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Twin Shores Campground unveils handmade cabins in response to market demand


Tucked into a scenic little corner of the sprawling seasonal community that is Twin Shores Campground in Darnley, sit four not-so-little pieces of imagination come to life.

They are cabins. All hand-crafted with local wood, milled nearby and looking every inch like they belong in some rustic pioneer village.

As he talks about the features and little details in each cabin, it’s clear Darren Cousins takes a great deal of pride in what he has helped create.

“We’re tickled. Just thrilled with how they turned out,” said Cousins, during a recent sneak peek.

Cousins and his business partner, Brian Haverlock, own and operate Twin Shores. They are always on the lookout for new additions to the park and try to keep abreast of larger trends in the camping/hospitality industries. Last year they toured a number of competitors across Canada and the U.S. and it became clear to them that a shift was well underway.

A growing segment of tourists are looking for something different. Something between tenting-it old school and renting a cottage with all the amenities of home. More than just a place to sleep at night, they want an accommodation that is itself part of the vacation experience.

Campgrounds are responding with all manner of offerings. Haverlock and Cousins have seen yurts (large circular tents), oTENTiks (a cross between a cottage and tent), vintage airstreams, conestoga (covered) wagons and so on.

“None of that spoke to us,” said Cousins.

However, he, his family and some of their staff like to work with wood. They had dabbled in building furniture and other smaller projects over the years, but one day last fall they decided to dive right into building a cabin.

“There’s no blueprint. There’s no set plan. As we went through it, it became obvious different staff had different talents, so they played to that talent,” he said.

“Before we were done we’d built four of them.”

Almost everything in the cabins was sourced locally. If they couldn’t get it here, they tried to make it themselves. They created light switch plates out of wood, turned watering cans into shower heads, built sink taps out of valves and bent pipe, while the sinks are sturdy salad bowls with drains added. All the furniture is handmade from naturally angular wood pieces. They even turned old crank handles into toilet paper roll holders.

“The neat thing about building this is that nobody looks for fit and finish because it’s not supposed to look fit and finished,” chuckled Cousins. 

It was a lot of work, but they had fun doing it, he added.

Crafting the cabins also allowed the business to employ four full-time and two part-time staff all winter – a first for them.  

The new additions to the business were officially unveiled through the campground’s social media channels about two months ago. The response from customers has been incredible, said Cousins.

“We couldn’t have imagined in our wildest dreams, the response,” he said.

All four units are already booked for July and August, though there are some openings on the shoulder tourist season.

The finishing touches are now being added to them and the first guests are scheduled to stay Canada Day weekend. Prices range from $150 to $165 per night and there is a three-night stay minimum.

Haverlock and Cousins have been so impressed with the initial success of the cabins that they plan to build more this winter and add to their offerings next year.

They’re already cooking up new ideas to add to next year’s models. 

More information about the cabins, and the other offerings at Twin Shores, is available on the company’s website, www.twinshores.com/cottagescabins.

Colin.MacLean@JournalPioneer.com

@JournalPMacLean

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