I CAN-T.E.R.’s Farm Stay and Nature Retreat Experience

In need of a nature retreat but don’t want to travel too far outside of Niagara? There’s no better place to unwind and reconnect with nature than I CAN-T.E.R. in Ridgeway.

I CAN-T.E.R. stands for “I Can” Therapeutic Equestrian Riding Association of Niagara, a non-profit, charitable organization founded in the early 1990s. This welcoming haven offers agricultural-based therapeutic and wellness programs in the Niagara Region, specializing in therapy, education, and recreation. 

icanter farm stay

Nestled on 87 acres of diverse landscapes including farmland, grassland, wetlands, trails, and forest, I CAN-T.E.R. offers an idyllic farm stay and nature retreat.

Despite being just a short drive from the quaint towns of Ridgeway and Crystal Beach, the only sounds you’ll hear are the songs of birds, the gentle sounds of horses and chickens, the buzz of crickets, and the soothing flow of the creek.

Our stay at I CAN-T.E.R. came at a much-needed time in our lives when we desperately needed a staycation “away from it all.” This unique property provided exactly that. But there’s more to this place than just a place to stay!

Join me as we explore why I CAN-T.E.R. should be on your list if you’re seeking a serene and nature-filled getaway.

Thank you to I CAN-T.E.R. for hosting our stay!

Farm Stay Accommodations at I CAN-T.E.R.

This time, we chose to stay in the Barn View Cottage, which offers a charming view of the farm and is right across from the chickens. The cottage comes with a king-sized bed, refrigerator, microwave, cooktop, kettle, outdoor kitchen, firepit, water cooler, and potable water—everything you need to feel right at home. We especially loved the covered porch that faces the trees, making it a perfect spot for birdwatching. 

You can also choose the Creek Side Cabin for a serene and secluded getaway by the creek. This off-grid cabin is powered by solar energy, providing lighting and USB charging. Enjoy BBQing on your deck or over a fire, and in colder months, warm up with hearty stew on the wood stove. Designed for year-round comfort, the cozy cabin features a queen bed, futon, and additional space for a tent.

Nestled near the serene wetlands and scenic trails, the Eco-Friendly Family Camp Site is an ideal choice for families seeking privacy and their own dedicated space. This off-grid haven provides solar lighting, USB charging, and a portable toilet. The tranquil setting is perfect for family gatherings or groups of friends wanting to relax and unwind in a peaceful atmosphere.

Farm Stay Experience 

We arrived and were warmly greeted by Karen, the Executive Director at I CAN-T.E.R. Her friendly smile and engaging personality instantly conveyed her passion for the property and its activities. We were shown to our cottage, an adorable green building repurposed from the 1990s into a cozy retreat perfect for unwinding. Plus, it even comes with a golf cart to get around the property!

Karen took us to the wonderfully secluded Creek Side Cabin area – a place Dana and I said we’d stay at on our next visit. The privacy and tranquility here are amazing—you truly feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. Imagine snuggling up inside with the wood stove burning in winter or being surrounded by autumn leaves and having a campfire in the fall – the perfect setting for a relaxing time away!

We enjoyed a quiet night on the patio surrounded by fireflies lighting up the treeline and bushes around us – truly a memorable experience.

The next morning, we met Karen in the sunshine, who took us on a golf cart tour of the property and introduced us to the horses. Horses have a special, healing presence, and the gentle beings at I CAN-T.E.R. are perfect as camp ponies and teachers.

We explored the barn, outdoor classroom, indoor teaching spaces for kids, the greenhouse, expansive garden, indoor arena, and the “green mile” between the horse paddocks on our way to the nature trails and eco-friendly campsite. As Karen took us through the trails, we ended up at the stunning wetlands, a haven for various bird species.

Why you should stay at I CAN-T.E.R.

It’s been ages since we had the chance to camp or enjoy the great outdoors like this! The perfect mix of comfort and rustic charm gave us the chance to reconnect with nature. There’s something truly grounding about being surrounded by trees, water, wildlife, and plants that instantly lowers your blood pressure.

You have the freedom to spend your time as you wish—walk the trails, visit the wetlands, have a campfire, or simply relax with a book. I CAN-T.E.R. is just 10 minutes from Crystal Beach, which offers plenty of dining options and charming boutique shops. It’s a fantastic spot if you want to camp in a tent with privacy and peace and quiet.

A cafe in Crystal Beach

When you stay at I CAN-T.E.R., you support a wonderful cause. You’ll learn about nature, the farm animals, and the various programs, realizing it’s a special place dedicated to everyone’s growth.

Programs at I CAN-T.E.R.

When I CAN-T.E.R. was established, the vision was clear: to create a place where individuals facing challenges could flourish. The farm’s animals, forests, creeks, wetlands, and gardens form the foundation of a highly interactive experience for everyone who comes.

Therapy programs at I CAN-T.E.R. include equine-assisted wellness and learning, therapeutic riding, mini driving programs, and speech and wellness services. Integrating horses into these programs boosts confidence, coordination, and communication skills among participants.

Educational programs include the long-standing Ministry-Approved Agricultural Apprenticeship Program for becoming a Horse Groom which help individuals build skills they need to work in the equine industry.

And of course, day camp programs, birthday parties, arts programs, day visits, and the farm stay all make up the recreational aspect at I CAN-T.E.R.

On top of all this, there are flourishing gardens, wetlands and forests creating habitats for a variety of species, and an ongoing pursuit of how to make life at  I CAN-T.E.R. more and more sustainable. The amount of work Karen has put into applying for grants and developing partnerships with neighbouring towns and communities is outstanding!

Things to keep in mind

  • Bring food that’s easy to prepare. We brought burgers Dana cooked at home to minimze any cleanup.
  • There is no running water as of yet, but Karen is working on a grant for washrooms! Sanitizer is readily available.
  • Bring slides or slippers to wear in your cabin or cottage.
  • As with any outdoor or nature experience, plan to bring bug spray during the warmer months.
  • There are books and board games available, if you didn’t pack your own!
  • Minimum booking is two nights.

I’ve only just begun to explore everything this place has to offer, so you really need to see it for yourself! If you’re looking for a serene retreat in nature that’s also close to the beach, shops, and restaurants, think about staying at I CAN-T.E.R.

Book your Farm Stay at I CAN-T.E.R.
Address: 1234 House Rd, Ridgeway L0S 1N0

i can-t.e.r.
i can-t.e.r.

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