Eco Acres is a large expanse of mostly undeveloped land in the forest with some off-grid cabins and bunkies in Arden, Ontario. It’s just around 3 hours away from Toronto, and 2 hours away from Ottawa. Back in the late autumn of 2017 we stayed at a bunkie called The Hideaway, it was a cozy and comfortable place for the three of us, and the fall was just a beautiful time to visit. I’ve been following them online ever since, and had looked forward to visiting again someday.
When I saw they were converting an old Coachman trailer into an off-grid tiny home, with floor to ceiling windows, framed with a lot of self-milled wood, I was ready to book. I’m always joking-but-seriously telling JC I want to move to the woods, and here was our chance to see if it was all it was cracked up to be. It was actually even better than I had imagined, and we learned a bit more about the realities of the process while we were there.
We were nestled in the trees, but still had a bathroom with running water from their deep well, solar powered electricity, a propane stove and fridge, and separate living spaces. The Coachman has a pull out couch in one room, a double bed in another, and a large windowed area in the central kitchen and dining area, with an arm chair (that also converts into a bed), and a wood fired stove for cold nights.
The first evening we arrived, a barred owl landed on the picnic table outside, hunting for their dinner in a nearby stack of rocks and wood, and if you know me or my kid, we are absolutely obsessed with owls, so it felt like an auspicious start to the visit. The same owl (I’m assuming, because what are the odds) came to visit me after I came back from a forest walk later that evening. Eye contact with an owl was a very special experience and one I’m grateful for.
We were treated to a variety of hoots (barred owl) in the days ahead, but we wouldn’t see an owl that close again – just flying overhead occasionally.
The property features 2 main walking trails cleared through the property – the red trail and the blue trail. The Red Trail is 1.8km and the long blue trail is 2km. We had a lovely wander through all of them, seeing frogs as we got closer to the pond, a constant hum of bees and bugs busy with their own work (and thankfully, leaving us alone). At night, it was quiet and comfortable, and we were lulled by the steady hum of crickets and a gentle breeze through the leaves and trees.
There was no wifi, and while cell service was ample, we tried to limit our access to a few minutes in the morning and evening, and it was just so great because being very informed was starting to be at odds with my hopefulness – it served as a helpful reset for the ol’ nervous system. We spent our time reading, playing games (they had monopoly and sorry), and casually being in nature. I’d love to be back there again soon.
P.S. if you don’t have a 4×4, don’t drive on Jordan Lane or Hummingbird Lane. We had quite the adventure in our Tesla that I do not recommend. We can laugh about it now, but at the time, it felt a little dicey.
Eco Acres is also pretty close to a few provincial parks – including Bon Echo, Puzzle Lake, Sharbot Lake, and Silver Lake and the Lennox-Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area – we dropped by Sharbot Lake (which has an EV charger in the parking lot) and Silver Lake for a swim before heading home for the weekend.