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St. Martins ‘Glamping’ Business Celebrates First Anniversary

By Scott Pettigrew Oct 20, 2022 | 5:00 PM

Fundy Dome Tents is celebrating its one-year anniversary. The rustic accommodations business located in St. Martins was inspired by an offhand conversation, according to owner Kelsey Raithby.

“I actually always had in my head that I wanted to do something to do with tourism,” the St. Martins native says. “I actually didn’t even know what dome tents were, I kind of was thinking about a motel or cottages or tree houses.”

Raithby decided to talk over her ideas at the local beauty salon, and a lightbulb went off.

“I was getting my nails done and my nail tech lady said to me ‘you should do dome tents’. So I googled what they were and I went looked at some and fell in love with the idea right away. I just took the plunge.”

One year later, Raithby has two geodesic dome tents, complete with bay windows and private hot tubs, up and running. She’s accepting clients via Airbnb booking, all year round.

Lots of interest

“I haven’t been able to catch my breath,” Raithby says of the interest in the tents. “We initially planned to open in the summer of 2021 but there were lots of delays because of COVID. Getting the land set up for the tents, getting power up there – we had to put up a couple poles,” she explains.

“I thought that was going to set us back but we have had such a great turnout. We rented more than I ever could have imagined. People are loving it.”

The tents are located at the edge of the woods on a road leading off from the main street, combining the elements of town and county in the experience, with the Sea Caves a walk away and the Fundy Trail just down the road.

The 20-foot diameter geodesic domes are covered in sturdy fabric with a large, clear plastic portion to let in natural light. The tents comfortably sleep two and feature a queen-sized bed with room for an additional air mattress. There’s a small kitchen, full bathroom, fireplace and BBQ outside.

Designed to be used year-round, the fully insulated tents have propane stoves, heat pumps, and curtains to shade the windows and keep the tent cool in the summer.

“I actually really liked the idea of ‘glamping’ I wanted it to feel like a fancy five-star hotel,” Raithby says. “I wanted to have everything be white and clean and fresh, but still be able to be outside. That’s more of my kind of style, I’m not one for sleeping on the ground.”

Weekend getaway

Last October, Bobbi Gray of Country 94.1 stayed at the dome tents when they first opened as a weekend retreat with her partner. The view out the clear plastic window from between the triangular struts that support the dome looks very space-age, even in a forest setting.

Raithby has decided to invest in two more tents in the next 12-24 months. These will be 26 feet in diameter and be high enough to house a loft with an additional two beds on the upper level.

“The plan is to do two bigger domes that are more family-friendly,” she says.

The decision to undertake this venture during COVID wasn’t an easy one, but it’s a risk Raithby says she’s glad she took.

“I definitely feel like I got in just in the nick of time because another drone time has popped up already since I’ve opened,” she says, noting that a number of people from Ontario have moved to the St. Martins area during the pandemic.  That made land hard to come by.

“I was aimlessly just driving around the village St. Martins, and in the surrounding areas, and there was nowhere that was for sale,” she recounts. It was her connections to the area that helped her find land to lease to begin her business.

“I’m very close to this family friend and he said ‘why don’t you just put them up on my land.’ He’s my handyman so it’s just worked out really well.”

Alex Graham is a reporter with Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.


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