Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

You’re planning a motorcycle tour in Ontario and there’s lots in store: diverse scenery from region to region, sprawling terrain and some of the most stunning sunsets you’ll see. The days will be long, in the best of ways, and when you’re done riding for the day, you’ll want to relax. There’s no reason not to do that in a clean, comfortable, way. One that will have you well-fed and well rested for the days ahead.

Whether it’s your first tour or your thirtieth, you can rest assured that there’s an Ontario resort (or a few of them) that’ll suit your motorcycling—and other—needs. The best of both worlds is possible with rugged days out on the road, delicious meals and high-quality accommodations. Here are some recommendations.

 

FOR RIDING THE HIGHLANDS LOOP 

The Highlands Loop is a must-ride; so much so that you’ll hear it called “the ultimate motorcycle playground.” You’ll want to budget three days for this tour, as there are many stops to make along the way as you travel through small towns; there’s Algonquin and Bon Echo parks, caves, museums and a couple of breweries. From artisan bread at The River Bakery and Patio in Tamworth, to locally roasted coffee or homemade gelato at The Little Coffee Shop & The Scoop in Cobden, to traditional taverns and chip trucks (Wilno’s, Charlie D.’s) there’s something for all, no matter what your tastes are. Resorts along the route include:

Calabogie Peaks Resort – Calabogie, ON 

Ride the uncrowded Ottawa Valley and stop—in a motorcycle-reserved parking spot—at this country boutique hotel. A staging area for the late-summer Calabogie Boogie Trail Ride, this resort offers some well-deserved comfort after a long ride, including a health club, hot tub and swimming pool. Nearby riding is full of elevation changes and S-turns, winding you through the stunning scenery.

 

Sir Sam’s Inn & WaterSpa – Eagle Lake, ON

 This inn comes complete with an on-site spa, the perfect antidote for your ride. Top-quality food, tennis courts, a huge hot tub, and nightly bonfires. The owner himself rides, so won’t be thrown by the state you might arrive in (or your gear), and has a particular interest in making upscale accommodations available to those taking in the area on two wheels.

 

Blue Spruce Resort – Dwight, ON

 Let the winding roads lead you to the Blue Spruce Resort, a tasteful option in Muskoka, with cottage and motel options available. Blue Spruce is located on Oxtongue Lake—offering swimming, boating and calming views. Laundry facilities are available, so you can plan to pack less, and full-housekeeping services are included.

 

Spectacle Lake Lodge – Barry’s Bay, ON

Tour the Madawaska Valley and make the rustic Spectacle Lake Lodge your short-term home with a stay in the lodge or cottages. Spectacle Lake welcomes sledders and ATVers in the winter, and motorcycle riders in the summer, ensuring a good night’s sleep and full belly is part of your trip. The Friday night buffet is not to be missed—plan your travel dates accordingly.

 

Pinestone Resort & Conference Centre – Haliburton, ON

 A short drive from the more active areas of Haliburton, this golf and spa resort is a spot of bliss in the wilderness. The resort features high-end rooms, with a Jacuzzi option, and amenities such as pools, a fitness centre and a business centre. After a long day on the road, you deserve luxury like this.

 

Heather Lodge – Minden, ON

 This motorcycle-friendly lodge has been in business since 1942 (with many upgrades made over the years!) is a charming and elegant family-run business, dedicated to offering the comforts of home while you’re on the road. Contemporary dining by the Twelve Mile Lake includes a local wine list, and top-notch cuisine. With only 24 guests at any given time—when fully booked—you can count on a peaceful stay.

 

Port Cunnington Lodge and Resort – Dwight, ON

 First off, there’s a private parking lot. Motorcycle washing facilities are available upon request, and you’re right by the Lake of Bays in Muskoka and many scenic roads en route. Smaller and larger accomodations are available, depending on the size of your group. To top it all off, both managers are motorcycle enthusiasts and will be able to share their knowledge of the area on two wheels.

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FOR RIDING THE GEORGIAN BAY COASTAL ROUTE

Touted as “the road less travelled,” this route around Georgian Bay offers welcoming locals, clear blue waters, and a high likelihood of meeting other friendly riders at your various stops. Scenic and unique, with gift shops boasting local crafts and delicious cuisine—take your pick of the many pubs, grills, fine dining and, of course, fish ‘n’ chips spots. Resorts along or near to this route include:

Christie’s Mill Inn & Spa – Port Severn, ON

 Three meals a day surrounded by beautiful woods in a waterfront dining room, the Avalon Spa—a relaxation-focussed facility with registered massage therapists appointments available, and clean guest suites with HD TVs and wifi are only a few of the reasons to stay at this country inn. Enjoy a ride through Muskoka, and start and end your days with the conveniences of home also available to you.

 Blue Mountain — The Blue Mountains, ON

 Just outside of Collingwood, this mountain village resort is known primarily as a ski resort. But, its summer offerings are not to be missed, especially if you’re out riding in the Georgian Bay area. Blue Mountain offers the best of all worlds: proximity to nature and great riding, nightlife and events, casual and fine dining and shops all within the resort area. Beaches, caving, wine-tasting—it’s easy to turn your motorcycle trip into a multi-activity trip here.

Killarney Lodge – Algonquin Park, ON

 On the north shore of Georgian Bay, here’s a spot where moose-sightings are as much a given as fine country dining. Waterfront cabins situated within Algonquin Park, on the Lake of Two Rivers, offer tranquility at the end of the day, but you’re still close to the road for when it’s time to head out again.

 Killarney Mountain Lodge – Killarney, ON

 This wilderness resort offers it all: fishing, dining, a pool and sauna, even boat and sailing cruises are offered. Stay in a cabin, lodge or chalet as part of what the resort calls “your wilderness therapy.” Having gone through a huge revitalization only a couple summers ago, this is a one-of-a-kind accommodation option after days spent riding by pristine blue waters and sloping red granite rocks.

 Sportsman’s Inn – Killarney, ON

 Ride Highway 637, or whichever way you arrive, to Killarney and stop at Sportsman’s Inn for space, comfort and gorgeous views of the North Channel. The La Cloche Mountains and pink granite rock are some of the scenic highlights, making the sometimes-bumpy roads well worthwhile. Fine dining, a dockside patio (with live entertainment on Saturday nights) and a pub option should keep you fueled and satisfied. It’s entirely appropriate to have high expectations here.

 

MORE MOTORCYCLE-FRIENDLY RESORTS

If you’re travelling to or within Ontario for good riding, there are many routes you might find yourself taking. There’s good riding throughout the province, and many upscale places to stay that are close to good riding. Here are some of our favourites:

Elk Lake Eco Centre – Elk Lake, ON

 This spot is a premiere, one-of-a-kind facility. The Boreal Forest backdrop is not surprisingly a pick for many weddings and high-end retreats. Local food is served on-site and a chalet option is also possible. This is a good choice to accompany the The Temiskaming Loop Tour.

Golden Beach Resort – Roseneath, ON

 This gated, family-oriented resort on Rice Lake in Northumberland County comes up in many an online recommendation for motorcycle-friendly resorts. Covered parking comes along with your stay, whether that’s in a condo or campsite. There’s a licensed restaurant on-site, sports facilities, and an in-ground swimming pool and hot tub to take advantage of.

Saucy Willow Inn – Coboconk, ON

 A great choice for the full bike season, this spot offers cottages and a B&B and off-road parking. A fine place to rest after riding through Kawartha Lakes or Halliburton Highlands.

Bayview Wildwood Resort – Severn Bridge, ON

This resort has graced the village of Port Stanton for over 100 years. The upscale casual dining room overlooks Sparrow Lake, and suites, resort rooms and waterfront cottages are available options for your stay. Music festivals, farmer’s markets, concerts and sports events are all area staples—don’t miss out on a fishing excursion during your stay. Our pick for when riding the Big Loop/Explorer’s Edge.

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Tales of a Food Writer – Lynn Ogryzlo

As Ontario’s Local Food Ambassador I’ve travelled the province uncovering its hidden treasures from amazing resorts to charming country villages and mouthwatering food festivals. In between I have savoured toasted garlic fudge a the Perth Garlic Festival, enjoyed a romantic field dinner at Cross Wind Farms and chowed down on the sloppiest, juiciest ribs at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market – oh yum.

I discovered Ontario’s most delicious food in the most unlikely places. Travel through Hensall, the bean capital for amazing cassoulet, Perth County the pork capital and home of the Bacon and Ale Trail or the dairy capital, Oxford County and savour your way through the Cheese Trail. I also discovered many resorts that excel at making Ontario food a focus for what they do best.

In Oxford County, Elm Hurst Inn’s executive chef Michael Davies takes his cheese very seriously. I used this historic inn as a base to visit as many stops along the Cheese Trail as I could. At the inn, try Michael’s all-local cheese platter or enjoy one of his cheesy features such as the delicious cheddar soup.  What a great time you’ll have!

Blue Mountain Resort is the centre of Ontario’s apple production and also home to the Apple Pie Trail. The Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood is at the beginning of the Trail and is a great place to take advantage of everything apple pie from the different  stops along the way. Then when you’ve over indulged (as I did), have fun working it off with many of their 4-season outdoor activities, it’s great for the whole family. When you leave, don’t forget to buy a bushel of farm fresh apples to continue your apple love affair.

One of my favourite culinary destinations, the Millcroft Inn & Spa was once a knitting mill providing yarn and blanket. Executive Chef James Buder crafts delicious dishes from fresh, organic and natural foods that are available to him throughout the fertile and unspoiled Hills of Headwaters. Bring a good pair of hiking boots because the tranquility of this place along with Buder’s cuisine will captivate you.

The Hills of Headwaters, or Headwaters as the locals call it, is quintessential Ontario equestrian country with rambling ranches and graceful horses. It’s also a delicious rural landscape with farmers the likes of Amaranth Springs, Besley Farms and Hockley Valley Resort growing amazing food. At Hockley Valley they have a 4-acre vegetable garden providing over 80% of the vegetables for Restaurant 85 and Cabin. Some of it is preserved to enjoy year round. What a refreshing experience to bask in the authentic flavours of the summer when you’re dining in January or February.

You’ll find more gardens at Briars Resort and Spa. Executive Chef Trevor Ledlie plans his menus a year in advance. It’s a great culinary collaboration between Inn owners and a chef who knows it takes as much time to nurture a tiny seedling into a fully mature plant as it does to simmer the ingredients into a luscious meal for his guests in the Briars’ dining rooms. Foods this fresh are thrilling on the palate.

When I was at the Westwind Inn I remember sitting in a large Adirondack chair watching a herd of deer pass through the forest. The Inn is as peaceful and remote a place as any in the heart of Ontario. The owners forage the wilderness around them for wild fiddleheads, leeks, morel mushrooms, edible flowers and more. You can try asking for  their favourite picking  spots but it’s like asking a fisherman for his favourite fishing hole – they’ll never tell. I’m told it I sat in the chair long enough, I might catch a glimpse of a flock of wild turkey, or perhaps even a moose. At Westwind you are allowed to shoot them, but only with a camera!

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As I blogged about yesterday, this week we are fortunate to have Jennifer from Breakfast Television Toronto coming up north from the big city to some resorts this week. After her stay at Couples Resort on Sunday night for the broadcast on Monday morning, she moved on to Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville. With the increasingly hot temperatures this week, BT did a great job of showing off beautiful Peninsula Lake as the perfect way to cool off.

Chef Rory Golden was on hand to show some of his culinary creations preparing a delicious looking arctic char with a maple sauce. Deerhurst produces their own maple syrup from their 800 maple trees on site. In addition they grow their own herbs and spices as well as having bee hives for honey.

New at Deerhurst is the one the lake water park “Splash Zone,” which is the perfect way to cool off. They also have the adventure activities on site such as hummer tours through the beautiful Muskoka landscape. In the winter there is skiing, snowmobiling, golfing on one of their two courses etc. Of course there are also the relaxing activities such as the spa treatments available through Deerhurst Shizen Spa.

Deerhurst is a beautiful all season resort and we encourage you to come on up to experience all the Deerhurst and Muskoka has to offer.

Part 1 http://video.citytv.com/video/detail/1065547769001.000000/deerhurst-resort-pt1of2/

Part 2 http://video.citytv.com/video/detail/1065628630001.000000/deerhurst-resort-pt2of2/

 

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… and head out on the water canoeing or kayaking.

With the scorching hot temperatures we have been having lately, I thought I would share at least one great way to cool off; by paddling around the lake.

Ontario is home to over 250,000 freshwater lakes and the majority of our resort partners are situated on some of these bodies of water. This gives new and returning guests the perfect opportunity to try your hand at manoeuvering either of these types of watercraft.  

Before you head out on the water there are a few things you should consider.

  1. First is always wear a life jacket. Even the most advanced swimmers, canoers and kayakers will tell you this is a must. Paddling can be unpredictable at times so safety and respect for the water need to be on the front of mind.
  2. Make sure the paddle you are using is the correct size for your body. Using a paddle that is too long or short, will make paddling more of an exercise than it needs to be. This is especially important if you plan on going for a long distance. Muscle fatigue can occur quickly and you don’t want to be too far from your original destination that you can’t make the return trip. It’s also worth noting that unless you paddle every day, you’ll be using muscles you don’t normally use.
  3. Notify someone of your planned route. This way if you don’t return within a reasonable time, there is someone on shore that knows to go looking for you.
  4. If you aren’t sure how to use a kayak or canoe, ask for help. Any fellow paddler I have ever met has always been friendly and open to sharing tips and even experiences. They can tell you areas that are safe and spots to avoid.
  5. Wear sunscreen. While the water may seem cooler, it also reflects the UV rays making it easy to develop a painful sunburn while on the water.

These are just some of the guidelines to keep and mind and it is always important to ask questions. Afterall when you are staying at a resort the owners and staff want to make sure you make the most of your experience. For more information check out our partners Algonquin Outfitters and The Portage Store for tips and information.

Cedar Grove LodgeThe first paddling experience I can remember was with my mom. She took me paddling around an island in an older style, (slightly leaky,) canoe. It was on Otter Lake outside of Parry Sound. As we paddled around close to shore, my mom pointed out a big snapping turtle in just a foot of water. It might have looked bigger because I was so young but I would swear it was as large 2 – 3 feet around (Or as my mom put it, as big as our deck table.) The trip was ended with my mom splashing me and of course me returning the favour. (Paddles are great for throwing some water around.)Bonnie View Inn at sundown

While it is a nice way to cool off during the heat of the day, heading out in the morning or evening offers different rewards. Many lakes from Central Ontario to the far north experience morning fog or mist which burns off when the sun comes out. Paddling through the mist presents possibly the most relaxing feeling in the world. If you are out early enough, you’ll feel as if time stands still. Provided there is no wind (which I find for whatever reason is more often the case ,) the waters are so calm it’s like paddling across glass. It is usually silent exception for the sounds of nature, there are rarely any boaters out except for maybe a few fishermen and the loons are active. When out on early morning paddles, I have been welcomed by the haunting call of a loon after it popped up right beside my canoe. Paddling in the evening is again a great experience, in part because once again the fishermen and canoers reclaim the lake from the heavier boat traffic. Paddling as the sun starts to set is an amazing experience. If you time your trip right, you’ll be able to capture the reflection of the different hues stretching across the sky. Just be careful not to be out too late as it can be hard to see your way back when the sun goes down.

Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to paddle many different lakes in Ontario. Being in a canoe or kayak gives you access to areas of lakes and rivers that boaters can’t get to. You can also move in closer to shore without much worry about bottoming out your boat. It’s a great way to get stunning photography of natural landscapes, cool off, relax or burn calories. To view some resorts with great canoeing or kayaking click here.

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School’s out for another summer and that means you are likely trying to figure out what to do with the kids. In an earlier post I mentioned some of the resorts that offer children’s programs but there are also resorts that let you plan your own days events. Our cottage resorts are a great option for reconnecting with your family, with the natural surroundings and are conducive to having fun. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome and realize this could be the start of an annual tradition.

Bondi Village Cottage Resort

Kayaking on Lake of Bays at Bondi

At Bondi Resort in Dwight they are welcoming guests back this week for their 50th summer! Over the years the family has grown and they are now at the point of taking over the resort when they come. Bondi offers a little bit of everything from swimming in the lake, a frisbee golf course, several kilometers of hiking trails, wolf calling, star-gazing and so much more. The team at Bondi knows what it takes to make a vacation memorable and keeping their guests coming back year after year.

Looking to catch the “big one?” They look no further than Beauview Cottage Resort. In owner Gord’s latest blog post, he shares a picture of some young gentlemen showing off their catch. Speaking from experience, the first bass a young boy catches is the one he will remember for the rest of his life… not to mention it’ll have them hooked on fishing. Beauview also added to their water toys this year with a “Moonwalk” connecting the “Iceberg” to the Water trampoline. At the end of the day, you can soak in a private hot tub or sit under the stars next to a campfire.

The 4 season Sandy Lane Resort in Haliburton is another great option for those looking for a kid friendly atmosphere. The cottages surround a beautiful park like setting on the shore of Halls Lake. Sandy Lane is ideal for all types of activities and your kids will love playing on their playground equipment, swimming in the lake, or just going out for a relaxing and calm paddle on the water.

Heading east towards Ottawa? Then you’ll want to stay Perth’s “Ultimate Family Resort on the Lake,” McCreary’s Beach, which is only 10 minutes out-of-town and only 45 minutes to the nation’s capital city, Ottawa. Pick between staying in one of their charming cottages or condos and enjoy the tranquil setting as you look out onto Mississippi Lake. During your stay, you’ll enjoy use of their Fun Zone, entertainment complex, arcade, tennis courts and so much more.

Whether you are looking to go to the near north, towards Lake Huron in the west, or east of Toronto, there are spectacular cottage resorts available. Visit the cottage resort section of our website and start planning your new summer tradition of experience cottage resorts in Ontario.

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Laura McLean1Need a perfect getaway with your kids this summer. Resorts of Ontario can help and in fact, our resorts excel at providing a superior family oriented experience. We specialize in the family experiences by providing kids programs specific to age group. You can rest easy knowing that your child is being cared for by trained staff whose job is to make sure all the kids are having fun. And while your kid is off on daily adventures, you can go for some of your own fun or relaxation by taking in a game of golf, treating yourself to a favourite (or newly discovered) spa treatment, or just sitting in quiet area of the natural Ontario resort settings.

Some of the activities your child(ren) will enjoy at our resorts are mountain biking clinics, golf clinics, learning to fish, wakeboarding and waterskiing, tubing, playing games and more. While each resort is different the bottom line is having fun. At Blue Mountain their KidsRosa program, will keep your little one smiling all day with their different themed adventure days, plunges in their pools and even tennis clinics. Kids Korral at Horseshoe Resort, will take your kids through the discovery of something new each day by teaching different activities and skill levels based on the age group your child fits into. Cleveland’s House Resort’s – Cleve’s Kids Club offers “Ontario’s largest and most extensive children’s program.” Here your kids have an emphasis on fun and learning in a safe environment up to 18 years old. At Cleveland’s House, they also have programs to get the whole family involved with their talent shows, amazing family race nights, bon fire nights and more. At Fern Resort, your family will have so many fond memories that you’ll be looking forward to your return visit. Whether you go for the kids programs, the entertainment, dance parties to cooking classes they offer something for everyone. The VIK Club (Very Important Kids Club) at the Delawana Inn, Spa and Conference Resort is a supervised day camp for children ages 3-12 and includes arts and crafts, rock climbing, land sports and water activities, and more. There are several resorts that offer children’s programs and I encourage you to visit the family resorts section of our website.

As the day winds down, you can catch up with your kids on their fun-filled day over some of the fantastic meals prepared by the resort chefs. Don’t worry, the chefs still have kids in mind and prepare meals for the palates of youth and adults alike with a variety of menu options to choose from. When you have finished your meal, relax and sit back for some of the nightly entertainment provide which includes everything from water skiing shows, family friendly comedians and shows and even outdoor movies.

There is still lots of time left in the summer, so pack the car and come on up to our place for your great family friendly adventure.

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Surfing in Muskoka? Really? That’s exactly what I thought when I first heard about this awesome new activity being offered at Colonial Bay Cottage Resort this summer. Sure enough it’s true and if you haven’t yet seen this activity take a look at this video to see what you and your friends and family could be doing this summer on Lake of Bays.

If surfing isn’t your cup of tea, Colonial Bay has much more to offer their guests. Located on the outskirts of Huntsville, it is conveniently located down the road from Algonquin Park and several other hiking/biking trails that are located off of Hwy 60. There is boating, canoeing and kayaking on the great freshwater.  In Northern Muskoka area, there is an abundance of wildlife including black bears, moose, deer, beavers, and even the occasional howl of the wolves. It truly is a nature lovers (and photographers)  paradise and a perfect holiday vacation spot.

Of course you don’t have to leave Colonial Bay at all to find great photography, fun in the sun and let’s not forget that it’s great way to spend a day relaxing on the shores of Lake of Bays. For more great information on Colonial Bay and what they have going on this summer, visit their blog at http://colonial-bay-ontario-cottages.blogspot.com/.

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