Posts Tagged ‘Muskoka’

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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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

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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.

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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.

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Beauview Cottage Resort

The first weekend of November is behind us and what a great start to November it was. It was nothing but sunshine and mild fall temperatures in Resort Country. Over the last few years, I have noticed a trend where we see most of October being wet and cool (with the exception of Thanksgiving weekend,) but come November, the temperature starts to climb back up. That trend looks to be continuing again for 2011 which means there is still time for you to getaway and enjoy some fall activities in Ontario’s beautiful natural landscapes.

By now most of the leaves have fallen meaning there is an increased opportunity to see and photograph wildlife in their natural habitat. Moose and deer are on the move as they start their fall rut. Bears are busily searching for food as they bulk up for winter. Birds are starting their migration. Fall fishing is raved about as well.

There is a lot to be said for hiking in the fall. While you have likely missed the fall colour change, there is still reason to get out. The smells and sounds of fall are ever-present come November. The soft crunching feel and sound of the drying leaves are unmistakable and if you are patient enough, you might actually hear and see animals approaching. As the cool weather sets in, there is also a calming stillness in the fall air.

Fall mornings are especially tranquil when you wake up to see the morning fog rolling around the lakes. Combine that with a cup of coffee or tea and the sound of a loon calling and you are starting your day off the right way. Then once your day unwinds, take in the spectacular pastels of colour across the sky and reflected on the water as the sun begins to set.

This coming weekend, November 11-13, Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville is featuring Jann Arden as part of a girlfriends getaway package. Click here for all the details and to book your getaway package.

On November 19th, Pinestone Resort in Haliburton is hosting a Superstars Tribute live show beginning at 7:30 pm. Overnight packages start at $259 per couple which includes 2 tickets for the show and dinner buffet. Phone 705-457-1800 for more information.

For something even more laid back and relaxing, check out the “Spa Your Way” package from Pillar and Post in Niagara on the Lake from $195 pp. which gives you a $100 spa credit that you can use to alleviate all your pre holiday stress.

View our monthly newsletter for even more great fall packages and sign up to receive specials emailed to you directly.

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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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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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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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