Posts Tagged ‘family’

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 »

Fall in Ontario is a feast for all your senses…breathtaking vistas emblazoned with fiery colours of crimsons, reds, golds and more… Indulge yourself at an Ontario resort or inn this Fall, where an amazing array of packages such as Fall Colour Packages, Reconnect Now…Just the two of you, Spontaneous Getaways and Thanksgiving Packages and celebrations can be enjoyed with those closest to you for just that special reason. Just a short drive away, often only three or four turns from where you are. For a taste of Fall, browse through our web site at http://www.resortsofontario.com

RoOBannersHotDealsAutmn

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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/.

Read Full Post »

If you live in Ontario, no doubt you heard about the massive snowstorm that hit Ontario’s cottage country late last week. It dumped well over a metre of snow! Ontario ski resorts are delighted with snow conditions which are expected to be excellent right through the holiday season. 

We corresponded with many ski resorts last month. All are offering competitive rates. Check here for overnight getaways that include skiing or snowboarding at Hockley Valley, Sir Sam’s, Blue Mountain, Hidden Valley, Horseshoe Resort, Mount St. Louis Moonstone and Calabogie Peaks. 

New Year's Eve party at Great Wolf Lodge

New Year's Eve party at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls

 

Many other Resorts of Ontario members sent us their Christmas and New Year’s Eve plans and we included these on previous posts. On a November 13th post,  you’ll find Christmas ideas and deals. On November 18th, we posted about resort family, food and spa ideas for the holidays. On the November 26th post, we turned our attention to what some of the resorts have planned for New Year’s Eve. And then last week’s post, we added more deals for New Year’s. You can also scroll down and find other resort getaways suitable for a holiday break on earlier posts. The holidays at the resorts include elaborate chef menus for Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve dinners, some great food and spa getaways for couples and lots of Christmas and New Year’s deals for families and couples at hotels, lodges, inns and cottage resorts across the province. 

outdoor ice hockey

The Taylor Cup competition – outdoor hockey at Bayview Wildwood Resort

 

Further ski, Christmas and New Year’s getaway deals can be found on the Resorts of Ontario website. Over one hundred resort members are linked to this site. They’re listed alphabetically. There’s also a search engine that will help you narrow down your resort choices by type, by Ontario region, by season and by activity. Click on winter, for example, and you’ll see you get more options to further narrow your search. Even pet owners can check which resorts are pet-friendly. A monthly resort newsletter is also on the site and it lists package deals too. To view or to sign up for it, check here

Safe and happy holidays everyone! 

small plane on skis at Elmhirst Resort, Ontario

Pontoons get changed for skis in winter at Elmhirst Resort

Read Full Post »

snowshoe tracks in the winter snow

Snowshoe tracks in Algonquin Park near Algonquin Log Cabin Lodge

As promised in last week’s post, we’ve got some great ideas for New Year’s Eve this week: a family New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls, elegant dining north of Toronto and in our nation’s capital and an Algonquin Park wilderness adventure complete with a log cabin lodge stay.

The Americana Conference Resort & Spa in Niagara Falls has “Family Spectacular” – non-stop New Year’s Eve fun for the whole family. It’s a big hit every year with an all-you-can-eat buffet and lots of entertainment like The Smudge Fundaes and the Zero Gravity Circus. More info here.

Wave pool at the Americana Resort in Niagara Falls

Water bucket and wave pool at the Americana in Niagara Falls

The Americana also has one- and two-night packages with the new Rink at the Brink. The one-night package includes tickets to the Rink at the Brink which is right by the falls, passes to Americana’s Waves Indoor Waterpark as well as your accommodation. Two night packages are the same except they’ve added a $50 meal voucher for the in-house restaurant and Waves snack bar.

Check out Tourism Niagara for more news on Rink at the Brink and other things to do in the Niagara region.

Christmas decorations at the Millcroft Inn and Spa

Holiday decorations at the Millcroft Inn and Spa

In the Caledon Hills, 45 minutes northwest of Toronto, the Millcroft Inn and Spa will ring in the new year with its “New Year’s Eve Gala Getaway”. You get two nights at the inn, a welcome reception on December 30th and then a three-course dinner from their a la carte menu. On December 31st there’s a Country Continental Breakfast Buffet, an Al fresco Lunch (on the Pinnacle or wedding garden, weather permitting).  The New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner has live entertainment with the Brenda Lewis Jazz Band, festive party favours and a champagne toast at midnight. January 1st starts with a light breakfast buffet. But if you sleep in, you can catch the New Year’s Day Brunch a little later.

Gratuities on food and beverages are included. This package starts at $299 CAD per person, per night (plus taxes, based on double occupancy and a two night stay, subject to availability). Valid December 30-31, 2009.

To get in touch with the Millcroft, call them at 1-800-383-3976 or check them out on the web. Also see the post we did on them last August and some comments about their food from last week.

couple dining at Brookstreet’s Perspectives Restaurant

Brookstreet’s four-diamond Perspectives Restaurant

The elegant Brookstreet Hotel might be the way to go in Ottawa. It has a seven course New Year’s Eve dinner planned. The food at Brookstreet is exceptional (CAA four-diamond rating for both hotel and restaurant) and the place has a real contemporary feel. You can get late night seating times for dinner priced at $149.95 per person and, if you decide t0 make a night of it, they’ll throw in a room for $99/double occupancy. Taxes and gratuities are extra. Personally, I have my eye on the 850 square foot Master Suite with Jacuzzi and balcony, but I haven’t called for a price on that yet. There are a lot of package options at this time of year, so check out the website for details and pricing.

Algonquin Log Cabin in winter near Algonquin Park, Ontario

The Algonquin Log Cabin

This next New Year’s Eve idea combines a log cabin stay in the Canadian wilderness with traditional Canadian winter activities. The place is Algonquin Log Cabin near Algonquin Park. Nothing beats a jump in the snow fresh out of this lodge’s wood-fired sauna! But hey, that’s just my opinion. If you want black dresses and high-heels on New Year’s Eve, you may prefer the Brookstreet or the Millcroft.

“Snowshoeing, Torch Lit Skating and Backcountry Skiing” are planned from December 31, 2009 to January 2, 2010 at Algonquin Log Cabin. This spectacular split log lodge with its huge fieldstone fireplace is on a lake bordering Algonquin. In winter, the park is a land of frozen lakes, waist-deep snow, and lots of crisp clear air.

Accommodation at the lodge is double occupancy with shared indoor washrooms, as well as a sauna and shower cabin. Group size is limited to 12 guests and two guides who prepare all the meals. After an invigorating day on the trail, it’s the perfect place to hang out. This New Year’s Eve getaway is priced at $475 per person. Add-on activities include ice fishing and dogsledding. Return transportation from Toronto is available for $175 per person. See the website for further details.

Read Full Post »

horse-drawn sleigh rides at Pine Vista Resort

Old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh rides at Pine Vista Resort

Last week, we blogged about the Idlewlyd Inn’s Dickens Dinner, Bayview Wildwood’s family Christmas plans, a Pillar and Post’s icewine lovers’ getaway and a Shamrock Lodge snowmobile package that’s close to OFSC trails.  This week’s post brings you holiday news from five more Resorts of Ontario: Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, the Little Inn of Bayfield on Lake Huron, Pine Vista Resort in the Kawarthas, The Briars on Lake Simcoe, and the Millcroft Inn in Caledon Hills.

water slide at Great Wolf Lodge

Santa and his elves on the water slide at Great Wolf Lodge

Holiday time in Niagara Falls is the season to combine waterslides and Niagara’s Winter Festival of Lights. From December 1-24 Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor waterpark resort, has tons of family things to do. There’s a gingerbread house so big you can eat in it. Santa pays a visit on December 5th. Family scavenger hunts and family dances will be held on Saturdays up to December 18th and Winter Friends Story Time is on every night at 8pm. Best of all, a one night stay gets you two days of water park play. Combine all of this with a visit to Niagara Falls’  Winter Festival of Lights and you’ve got yourself a great Niagara getaway. Great Wolf’ Lodge has a Winter Wonderland overnight that includes lunch in the Antler Shanty, one colour-you-own-craft for each child, 20 arcade tokens for each child and a 6X8 Thrill Pix photo and frame. Log on to the  Great Wolf Lodge website for rates and availability or call 1-888-878-1818.

ice hockey at Pine Vista Resort

A pickup game of hockey at Pine Vista

How about a bit of stargazing with your family in a big outdoor hot tub? You’ll find one at Pine Vista Resort. It’s on Stoney Lake in the Kawarthas, 90 minutes northeast of Toronto. Each of Pine Vista’s cottages and townhouses come with a fully equipped kitchen so you can cook your own Christmas turkey. They also  have jacuzzi tubs, TVs, DVD players, woodburning fireplaces and decks with BBQs. Over Christmas, a mini winter carnival is planned with face painting, movie nights, outdoor games, maple toffee-making, campfire, and crafts. There will be horse-drawn sleigh rides too, along with skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and  tobogganing. An indoor hot tub and games room are available and if a spa treatment sounds good, the resort can arrange that too. Affordable three-night Country Christmases are priced at $610 for a family of four or $505 a couple. To book, click here or call 1-800-634-2848.

Dancing Santa at The Briars Resort

Dancing Santa at The Briars

We visited The Briars earlier this year and blogged about its fascinating new history room. The resort is in Jackson’s Point,  Ontario’s first cottage country, an hour north of  Toronto. People used to travel to this little Lake Simcoe community from Toronto by radial railway (somehow that sounds incredibly civilized!). Two and three-night Christmas packages are available.  If you’re a crowd,  look into their lakeside family lodges. They sleep up to twelve comfortably. Highlights of a Briars holiday itinerary include a mulled cider welcome, an Irish Coffee party, a champagne breakfast followed by guided country walks or horse-drawn sleigh ride. They’ve even got a treat-making workshop for winter birdwatchers. On Christmas Eve, a festive buffet dinner with  live entertainment and a visit from Santa is planned. Christmas Day includes the resort’s annual snow golf tournament followed by a punch party and a Christmas feast with all the trimmings. There’s also an afternoon at the movies, and to work off all the food and drink, a fitness centre with indoor pool, sauna and  hot tub. Yoga lovers, don’t forget your mats!  There are yoga classes here too, along with a wonderful spa. To book, call 1-800-465-2376 or book online

Two more inns sent us their Christmas menus this week. Both have loyal food-loving fans:

The Little Inn of Bayfield, 45 minutes west of Stratford on Lake Huron, is Ontario’s oldest hostelry. In the 1830s it operated as a stagecoach stop. Today it caters to those with a nose for fine food and wine. Cooking class weekends and winemaker’s dinners are held every month. Positive reviews have come from a long line of respected Canadian and US food writers. Every year, the Little Inn posts its Christmas menus on its website. A quick peek by yours truly made my mouth water. All  Christmas meals will be paired with outstanding Ontario VQA wines and depending on the meal, meal prices range between $45 and $100 per person. If you and your significant other or the family want to make an overnight of it, check the Little Inn’s selection of one to four-night Christmas packages.

plate of gourmet food from Little Inn of Bayfield

Food-lovers can expect great fare at the Little Inn of Bayfield

In early September, I blogged about my visit to the Millcroft Inn & Spa with a Canwest food writer. Roberto Fracchioni is the well-loved chef here. He hosts monthly cooking sessions that always draw a crowd. This holiday season Chef Fracchioni has planned a  Christmas Day Dinner menu as well as two Christmas menus suitable for larger family gatherings.  Lots of house delicacies are on all three menus. Dinners run between $56 and $65 per person. Chef  Fracchioni and Pastry Chef Enrico Schulze will also create a customized menu experience if you want your own holiday event. Now, that would be a treatl!  The Millcroft has a spa that is one of the largest in Ontario. Its spa menu for men has received a lot of attention. A Winter Bliss getaway ties this inn’s spa and culinary together nicely. It includes a three-course dinner for two, breakfasts, a $100 spa credit, and an ovennight at the inn. Priced per person from $282, double occupancy, Sunday through Thursdays. On Saturdays, the price is slightly higher at $295 pp/do. To view this and more Millcroft getaways, click here.

More new package deals are included in a monthly Resorts of Ontario newsletter. To sign up, click here.

Next week, we’ve got  New Year’s Eve ideas  from Resorts of Ontario, so stay tuned.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »