Ballast Lodge is in Johnson’s Mills, 9 km south of Dorchester, on the west side of the Rockport peninsula. Take Route 935 south from Dorchester, and go 1 kilometer further than the Shorebird Interpretive Centre. You can put “Ballast Lodge” into Google Maps and you’ll find us quite easily!

Whether you’re doing great as a couple, really struggling, or just feeling tired and disconnected, our marriage retreats will give you practical tools to move closer to each other, have guided conversations (just between the two of you) and experience joy in your relationship!

Our marriage retreats are ideal for couples who have been married for at least a year, but that’s not mandatory. Nor is it necessary for the couple to be in crisis. Whatever stage of married life you’re in, we would love to have you experience the growth and depth that our marriage retreats will take you into.

The Guest House is not accessible. It has several exterior steps and the bedrooms are upstairs.

The Cottage is on one level with an exterior ramp. However, it is not fully accessible by legal standards. The bedrooms, bathroom, and doorways are not large enough to accommodate a wheelchair, however is should be manageable for someone with reduced mobility. If you would like, we would be happy to remove area rugs before your arrival if that would improve your manageability.

There are many uneven areas outdoors, so we would advise caution and assistance if mobility is a concern for you.

As much as we all love our furry friends, we have made the decision to keep Ballast Lodge a pet-free facility. Registered service dogs are, of course, an exception to that policy, but we ask that you discuss this with us before your visit so we can go over some basic expectations.

Our Guest house has 2 queen-size beds, a single bed and a futon. We also have a folding bed and 2 camping cots (which would require you to bring sleeping bags). So if all of these options were used, with 2 people in the queen-size beds, the Guest House can accommodate up to 9 people. If no one wants to share a bed, the maximum number is 7.

Our Cottage has a queen-size bed, a double bed, a queen-size pull-out couch, and space to set up one cot. If you are sharing beds, we can fit up to 7 people in the Cottage. If you all want to sleep alone, you are limited to 5 people.

If you have a larger group and want to rent both houses, we have beds for 14 (sharing) or 10 (not sharing). And we are willing to have groups up to 20 if you want to bring your own air mattresses or set up a tent or two. Bear in mind that you may be able to find places for everyone to sleep, but we still have limited bathrooms and dining space.

We debated this on several occasions and ultimately decided that simplicity is the best approach for now. As such, we will not be providing meal service. However, there are two restaurant and meal service options in Dorchester including Dorchester Meals to Go and Village Square take-out.

There are several more restaurants and two grocery stores in Sackville. as well as a few restaurant options in Memramcook. Contact us if you need more details before you book. This information is also available in the information binder.

Please visit our lodge policies page for more details on what is included with your stay.

Yes and no. We (Pat and Anita) are Christians, and our faith is the reason Ballast Lodge exists. However, you do not need to share our faith in order to find rest and healing at Ballast Lodge. If you come from a different Christian denomination or a different religious (or non-religious) background altogether, you are completely welcome here. We want to be a place of respite and support for all. We promise not to be preachy, judgmental, or to force our beliefs upon you. You are here to get a break from the stresses of life and we do not want to compromise that!

However, you will find that many of the books available on our shelves are Biblically based (although there is a fairly wide variety of other books there as well). The information binders include a list of local churches and service times, including our own church, Main Street Baptist Church in Sackville. 

Certainly not. Our desire is for our guests to come here for rest, retreat and restoration. So, while we intend to operate as more than a vacation destination, we do not expect some minimum level of brokenness before you qualify to stay with us. Sabbatical should be a regular rhythm in a healthy, Christian life.

We are not professional counsellors, and are not equipped to provide this service ourselves. We would encourage you to find a therapist before your visit here, and ask them for some ‘homework’ that you can do while you are enjoying your retreat. You could also schedule some virtual visits with your therapist and attend those sessions from here!

Right from our sun porches, you’ll see blue jays, grey jays, chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers and more. On the property, we have seen owls, falcons and eagles. Come between mid-July and early-September to experience the shorebird migration, which takes place on the shorefront connected to our property.

Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing and Cycling
You can easily walk along the bay, either right on the (rocky) beach, the old road, or the new road right from our property. 
The Sackville Waterfowl Park has boardwalks and hiking paths.
The Tantramar Outdoor Club Trailhead is 20 minutes away for hiking and snowshoeing.
Rotary Park (Sain-Anselme Park) in Dieppe has single track mountain biking, hiking and cross country skiing.
The roads in our area are quiet and suitable for gravel bikes or hybrids. Serious bikers may use a road bike, if you are willing to dodge the occasional pothole. 

See this Facebook group about canoeing the Memramcook river.
Canoe Silver Lake in Sackville from Lillas Fawcett Park.

Head to Lower Rockport for a picnic or to explore the Fundy Biosphere.

Check out the Belliveau Orchard, Boudreau Meat Market, Sackville Farmers Market or the Dieppe Market.

Day trips
For those coming from further away, you can take a day trip to Hopewell Rocks (you’ll be able to see it across the bay, but it takes some time to drive there!), or take a day trip into PEI (Confederation Bridge is 1hr away)

Nearby is the Sackville Golf and Country Club, Royal Oak Golf Club and the Amherst Golf Club.

Extra Ballast Lodge Amenities
You are welcome to make use of the equipment in our Gymbrary. We have a treadmill, rowing machine, yoga equipment (including aerial yoga), dart board and small foosball table. We also have an assortment of outdoor games that you can borrow from the shed – axe-throwing, spikeball, ladder ball, bocce ball.

We operate using a ‘business as mission’ model. If you want some more details on what that means, check out this article.

Please contact us and we will work within your budget. We desire for Ballast Lodge to be accessible to those who need it.

We include all your bedding (except for sleeping bags if you need to use our camping cots). The bathrooms are equipped with towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair dryer, and the Guest House also has bubble bath. (Please do not use bath salts with the tub jets.) We also have some coloured beach towels and grey wash cloths to use if you bring back mud from the Bay. It really stains our white towels!

Both kitchens have dishes and cookware, an assortment of serving dishes and utensils, barbecue utensils, kitchen linens, dish soap, coffee, tea and sugar, as well as a few spices. The Guest House kitchen has a full oven/stove, fridge, separate freezer, dishwasher, microwave, coffee maker, toaster, and kettle. The Cottage kitchen does NOT have an oven, but it has a stove, toaster oven, microwave, fridge/freezer, coffee maker, toaster, and kettle. Each house has a barbecue.

If we have answered your questions and you’re ready to pay us a visit, click here to book your stay. Otherwise, if you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.