamping dome

How efficient is this?

Glamping New Brunswick

Ridgeback Lodge is the last spot on our New Brunswick adventure. Besides our many hotel stays, I wanted an experience that got my daughter and I back to nature without roughing it, if you know what I mean. Camping is fine, but I wasn’t into schlepping around a sleeping bag all the way from Alberta in our one suitcase. Luckily, it didn’t take me long to find this glamping lodge a short drive away from the Saint John airport in southern New Brunswick.

Within minutes of arriving, Eve nabs the bag of penny candy we picked up at nearby Kredl’s market, flops on the bed and dives into her book. Meanwhile, I make myself a gin and tonic, and consult the instructions on how to fire up the Japanese soaking tub. Yep, you read that right. Outside each Dream Dome is a two-person wooden tub heated by wood fire.

ridgeback lodge hot tub

Photo credit by Miss. Eve Pigat

It takes us a few tries to get the kindling lit for the tub, but eventually we get it going. Keeping the fire stoked becomes an excellent diversion for Eve. Every half hour or so, she pops outside to tend to it, then sticks a canoe oar in the tub to circulate the water. I return to my book and G&T. I realize pretty quickly I don’t want it. (The gin, not the book. The book, Pirates on the Eastern Seaboard, left by a former guest, was fascinating.)

dream dome new brunswick

This was me, all afternoon.

I don’t have any desire to get tipsy. There is no edge I need to take off. I’ve been at Ridgeback Lodge less than an hour and I’m already infused with a deep sense of calm. I make myself a cup of tea, treat myself to an oatcake and settle back on the bed. A warm drink, an engaging read, a kid happily playing outside and zero connectivity: This is all I need, I think to myself. 

Cottages in New Brunswick get me thinking…

It feels as though time has been suspended. Without the din of hotel guests and background TV, I’m easily able to reflect on our trip and how I want the rest of our summer to play out. For sure we’re coming back to New Brunswick. The last time we visited was four years ago. That was too long. Every two years seems about right.

This time we nailed off a bucket list item of mine and rented a cottage by the ocean. It didn’t turn out to be the best cottage (the basement was way damp, there was no AC and so many flies inside!), but being steps away from the sea made up for the minor inconveniences. I realize I don’t need to take my teen to some theme park, Caribbean beach or mega mall. I only need to search out spots for us to disconnect, where there’s enough interesting diversions to foster curiosity and conversation.

My reverie is interrupted by the sound of…silence. The storm is losing its edge. Though it’s still raining (gently now), the clouds have parted, delivering misty views of the creek framed by lofty maple and cedar trees.

yurt glamping

Inside the Dream Dome is illuminated by natural light.

Camping in a dome

Eve is keen to make her own dinner (fresh Atlantic salmon and green beans drenched in butter) and it’s delicious. I cut open the cooked lobster I bought at SuperStore in Saint John and also drowned it in butter. Our meal is simple, fresh and a good reminder how we don’t need to overcomplicate things. I feel the same way with camping eats, but this is way better because we are dry, dry, dry!

Just as we finish eating, the sun finally shows herself, casting diamonds on leaves and waking up the woods. We spot a humming bird, no, two of them are bickering their way through the branches. They stop for a long drink at the bird feeder just outside our dome.

It’s all the inspiration Eve needs and she’s out the door in a flash. I follow suit. She’s headed for the nature trails (there’s 4 km of them), and in no time at all, we come upon a pond – a spring fed swimming hole actually, with a diving platform and … frogs! Eve attempts to catch them, while I unsuccessfully try to capture them on the camera I haven’t quite figured out how to use.

green frog hiding

Ribbit

After our romp in the woods, I’m finally ready for that G&T. Luckily, our hot tub is ready, too. We spend over an hour plunging in and out of it. (I may have let the fire burn longer than it should’ve and it’s super hot!) Though the soak is luxurious with a refreshing breeze on our backs and the heady scent of cedar all around, it’s our unstopping conversation that makes it so special. We rattle through a range of topics from pioneers to teen pregnancy to what’s up with parents these days.

The rain starts up again, but by this time our digits are shrivelled up like prunes anyway. We race each other back into the dome. She snags the shower first. I fall asleep on the bed. It turns out to be one of the deepest sleeps in recent memory. I can’t remember drifting off or how I got out of my wet bathing suit into PJs. Fret not, I only had one G&T!

Prisms of jewel-like light stream in from the portholes near the roof. I feel Eve stirring, but I don’t want to open my eyes. I want to capture this soaring sense of space and bottle up this experience forever. Once up, we’ll have to pack, head to the airport and resume our busy, busy lives.

I crack open an eyelid and find Eve happily staring at me. She wonder’s if it’s OK to go outside and check on the hot tub. Maybe if it’s still warm, we’ll have time for another dip? We do.

ridgeback lodge hot tub

It was too dark to take pics of us, but who wants to see me in a bathing suit anyway?

Deets on Ridgeback Lodge

Ridgeback Lodge is an adults-only getaway that’s open all year round. Occasionally, they’ll allow a parent with a mature child to spend the night, but it’s not technically a spot for families.

In addition to three wooden cabins (that sleep six), you can spend the night in a Dream Dome, as I did. Also available are smaller glamping domes called Stargazers. They’re just for sleeping, so you spend your day inside one of the cabins and at night you pop into this dome to peer at the stars through the see through roof. Bedding, towels, dishes – they’re all provided. You only need to bring your food and drink, shampoo and a journal to capture what’s sure to be a magical experience. 

Have you ever been glamping? Where do you recommend?

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By |2018-09-27T09:55:48+00:00September 4th, 2018|Categories: Travel|Tags: , , , , , , |7 Comments

About the Author:

I’m a freelance writer with bad hair, a loud mouth and a serious case of wanderlust. Whether it’s luggage, time or just life, I cram as much as possible into small compartments. Warning: Contents may shift during flight. My life is one bumpy ride! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

7 Comments

  1. Leigh 05.09.2018 at 16:29 - Reply

    Seriously I think I’d go to New
    Brunswick just to check this out.

  2. Harmony, Momma To Go 24.09.2018 at 11:52 - Reply

    I’ve never been glamping but I seriously want to go just for that hot tub!

  3. Claudia 25.09.2018 at 16:30 - Reply

    This glamping property looks fabulous! And did you take these photos? They’re gorgeous.

  4. Claudia 25.09.2018 at 16:31 - Reply

    Love glamping and this looks amazing. And did you take these photos? They’re gorgeous.

  5. Christina 26.09.2018 at 20:00 - Reply

    I love glamping and this dome is right up my alley. Bonus points for sure for the Japanese sauna on site. It has been a while since I have been to New Brunswick. Definitely sounds like I should schedule a visit sooner rather than later.

  6. Randy Mclellan 28.10.2018 at 05:51 - Reply

    Very well written and accurate synopsis of a true hidden gem. Ridgeback Lodge is a little piece of heaven situated on the Kingston Peninsula in NB. Farmers markets, country stores and the friendliest folks you will ever meet…that is the coles notes on the Kingston Peninsula.

    • Jody 28.10.2018 at 09:06 - Reply

      Love it. A perfect synopsis of the Kingston Peninsula. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment.

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