Posts Tagged ‘Hockley Valley Resort’

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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Glen House Resort, Gananoque

One of Eastern Ontario’s most demanding and picturesque courses  is found at this historic 75-room inn on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, in the heart of the Thousands Islands. From the nerve-rattling opening tee shot over a deep gorge, Smuggler’s Glen Course treats golfers to spectacular river views and a roller-coaster thrill ride through a Canadian Shield landscape of high granite cliffs and rolling pine-covered hills and valleys.

4Pete teeing off 1st tee

The Briars Resort and Spa, Jacksons Point

With nine holes designed by legendary golf architect Stanley Thompson, and nine by his lone-time associate Robbie Robinson, The Briars Golf Course boasts one of the most enviable  pedigrees in Canadian golf. The subtle 6,285 yard layout near the banks of Lake Simcoe rolls gracefully through mature stands of birch and evergreens, while offering vistas of the Black River. The resort itself is build around an antiques-filled Regency manor house dating from the 1840’s.

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Cobble Beach Golf Resort, Owen Sound

Doug Carrick’s acclaimed Cobble Beach Golf Links is the centerpiece of a master-planned golf community on the southern shore of Georgian Bay near Owen Sound. From the Nantucket-style clubhouse, which includes a 10-room inn (there are also five new guest cottages), golfers set forth to play a links-style course that offers gorgeous views of the bay with almost every shot. And like all great courses, this one ends with a wallop on the 18th hole, a par five that rolls along  dramatic cliff-top bluffs.

a-Clubhouse 9th and 18th holes from air

Pinestone Resort, Haliburton

A sky-high slope rating of 141 has earned Pinestone’s golf course a reputation as one of the most challenging in cottage country. Though just 6,024 yards long, architect Jack Davison’s layout deep in the Haliburton Highlands features tight fairways, treacherous multi-level greens and numerous water hazards. After golf, explore kilometres of marked wilderness trails at a country-style resort that offers accommodations in 103 guest rooms, villas and chalets.

2Pinestone Resort Golfers on 18th Green - Jpeg June 2009

Hockley Valley Resort, Orangeville

This intimate and popular family-run resort, which offers 14 downhill ski runs in winter, is home to a gorgeous links-style course by Tom McBroom routed through the dramatic and heavily wooded Hockley Hills. Following the natural contours of the land, McBroom’s layout climbs about 90 metres and then plunges as much within a span of several holes. On a clear day, eagle-eyed golfers can see as far north as Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay.

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Rocky Crest Golf Resort, MacTier

A popular cottage country getaway offering spacious suites and a variety of sporting activities on Lake Joseph, Rocky Crest caught the attentions of the golf world with the 2000 opening of a Tom McBroom-designed course that surely numbers among the most scenic  in Canada. McBroom carved his fairways through a thrilling mix of forest and wetlands, brilliantly using the granite outcroppings of the Canadian Shield to shape and accent golf holes the same way that Arizona’s desert courses are framed by cacti and sand.

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Horseshoe Resort, Barrie

Adrenaline junkies flock to this popular ski resort during the summer to mountain bike, take a Hummer tour, and zip-trek through the treetops. A more sedate-though no less satisfying challenge is offered by Horseshoe’s two excellent Rene Muylaert-designed golf courses. The Valley course starts at the base of the hill and ends with a panoramic view of the valley from the 18th tee while the wider fairways of the Highlands course are slightly more forgiving.

Golf

Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville

Muskoka’s golf boom began with the 1990 opening of Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course, an outstanding Top McBroom-Robert Cupp co-design on the grounds of a sprawling lakeside resort capable of accommodating more than 1,000 guests. Starting with a awe-inspiring view of the surrounding countryside from the elevate first tee, Deerhurst Highlands leads golfers on a thrilling ramble through forest and wetlands, and past immense walls of Canadian Shield granite. Also offered at Deerhurst Lakeside, and executive course renowned for its lovely views of Peninsula Lake.

Golf-Swing

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With Winter 2009-10 fast approaching we thought it might be fun to check out some of the ski deals that Resorts of Ontario will be offering this year. The resorts included in this post either have their own ski hills or they are offering a ski deal with lift tickets included. However, there are plenty more out there with great winter deals that are close to Ontario’s downhill ski centres. For a complete list of these, check here.

Blue Mountain, Ontario’s best known ski destination, gets a lot of newbies wanting to try skiing or snowboarding so it developed a Discover Ski & Snowboard program. Since the program began, hundreds of couples, groups of friends and families have learned to ski and snowboard at the resort. This year, Blue Mountain Inn has a new Stay & Learn to Ski package to go along with its Discover Ski & Snowboard Program. The package includes one night of accommodation, a beginner lift ticket, equipment rental and lesson, a breakfast and a Pottery Restaurant dinner and is priced per person, double occupancy. Village Suites has a similar package with breakfast as a buy in option. If you decide to book either deal, drop by Jozo’s in Blue Mountain Inn for some great apres ski. When we visited Blue Mountain earlier this year, we heard it’s where all the locals hang out after a day on the hill. Similar getaways are offered at other Blue Mountain accommodations. For the best rates, reserve online or call one of the resort’s leisure and travel representatives at 705-445-0231 or 877-445-0231.

WaterSpa at Sir Sam’s Inn

The new WaterSpa at Sir Sam’s Inn

Looking to combine romance and skiing? Sir Sam’s is the perfect find. This romantic Haliburton-area inn not only has its own ski hill, its WaterSpa is spectacular and the inn’s dining and wine list are both superb. Its ski hill has lots of gentle runs and a welcoming atmosphere for newbie skiers. This winter, Sir Sam’s has a two-night “Learn to Ski” package that includes accommodation, dinner and breakfast each day, plus a day on the hills with full equipment, lift ticket and lesson. Save $55 and go mid week when this getaway is priced from $670 per couple.

Eastern Ontario’s Calabogie Peaks and Dickson Manor have developed a fun package for couples looking for a brief escape from the holiday crazies. Running from December 20-23, the package includes an overnight in one of the manor’s deluxe rooms, dinner for two in its Canthooks Fine Dining Restaurant, 20% off of ski or snowboard lift tickets and complimentary ice skating, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. It’s priced at $199 per couple. Dickson Manor also has an outdoor hot tub, indoor pool and fitness centre.

A room at Hidden Valley Resort

One of the rooms at Hidden Valley Resort

Hidden Valley Resort is just outside of Huntsville, Ontario. Considered to be a good value ski hill with no line ups, Hidden Valley has its own luxurious hillside resort and restaurant. Ski & Stay packages here start as low as $85 per person, per night, double occupancy. Learn to Ski/Skateboard are two night packages starting at $215 per night, double occupancy. A variety of ski lift tickets are also offered to guests at a discounted rate.

Horseshoe Resort is just over an hour north of Toronto near Barrie, Ontario. It has a Ski & Stay package this season that combines unlimited skiing or snowboarding for two with one night of accommodation and breakfast, based on double occupancy. All rooms have wireless hi-speed internet, movies and video games. And here’s something worth noting, this hotel is pet friendly and has an 8000 square foot dog park. Priced from $2o3 per night, double occupancy, the package runs November 27-28, December 4-5, 2009 and then from December 11, 2009 – March 21, 2010

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View from the deck of The Chalet at Horseshoe Resort

Close to Horseshoe Resort, you’ll find Carriage Ridge. This family-oriented resort has partnered with two area ski hills this winter; Horseshoe Resort and Mount St. Louis Moonstone. Its open-concept condo suites are suitable for couples, small families or groups of friends. The suites include kitchen facilities, a king side bed, queen sofa-sleeper, balcony and living area. One or two bedroom suites with full kitchens, fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs are available for larger groups. There’s also an indoor pool, kids pool, hot tub and games room. A “Ski-Xtreme getaway” is one of several offered this winter. It includes a one night stay in one of the oversized condo suites, a lift pass for Mount St. Louis Moonstone or Horseshoe Resort, lunch voucher and skiers welcome gift. Packages start at $89 per person, double occupancy and kids stay free.

Hockley Valley Resort

The main buildings at Hockley Valley Resort

Hockley Valley Resort is another ski resort close to Toronto. We wrote a bit about it in last week’s post. It has a bunch of great ski packages listed on its web site starting at $229 double occupancy but we liked its Winter Bliss package. It includes one night’s accommodation, lift ticket for skiing or snowboarding, full buffet hot and cold breakfast, three-course dinner for two and a $75 spa credit per person for Hockley’s hillside spa. Priced from $463, double occupancy.

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There’s no better time than now to book a girlfriends’ getaway at Resorts of Ontario. From November to mid- December, occupancy rates are lower and prices can’t be beat. Add fine wine, delicious food and a spa date to the mix and you can see why getting away with the girls at this time of year is so popular. Just look at Deerhurst Resort and the town of Huntsville in Muskoka. Their Girlfriends’ Getaway Weekend, November 13-15, 2009, has already sold out but I called the resort today and rooms are still available. Entertaining workshops include a Renovate my Wardrobe at Deerhurst and a Style by Jury fashion show in downtown Huntsville. There’s also Wine Tasting with Ann Martin, a Natural Beauty Show with wine and tapas served, and morning Vinyasa yoga classes. To book, call Deerhurst’s toll-free line at 1-800-461-4393.

poolside in the spa at the Inn at Christie's Mill, Resorts of Ontario

Part of the spa at the Inn at Christie's Mill

But wait, there’s more….

spa at Brookstreet, Ottawa

"Boy-free" spa date at Brookstreet

Last winter, I had the pleasure of visiting Brookstreet in Ottawa. Owned by billionaire Sir Terry Matthews, this place has all the ingredients for a great urban getaway for girls – luxurious accommodation, a gorgeous spa, four-diamond cuisine and outstanding fitness facilities. And because Ottawa is Canada’s Capital, the Brookstreet getaway could be combined with visits to national treasures like the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. I checked Brookstreet’s website and found its Boy-Free package is available Monday through Saturday until December 20th. Priced from $215 per person, based on double occupancy, the one-night package includes deluxe accommodation, a Table d’Hote dinner in Perspectives, its four-diamond restaurant, a $90 spa credit, an in-room movie, breakfast, plus complimentary indoor parking.

A mom told me that she and her girlfriends love booking a spa date at Hockley Valley Resort while their kids take a ski lesson at the resort’s ski hill. The spa lounge overlooks the hill so the moms hang out in terry robes sipping hot tea while watching the kids ski. For a spa date without the kids, Hockley’s Spontaneous Spa getaway is a one night package priced per room at $433, double occupancy. Besides accommodation, each gal receives a $75 spa credit, three-course a la carte dinner, and a full breakfast. For the ultimate private spa party however, consider this: Hockley Valley will let you and a group of friends book its entire spa after hours for a three hour date. Minimum group size is required and a surcharge is applied. Contact the resort directly for details.

evening shot of the skihill at Hockley Valley Resort, Ontario

Ski hill at Hockley Valley Resort

Viamede spa, Resorts of Ontario, hot rocks treatment

The spa at Viamede

In the Kawartha Lakes region near Peterborough, Ontario, Viamede Resort is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The resort which is on Stony Lake, two hours from Toronto and three hours from Ottawa, has special anniversary deals that include a Girls Just Wanna Have Fun two-night weekend. For $250 per person, choose either a winterized cottage or deluxe room accommodation with fireplace and whirlpool bath, depending on the size of your group. Breakfast, a 1/2 hour aromatherapy massage and a further $75 spa credit are included. Elmhirst’s which we blogged about last week is another Peterborough-area resort. It has a  Wild Women’s Weekend planned for November 13-15, 2009. Four women can share a winterized cottage for $249 per person with meals included. Cottages include woodburning fireplaces and fully equipped kitchens. Spa services are available at the resort which has an indoor pool, sauna and hot tub.

Girlfriend getaways at the Inn at Christie’s Mill start at $197.50 per person (double occupancy) for one night of accommodation, dinner and breakfast, plus a $100 spa credit and beverage of your choice to enjoy with your spa treatment. This inn is on Gloucester Pool near Georgian Bay, just an hour and a half drive north of Toronto. It has a three-bedroom winterized cottage also available for larger groups. Travel writer Ken Bagnell recently wrote about his stay here for SUN Media.

More winter resorts with girlfriend getaway deals are found at Resorts of Ontario

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