The first thing you’ll notice about Cabinscape’s Joni Cabin is the silence. And the second thing you’ll notice is the noise. This 128 square foot cabin is enveloped in nature and it doesn’t take long before you hear the gentle rustling of leaves. Soon after comes the steady hum of insects, soothing rather than intrusive. A flock of blue jays gossip insatiably with one another and, come nightfall, the hoots and calls of an owl pierce the sky. A branch cracks in a nearby tree but the perpetrator is never seen. And late in the evening the haunting howl of a coyote – or is it two? – carries across the forest.
There is no doubt that this is the ultimate private nature escape, the perfect hideaway for Serenity Seekers exploring Ontario’s Highlands. A tiny house whose minimalist lines, modern architecture, and warm wooden accents wouldn’t feel out of place in the Stockholm Archipelago, the Joni Cabin is rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation in one compact package. As the smallest (and I dare say the cutest) cabin in Cabinscape’s roster, you’ll experience environmentally friendly, off the grid living at its finest. And it couldn’t be cozier or more comfortable!
I was instantly smitten with the Joni Cabin’s ingenious hidden storage and carefully considered floor plan. For instance, the airy top bunk doubled as a snug reading nook thanks to handy shelves laden with throw blankets, popular best sellers, a jaunty potted philodendron, and even a tiny personal fan for keeping the temperature just right. The cleverly designed kitchen offered a sturdy collapsible step stool hidden between the wall and the fridge, just the thing for the vertically challenged traveller to retrieve pantry staples and mixing bowls. A generous, deep sink earned its stripes during post-pancake scrubbing and was a welcome relief from the tiny, unserviceable sinks often found in cabins and RVs. A modern barbecue, with all the necessary tools needed to prepare a summer feast, stood on the roomy deck, which served as centre stage for the squabbling blue jays positioned high above, ever vigilant for dropped crumbs.
Tiny house living was relatively hassle free, considering that Joni Cabin is smaller than the average hotel room. Clean lines, bright windows, and restrained decor kept the space from feeling crowded or claustrophobic, while the ‘garage door’ style retractable window lifted out of sight to transform the patio’s bar and the cabin’s eating nook into one continuous large surface. It was the perfect spot for creating a barbeque supper on par with anything we’d made at home and, come morning, it was an ideal buffet for pancakes, fruit, orange juice, and French-press style coffee.
If you’re ready to put the “seeker” into Serenity Seeker and you can tear yourself away from all the reading, writing, cooking, and cuddling, you’ll find a world of possibilities await. The first is the onsite Lookout Trail, a beginner-friendly hike that leads you through the woods to a spectacular vista that looks all the way to Ottawa’s Camp Fortune ski resort. The second is the onsite brewery, which makes Joni Cabin unique among the Cabinscape properties. Cartwright Springs Brewery’s proprietor Andre makes for the ideal welcome party, offering delicious beer samples and local advice with equal generosity. The beer at Cartwright Springs is unlike anything in the area, utilizing local ingredients such as haskap berries and cocoa nibs from regional favourite Hummingbird chocolate. They even sell a beer ice cream, a delicious component for making floats with their in house stout!
Last but not least is the charming community of Pakenham, home to plenty of nature walks and quite a few opportunities to replenish burned calories. Ice cream was a reoccurring theme of our visit and the local shop Scoops delighted us both by being open early in the morning and also for having a fantastic selection of old classic and new flavours. And if you’re keen on exploring further afield – and can pull yourself away from the gorgeous cabin – so many wonderful opportunities await you in nearby Carleton Place and Almonte. In Carleton Place, the zen like calm of the Mahogany Spa and the long menu of luxurious services will leave you in a state of pampered bliss – and the nearby Black Tartan Kitchen will make your stomach equally happy! In historic Almonte, the lovely and accessible river walk helps you step back in time and soak up the town’s charm. Meanwhile, for a slightly more urban experience, the shops and cafes of Mill Street can keep you busy for hours.
If you’re in love with nature, Cabinscape’s Joni Cabin will soon become your new best friend. But, more importantly, if you’re more tepid in your affections when it comes to the great outdoors, this tiny house will offer you comfort, encouragement, and peace of mind.
Storyteller: Vanessa Chiasson . Hometown: Ottawa, ON
Vanessa is a serenity seeker. She loves wandering through the woods – ideally with her dog Oliver by her side – and digging in the garden. When she’s on the road, she loves discovering tiny libraries, cozy cafes, and anything purple!