Longing for a rustic, laid-back retreat in cottage country with the family? Viamede, a historic resort situated on the beautiful Stoney Lake in the Kawartha Lakes, should be on your radar.
A two-hour drive from Toronto, this century-old resort sits on a long shoreline lined with cottages, docks and boats. There are deluxe rooms in the main building, and cottages with 1 to 3 bedrooms, which are suitable for larger families around the property.
If you’re seeking an upscale luxury resort getaway, Viamede is not it; this resort prides itself on being laid-back, rustic and as staying as close to nature as possible.
Viamede is boldly different in that you are welcome to enjoy the facilities at your own leisure. If you’d like to take out a canoe or kayak, you borrow one from the small beach area. Want to go swimming in the indoor or outdoor pool? Go right ahead. There aren’t any forms to fill out, or sign-out sheets, or permission to obtain – you are free to enjoy the amenities anytime.
My boys spent most of the day swimming in the outdoor pool, playing on the water trampoline, and going out on the kayaks. Off the water, guests can hike Viamede’s 6 km of private nature trails, go out to the field for a game of soccer, or borrow a bicycle. You can also enjoy spa treatments at the full service spa, or sneak in a workout in the fitness centre. The lobby offers books and movies to take back to your room or cottage too.
Even though there is Wi-Fi in the main building, you can’t help but unplug and fully immerse yourself in the serene lake and fun water activities, sit by the outdoor pool, or cozy up on a Muskoka chair lakeside with a good book and cup of herbal tea. On a rainy day, there is foosball, ping pong, board games, and a kids’ play zone in the main inn.
What also makes Viamede boldly different is the emphasis on food and the farm-to-table dining experience. Mount Julian is Viamede’s fine dining restaurant, dating to 1874, where there are 5, 7 or 9 course tasting menus with wine and beer pairings. The menu is all complemented by the Viamede farm – free range ducks, pigs, turkeys and a vegetable garden. For those seeking a romantic adult-only option, no kids are allowed here. Sadly we weren’t able to leave the kids and dine here alone on this visit.
But we did enjoy dining at The Boathouse, the resort’s casual restaurant which is in an actual former boathouse. The Boathouse dockside menu is guided by Viamede’s locavore philosophy, with a menu featuring local Ontario meats, seafood, and produce balanced with ingredients from theirfarm and forest. We enjoyed every meal, and I was thrilled with the various gluten-free options.
Club 1885 offers complimentary breakfast buffet with traditional fare; pancakes, bacon and eggs, cereals, yogurt and fruit.
Some other cool features?
- Viamede Resort is completely tip-free. They believe in paying staff fair wages, and don’t believe in burdening guests with extra fees.
- The General Manager happily takes guests out at 6:00 a.m. to go fishing.
- The resort also offers a campfire for guests to roast marshmallows and make s’mores.
- Staff is well-mannered and mostly teenagers.
- Pet lovers will be happy to know that the cottages are pet friendly.
Viamede has a laid-back, rustic atmosphere – it truly is a place to slow down, relax, and soak up Ontario’s cottage country.
Disclosure: My family and I were invited by the lovely people at Viamede Resort to enjoy a complimentary weekend getaway.