If you’re planning a trip to Ontario Kawartha Cottage Country you’re in for a treat, a cool, sitting by the lake, sipping white wine kind of treat. Toss in quiet country lanes, quaint towns, the newly renovated Viamede Resort – and all this can be “yours to explore” within a short two-hour drive north east of Toronto.
My sister and I were in desperate need of getaway, a girls’ only trip, sans husbands and kids. Both of us love Ontario Cottage Country and when an opportunity arose, thanks to Charming Media, to visit Viamede Resort on Stoney Lake, we jumped at the chance to flee the city. After experiencing a difficult and long winter, we were more than ready for a spring-time break and some sisterly bonding at one of Ontario’s top lakeside retreats in north Kawartha.
Viamede Resort is a sprawling affair, with numerous outlying cottages, centered around the original lodge and the newer HillTop suites, where we stayed during our visit. On site you’ll also find a spa cottage, the Inn at Mount Julian and 1886 – Viamede’s two très fine dining restaurants, a sweet little chapel, boathouse and pub, and a hog haven. The overall effect, as we entered from the car park, was zen-meets-rural-chic-meets-cottage country.
On our first full day at the resort we were lucky enough to snag a private tour with the very personable and enthusiastic, Ben Sämann, a young twenty?! thirty-year-old?! hotelier and the sole owner of this enormous property. After spending a short time with Ben it’s evident that he’s passionate, very capable and focused on his work in developing Viamede into a fantastic retreat for families, weddings, corporate breaks and of course girls’ getaways.
We enjoyed exploring the ponds, meadows and hiking trails, poking around the boathouse newly ready for the season’s kayaking and canoe crowd, and we especially loved our up close and personal introduction to Viamede’s porcine and canine population. Viamede has recently acquired a few purebred Tamworth pigs and a new dog ambassador named Toby. We hung out at the pig pen, a lovely enclosure nestled in the woods, watching the piggies eat the breakfast provided by Ben and then we played tag with Toby, a very cute golden retriever and newest member of Viamede’s pet population.
Another treat we discovered were the gourmet meals served in Viamede’s 1886 restaurant. We made sure to wake up early enough to belly up to the wonderful buffet breakfast served each morning. With a large selection of breads, fruits, cereals, farm fresh bacon (thankfully not sourced from our cute piggy buddies onsite), and yummy pancakes, it was the perfect start to each day.
For dinner, the wrap-around windows in the restaurant provided a beautiful view of the sun setting on the lake and the menu offers up some yummy gourmet treats. Best bets are the Streaky Mac n Cheese (bacon!), and the S’mores Mousse. My oh, my! The Inn at Mount Juilian restaurant wasn’t open during our early spring stay, but it’s now on my to-do list for my next visit to Viamede.
Our cottage country weekend wouldn’t have been complete without exploring Lakefield, a pretty little town located a short 20 minute drive from Viamede. We satisfied our antiques fix with a stop at all of Lakefield’s cute downtown shops and ended the afternoon with lattes and delicious butter tarts at the Nuttshell Next Door Café.
On our way back to Viamede we stumbled across the Lockside Trading Company, and it was definitely worth a visit! Nestled next to one of the Trent Severn’s Canal Locks, the trading company is housed in what was originally the lockmaster’s house on Lock 27 (built in the 1850’s). Lockside started out its life as an antique and gift shop but soon grew to become the largest country store in the Kawartha’s, offering up tons of art, crafts, artisan and antique furniture, canadiana, and food. During my visit, I fell in love with an enormous hand carved birch wood bed, unfortunately too big for my tiny urban home!
Back at the resort my sister and I ate more delicious food, chickened out on singing during Karaoke night at the Boat House Pub, and caught up on family gossip. Bliss. Our cottage country weekend was all about taking a relaxing break, getting sun kissed by Stoney Lake, licked by Toby our new favorite resort dog, and being completely spoiled at this wonderful resort.
Really. What more can you possibly ask for on a girlfriends’ getaway?