I think we can all agree that we have been faced with many challenges in the year 2020, and that travelling plans have been affected tremendously. As residents of Niagara Falls Canada, my husband and I have had to limit our travel and in order to cure the “travel bug” within us we have decided to stay in province and take a few little mini-vacations within a few hours drive from home.
One of these mini-vacations took us to the Muskoka Lakes Region of Ontario, Canada; a very popular tourist destination most especially in the summer months but we ventured out in late November.
The Muskoka Lakes Region is a chain of lakes, Muskoka District, in southeastern Ontario, Canada. They are located about 130 km north of the city of Toronto. They consist of a chain of freshwater lakes drained by the Muskoka River into Georgian Bay, and these lakes are simply stunning; surrounded by beautiful trees and rocks of the Canadian Shield it offers some of the most picturesque views of Ontario.
Located on one of these beautiful lakes, Lake Rosseau to be exact; is a beautiful luxury resort and spa, and this is where my husband and I decided we would stay. The name of the resort is JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa, and I am delighted to tell you that it is absolutely beautiful.
We decided that we would leave on a Friday morning and that on our way to the resort we would stop and tour a Cranberry Farm and do some wine tasting at Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery. I personally had never heard of a cranberry farm in Ontario and the idea was fascinating; I was looking forward to experiencing the tour. When we arrived we parked and made our way to the winery building to check in for our tour. Looking around we could already see the red colours surrounding us in the bogs, and we were excited to learn more about this unique place.
We waited for a few minutes and then one of the ladies came out to take us on our tour of the farm. We learned that it was a family business and that they had been growing cranberries for three generations in Muskoka. As Ontario’s oldest cranberry farm, they believe great fruit starts with caring about the environment that supports it and farming responsibly is very important to them. As we proceeded along the walking tour we were told more about the farm and the cranberry growing process, we learned that they grow Vaccinium macrocarpon cranberries; the only cranberry native to North America. There are over 150 commercial varieties of Vaccinium macrocarpon, and on this farm they grow five different varieties. We had no idea there were so many varieties of cranberries and found all the information we were given to be fascinating.
When the tour was completed we headed back to the winery and were welcomed into the tasting room in order to complete our wine tasting experience.
The verdict on the wine? Delicious! We had no idea that cranberries could make such a lovely tasting wine; they have several varieties ranging from dry to sweet, and they even make a cider. We did learn that the cranberries were often mixed with other ingredients in order to acquire a pleasant taste, and our favourite one was the Cranberry/Blueberry Blend. I highly recommend you visit this beautiful farm and winery if you have the opportunity to do so!
As it was now late afternoon it was time to make our way to the resort to settle in; it was a fairly mild day for November, the temperature was around 12C so we decided to take a walk around the grounds of the resort and found it to be very appealing. The view of the lake was stunning, they had an outdoor pool and hot tub, an indoor/outdoor pool, a beach for summer and it appeared there were lots of outdoor activities available at any season of the year. One of our favourite features of the hotel were the outdoor firepits, several were located on property complete with lovely Muskoka chairs where you could sit by the fire and get cozy.
Inside the resort was also very beautiful, there were several cozy seating areas with fireplaces, a bar where you could obtain a cocktail and a very large seating area that also appeared to serve light fare.
It was close to Christmas season and the festive decor looked absolutely stunning!
We sat and enjoyed a lovely pre-dinner cocktail in the beautiful seating area and when it was time we made our way to the restaurant for our dinner reservation. There were 2 fine dining choices at the resort and we had chosen the Muskoka Chophouse. I have only good things to say about this restaurant, even during a pandemic it appeared they were taking the appropriate precautions to keep everyone safe, they had a wonderful wine menu to accompany the delicious dinner options and we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner.
We settled in for the evening in our room which also had a lovely fireplace and a view of beautiful Lake Rosseau.
The next day we decided to do some exploring; there are several quaint small towns in this area of the Muskoka Lakes, we decided to go for a drive and see Bala and Port Carling. One of my favourite things to see in this area is so much evidence of the Canadian Shield, and in Bala Ontario there are some beautiful waterfall formations to see together with the rock from the Canadian Shield. If you are unfamiliar with what the Canadian Shield is, it is a “large area of exposed Precambrian igneous and high-grade metamorphic rocks that forms the ancient geologic core of the North American continent” according to Wikipedia.
Next we headed to Port Carling, we had lunch at a lovely little restaurant called Portside Fusion. I recommend this as a lunch stop, we enjoyed the quaintness and the food was lovely as well. Port Carling is a very small community, and I think my favourite thing about it is the little shops and beautiful water areas. One of the ones we found particularly pretty was Mirror Lake, which even in late November cold still looked absolutely beautiful!
After enjoying a lovely day in the area and exploring the local shops, we headed back to the resort to relax and unwind; we decided on a late dinner in our room with a bottle of wine to toast to our wonderful weekend away. The next morning we headed back home but we will certainly be back again.