Posts Tagged ‘Ontario Resorts’

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.

Golf-Hole-10

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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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.

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Great news for all of you with little ones looking to make a splash in this terrific summer heat. Golden Beach Resort has added an all new splash pad this summer. Judging by the look on this little guys face, I would say the splash pad has been a hit for their guests on these hot summer days. Golden Beach Resort Splash Pad

Of course, at Golden Beach, adults can also cool off while swimming the days away in their outdoor pool. You can grab a rod and head out fishing for some of the monster bass that call Rice Lake home. You can add some activity to your day, by also going for a hike, grab the horseshoes for a tournament, play a round of tennis and much more. There is still some limited availability this summer so give them a call while the temperature is hot.

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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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Resorts of Ontario is pleased to launch its second annual Resort Week promotion running from May 20 – May 30 2011. Participating resorts from across Ontario are opening their doors with special offers to the travelling public. As part of this special promotional kick off to summer, participating resorts will be donating 10% of the revenue received to Camp Trillium when a resort week package is booked between May 20-30.  This post will focus on the family packages available and you can view the entire list of participating resorts and all 30 available packages by visiting http://resortsofontario.ca/index.cfm?DSP=Chapter&ID=111.

Photo taken by Peter Sibbald

Photo taken by Peter Sibbald

The Briars resort family expedition gives families the comfort of a resort getaway while offering a glimpse of camping adventures only steps away from your Woodland Cottage. Starting at only $159 per person, The Briars resort continues its camping theme by offering guests a s’mores kit to take home or use while gathering around the resort fire. All meals and recreation are included and one child under the age of 10 stays free when accompanied by two adults. For more information visit www.briars.ca.Scotsman Point Resort

Single Parents – This package is for you. Curious about trying fishing? Then you’ll want to visit Scotsman Point Resort for Resort Week. They are offering single parent families the opportunity to take your child to learn to fish. Don’t have a fishing rod, don’t worry about it. Scotsman Point will loan you a rod and reel for each child this weekend.  This fantastic getaway includes fishing activities, teaching how to make lures, crafts, games and even learning how to canoe and row a boat. For 2 nights 1 adult and 1 child the cost is only $149 on May 27-29. Visit www.scotsmanpoint.com for more details.

Americana Conference Resort, Spa and WaterparkWhy not reward those closest to you with the Ultimate Family Fun package from Americana Conference Resort, Spa and Waterpark. Starting from $299 per family, you can enjoy two nights accommodation and 3 days of unlimited play at Waves Indoor Waterpark. You also get 20 game tokens for the kids (adults with an inner child,) pop corn and drinks, in room movie and 2 breakfast vouchers. Go to www.americananiagara.net/resortsontario to learn more about this great getaway offer.

Summer getaway warm up with Pine Vista Resort’s family getaway package. Included in the $480* for a family of 4 package is a two night stay in one of Pine Vista’s cottages or townhouses. You can also take in a relaxing and scenic boat cruise of Stoney Lake, swim in the heated pool, lounge on the sand beach, de-stress in one of the two hot tubs on site. You can also use the canoes or kayaks, take in the nature trails or just sit and unwind at your leisure. To warm up to summer vacationing, visit www.pinevista.com.

Irwin InnLooking for a true resorting vacation experience, then you’ll want to take advantage of the 5 night Back to Resorting Package offered at The Irwin Inn. During your 5 day stay, you’ll enjoy lakeside accommodations, delicious dinners and breakfasts daily, a personal s’more kit upon arrivel, free boat and motor rental for 1 days, guided trail ride at Irwin Inn’s Milestone Farm and complimentary use of the 9 hole golf course and other resort activities. This experience is $775.00 per person and children under 3 are free, 2 additional children under 12 free. Taxes are extra. www.irwininn.com/resortweek.  

Come on up to our place and celebrate the kick off to summer resorting. Book your Resort Week getaway and vacation while giving to Camp Trillium. Visit us at www.resortsofontario.com, www.resortweek.ca or phone 1-800-363-7227 for more informaiton and to make a donation with our resort team.

*Not valid Victoria Day weekend.

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Sheila Maxwell and Mark Rich

Celebrating the presidents evening

On March 28, 2011, Resorts of Ontario held its annual general meeting and preferred supplier’s tradeshow at Nottawasaga Inn and Resort, located in Alliston, Ontario. Sheila Maxwell of the Briars Resort and Spa was elected as the new president of Resorts of Ontario.

Born in Scotland, Sheila grew up in Toronto where she attended York University. During her summers she worked at seasonal resorts in Haliburton and fell in love with the tourism industry. With an educational background from York, Sheila also graduated with honours from Hotel Management at George Brown College. Sheila has worked in the industry for 25 years and is currently the Director of Food and Beverage at the Briars Resorts and Spa.  

Sheila has served on the Board for Resorts of Ontario for the past 8 years. She succeeded Mark Rich – Director of Sales at Blue Mountain Resort who served as president from March 2009 – 2011. As outgoing president Mark will continue to serve the board of directors as chairman of the board.

As part of the evenings festivities, Resorts of Ontario also took the time to recognize the dedication and contribution of individuals from the industry who have facilitated the growth and progress of the Association.

The George Martin Award which shows outstanding contribution to the growth and success of Resorts of Ontario, was awarded to Anne Marshall of Elmhirst’s Resort. Anne has been involved with the association as a board member for 20 years. Anne is also a past president and represented the industry on the provincial and national level. Her passion, experience, leadership and dedication are greatly appreciated.

The second award given was for Outstanding Contribution. The recipient of this award went to Jamie Staring of Raesgo Advertising Graphics. For nearly 20 years, Jamie has made enormous contributions and has played a significant role in portraying our image. He understands the essence of “ resorting in Ontario “ , the culture of Resorts of Ontario, playing a key role in conveying our story in print, electronically, and to our key audiences.  

Congratulations to Sheila and thank you to Mark, Anne and Jamie for your contributions and dedication to Resorts of Ontario.

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