Off-grid getaway cabin, an environmentally-conscious ‘oasis,’ coming to outskirts of Apsley
Artist Lisa Mace has been painting for two decades. But her latest creation doesn’t express itself on a canvas. It is an off the grid cottage set in 60 acres on the outskirts of Apsley.
Mace was one of eight local entrepreneurs recently awarded a $5,000 micro-scholarship through the Starter Company Plus program, a course offered by the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Business Advisory Center and by Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED) is overseen.
After completing the five-week online training program in early November, Mace presented her final business plan and pitch — outlining her goal of turning her pandemic pet project into a full-fledged outdoor getaway.
Mace is the owner of ECO Cabin – ECO stands for Eco-Conscious Oasis – and is in the final stages of building the secluded cabin where visitors can find comfort and tranquility in the great outdoors in an eco-conscious way.
After meeting her husband 11 years ago, the couple moved to Apsley — where Mace often spent time with her mother growing up — and the pair built an off-the-grid home.
“Then about nine years ago we bought a second piece of property that once belonged to my husband’s grandfather, right down the street from us,” Mace said.
When the pandemic struck, Mace and her husband began using the 60-acre site more. What started out as a plan to build a warehouse on the property quickly evolved into something else entirely.
“It just started to develop until we decided to build a cabin down there, somewhere to get away from. We loved it down there so much I thought other people might like it too,” Mace said. “We’re trying to be as sustainable as possible, so I just thought maybe there’s an opportunity for a home-based business here.
The idea of the ECO Cabin was born.
Mace decided to bring her unique idea to PKED’s business training program, where industry experts share their knowledge with attendees through a series of workshops.
“I took away a lot from the marketing session, including the importance of cybersecurity. I didn’t know as much as I thought it would, so that was really helpful,” Mace said. She also learned the ins and outs of business-related finance, and the program helped her refine her ideas and push her to think outside the box.
Receiving the micro-scholarship felt like “validation” to Mace.
“Not only was it a good idea, but I believed I could do it,” she said.
Once operational, Mace’s ECO Cabin aims to welcome guests to immerse themselves in a nature-focused, eco-conscious experience of their choice.
“It’s an off-grid tiny cabin, but there will be a lot of amenities and conveniences so it’s not like you’re just in a tent with no nothing,” Mace said.
In addition to standard overnight fees, guests can select a variety of experience packages, including ones that allow visitors to venture away from the property to explore what North Kawartha Township has to offer. Private outdoor yoga classes, chef-served campfire dinners and kayak excursions are also offered as part of the experience packages at ECO Cabin.
The business model is about offering modern conveniences and engaging experiences while remaining sustainable and aware of its impact on the environment.
“I think the mindset of the public needs to change a little bit more: to be able to get people across the idea that you don’t have to live in a tent to be sustainable… you can have a lot of benefits while being mindful.”
Mace intends to complete construction this winter and plans to commission the ECO Cabin in late spring.