Viamede, a “boldly different” kind of vacation
Last summer, my partner and co-host of The Ultimate Health Podcast, Jesse and I were lucky enough to experience a beautiful and quaint little resort known as Viamede. It is nestled in the Kawartha region, perched on Stoney Lake. We were fortunate to return again this winter for a second mini vacation. Both get-aways nurtured us in #boldlydifferent, yet exceptional ways.
It’s fair to say that Viamede is unassuming from the outside. The focal point of the property is an old lodge with lots of small cabins surrounding the main grounds. Majestic trees trickle across the premises and span into a large forest area. Then of course the main feature being the calm lake front that is treelined with cottages. There is truly an unspeakable charm that exudes the whole property.
There is no shortage of activities to keep busy with, especially in the summer months. We spent our summer days kayaking, visiting the farm animals, playing on the water trampoline, frolicking in the forest playing disc golf (literally throwing a Frisbee to the next hole). In the winter, you have to be a bit creative but that’s easy since the grounds themselves are just so beautiful. We went out into the wood exploring with no agenda. Just follow those blue diamonds!
When we weren’t outside, we were cozy in the lodge or our cabin with books, board games or a movie. We were also thrilled with the spa-like amenities that we got the chance to take advantage of. Namely, the sauna and steam room which is one of our favourite ways to de-stress and detoxify, especially on vacation. The pool is open year round, but you would sooner catch us jumping into the lake (in the summer)!
I have to say that coming to Viamede is like coming up to the cottage, but you get the best of both worlds. You can enjoy being around the energy of people (which is mainly families, couples or young adults) or you can spend time alone in your cabin sitting on the porch watching the sunset with a glass of wine.
One of the main highlights for us is that our puppy Goji is welcome to be here with us. What a perfect opportunity for a pet to play and enjoy nature, especially if your dog is as active and excited to be outside as Goji is. For her a swim or a trek in the woods are all she needs to stay happy and have her needs met. So far both summer and winter gave her two very different experiences that I know she loved just the same.
The most memorable experience on both occasions was hands down the meals served at The Inn at Mount Julian. There are no words to describe what this ultimate dining experience was like. Honestly, I can’t recall a dinner experience that is as unique as this one. What is amazing about it, is that it’s not just about the food (which was beyond mouth watering) but the whole playwright of the night.
Let me describe the scene. You walk through the door into this little rustic cottage like house that dates back to the late 1800’s. You are guided to a cozy, candle-lit table for two that overlooks the lake. The background music is classic records, ones that maybe my grandparents would have enjoyed. From here we were wined and dined with farm fresh, in season and local cuisine. Every detail is accounted from to which fork you use and when, to garnishes on every dish and not to mention the exceptional service.
The best part is that I am not one for surprises when it comes to my meals (since I cook most of my own meals), I like to order my own food so I know what’s coming (yes I am a bit of a control freak). However, I wanted to fully immerse myself in the experience of the night. So I succumbed to chef’s tasting menu (either 5, 7 or 9 courses), and allowed each delicately crafted course come to me without a clue of what was in store. The first time we were here in the summer we had a 9 course-tasting menu and this time we had a 7 course tasting menu – each dish just got better than the next. In the summer, the experience itself was so new to us and we were just in awe of the whole night. This time around, even though we knew what to expect in terms of the atmosphere, the night had it’s own special vibe with a completely different menu.
What makes the night so special is that each course is not only paired with a local wine that compliments the flavours of the dish, but also it is brought out with such mystery and enthusiasm that you can’t help but get excited to take your first few bites. Since there are so many courses, the dishes may be on the smaller side but they are exploding with flavour, that only a chef who is passionate (and knows what he’s doing) would take the time to create such an incredibly special meal. We got the chance to taste the masterful work of two talented chefs; in the summer Chef Kevin McKenna spoiled us with his 9 course creations. This time around we had Jay Nutt working his magic with 7 course masterpiece on his first night working at Viamede! Of course I put them both to the ultimate test, as they accommodated all of my dietary restrictions and requests.
Speaking of which, because we stayed in our own private cabin, I was able to bring up some of my own provisions. That way I had the ability to make some of our own breakfasts and snacks on demand. Having the flexibility to be able to make and enjoy some of my own meals is extremely important to a rounded out and customized vacation experience.
One of the last details that can’t go unmentioned, is the incredible sleeps that I am able to get when away from the city. When I am out in nature the quality of my sleep is like non-other, quiet, dark and peaceful. I wake up each morning feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Especially with the view from our cabin overlooking the lake, it’s easy to get a day started on the Viamede property.
As I sit here in the main lodge lounge on my last day writing this, I am looking out at a peaceful, calm snow covered lake. I am sad to leave this very special place, but I also look forward to coming back again soon! Viamede, is truly the kind of place that you can escape to for a few days, a week or more and get everything you need out of it. Thank you Viamede for two very special trips. I know Jesse, Goji and myself will never forget them!