Shelter of the Week: Floating Orbs on Vancouver Island

Credit: Matthew Grapengiesr

The Place: Three spherical pods hang 10 to 15 feet above the ground, suspended from trees, in the coastal forests of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The "Free Spirit Spheres" — called Eve, Eryn, and Melody — each include built-in speakers, beds, a dining table, and circular windows. One pod, Melody, is made of fiberglass; the other two are made from yellow cider and sitka spruce wood. The architect, Todd Chudleigh, constructed these pods to weigh only 1,100 pounds each with an average diameter of 10 feet.  Make your way into this unique dwelling via a suspended bridge and spiral staircase that connects to a landing platform. Look down, and you'll see how they're suspended with web-like ropes that are attached to three surrounding trees, letting the spheres sway gently as you breathe easy in your new digs.

The Cost: Depending on which sphere you decide to stay in, the number of people, and the number of nights, your cost varies, but rates start at $161.90, in the Eve sphere, and can go up to $404.75, for the biggest sphere, Melody.

The Region: Located four hours from Vancouver, this retreat lies near Qualicum Beach in the coastal rainforest of Vancouver Island. You'll be hard-pressed to find a day with nothing to do thanks to the plentiful options the surrounding mountains, forest lakes, and ocean offer. The spheres are just a few miles outside of “Lighthouse Country,” an area of the island named for the view of places like Chrome Island and Sisters lighthouses. Horne Lake Caves, a network of totally submerged caves with guided tours, are only a 15-minute drive away (for an added element of adventure, try rappelling into underground waterfalls at these caves). Paddle boarding and kayaking are popular activities on Vancouver Island as well.