It was my third visit to Viamede Resort and I was very excited to return for two reasons: 1) this is the first winter they have been open for in a while and 2) I was dying to see what was new! Since my very first visit when I discovered the beauty and resilience of this resort and its staff during a terrible storm and power outage (see: Viamede Resort Shines Even By Candlelight) I have seen Viamede continue to transform before my very eyes. So I’m excited to report that Viamede Resort is open for the winter season and that they have a few new surprises in store for their guests.
Viamede Resort Winter Season
There are still signs of construction around the resort including the addition of the impressive fitness facility and indoor/outdoor pool. Inside is a relaxing and tranquil place to swim with a magnificent view of the lake.
The little swim out to the outdoor part of the pool is open and will have a breathtaking view of the lake as well when the glass enclosure is finished. In summer the original outdoor pool will be open for those who want to swim out in the sun! What I like about this indoor outdoor pool, is that the majority of it is inside so during the cold weather you can still get a great swim in, or there is plenty of room for kids to play. You stay toasty warm while swimming, however if you want to swim out there is a small area where you can go outside and have that magical feeling of swimming outside in the winter.
Another welcome feature of the new expansion is this awesome fitness room with all the cardio and weight machines you could ever want from a hotel fitness facility. In addition, you can join in on one of the weekly scheduled classes in their fitness room which includes a weekly yoga class. All of these classes and facilities are included in the regular resort rates which is one of the reasons why I love this resort, they make sure there are lots of activities (winter, spring, summer or fall) to participate in or they let you just do your own thing.
Hiking the Winter Trails at Viamede Resort
For those who love nature walks the Viamede Resort will not disappoint. They have trails for walking, they are connected to the provincial snowmobile trails and they offer snowshoeing, cross-country skiing along their many kilometres of trails. There is even a frisbee golf course on the site (but please don’t ask me to explain it to you!)
We were joined by the Viamede dogs Daisy and Toby on our 3 KM nature walk in search of the great Oak Tree. The resort is very pet friendly and in fact they donate $10 to the Ontario Golden Rescue for every dog that stays there.
The Viamede Resort Suite
I have stayed in a cottage at the resort during my first trip and a cute cabin on the hill at Mt Julian during my second stay (see: Viamede Resort Gets Better with Age) and this time I was in a suite located in the back building. Like the rest of the resort these rooms are also in the process of being renovated and upgraded.
My suite was huge for little old me, but I didn’t mind one bit. I entered into the door and was expecting a little room and walked into a huge grand main room, with a kitchenette, desk, sofa, fireplace and small table and chairs. A few things I noted that could be improved, when I walked in with my wet snowy boots there was no rubber mat to put my shoes on, just a small carpet right in front of the door. I also struggled a bit with the closet door which wouldn’t open over the carpet that was placed in front of the door.
The bedroom is also spacious with a large king sized bed and a jacuzzi tub. There was a television in the bedroom and in the main sitting area. There were also two night stands and a chest of drawers for clothing. The only hanging closet however was in the main sitting area by the front door.
Most of the suite appears to have undergone renovations except the bathroom. It can definitely use some love. The resort provides lots of towels and soap, shampoo and conditioner which are located in the bottles attached to the wall.
Since I arrived early in the afternoon on Friday I decided to get a fire going in the fireplace. It is a real treat for me to have a wood fireplace to sit in front of as someone who lives in a building in the city.
In creating the fire I realized a few things: there should be instructions for lighting the fire in the room. I had one little cube lighter and a pile of wood, no newspapers and no instructions. So I knew to check that the flute was open, but there was a fan on the side of the fireplace and I didn’t know if I should run it or not… it would have been helpful to know that I wasn’t going to burn the place down.
Also the room had no paper towel, the small kitchenette has a microwave, sink and coffee maker. There were no glasses, cutlery etc, so you will have to bring these items on your own if you are planning to use the kitchenette.
Special Viamede Welcome Dinner
One of my favourite local chefs in Ontario Chef McKenna served up a special dinner to welcome us on Friday night. We sampled some local brews from Smithworks Brewing Company and those of you who read my blog regularly, know that I’m not a beer drinker but I’m really getting into the Local Craft Brewery scene here in Ontario. This Kellerbier lager was really good!
We feasted on a number of Chef McKenna specialties including:
We had a sausage plate which featured pulled pork and fried fish and if that wasn’t enough there was also some pasta served. For dessert chef brought out a platter of goodies which included his flourless Dark Chocolate Torte and Fireside White Chocolate Brownie.
Felt pretty special to get this dinner, normally dinner is served in the Boathouse which offers casual fine dining or at Mount Julian with its fine dining tasting menus. (More on this soon!)
Breakfast is included at Viamede Resort
The main dining area serves the Viamede Resort breakfast with a large sun room where most of the tables are situated next to large windows with a great view of the lake. In summer they served a buffet style breakfast and in winter you could order from their breakfast menu which included options like, eggs, pancakes, waffles, yogurt, bacon and sausages.
My healthy omelette breakfast included toast, Viamede’s sausages, fruit and grilled tomatoes. I will never get tired of the view when enjoying breakfast at this resort (any season).
Viamede Resort Winter Activities
In addition to the fitness activities mentioned above there were a number of new activities featured at the resort which were also included in the resort price and I still can’t believe it.
Cooking Class with Chef McKenna
In the summer you can take a trip with Chef to the local farmer’s market and buy groceries for your cooking class held later in the day. Located at the Inn in Mt. Julian there was a full table set where each of us had a space to work under Chef McKenna’s watchful eye.
He demonstrated a winter salad recipe and then we went to work chopping, slicing and grating root vegetables in our own salads.
Chef also showed us how to fry up sunfish! A local company has figured out a way to de-bone the tiny little critters and chef serves them up on the Viamede menu. Following our main course demonstration we learned how to make this simple peach cream dessert, with preserved peaches, merengue pieces and Crème fraîche.
Whisky Tasting with Sommelier Ryan Legault
After our cooking class we were treated to a whisky tasting with Ryan Legault the Inn at Mount Julian’s Sommelier. I can probably write a whole post on the different types of whisky, the history he shared, I was furiously writing notes the whole time in fascination of all his knowledge!
We sampled: Irish whiskey, Crown Royal, Bourbon, Auchentoshan Scotch Whisky and Andberg. For me each glass was filled with liquids that burned, burned more and then at the end they just tasted like fire and were too toxic for my tastes which clearly are not great whisky taste buds.
Viamede Resort A Winter Escape to Remember
I will save my tasting dinner at the Inn at Mount Julian for another post, needless to say it was pretty epic. So I will end this post by saying, Viamede resort continues to add new and fun activities, their food offerings are top-notch, the room upgrades are coming along nicely and well who wouldn’t want to relax in a cottage with a fire going looking out at this view?
Sign up for the Viamede Resort Oak List
A final word! If you stay at the resort they will ask you if you’d like to be members of their Oak List. This monthly newsletter is packed with news and exclusive deals for its members so if you don’t mind getting one email per month – it will be well worth your while if you plan to go back – which I know I will!
We were invited guests of the Viamede Resort, but as always the opinions in this review are my own.