Posts Tagged ‘Roberto Fracchioni’

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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Millcroft Inn & Spa, Alton, Ontario

Millcroft Inn & Spa, Alton, Ontario

We were served dinner in the popular dining pod at the Millcroft Inn.

We were served dinner in the popular dining pod overlooking the millpond waterfall at the Millcroft Inn.

I’m settling into my Croft suite at the Millcroft Inn & Spa following an awesome seven-course tasting menu. The dining room manager suggested a superb  2002 Rief Estate Merlot First Grow to pair with our main dish of local venison prepared by the Millcroft’s executive chef, Roberto Fracchioni. Roberto (aka Frac) is a culinary wizard. Not only are his meals extraordinary, he’s personable which is probably why his cooking classes are so popular. Held once a month on Saturday afternoons, they fill up quickly so, if you plan to try one out, book early. You can get more information on them from the Millcroft website but I did check out his next two classes. September 19th is on garlic and October 17th will cover festive entertaining.

The Millcroft is on a 100 acre spread in Alton, Ontario, 45 minutes north of Toronto and the Toronto Airport so, it was a good choice for our weekend stay. I am traveling with a food writer from Vancouver who is flying out on Sunday afternoon. I like the Croft suite I’m in. It’s loft style with a relaxed, Canadiana feel.

Millcroft trail to Alton Mill

Millcroft trail to Alton Mill

The fireplace burns real logs and there’s a stack of them piled beside the hearth. The furniture is a mix of knotty pine, big L-shaped sofa, blanket box coffee table, flat screen TV and I’ve got a screen door out to my own private patio. My upstairs bedroom overlooks the inn’s heated outdoor pool. We’ve been on tour all week and have eaten an incredible amount of food at four Ontario resorts so, I took advantage of the pool this afternoon and swam some laps.Later, I walked over to the Alton Mill via the Millcroft’s trails. The innkeeper tells me these are well used by her guests who often try out the inn’s mountain bikes and cross-country skis on them. Unfortunately, I arrived at the Alton Mill after 5pm so, it had closed for the day but I’ve visited before. It houses some great art galleries and plans are underway to add a new restaurant.

The Headwaters Arts Festival includes the Alton Mill.

The Headwaters Arts Festival includes the Alton Mill.

Alton was a thriving mill town. The Millcroft was built as a knitting mill in 1881 and made long underwear for WWI troops. According to a young woman I met outside of the Alton Mill, it was once a rubber mill that made  rubber gloves and of all things, condoms. Apparently, the mill’s old rubber molds are still in place. Now, there’s a conversation piece. This fall, the Alton Mill is part of the Headwaters Arts Festival running from September 25th to October 12th. Ontario’s brilliant fall colours will be at peak then and the Credit Valley Explorer, a local fall colour train, will be running tours out of nearby Orangeville. Perfect timing for a Millcroft getaway!

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