Sometimes you want to get out of the city and be one with nature.
You want to be surrounded by trees and water and sand and animals and silence.
But when you have three kids and a dog, you know this is unrealistic and silence will forever evade you. And you start to be ok with that. So you crave the outdoors, but with…MORE.
I discovered a place this summer and I have to tell you about it because…wow.
This is everything you want and MORE.
Viamede resort is a couple of hours outside of Toronto and well worth the drive. It’s on the beautiful Stoney Lake and has a really incredible history going back to 1885.
You want the cottage feeling?
You got it-but with MORE. How about the cottage feel, but the towel service as well.
Your family wants breakfast by the lake but don’t want to get up early to make it? No problem. Breakfast is included in your stay, for everyone. And it has everything you want. Trust me.
A hankering for fishing but don’t know the hot spots on the lake? The owner and general manager will meet you on the dock and take you there. YUP. That happened.
Everyone we passed said hello and all the staff are willing to help you, regardless of their position. Need a snack? No problem. Want a coffee at 3AM? They can do that for you. Extra towels? Sheets for your room? ABSOLUTELY.
I was blown away by the customer service.
I felt like a total VIP, and so did my kids!
There are so many self-guided amenities at this resort-you can use them at any time (at your own discretion). Indoor pool, outdoor pool, lake with a water trampoline? Check.
Tennis, disc golf, hiking? You bet.
SUP boards, kayaks, canoes? Check. All with the proper life jackets available, of course.
Sandy beach to make a sand castle in the sun? Park to monkey around? Ping pong and foosball? Yup. Yup. Yup.
And then there are the activities you can sign up for-and they happen EVERY DAY.
Guided farm tour! Yes, they have their OWN FARM. They have turkeys, chickens, pigs, and more. You’re welcome to have a look for yourself, but why wouldn’t you take advantage of a full tour from the owner himself? He can answer all your questions and has a wealth of knowledge.
Like fishing? My husband and kids went out on a boat with (you guessed it), Ben Samann, the owner, at 6:30 in the morning and they had there best time. No fishing rods? No worries! Ben has you covered. Viamede is all about the experience.
Want to know more about the history of Viamede? Or just enjoy the nature in the surrounding areas? Go for a guided nature walk each morning and enjoy the sweet sounds of the wind through the trees.
Have a puppy and don’t want to leave him behind?
Dogs are welcome at viamede and you can see their happy tails everywhere. There’s also an off-leash dog park to let your beasts run wild!
If you want a mellow evening, you can borrow a movie or a book from their library and chill out in your comfy cottage. Or on a rainy night, kids can enjoy watching a movie in the main lodge.
But on a beautiful warm evening, you can make your own s’mores by the fire-all courtesy of Viamede. My kids had never had a s’more before (I know, I’m so evil)…so you can imagine how excited they were to stay up late and roast their own by the lake! Pure bliss.
We only stayed at Viamede for two nights and I could have easily stayed for a week. There were activities we just couldn’t explore and would love to have the chance again. Maybe next summer we’ll try our hand at tennis, go for a hike, relax in the sauna, or hike up Mt. Julian.
And speaking of Mt. Julian…the FOOD. Oh my goodness, the food.
The breakfast buffet available for everyone is your standard breakfast fare-and different every day. They’ll always provide the classic bacon and egg breakfast but for those of us looking for something on the healthier side, yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola are available as well. Plus fire roasted tomatoes! Yes please.
The kids loved that they could make their own toast (and I loved that they offered whole wheat!).
Endless coffee all day made me smile too. It may be a relaxing vacation but that doesn’t mean chasing after the kids in the sun all day doesn’t make me a little sleepy in the afternoon! I’m always happy to have a little pick-me-up.
We ventured to the Boathouse for lunch and dinner and I was pleasantly surprised at the food. Perfectly cooked salmon and fresh salads from their gardens, probably the best veggie burger I’ve ever had (no exaggeration) and the fries were pretty out of this world too (Shhh-don’t tell).
They provided a great selection to choose from, as well as delicious nibblies for us to have with a local glass of wine or craft beer.
And if you want something supremely special…head on over to their 9-table restaurant, Mt. Julian.
The restaurant is located in one of the original buildings and is full of history. You can choose from 5, 7, or 9-course dinners along with beautiful local wine pairings.
This was my favourite. Each and every course was better than the last. I left so incredibly satisfied and happy, it was such a treat to be able to have a date night with my hubby while on vacation with the kids. Our server was happy, provided insight on everything served including the wines, and answered all our questions. We went middle of the road with a 7-course meal, and if we could have drawn out the meal longer (I mean, if we didn’t want to get back to the kids), I would’ve stayed super late and gone for the 9-course…because it was SO DELICIOUS!
What else could you want from a cottage resort?
Check out their site for all the amenities, activities and fun.
I hope we have a chance to go back again next year. Although, I don’t know if my kids need to get used to this VIP treatment. They might start expecting it at home! I will not start making bacon and s’mores for them everyday…
*Viamede provided my family with a two night stay. All opinions are my own and I would never recommend anything I didn’t absolutely believe in.