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It’s almost oTENTik time again!

If you’re looking for an unforgettable family adventure without having to leave ‘the Valley,’ I’ve got the perfect trip for your clan — one that will transport you way back in time. And no, a time machine isn’t required for this blast to the past. Starting in May, Fort Langley National Historic Site will once again be welcoming campers to stay overnight in one of their oTENTiks located inside the Fort’s palisade walls.

Last Fall, my family and a few other bloggers and their clans were invited to try out this truly unique  ‘glamping’ experience firsthand — being avid campers, it was an invitation we simply couldn’t refuse. Even though a thick, hazy fog had rolled in onto the grounds and the temperature was pretty chilly, this was hands-down one of the most ‘spooktacular’ adventures we’ve been on.otentik1

After checking in, we were shown our ‘tent,’ which was nothing like what we’re used to sleeping in or setting up. The oTENTik tents are more like cozy little modern cabins that can sleep up to six people. Inside, one will find  all the comforts of home, including two bunk beds and one queen-sized bed, a portable heater, a lantern with rechargeable batteries, broom and dust pan, dining table and chairs for up to six people. All we had to bring was our linens, toiletries, food and beverages — there was zero setup required, which is always a plus in my books.

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Outside the tent, we had full access to a shared propane BBQ and accessories, a mini-fridge, picnic table, a group fire pit, and one complimentary bundle of firewood per night. We also learned that each of the five accommodations have their own unique heritage theme. Our temporary abode for the evening was the American Prospector’s oTENTik. What gave that fact away right away was the gold panning area located right outside the tent. Our 4-year-old daughter, Molly, had a great ol’ time trying to strike it rich!

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For anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to live in the middle of a thriving Hudson’s Bay Company Fort in the 1800’s, this is the chance to find out more about your cultural heritage and live inside the Fort just like an employee of the HBC from long, long ago — well,  minus all of the hard work.

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During regular hours of operation, you’re welcome and encouraged to check out all the buildings, like the Servant’s quarters, the Big House, Depot, Blacksmith, etc. Once the Fort closes for the evening, the Full Barrel Cafe stays open 24/7 so campers can have access to the washroom facilities and common area — yes there are event hot showers inside. One can also help themselves to a plethora of board games and hot beverages at any time.

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And what’s camping without a toasty campfire?

When the sun went down, we huddled around our own private fire to partake in some spooky tales — it was Halloween weekend after all — while stuffing our faces with ooey-gooey marshmallows.

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New for 2014, the Fort will be offering campfire programs three times per week for oTENTik guests at 5:30 p.m. On days were campfire programs are not offered, a morning interpretive program, also just for oTENTik guests, will instead be offered at 9:15 a.m.

For anyone who wishes to venture beyond the Fort Langley National Historic Site during their stay, the village of Fort Langley is just steps away — there’s also the Fort-to-Fort Trail,  a great little place to rent bikes, ice cream shops, gift stores, cafes, great dining destinations and much more!

Thank you Fort Langley National Historic Site for inviting us out on this great alfresco adventure! We are excited to return this summer and plan to bring the grandparents along.

If you’d like to reserve an oTENTik, you can book by calling 604-513-4799 or email ftl.schoolbookings@pc.gc.ca. Upon booking, you will receive a pre-visit confirmation booklet with further detailed information about your stay at Fort Langley National Historic Site.

For more information, visit the Fort Langley National Historic Site’s website.

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