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“Astronomy Dark Sky Haven”
Review of Gordon's Park

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Gordon's Park
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 August 2015

I spent the last week at Gordon's Park enjoying their dark sky sanctuary for doing my astronomy. Let me chronicle my entire stay:

- I arrived Tuesday, August 11, 2015 and went to the resort's office. I was greeted immediately by the staff member who apologized for the slight wait while she deal with the previous person. She was professional and gave me detailed instructions on how to find the dark sky preserve

- I was then met by one of the resort's wonderful owners, Rita Gordon who welcomed me to my very first visit and told me right up front if I needed anything to just tell the staff

- I drove to the dark sky area and proceeded to set up my site - the area is high enough and there is indeed a view of the night sky from horizon to horizon

- Tuesday night, I enjoyed the night sky green laser tour, where at least a dozen people came for the presentation

- viewing the Perseid meteor shower and staying for the Manitoulin Star Party was my best experience ever as this dark sky site is unparalleled for its care in ensuring that there is no ambient white light after sunset

- the eco vault toilets were maintained in a clean state at all times; the eco shower was clean and as I brought my own shower bag from Canadian Tire, showers cost absolutely nothing (less than $10 gets you one you can use on every camping trip)

- staff patrolled the site regularly and very always available to assist or recommend how one could improve things. The owners and staff are very sensitive to their guest's needs. If a guest makes a suggestion, they are receptive and will work to implement anything that is within their abilities. (As a small operation, they have a limited budget but have ensured that guests have free Wi-Fi and provide everything to ensure comfort - remember if you visit that Gordon's Park is an eco resort - they are maintaining a very high standard in ensuring that recycling is possible and that there is minimal impact on the environment.)

- Gordon's Park provides a central barbecue for the guests so that they can enjoy hot food or heat water for their showers.

- the wine and cheese get together is a great socializing opportunity to meet your fellow guests of the resort

- I found the facilities excellent for the type of park - I have done rugged camping before in the north country of Canada; the extra amenities provided by Gordon's Park make the camping so much more enjoyable

- now to the astronomy: the park provides the darkest skies I have found in many, many years - they boast of dark skies with a limiting magnitude of 7.5+ - it was indeed just like that but better

- never be put off by the "so-called" weather forecast - I checked daily and every forecast was for mediocre skies - of my six nights there five were clear and despite humidity, viewing with my telescope was exceptional. I was able to find every single object I sought and was able to share with quite a number of other very advanced amateur astronomers and astrophotographers

Room Tip: Get close to nature on the hiking trails!
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  • Stayed: August 2015, travelled solo
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank cyberruk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rita G, Owner at Gordon's Park, responded to this reviewResponded 18 October 2015

Thank you, glad you enjoyed astronomy at our park.

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26 - 32 of 64 reviews

Reviewed 3 August 2015 via mobile

Lots of fun for the family. Great fossil hike. Kids had a blast! Great time mini golfing. Looking forward to starry night on Thursday. Fun for everyone at Gordon's Park! Staff are very informative. We will be back agarn!

Stayed: August 2015, travelled with family
1  Thank 74julia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rita G, Owner at Gordon's Park, responded to this reviewResponded 18 October 2015

Thank you, we will look forward to having your family stay with us again. Glad you enjoyed the fossil hike and the mini putt.

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Reviewed 27 July 2015

We stayed at Gordon's Park at the end of June 2015 in a small RV. We were on site 2 which, although quite close to the highway, felt very private, and we didn't notice any noise from the highway anyway. We found the whole layout of the grounds to be orientated towards privacy - some sites for tenting are way into the woods - absolutely perfect if that is what you are after. The staff were very friendly and helpful, and having bumped into Paul after dark while we were taking a spooky walk in the woods, found him very knowledgable of the skies above. He pointed out many constellations to us and offered to come and wake us if the Northern Lights made a showing (they didn't unfortunately though).

Chatting to Paul also revealed all the ecological work that is undertaken at Gordon's Park - if things go to plan a lot of great features will be developed and evolved over the next few years.

Our only complaint is that we only had two nights at Gordon's Park - I wish we had had longer as there is so much to explore there, day and night. If we ever find ourselves on Manitoulin Island again we would absolutely stay at Gordon's Park.

Room Tip: With a small Motorhome, we liked site 2, but talk to staff before you go and you'll get a great...
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  • Stayed: June 2015, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank RAMCAS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rita G, Owner at Gordon's Park, responded to this reviewResponded 18 October 2015

Thank you for the great review, we are happy that you enjoyed staying with us in your RV, we do try hard to offer big spacious private sites with lots of shade.

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Reviewed 14 July 2015

Paid $95 plus tax per night for the tiny "bunkie" in the "Dedicated Light Preserve". No linens provided, no electricity, no running water, and most importantly did not feel "cozy", just a bunch of poorly painted plywood. There were 2 single beds with old dirty mattresses that look like they were found on the side of the road. We pushed the beds together to make a "double", however the the bedframes were at different heights so this didn't work. Access to the swimming pool, mini-golf, archery, and interpretive activities were not included in the price of the accommodation which was disappointing given how expensive it was.

The outdoor cooking facilities were clean, however the owner's house looks down onto this common area giving us the feeling that we were being watched. The staff were friendly, but I was dissapointed they didn't let us at least use the swimming pool after I complained about the overpriced bunkie.

Room Tip: Dont stay in the bunkie. Bring your own trailer or tent!
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  • Stayed: July 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
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5  Thank Mark S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rita G, Owner at Gordon's Park, responded to this reviewResponded 19 July 2015

Hello Mark, thank you for sharing your view of the Dark Sky Preserve Bunkie.
We are disappointed that you were unhappy with your stay at Gordon's Park however we are wondering why you waited until 5 pm the following day to visit our office if you were unhappy.

Your reservation was booked with our park manager Paul who has been with us for over 5 years and with whom you and your girlfriend spent hours talking with at our picnic shelter. We are confident Paul made you aware of what the Dark Sky Preserve Bunkie had to offer when you indicated your interest to be in the Dark Sky Preserve and made your reservation. In addition, our records indicate that you were on our website and it is very clear on there what is included for free, Free wifi, Free Nature Interpretive Center, Free Educational Hiking Trails, Free Summer Kitchen with BBQ, and more.

As with all of our customers, when you made your reservation you were informed on the price of the bunkie, that you had to bring your own linens and on the extra cost for the solar heated pool and the 18 hole mini putt. Our staff did not let you into the pool because there is an additional fee for all our guest, which allows people to create their own packages based on the time they are with us and on their interests. We do not succumb to threats of bad Trip Advisor review as was the case here.

We would like to recommend that if you have a problem like this in the future, we would suggest that you make your complaint known to the business when you first arrive if you find something is not to your liking, versus coming in after staying a night and trying to get an upgrade or extras for free.

Again, thank your for your input.

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Reviewed 5 July 2015

We had a wonderful clear night at Gordon's and saw the planets through the telescope. First time seeing the moons around Jupiter and the rings around Saturn! Due to the full moon, the sky was fairly light, but we had a very good informative experience, thanks to Paul.
Our cabin was very clean and comfortable. The outdoor kitchen is very handy and the washrooms were spotless! The pool was nice and warm for an early evening dip.
Gordon's also provides information in their welcome pamphlet listing all sorts of attractions and points of interest on the island.
Would definitely stay here again.

Stayed: July 2015, travelled with friends
Thank gailian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2015

I've noticed a few bad reviews here but I will say our experience was definitely great both times we've stayed. We camped (I think the value is with the camp sites, maybe not so much with the tipis or cabins?) and had a great spot both times. There were less people this time so we didn't get to meet as many people in the outdoor kitchen/eating area but still had a great time. The concept of the outdoor kitchen is brilliant - using their bbq, stovetop and sink are huge timesavers and it gives you the opportunity to chat with others. Last time our kids made some new friends which they still talk about.

This time there were no organized hikes offered because we were there slightly before the summer season started but Paul let us know one night that he was going to try to call the owls. He did and we were treated to 2 barred owls swooping through the campground hooting away. It was very cool!

We found the showers great and the outhouses and toilets didn't stink for us. It wasn't very busy when we were there but they keep things well maintained. The staff are all very nice and accommodating, in our experience.

We'll be back one day for sure!

Stayed: June 2015, travelled with family
Thank Cindy G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rita G, Owner at Gordon's Park, responded to this reviewResponded 18 October 2015

Thank you for being a repeat customers, we are happy that you enjoy our park. Fantastic that you were able to see the Barred Owls when Paul called them. We call them Jelly & Bean and this summer they had offspring who are so cute, we call them Kit & Kat. We had several guided "Owl Prowls" this past June and also "Night Hikes" where we would call the owls, people really loved taking pictures of them, it was fantastic. Also, we have flush toilets in the park in addition to the privies and have put in two more wash stands where people can freshen up in the morning and brush their teeth at night. Hope you get a chance to visit us again soon.

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Reviewed 12 February 2015

My friends and I decided to go to Gordon's Park as it was the only place that advertised an "Aurora Borealis Weekend" on Thanksgiving. The park is very simple but it was beautiful with all the trees changing colour in the fall. This place is for people who enjoy being outdoors and are ok with eco-friendly activities.
The eco-showers provided a really nice quick hot shower in the morning. Rita was enough to provide us with towels because we forgot to pack them. The outdoor kitchen was a great way to meet other campers and share dinner. The flush-toilets were clean and very convenient. There are also clean latrines available in the camp site.
We camped the first night and stayed at a trailer for the other two nights. The trailer was old but clean and warm and provided the shelter we needed for the night. The high prices are reflected on the maintenance of the park and the eco-amenities.

The weather conditions were not favorable at all as every night was cloudy and we couldn't see the stars until the second day for just a very short period of time. We understand that the Park can't control the weather but it was disappointing to drive all the way up there with very high expectations to see the Northern Lights and not being able to see much of the sky. Still the astronomer taught me some tricks to take photos of the sky and got some nice shots for a beginner.

We bit the bait of the Aurora Weekend (we wouldn't have gone that far to camp otherwise) , we were sad not to see much of the sky, but in the end we were really happy we did because the island is beautiful in the fall, we saw the Salmon's run in the Bridal Veil Falls (about 45 minute drive from the park) and enjoyed the amazing sights of the the Cup and Saucer hiking trail (40 minute drive). The Chi-Cheemaun ferry was also a great experience.
These are things worth advertising as they are consistent every year, but I understand that the auroras attract more visitors. The staff was friendly and we enjoyed hearing stories around the bonfire with other guests.

I will return when I'm certain that there's a lot of solar activity and clear skies.

  • Stayed: October 2014, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Catalina D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Gordon's Park

Address: 18777 Hwy 6, Tehkummah, Ontario P0P 2C0, Canada
Region: Canada > Ontario > Northeastern Ontario > Manitoulin Island > Tehkummah
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Tehkummah
Price Range: $38 - $105 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in Nature, Gordon's Park on Manitoulin Island has a B&B, camping sites, Tipis and Cabins available. We have an Educational Nature Centre and Hiking trails + an extensive summertime calendar of events. We're just 15 minutes from the ferry docks. ... more   less 

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