Nova Scotia

Sun keeps the beer cold at this Cape Breton solar-powered pub

A new wilderness resort in Cape Breton is laying claim to having the province's first off-grid pub. The owners have spent the past 16 months building the lodge and five cabins on Whycocomagh Mountain, overlooking the Bras d'Or Lake.

Wilderness resort near Whycocomagh, N.S., boasts province's first off-grid pub

Grant Haverstock and Jessica KleinHerenbrink opened Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins in September. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

A new wilderness resort in Cape Breton is laying claim to having the province's first off-grid pub.

Grant Haverstock and his wife, Jessica KleinHerenbrink, spent the past 16 months building a lodge and five cabins on Whycocomagh Mountain, overlooking the Bras d'Or Lake. The result is Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins, which opened last month.

"Basically, we wanted to establish an off-grid getaway," said Haverstock. "Somewhere you could do a digital detox, maybe leave your cellphone in your car, enjoy nature, and do some hiking, enjoy the four beer we have on tap in our lounge, and just kind of relax from the hectic world we live in."

A 32-panel solar system supplies power for the buildings, including the pub inside the lodge, and each of the cabins has its own solar panel, said Haverstock.

"The sun keeps our beer cold," he said.

These solar panels supply off-grid power to Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

He said during construction they used insulation derived from soybeans and steel that is 60 percent recycled in order to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible.

"We wanted to do something in nature that had very little impact," said Haverstock, who owns a blacksmithing forge in Whycocomagh.

And nature is the big draw, he said.

"You can get up in the morning and walk out on the deck of your cabin, and you may see a moose walking by. It's very plausible."

Still, he said, the cabins are "not your granddad's camp in the woods," adding that each has an off-grid propane furnace and "the same mattresses as in the Hilton."

Each cabin has its own solar panel and an off-grid propane furnace. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Haverstock said the business will be open year-round, catering in part to snowmobilers and all-terrain vehicle users. He said that both the Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail) and snowmobiling trails bisect the property.

With files from the CBC's Gary Mansfield

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