Posts Tagged ‘Pine Vista Resort’

Andrew Hind

Children in bathing suits running past, faces spread wide in smiles and squealing in glee. Parents sunk into comfortable chairs, content and relaxed under azure skies. Turquoise waters lapping a sandy shoreline. The palpable thrill of seemingly endless activities from which to choose, but sadly not enough time to sample them all. A glorious sun beating down from high above. Nope, not Florida or the Caribbean—this is Fern Resort, an all-inclusive family-friendly resort right here in Ontario.

Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?Fern-IMG_9338

When you’re looking for a summer escape to a family friendly resort, you don’t want just any resort. You want one that will thrill the entire family, from children to restless teens to deserving parents. You want one that children will have to be pulled away from, where parents can truly unwind, one where cherished family memories that will be fondly recalled at gatherings for years in the future are made.

Thankfully, Ontario has a number that fit the bill to a tee, each one elevating a family escape to OMG-heights in their own unique ways: among them Bayview Wildwood Resort, Shamrock Lodge, Bonnie View Inn, Pine Vista Resort, and of course, Fern Resort. You don’t need to go far to relax and rejuvenate as a family.

“What’s the perfect family vacation? It’s one where the kids are entertained, parents are relaxed, and where parents aren’t looking ahead to the next expense,” says Scott Collens, General Manager of Fern Resort, an Orillia property which has been perfecting the family vacation for 120 years. “That’s where an all-inclusive, family-friendly resort like Fern comes into its own. There’s so much to do that you never have to worry about children getting bored, and with their children (infant to teens) enrolled in a kids club program,  parents get important alone time.”

Though Fern Resort is a magical year-round destination for kids, it truly comes alive in summer with oodles of family-oriented activities—from wall-climbing to mini-golf to tennis and knee-boarding, not to mention swimming in two large pools or the clear waters of Lake Couchiching. It’s like a cruise ship on land.

Fern-IMG_9949

“When considering where you want to spend your vacation, ask yourself what you are hoping to enjoy and what do you want to achieve during your holiday? Where you go should satisfy all your needs,” says Collens. “It’s important to call and speak to someone at the resort itself. You can read all about our programs and facilities online, but you only get a feel for how everything we do is based on solid family-values by actually speaking to us.”

Muskoka’s Shamrock Lodge, another all-inclusive resort, represents a dying breed: a family owned and operated resort where the owners are ubiquitous and as much a part of stay as are the joyful activities or comfortable accommodations. “The Bryant’s are very present. They’re here every day, driving the boat, running activities, overseeing operations and welcoming guests. By the second day, they know every guest by first name. People love that connection. It’s rare today, but people value it. Our guests often say a stay feels more like vacationing at a family cottage than a resort,” enthuses Operations Manager Susan Nairns.

In many ways, Shamrock is a throw back to a simpler time, a more innocent time. Indeed, the lodge itself is over a century old. But it has remained relevant by keeping up with vacation trends, offering an all-inclusive vacation in an atmosphere more intimate than most of its kind. Parents with love the charm and idyllic setting; children will love the endless fun.Fern-IMG_9876.JPG

“We’re rated the #1 resort in Muskoka by Tripadvisor and we always encourage people to go there when they are considering booking—here or anywhere— because it’s written by guests from their own personal perspective,” explains Nairn.

Every resort is special in their own way, so choose the one that best suits your needs and interests.

Nothing beats a vacation at one of Ontario’s family-friendly resorts. You’ll know it’s a special holiday when, at the end of the day, exhausted children drift off to a contented sleep with the need of a bedtime story. They’ve made their own adventures.

Bayview Wildwood Resort Beach

List of Questions to Answer when Booking a Summer Resort Vacation

In an attempt to help readers choose from among the many family-friendly resorts in Ontario, we wanted to put together a checklist of questions to answer. Who better to help us than Dianne Hounsome, Owner and General Manager of Bayview Wildwood Resort, a property with an unrivaled reputation for providing cherished summer memories.

  1. Do they want a supervised children’s program? If the resort offers them, what times are they offered, what ages of kids can participate, and is there a cost?
  2. Is entertainment at night important to them?
  3. Can kids go into the entertainment areas (bars) at night?
  4. How does the meal plan work – are their meal times set – do they have to make a reservation or do they get assigned a table?
  5. Do the rooms/cottages have views of the lake with balconies or decks?
  6. Are there room/cottages that are 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom?
  7. Do you want to cook your own meals or have a meal plan?
  8. Do you want to eat with your kids? Do you want the option to have a meal without kids if possible?
  9. What is the atmosphere of the dining room (upscale dressy or relaxed casual)?
  10. Are the meals buffet or service? Is there a kids buffet option?Bayview-fire-3-2010
  11. Are there food allergies and can they be accommodated?
  12. What is the clientele – is it mostly families, conferences, couples, or a mix of any?
  13. What watercraft (canoes, paddleboats, etc.) are available – are any free and what is the cost?
  14. Can you swim in the lake – is there a sandy beach – and are there water toys (trampolines, for example)?
  15. Is there an indoor pool? Is the outdoor pool heated?
  16. Are there activities to do indoors in the case of bad weather?
  17. Is there private babysitting service at a cost?
  18. Can they rent a boat and fish?
  19. Is there a teen program (if relevant)?

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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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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.

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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.

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The Ridge at Manitou, next door to the Inn at Manitou. Photo credit: Clive Barber

The Ridge at Manitou, next door to the Inn at Manitou. Photo credit: Clive Barber

One of the advantages of working in the Canadian tourism industry is that I get to play a lot of golf on different courses across the country. In the province of Ontario where there are over 800 courses to choose from, we’re working with Resorts of Ontario this year. Many of its one hundred resort hotels, lodges, country inns and cottage resorts either have golf on-site or they have playing privileges at private and public courses nearby. Several have famous golf architects attached to them like Brookstreet‘s Trent Jones course near Ottawa. It’s owned by Sir Terry Matthews who also owns the Celtic Manor in Wales, the venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup. Others may not be as well known but they still offer challenging play. A couple of weeks ago, I asked the resort owners if they would send me their golf news for 2009. Many included their new golf packages as well and there are a number of good deals. Here’s is just a small sample of what I was sent:

Pine Vista Resort in the Kawartha Lakes, is partnering with Wildfire this year, a new McBroom-designed course just five minutes away. • Clevelands House in Muskoka, has its own ‘executive 9’ which is great for families and this year it is also packaging with The Rock, the redesigned Nick Faldo course, one minute away. Also in Muskoka, Deerhurst Resort has a new Island & Highlands golf package that includes a round of golf for two at Deerhurst Highlands and Bigwin Island. Its 18 hole Lakeside course is also good for families. • At Bayview Wildwood, guests can opt to play two out of five courses on a two-night package offered all summer long with dinners and breakfasts included, starting at $344pp/do. The choice of courses are: Hawk Ridge, South Muskoka GC, Bonaire GC, Lake St. George GC and Settler’s Ghost. • Closer to Barrie, Carriage Ridge Resort partners with Settler’s Ghost, Horseshoe Highlands with Horseshoe Valley and Hawk Ridge, and has an early spring rate starting at only $89pp/do. • The Briars on Lake Simcoe, has a mid week spring special that includes two nights, two breakfasts and two rounds of 18 for just $129 per person per night based on double occupancy. Cart is additional.

Lots more can be found by clicking on “Golf” at Resorts of Ontario.

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It’s a family business at many Resorts of Ontario. Some resorts have been owned and run by the same families for generations. And it’s not uncommon to hear of guests who have returned to their favourite resort for decades. Many of the resorts’ histories have been documented too. Here’s a small sample.

In the early 1920's the Mordolphton Camp was sold, renamed Severn Lodge and opened to the public.

In the early 1920's the Mordolphton Camp was sold, renamed Severn Lodge and opened to the public.

Back in the late 1800s fishing and hunting clubs were all the rage in Ontario. Present-day Severn Lodge once served as the Mordolphton Club, a private Pittsburgh-based fishing club with wealthy railway men as members. They would travel by private Pullman car to Waubaushene before making their way to the club on the north shore of Gloucester Pool near Georgian Bay. The fishing is still great in this region of Ontario. Just ask anyone at Muskeys Landing in Port Severn where fishing is a main activity.

Fern Resort uses a tagline first coined by the owners’ great grandfather; “The home of rolls & honey”. He was a successful Ottawa baker in the early 1900s. His famous buns are still baked daily and served with his favourite honey, Crerar’s, which has been making honey in eastern Ontario since 1914.

Fern Resort has been run by the  family for five generations.

Fern Resort, near Orillia, has been run by the same family for five generations.

One of Haliburton’s first pioneers, James Holland planted the trademark willow trees that still grow along Willow Beach Cottage Resort’s waterfront in Haliburton.

Viamede Resort, Pine Vista Resort and the Irwin Inn are all part of a remarkable Stony Lake community steeped in tradition. An example is the annual Stony Lake Regatta which is almost a century old. This year it will be held on August 3rd.

In 1946, the Chernuck family left Russia to begin a new life in Canada. By chance they noticed a Montreal Gazette classified announcing a large farm for sale on Rice Lake and they purchased it for $10,000. Today the land is still owned by the Chernacks and is known as Golden Beach Resort.

The marina at Golden Beach Resort on Rice Lake.

The marina at Golden Beach Resort on Rice Lake.

The Delawana Inn Resort in Honey Harbour first opened its doors in 1897 as Victoria House. For 15¢ you could take the steamer Odessa from Midland across the bay to Honey Harbour and the hotel. Under the Grisé family, it became the Delawana. My friend Janet, a Cleveland-area travel editor, still has fond memories of vacationing at the “Del” in the 1950s with her family.

When Charles Minnett, the original owner of Clevelands House in Muskoka, ordered his hotel’s first register in 1883, he asked the printer to label it Cleeve Lands after his birthplace in England. The printer mistakenly changed the name to Clevelands, and it was never corrected.

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