Viamede Resort — Photo courtesy of Sherel Purcell
Viamede Resort overlooks Stoney Lake's safe sandy beach - perfect for swimming especially for younger guests who also love the giant water trampoline just offshore. An inviting lake-side pool appeals to water fans of all ages. For those looking to explore the tiny islands in the lake, canoes, paddle boards and kayaks are readily available and included in all room rates, as is WI-FI. Viamede Resort — Photo courtesy of Sherel Purcell
Hikers and disc golf fans take advantage of the wooded trails behind the resort that cut through the farm from whence comes the products for the three good, onsite restaurants.
The St. Julian restaurant focuses on innovative cuisine (Douglas Fir hummus anyone?) from a menu that changes weekly and features many of the ingredients found on this farm including the fresh quail and hen eggs. Most food products are locally-sourced including some good local wine pairings.
If you want to dine al fresco on the water check out the Boathouse Restaurant with its spacious deck stretching over the lake. Here you'll find reasonably-priced, smaller meals that also use local food products. A full hot breakfast is included in the room rates and is served in the main resort where many of the included activities such as the ice cream socials, high teas and craft beer and whiskey tastings take place. Early risers gather here too for the 6 am fishing excursions.
Private cabins and large motel-like rooms - all with balconies and some with BBQs, soaker tubs and wood-burning fireplaces for all-season enjoyment offer lake views. A new sauna near the indoor-outdoor pool in the fitness centre provides yet another deck overlooking the lake, while several docks allow guests to curl up in the adironack chairs to enjoy evening breezes and sunsets.
Most dogs are are welcome here and guests can walk the resident golden retrievers. A percentage of the resort fees paid by guests visiting with their dogs goes to support Golden Retriever Rescue. Thanks to the relaxed atmosphere and large number of activities, Viamede is suitable for a variety of guests including couples, families, wedding parties (historic church onsite) and girlfriend getaways.
An hour south of Viamede sits the venerable Ste. Anne’s Spa that doubles as a popular country inn .
Ste. Anne's offers popular, all-inclusive overnight packages in Grafton – located a few hours west of Montreal by car or a more relaxing trip on VIA Rail. Canada's largest inn/spa combination includes 15 rooms and eight cottages, plus a wide range of activities and treatments that make excellent use of this 400-acre pastoral property that's set in the Northumberland hills amidst sheep farms.
The Blue Room at Ste. Anne's — Photo courtesy of Sherel Purcell
The cozy inn and retreat at Ste. Anne's offers an array of gardens – from whence come the ingredients for the tasty and healthy meals. (These same ingredients will soon appear in their new skin care product line, too.)
Walking trails, a large outdoor pool, a horse barn, a stocked fishing pond and exercise equipment including free bicycles are all here for guests to enjoy along with saunas, steam rooms and hot and cold plunge pools.
Wifi is complimentary throughout the main lodge, and desktop computers, located on the second floor of the main lodge, are available for guest use.
In the spirit of true relaxation, you won't find a television nor a telephone in your room. And while electronic devices are tolerated, they are discouraged – so that guests may focus on unplugging from the stresses of the modern world.
Silence, though not enforced, is encouraged, and certain areas of the property both inside and out are designated as quiet zones.
Although you will be assigned meal times, they are quite flexible, and they've been set to accommodate your spa treatments and /or wellness classes.
Ste. Anne's fish pond — Photo courtesy of Sherel Purcell
At each meal, you can inform staff of your dietary restrictions, if you have not already done so when confirming your reservations.
Specially blended teas are popular at the afternoon tea, and all meals offer plenty of choice to accommodate a variety of diets.
If you're traveling alone, you won't be seated with others at meals. Since no alcohol is served, you are welcome to bring your own wine, which can be stored at the proper temperature near the dining room at no additional charge.
Outside seating for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea is on a first-come, first-served basis. Dinner is served indoors.
If visiting in the summer, request a lighter weight robe, as these are worn almost exclusively around the property – even at meal times like dinner. Guests will be more comfortable (and safer) abandoning the robe while cycling and taking part in the complimentary guided walks.
While wellness classes at Ste. Anne's focus primarily on yoga and relaxation techniques, the spa treatments offer a wider variety of choice to encompass everything from eucalyptus wraps to shiatsu.
There are facials employing Ste. Anne's own skin nourishment preparations. Traditional Swedish and deep-tissue massage appear on the spa menu, as well as treatments including resurfacing facials, hand therapies and plant peels, along with exfoliations and body masques.
In order to encourage a deeper sleep, guests can do an alternating hot tub/cool plunge pool ritual before bed, perhaps starting with a stint in the eucalyptus steam room.
While Ste. Anne's is perfect for singles, couples, mothers and daughters and girlfriend getaways, it's also an excellent venue for weddings and business meetings.