Mount Tryon Prince Edward Island

Hot tub—silly or sublime?

Sandra Phinney


Slipping into a hot tub in the winter always seemed rather silly to me—until I visited Prince Edward Island last December with hubby, Barrie MacGregor. For our first night, we hunkered down at Treetop Haven in Mount Tryon in a TreePOD (a cross between a tree house and a geodesic dome situated on a high platform in a grove of trees.)

Whatever possessed me shortly after 10:30 p.m. to strip and step outside in –10 C weather and shiver my way into the hot tub, I’ll never know. The distance between the door of the TreePOD and the hot tub was less than 20 feet but I remember thinking, Sandra, this is idiotic. It’s *&)(@#)(*%* freezing out here, and you are butt-naked! Did you leave your flippin’ brain back home? .

Then it happened.

As I slithered into the warm water up to my neck and snowflakes zigzagged aimlessly from the sky, words like ‘bliss’ and ‘nirvana’ came to mind. Within a few seconds I was settled into a contoured seat, cocooned in warmth. With only my face exposed to the night sky, I stretched and let out a long sigh. “Ahhh. I get it,” I said to myself—and proceeded to fall asleep.

Treetop Haven is the brainchild of Sheila Arsenault, a single mom and Red Seal Electrician from PEI who worked mega-hours out west. Yearning to have more time with her young daughter, Danika, they returned to Mount Tryon in PEI. Sheila—who also has a diploma in Travel & Tourism Management—went out on a limb to create Treetop Haven. (No pun intended. Well, maybe.)

The intrepid entrepreneur has visited over 40 countries, and her daughter’s been to 10! So I’ll have to return to hear more about their world travels. And, yes, I’d slither back into the hot tub in a heartbeat, although I still need to convince Barrie to join me.

If you’re wondering how long I stayed outside, I woke up over an hour later with shrivelled fingers and toes—and a grin running off the sides of my face.