I’ve been dancing around this post for a couple of weeks trying to decide what is Viamede Resort? Is it a family resort? Is it a romantic weekend getaway? A summer cottage destination? Conference centre? It’s all that and more. The beauty of Viamede Resort is that it becomes pretty much what you want it to be.
On Easter weekend my family and I were invited to visit Viamede Resort, a gorgeous spot on Stoney Lake with a world class fine dining restaurant that is on its own entirely worth the four hour drive. You can read more about The Inn at Mount Julian here tomorrow.
Viamede is unassuming and lovely, infused with a strong sense of history. You can’t help but fall in love. It’s a place with an easy charm that creeps up on you. And even if you aren’t immediately smitten, you’ll find the service wins you over quickly.
We made the four hour drive from London on Saturday and we were making great time until Oshawa where traffic slowed us a bit due to an accident. But past that it was smooth sailing. Viamede Resort is a century old traditional property on 165 acres of land that has had numerous recent renovations to many areas and continues to be updated and renovated this year. Viamede Resort is in the Kawartha Lakes area about two hours north of Toronto. It’s really very accessible from Toronto area.
The afternoon we arrived, the weather was benevolent. Bright blue skies and melting snow. We immediately settled in to a two bedroom cottage with what I thought was the best view of the lake, and we went for a big hike exploring the area. Our cottage was spacious enough, clean and had several recently renovated upgrades, including the bathrooms.
Our cottage (402) had a Television, DVD player and a spacious porch with a barbecue. I could only imagine how beautiful barbecuing on the porch would be in the summer months. The weather wasn’t quite ready for that the weekend we visited.
The beds were super comfortable. Even my husband commented on that and this is a resort that had the perfect number of pillows for each of us. I appreciate that as a traveller.
Now maybe it’s because we hiked each day and got a tonne of exercise that we slept so well on our second night there. On Easter Monday we woke up around 10 a.m., which never happens. We immediately panicked, because we thought we slept in so late that missed the big buffet breakfast. We jumped into our clothing and raced over only to see the buffet gone. Luckily I asked if we had missed breakfast and I was told we were in plenty of time to order from the menu. It’s just one small example of how accommodating and friendly Viamede Resort staff are.
The day we arrived there was an Easter egg hunt scheduled, but we were a bit too late to take part and we figured we had missed it. After exploring a bit and asking at the front desk what was scheduled for the next day, we realized they also had an Easter egg hunt slated for Easter Sunday too.
Traveler Tip: At the front desk in the welcome area there’s an aquarium with daily events written on it. Be sure to check that each day.
The Easter Egg Hunt was also followed by Find The Golden Egg somewhere on the property and win a prize, so naturally that kept us busy too. Happy to report that the Easter egg scavenger hunt, which sent the kids seeking clues to where the next egg would be, was a lot of fun. Together we all spent many hours outdoors as we hiked looking for the golden egg/prize. Eventually we located it not far from the outdoor pool.
One of the nicest parts of staying at Viamede is the food. A big breakfast buffet is included with your stay – one less thing to worry about. Trust me you will want a hearty meal because you will be exercising a lot hiking the grounds. The farm to table or forest to table philosophy here means that pretty much everything is fresh and locally sourced. Maple syrup was being gathered around the resort the weekend we visited.
Viamede has a farm that opens each year roughly around Victoria Day, with ducks, pigs, turkeys and a range of other small animals. The weekend we were there the farm had just received a shipment of baby chicks, and they were being kept warm and well fed indoors above The Inn at Mount Julian. As soon as the chicks grow old enough they end up at the farm for the season. We lucked out getting to visit the chicks together. In the summer months some of the wildlife roams freely around the property, and the bigger animals are contained in the farm area just past the sports field.
The grounds are lovely and very natural. There’s also a chapel on site. In fact, Viamede Resort does destination weddings. There’s a sweet little wedding staging area that would be unique for any wedding. There are many picturesque spots for staging photos or selfies.
The location is picturesque any time of the year. The resort itself is very pet friendly. In fact, Viamede Resort has two resort Golden Retrievers that are both rescues. Guests can bring their dogs and enjoy the spacious Dog Park any month of the year, or they can interact with and take the resort dogs for walks too. Viamede resort gives back to a rescue foundation for Golden Retrievers and donates each time a guest brings their dog with them for a visit.
Keep your eyes open when you are there. We didn’t see any deer the weekend we were guests, but we spied deer tracks in the parking lot and I know others who have visited who spied deer up close. Plenty of wildlife and birds call this area home. In the summer months the lake becomes a playground and you can take boat tours, or go swimming. There’s a nice outdoor pool and the area around The Boathouse is almost completely renovated.
There are many areas for children to explore and also enjoy. There was a play area/ climber with slide near our cottage and the day we arrived there were many families with young children making use of it. The food at The Boathouse is good and there were kid’s meals available there too. In barbecue season you can ask for a barbecue basket and take it back to your cottage to grill on your deck. But it was the food at the Inn at Mount Julian that spoiled me forever. Read more about The Inn at Mount Julian here. The chef’s tasting menu at Mount Julian is world class and truly memorable. If you do one thing while here it should be this – get a reservation for The Inn at Mount Julian and dine there. You won’t regret it.
There’s more than enough to do at Viamede Resort. I was a bit concerned that heading up to the resort in the wintery weather (we had an ice storm literally two days before we were scheduled to visit.) would mean less to do. But staff quickly proved to me there are many fun family activities all year round.
The new pool area is beautiful and the gigantic windows overlook Stoney Lake. There’s a sauna and a steam room and a fitness area too. Occasionally there’s an aquafit class held in the pool. There are movie nights most weekends and there is a lending library of books, DVDs and family games, so you need not worry if you catch a rainy day while you are there. There are campfires frequently too. Viamede boasts over 2,000 feet of Stoney Lake shoreline. The lake is part of the Trent Severn Waterway.
Even in the winter, we found plenty to do at Viamede Resort. While visiting we decided to try geo-caching for the first time ever. That was fun for the entire family and a new experience too. Geocaching is a team activity where you are given latitude and longitude coordinates and you search out the spot that corresponds to the location using a GPS or a smartphone. Then the real fun starts as you hunt high and low for a small hidden box containing treasures that other Geocachers have left behind. Bring a pen or pencil too and sign the guest book. We forgot a pen so we had no way to leave our names behind. Some people take a memento from the geocache and then leave one of equal or greater value behind. Next time we will know to bring some small items to add to the treasures within, and we won’t forget our pens either.
Can’t even explain how happy we were when we finally found the first geocache. Ainsley found it. My older daughter found it a bit frustrating at first, but when we located the cache everyone was on board and having fun.
We were guests at Viamede Resort over Easter weekend. Our cottage, activities and meals were all complimentary. We enjoyed our stay thoroughly. My opinion is all my own and it is 100 % truthful. I figured my readers would love to know about this gem in the Kawarthas.