With five kids between the two of us and hectic jobs in downtown Toronto, my boyfriend Paul and I make regular ‘couple getaways’ – a must! And until this past weekend, if you had asked me to name romantic resort destinations to visit as a couple, I’d probably list off any number of islands in the Caribbean. But after spending Victoria Day weekend at The Viamede Resort, Kawartha is officially on my list of destinations for great couple getaways.
The Viamede Resort is just 30 minutes north of Peterborough, so getting down there from downtown Toronto was a breezy, two hour drive – especially when you’ve loaded up your iPhone with your favourite tunes!
Viamede sits on the shores of the beautiful Stoney Lake and is 165 acres of pure nature heaven. Surrounded by lush trees, the resort boasts 6km of hiking trails, three restaurants, a marina, its own farm (complete with pigs, chickens and turkeys!) a historic church and a spa. And since parts of the resort are said to have been around since 1873, there’s a great feel of history about this place too.
We arrived to find a very large room with French doors separating the living room from the bedroom. I loved the wood-burning fireplace and the wall full of windows overlooking the tennis court and a view of the Lake. It truly felt like its own private cottage. The bedroom had a jacuzzi and cozy white robes. Sweet!
On our first night, we went for dinner at one of three restaurants – the historic Inn at Mount Julian. Set aside in a house away from the main resort, The Inn feels warm and cozy, complete with wood floors, a sitting area with leather chairs and a dining area that displays photos of the resort and Stoney Lake at the turn of the century. We got a table by the window and met General Manager Ben Sämann, who took over in 2010. With a huge passion for food and local produce, Ben suggested we try the 7-course tasting menu from Chef Matt.
Paul is a big foodie and has his own organic food farm plus an extensive wine collection. So he was blown away by the 100 excellent wines to choose from and the food we ate. Our menu included: carrot ginger soup, arugula salad on blood orange puree, seared scallops on zucchini puree, wild boar pasta with delicious applewood cheddar and rare venison with dark chocolate sauce. All accompanied by a 2008 Elk Cove Pinot Noir. Simply divine!
I highly recommend trying their tasting menu – I promise it will be memorable! Take your time and enjoy a leisurely two-hour meal while sampling food made from 80 per cent locally-grown ingredients. We’ve had the good fortune to dine in many great restaurants in Toronto, and we both agreed that The Inn at Mount Julian is one of our most memorable and delicious meals in a long time.
The next morning, after having breakfast at the main restaurant “1885” (Tip: it also serves great steaks for dinner) we headed out to the marina on a mission to explore the Lake. Keenan, who manages the activities at Viamede, set us up with a canoe, gave us some pointers of the best route to take, and we were off!
Canoeing through Stoney Lake allows you to scope out the cottages on the shore, spot some wildlife (we saw loons, turtles, ducks and Canada geese) and work off that big yummy breakfast. The Lake is also dotted with small islands and we stopped off to explore one, spending some time sun tanning on our very own private island.
If you come to Viamede and don’t explore some of their hiking trails, you’ll miss some truly lovely sights and romantic walks. We took the “Deer Trail” and meandered through the woods, spotting deer tracks and beautiful meadows. Be sure to take a camera for some fab nature shots!
Not only does Viamede grow a lot of their own food, they also have a farm. Go and visit the four pigs, about a dozen turkeys, and some chickens when you’re heading off on your hike.
Not many resorts can claim to have their own Church, so Viamede is unique. Sitting on top of a little hill, the one-room church from 1877 is a main draw for some twenty couples who get married at the resort each year. Be sure to take a look inside, it’s very charming.
The marina is quite beautiful at night so it’s nice for a short evening stroll. The Boathouse Pub is a great place to hang out, have lunch on the patio during the day or have drinks at the bar at night. When we were there, local cottagers who pulled up on their boats were having great fun watching the Jays game with the guests.
We brought some movies to watch after dinner, but the resort also has a selection you can borrow at the front desk and a good variety of books. It gets very quiet at night and you can hear the loons and birds right from your living room. There’s really nothing quite like it.
At the end of our stay, we felt relaxed, energized and really spoiled by the wonderful food and beautiful natural sites. I had confessed to Ben earlier that I’ve never been to a resort in Ontario before. This was a real eye opener. As we said goodbye to Ben and headed to the parking lot, Paul and I agreed that we’d like to come back there in fall to see the changing colours.
But YOU don’t have to wait that long!
We’d like to thank Ben and his friendly and knowledgeable staff for hosting our visit. If you’d like to find out about Viamede, call 1-800-461-1946 or visit their website at www.viamede.com.
While my accommodation was provided by Viamede, I was not compensated for my time or opinions.