Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

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!

1 garden

Read Full Post »

Resorts of Ontario is pleased to announce that 3 of our current resort members have been selected as readers choice winners through the Toronto Sun. Nottawasaga Resort in Alliston Ontario won the top honour with the Gold award for favourite Ontario resort. Silver went to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara falls and the bronze went to Blue Mountain Resort near Collingwood. Nottawasaga Resort also secured the gold award in the category of favourite recreational hockey arena and bronze for restaurant with a view.

It’s no surprise to us that some of our resorts took this honour but if you aren’t familiar with the terrific resorting experiences Ontario has to offer, we encourage you to come on up to our place for your next getaway. With activities like a year round indoor hockey rink at Nottawasaga, fantastic activities like skiing and the new Ridge Runner roller coaster at Blue Mountain and the ever fun water park at Great Wolf Lodge; you’ll leave with new memories as a reminder of the fun you can have when you visit an Ontario Resort.

Read Full Post »

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/

 

Read Full Post »

A look at some of the downhill ski runs at HorseshoeSkiing/Snowboarding in resort country is a fantastic way to escape the winter blahs and feel the rush of setting off down hill through groomed trails and fresh powder. Being a fairly new snowboarder, I have certainly been excited with the early and massive accumulations of fresh snow this winter at the different  Ontario ski resorts. Depending on the area you are looking to travel to there are many options to get out and try this activity.

For central Ontario, Blue Mountain Resort near Collingwood is an excellent choice for those looking to get that Ski Village feel offered out west. The village offers a variety of restaurants and nightlife opportunities to keep your energy pumping long after you have left the hills for the day. The resort offers an outdoor heated pool which is always fun on a winter’s day. Horseshoe Resort outside of Barrie and Orillia has been working hard at updating their Terrain Park and is a great place with options of staying at Horseshoe or Carriage Ridge Resort. Further down the road is Mount. St. Louis Moonstone which is just a quick drive from Christie’s Mill Inn and Spa and Muskey’s Landing.

 

In the Haliburton Region Sir Sam’s Skiing offers 12 trails of great fun and with Sir Sam’s Inn and WaterSpa located near the base of the hill, you can stay in comfort and give your muscles some much-needed relaxation through hydro therapy. Also nearby is Pinestone Resort, Sandy Lane Resort, Bonnie View Inn and Halimar Resort all offering their own comfortable accommodations and winter fun activities.

 

For those visiting the Ottawa area Calabogie Peaks Resort offers the convenience of 23 runs at the resort. For those looking to take in the Capital, you can also book ski packages through Brookstreet Hotel and have the best of skiing and history while staying at a great hotel.

 

Muskoka is often thought of as a summer destination for the pristine lakes but those that have visited the area in winter know that Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area is a great place to get out an enjoy some downhill fun. With it’s longest run being 580 meters (1902 ft.) there is a great opportunity to explore and have fun on the slopes for a day. There are many resorts to stay at in Muskoka that are just a short drive to the ski hill including Deerhurst Resort, Beauview Cottages, Cedar Grove Lodge, Bondi Cottage Resort plus many others.

 

If you are in the Greater Toronto Area and don’t want to venture far, Hockley Valley Resort is just a quick 45 minute drive north. With 15 runs, both an upper and lower level terrain park and state of the art snow making, there is a long season ahead for those looking to take advantage of the convenience Hockley Valley offers.

 

Regardless of which part of Ontario you are looking to visit, skiing and snowboarding gives you a great way to get out and experience an adrenaline packed sport that is fun for first timers and lifetime skiers. While you might be intimidated to try this out, each of the ski areas mentioned offers lessons to help you get the hang of it, which at the end of the day makes the hills that much more enjoyable. Come on up to our place for great skiing.

Read Full Post »

Ontario Resorts are heralding the arrival of winter and with it, the tremendous offerings of outdoor activities. While everyone might have a favourite season, there is something truly magical about the arrival of snow which makes Ontario a winter wonderland. The way the ice forms on the granite of the Canadian Shield, the evergreen boughs hanging lower with branches full of snow, the ice forming out on the lakes; it all gives the beautiful Ontario Landscape a whole new look and feel. The white gold as we call it, has blanketed Resort Country. To help welcome the winter season back, Resorts of Ontario has added some special winter packages from a select few resorts and wanted to provide you with a little more information on what makes these resorts so great for winter getaways.

Bondi Village DeerRight on the edge of Algonquin Park and just outside of Huntsville in the Muskoka Region, sits Bondi Village Resort. Set on 600 acres of land on the shores of Lake of Bays, this cottage resort specializes in offering the perfect winter wonderland getaways. While staying at Bondi, you have access to 20km of groomed cross-country ski trails, hike or snowshoe in the park or on the trails through their property, or arrange a dog sledding or sleigh ride. There is skiing right down the road at Hidden Valley ski hill or winter tubing at Rock Ride hill in Huntsville. Plus once the lake freezes over you can strap on your skates to make use of the natural ice rink. Of course another great activity available at Bondi Village is the opportunities for wildlife viewing and they frequently report seeing deer spending time at their property, have stop overs from the many species of birds and occasionally hear the call of the wild from owls and wolves. With 13 cottages to choose from, you can be sure that your vacation will be everything you wanted and more. Bondi Village has two special offers that you can view here.

Welcoming guests for 110 years is Bayview Wildwood Family Resort in the village of Port Stanton (just a quick 15 minutes north ofSnow Shoeing at Bayview Wildwood Orillia.) Most of its rooms provide stunning views of Sparrow Lake in South Muskoka. Bayview Wildwood certainly offers something for everyone whether it be a family vacations, romantic getaways, a wedding or corporate retreat. Some of their incredible winter activities include the free ice skating on the lake, Cross Country Skiing, snowshoeing and Tobogganing.  For the adrenaline junkie, they also offer the chance to head out for an hour snowmobile safari tour with one of their guides. Being only an hour and a half from Toronto, Bayview is easily accessible to travelers from all over and for those looking to head out on the slopes as part of your vacation, consider skiing at nearby Horseshoe Resort.  Bayview Wildwood has a couple special promotions on now that you can view here.

For a luxury 4 star cottage experience; look no further than Pine Vista Resort in the Kawarthas. Overlooking beautiful Stoney Lake, Pine Vista offers traditional cottages, as well as deluxe and superior accommodations. Winter at Pine Vista offers unique pristine white landscapes and a wide array of recreational activities. For the romantic in you, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride followed by a warming cup of hot chocolate while you sit next to your wood burning fireplace. There is also the tradition of skating on the lake. Whether vacationing as a couple of with the kids, you can also enjoy the use of their toboggans and hill. Strap on a pair of skis or snowshoes and head out on their 8km nature trail. Or just take the time to truly unwind while soaking in the hot tub. Pine Vista has different packages which will provide you with exactly the vacation you need and you can view a sample of those packages here. Ice Skating at Pine Vista Resort

With the recent snowfalls for much of Ontario, now is the perfect time to start planning your winter getaway. Resorts of Ontario is here to help and you can view resorts open this winter by clicking here or give us a call at 1-800-363-7227 and we can help you pick a resort that will match the vacation experience you are looking for. Come on up to Romance the Snow.

Read Full Post »

Practice makes perfectAfter yesterday’s extremely close Olympic Game which saw the men’s Olympic Team Canada beat Team USA 3-2 for the gold medal, it seems fitting to write about hockey and how Resorts of Ontario fits into the popular Canadian sport.

For well over a century Canadians have been playing ice hockey on frozen ponds and lakes and then indoors at arenas and now even on home-made backyard rinks. Boys and girls, men and women, Canadians all seem to take personal pride in picking up their sticks and heading out on the ice. People play for fun, practicing passing and stick handling, while others take it more seriously by playing in competitions.  

Bayview Wildwood Resort located on shores of Sparrow Lake south Muskoka plays host to the Taylor Cup pond hockey championship every year.  With the tournament being played on frozen Sparrow Lake, this is certainly an experience to behold. Benefits of the tournament go the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation and this year the tournament raised over $140,000.On the lit up rink

For a truly unique hockey experience look to Haliburton for Sandy Lane Resort which boasts pond hockey under the stars played on the lit up natural rink. With skates, sticks and pucks available for rent, Sandy Lane makes a great place to visit whether you have been playing your whole life or just trying it for the first time. Afterwards, warm up with a dip in the outdoor hot tub, an experience all is own.

In 2007 Nottawasaga Inn Resort , located just north of Toronto, opened its doors on its fully completed twin pad arena named “The Center Ice Sportsplex.” As they say on their website this area is “An ideal location for hockey tournaments, skills development, training camps, hockey schools, figure skating, team building and recreational skating.” Nottawasaga is the only resort in Ontario to offer a twin pad arena and it is free for guests staying at the resort. 

Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, played host to the 2010 Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships. With 24 rinks built on Sunset Bay this was definitely a tournament to see. Guests of the resort benefit from the tournaments long after the event has finished as the ice remains available for pick up hockey or an open skate and with rental equipment available in stock there is no reason to not get out on the ice.

Whether you have been playing hockey your whole life or just received inspiration to start now, there is no better place to try this game then at a resort on their natural or man-made rink. Come on up to our place and let’s play that good old hockey game.

Read Full Post »

Winter is a great season to get out and try a new hobby or activity. It might take a little inspiration and motivation, some warmer clothes and maybe the thought of a nice hot cup of cocoa for the end of your day but once you have ventured out, you’ll be glad you did.

With Vancouver playing host to the Winter Olympics there is certainly no lack of places to get inspiration from. You might feel intimidated to try a new winter activity but look at it this way, snow is usually soft and makes a great cushion should you happen to fall or just want to stop, relax and cool off – which is the great thing about getting out and trying something new during the winter months… it usually warms up your body quickly.

Take cross-country skiing for example, I had the fortunate opportunity to try it for the first time this past weekend at a resort in Muskoka; which was beautiful temperature wise I might add. Having never put on a pair of skis (cross-country or alpine) before, I was certainly a little intimidated however after starting out on a few practice trips up and down the groomed track I was ready to venture out on the full trail. 13.5 km later and I had improved on my form, gained some better balance and was less intimidated (although still walked my skis down the last hill which was lined with far too many trees for my skill level.) Did I fall…yes, but did I get hurt… no. Will I go cross-country skiing again? Yes definitely!

Resorts around Ontario offer countless winter activities for you to try. For a complete list of winter resorts visit http://www.resorts-ontario.com//search/?e=AS&fs=AS, or for our downloadable Romancing the Snow guide click http://www.resorts-ontario.com//about/GE2010-winter.pdf. Come on up and Romance the snow, you’ll be glad you did.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »