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“Awesome fern alley views over the marsh. Wonderful experience” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Castalia Marsh Retreat

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Castalia Marsh Retreat
Saint Andrews, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Awesome fern alley views over the marsh. Wonderful experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 June 2014 via mobile

So different, so fun. Cabins with everything you could want. Fern alley. Woke up to a sunrise view of the marsh without even getting out of bed. Environmentally friendly cabins and friendly host. Close to puffin tours and whale watching tours.

  • Stayed June 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank zaljl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
James B, Owner at Castalia Marsh Retreat, responded to this review, 27 August 2014
Hi Zaljl! Thank you for your wonderful review of Castalia Marsh Retreat! We are very pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay at the Fern Alley Cabin! Would love to see you return in the future, it was a pleasure to have you stay with us!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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37 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    25
    11
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Kingston, Canada
Level Contributor
41 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 August 2013

We were heading out east to visit friends and the Castalia Marsh Retreat (CMR) was one of the main reasons we decided to visit Grand Manan Island. I had found the place online rather by chance and dialed into its funkiness right away. The property on Castalia Marsh is ramshackle and makeshift -- partly why we loved it so -- the price was good, and the owner, James, was terrific to meet and for my kids. The boys got to feed the free range chickens on several occassions and really enjoyed the whole vibe of the CMR.

We had first booked Larch Grove, which looks like a really awesome place, but had to delay and wound up in the Birdhouse. This meant that we had to split between the box up top and the little futon space below, but it was fine for our family of four. As a biologist, I would pick the Birdhouse first next time, as the view to the marsh was unbelievable. The kitchen was small but well-thought out and appointed, and we enjoyed cooking there. We could also have used the BBQ and the true chef's kitchen at the Gathering Place if we had wanted to, but we were happy in the BH.

The BH has a composting toilet, which my wife and I enjoyed using for the novelty and ecological benefits. Our kids tried it, but they found the height (or something) bothersome and wound up going to the Gathering Place toilet. The CMR is nice in that it allows such choices. I LOVED the outdoor solar shower at the BH, as did the kids.

All around this was a memorable and enjoyable place to stay. I don't think most tourists would agree with my rating, but it is their job to read my review, research me, and understand what the place is about in that light. I say EXCELLENT. A lot of fun and really beautiful.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank fangio23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2013

My kids and I spent 10 wonderful days in the Birdhouse in late July. I'm glad we chose the marsh over a more traditional beach location. You may not hear the sound of the surf or have a sandy beach at your doorstep, but the wildlife of the marsh is an amazing trade-off. Waking up to the sound of Bald Eagles, watching Ruby-throated Hummingbirds outside my window, and coming eye to eye with a White-tailed Deer beside the deck in the early morning was fantastic.

The cabin is comfortable and well equipped. We cooked all our meals in the small kitchen and I was relieved to find the local grocery store and a great fish market were both just up the road. The kids loved hanging out in the loft and I enjoyed the elevated view of the marsh for my birding efforts (I even dragged my scope up there one day). The loft was also great for star gazing. The compost toilet takes a little getting used to (not for the faint of heart), but you're free to use the flush toilet (and shower) available across the camp. We simply got in the habit of restricting our use of the compost unit to early mornings and late evenings when it was too buggy outside to venture out. And yes just like most cottages, there was a plentiful supply of mosquitoes around the camp; however as long as there was a bit of a breeze I found the deck to be bug free during the day.

For interested birders there were numerous species that could be viewed around the property. Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Willet, Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher, Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, Semipalmated Sandpiper (scope required for shorebirds), Nelson's Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sparrows, and a good variety of warblers, flycatchers, thrush and woodpeckers. If you drive around to the other side of the marsh where the park is, you may also see Black Guillimot, Common Loon, and Common Eider out on the water. If you plan to go Whale Watching with SeaWatch Tours, tell them you're also interested in pelagic birding and ask them to bring a supply of chum which they will happily toss out the back of the boat (they didn't do this on the Puffin Tour - I wonder if they would though if you asked?).

The island itself is fantastic. Never a crowd anywhere and sometimes you can have a whole beach all to yourself. The locals are helpful and friendly and always have great advice for places to explore. We never would have found carnivorous plants without them! If you're there on a weekend be sure to visit the Saturday morning Farmer's Market for some yummy treats and local handcrafts that you can't find in the shops. After a day of exploring and beach combing we were always glad to return to the Birdhouse for a few hours of happily doing nothing at all.

Safe to say we all fell in love with Grand Manan and hope someday to return to the Birdhouse!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Sulijoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moncton, NB
Level Contributor
360 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 167 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 July 2013

We stayed at Castalia Marsh Retreat during our recent trip to Grand Manan and I’m so glad we did. It literally made our vacation! Like other people have written, if you’re looking for a 5-star hotel, this is not your place. But if you’re looking for a unique, fun, comfortable and unforgettable spot, this could very well be it for you.

We booked Larch Grove even though there were only three of us because, for the price difference, I’d rather have more space. We loved it; my 7 year old daughter spent a lot of time watching the fish in the fish pond that’s built in to the corner of the living room. She also enjoyed the lofts and the bridge between the two sides. We got home to discover she had made a video of everything she loved about the cabin.

The kitchen is well stocked, beds are comfortable, lots of books and magazines to read from the bookshelf and you can’t beat the window overlooking the marsh and bird feeder. My daughter also enjoyed the grounds, especially the frog and fish ponds.

The only thing I need to mention is that it’s cash only, credit cards are not accepted for payment.

I felt Castalia Marsh Retreat was an amazing find and kid friendly. I’d recommend it to anyone and look forward to our next stay there.

Room Tip: Larch Grove was amazing, but I'm sure any cabin there is just as good.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Nic7895
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Petitcodiac, New Brunswick
Level Contributor
68 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 July 2013

Our cabin wasn't ready for us when we arrived so James was great and put us in a larger one for the same price. The cabins are quirky and if you are looking for a 5 star hotel, this is not the place for you! The bed was comfortable and we did enjoy meeting other folks at the fire!

We found the cabin to be well equipped, I even made a pie one afternoon!

We did have car problems while on the island but it was fixed promptly and we were hardly delayed! James was quite accommodating and even took my husband back to pick up the car!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank NBKent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moncton, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 May 2013

This was an amazing place. Great location, private and well worth the money. James is great and other staff was too. They showed us around and walked us through the area. We stayed at birdhouse and it was truly a great view and private little place.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JonesHold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ankara, Turkey
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 October 2012

We have stayed here twice once as a family of 4 (2 1/2 year old and a 6 month old) and again with friends and family this summer ( 1 grandma, 1 family of three and our family of 4). It is an idyllic place. The kids were busy this summer catching tadpoles, watching birds, and building fairy houses. We spent many hours hanging out, reading stories, and going for walks. Both times the cottages were complete and well equipt. Captain James is amazing, a modest man with extraordinary talents. When he realized there were little people staying in the house he immediately came over and "child-proofed" the stairwell with an amazing little rope spiderweb. We always enjoy Grand Manan, but we love it more when Castalia Marsh is part of the program!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank J D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Castalia Marsh Retreat

Property: Castalia Marsh Retreat
Address: 11 Bancroft Point Rd | Grand Manan, New Brunswick E5G 4C1, Canada
Region: Canada > New Brunswick > Grand Manan
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Speciality Lodging in Grand Manan
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Retreat site is seven acres of forested land overlooking Swallowtail Lighthouse, the saltwater marsh, the fishing village of North Head and picturesque islands in the Bay of Fundy. It is a safe, warm, and dry environment where one can relax and be surrounded by nature. There is a network of nature trails connecting four small fish and frog ponds and the various cabins and tent site. We try to create a supportive environment where people who want to share what they have learned can be actively involved in increasing their knowledge of personal, spiritual, and environmental health or just relax and enjoy the natural beauty. We have a facility ideally suited for hosting workshops or facilitating gatherings focused on personal, spiritual, and environmental health. ... more   less 

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