Watch shooting stars from the comfort of your bed. Wake up to the natural light of a golden sunrise. Listen to the howling winds and waves of Lake Superior, and maybe spot a bald eagle soaring by. While the WALDEN Institute's magnificent design, structure, and placement might at times resemble what one would experience at a 5-star luxury spa, we prefer to think about it instead like an extension of nature itself, not that different from the enormous red rock canyons of the Green River in Utah or the turquoise blue Alpine lakes of Northern Montana. By seeing it more like a beautiful extension nature, our expectations and musts of our experience there don't get too "this needs to be like a spa" - like, which would be counter to the TNT way. Don't get us wrong - we enjoy our organic sriracha-honey drizzled goat cheese appetizers in the middle of the forest as much as the next person, but we just try not to expect it. On our week-long treks our participants sleep together in group tents, help cook meals and clean up afterwards, and yes, dig a cat hole to go #2 when the moment (or should we say "movement") arises. At the WALDEN Institute, while we don't want people digging cat holes around the property to poop, we do want our guests to try to embody that similar backcountry spirit of awe, openness, appreciation, going with the flow, pitching in, not expecting to be butler-served, being pleasantly surprised, and practicing leave no trace ethics. When was the last time you saw an amazing sunset and said, "you know, this sunset would be so much better if there was just a little more lavender over here, and a little less magenta over there"? Exactly.
At present our accommodations reflect this backcountry spirit. We mostly have large group sleeping areas and shared bathrooms - all with one heck of a view - but shared nonetheless. To try to help with certain privacy basics, each bedroom is equipped with awesome white noise machines that can drown out the loudest of snorers. There are also privacy screens that one can set up near their bed should they want that. And pretty sweet fans that keep the air circulating if the sun should be coming through the windows on a summer day. All of this said, if the spirit should move you, there are lots of incredible places where we could help you set up a lovely tent and sleeping pad for a true sleep out under the stars. What we usually find is that after the first couple hours together, if you had any concerns about the sleeping arrangements, they usually go away once you get to know your roommates. Kind of like a sleepover from back in the day. Remember that? But instead of pillow fights, you'll be fighting for who can see the most shooting stars before your eyelids won't stay open any longer.
Currently, we have 11 full-size beds in the Main House, and 2 full-size beds in a separate lakefront cabin. All besets are from Tuft & Needle and are very comfortable, or so we've been told. Just outside of each bedroom is a spacious bathroom, either with a shower or soak tub (with a shower extension). To preserve our septic and hot water systems, we ask our guests to please not flush anything but toilet paper, and to go easy on water use. You might ask yourself, "Do I actually need to take a shower today?" And if the answer is yes (which is totally fine BTW), consider wetting your body enough to wash up, turning off the water while you lather up, and then turning it back on to rinse. All of this to say, we absolutely want you to be clean, cozy, and comfortable - just try not to take so long that you prevent others from also getting some hot water on their bodies. We've all been there, and while it's not the end of the world, it's not much fun when it happens.