Click Photo For Couples Resort
Magical moments happen.at the Bear Trail Couples Resort in Whitney, Ontario, Canada, tucked away in the incredible Algonquin Provincial Park. This cozy and posh get-a-way for "couples-only" allows opportunities to re-connect and celebrate life and love.
I learned very quickly after speaking to a few guests on a weekend in November that the resort caters to the couple that never gets any time alone. The couple that sees each other for five minutes in the morning and maybe just and hour at night. The opportunity to spend 2-3 days alone to rejuvenate, re-energize and rejoice sounds nice, don't you think? Well hang on to your hats, my story gets better.
There are times in everyone's life when you wish you could slow down time or even stop the clock to make a special moment last just a little bit longer. Whether it's sitting in front of a warm crackling fire on a cool Northern Ontario evening or standing on a high and windy lookout point gazing into an ocean of endless colored terrain. Life seems perfect and the thought of being anywhere else on earth unimaginable. It's these short-lived moments that make the harsh realities of day-to-day life worth it all, even if it is only for a brief moment in time.
The ever popular 7,725 square kilometers Algonquin Provincial Park has been enjoyed by travelers, voygeurs, and scouts since the mid-1800's. The park was inhabited by bands of native Indians and later logging pioneers. Today Algonquin is the most important area in Canada for biological research.
The adventurous possibilities are endless: Camping, canoeing, hiking and biking are the few activities that lure both Canadians and non-Canadians to visit this natural wonder. Imagine hearing the sorrowful howl of a wolf, the echoing call of a loon, or the sound of your paddle gently cutting through water during a canoe trip on a quiet, misty morning. Whatever your experience is in Algonquin Park it is guaranteed to be memorable. Please be advised that although Mother Nature can be beautiful, she can also be dangerous. So before setting out for you adventure be certain of the necessary precautions one must take. For more information, visit the park at http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca.
A $10CND/day permit is required to visit any of the park's museums or trails and can be purchased at the park office. The Algonquin visitor center is also a must to appreciate the park's natural and human historya theatre presentation helps to better understand Algonquin's story, along with many life-like exhibits. The park is a perfect destination to get-a-way, get rejuvenated, and get back to nature.
Thirty-five years ago Fritz Sorensen, a foreman in a manufacturing plant in Toronto, decided upon retirement to follow his dream and open a couples resort with his wife, Gertrudein beautiful Whitney, Ontario on Galeairy Lake on the East Gate of Algonquin Park. Over the years the whole Sorensen family has become actively involved in the business. Their three sons, John, Mark and Paul, daughter Evelyne and John's wife Annica, have all played roles in making the resort what it is today.
Originally the land was used as a fishing lodge equipped with only seven basic cabins. But over time the resort has emerged from its cocoon and has been transformed into a majestic butterfly, now occupying 48 rooms, suites, and cabins, due to the Sorensen's hard work. Amongst the rooms the resort also offers six villas, three chateaus, and 20 bridal rooms of choice.
All of the suites, chateaus, cabins and rooms offer the following: refrigerator, coffee machine, tea kettle, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, fluffy duvet, large stone wood burning fireplace (and wood), cable TV, VCR, free movies, hair dryer, vanity mirror, ironing board, and terry velour bath robes. Prices vary depending on where you choose to stay and the time of year you're booking. Feel free to take a virtual tour by visiting Bear Trail Resort website. The most popular time of year to visit is from mid-July to the end of October. The resort is closed for six weeks from mid-November to December 27th, and the month of April.
Now before I go on I need to express how awe-struck I was by what the resort has to offer. You can only imagine my reaction when I was able to experience it first hand. Allow me to set the scene.
I arrived on a typical cool and sunny Ontario afternoon; the air was crisp and the colored leaves were beginning to fall like clockwork, marking the turn of a new and wonderful season. Already impressed by my scenic drive on winding dirt roads boarding quiet lakes, I couldn't imagine my day becoming any more perfect. Approaching Whitney I spotted a beaver sitting on some barely frozen ice building himself a place to reside. I strategically pulled over and watched him hard at workin a moment he noticed me and dove under the tissue paper thin ice. It was time for me to find my bed for the night as well, I thought, and continued on my journey.
The resort is tucked away down a hidden gravel road and hugs Galeairy Lakeseven miles of sparkling water and hidden coves disappearing well into Algonquin Park. If you sit quietly by the shoreline you will hear the haunting call of the loons communicating to each other. Beaver, otter, deer, and moose are spotted in the area. Fish of all shapes, colors, and sizes can be caught either off the shore, or on canoe trips in the summer. The resort's Chef, Subie Cybulskie, is happy to cook your cleaned fish for dinner at no extra charge.
Pulling into the resort I instantly felt a sense of comfort. Log cabins were to my left and welcoming forested land to my right, and an inviting main house straight ahead. I understood why the get-a-way was classified as "quaint and cozy". There is more of a feeling of being a guest in a friend's home, rather than a number in a big hotel. Couples of all ages were checking in, one after the other, ready for their weekend of magic to begin. I watched one couple exchange a silent and knowing recognition with each other, while Tonya, the pleasant young clerk at the front desk told them about what facilities the resort has to offer.
In the fall and winter season the Bear Trail Couples Resort offers an abundance of activities, such as: hiking Algonquin Park (a spectacular walk is a 2.7 km trek on Lookout Trail, overlooking the park); mountain biking 35km of mysterious and beautiful terrain located along the fabulous Madawaska River; badminton and tennis on the on-site courts when the weather applies; all-terrain-vehicle tours (1.5 hour trip is $70CND, info can be gathered at www.allstarresort.com/atving.html); horseback riding on a guided tour surrounded by only the sound of the clip-clop of horse shoes within the Algonquin wilderness. Shani Ride happily guides you along with her partner in crime "Pugga" the potbelly pig, who insists on trotting along with every tour! This pigs belly was not so pot, so to speak. A one hour scenic trail ride is $45 CND/per person, or a full-day excursion with lunch included is $150 CND/per person. More info is at www.adventurestables.ca.
Skating, snowshoeing, and 60 miles of cross-country ski trails can all be enjoyed in the winter season. The resort also offers guided snowmobiling tours at $170 CND/per sled (two people per sled) for a four hour ride, or $130 CND for a two hour ride. Dogsledding may be another alternative to see the winter-white landscape, at $70 CND/per person for a two hour expedition, or a day trip with lunch included at $140 CND/per person.
In the spring and summer months the activities include: swimming, fishing, canoeing, windsailing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain bikingthe list goes on and on. In July and August, board a 32-foot pontoon boat for a guided, enchanting sunset cruise through Algonquin Park. Tours are $10 CND/per person.
After a long day of adventure, Shiatsu massages release stress in aching muscles. Annica Sorensen is a Registered Nurse, Shiatsu therapist, and acupuncturist, and she is assisted by the expertise of her colleagues, Rose and Vern, all excellent in easing discomfort, stress, and pain. The cost of a Shiatsu is $40 CND for a half hour, upper body treatment, or $80 CND for a one hour body treatment, and $100 CND for 1.5 hour complete body treatment. Acupuncture is an alternative to Shiatsu and can be highly beneficial. A one hour treatment is $100 CND.
After learning about the ins and outs of the resort I pulled up to the log cabin in which I was spending the weekend. It was called the "Honeymoon Spa Villa Bootes" (named after a constellation). The 750-square-foot cabin is situated on the lake, with both a sun deck and screened-in porch area to relax upon.
I turned my key and walked through the front door. The smell of distant logs burning on a fire engulfed me as I turned and noticed the fireplace. High ceiling, wool carpets and cushiony, comfy couches reached out and took my hand, welcoming me to this fantasy suite. The four poster, king-size bed, was draped in a fluffy duvet, beside the huge 5'X6' double-man Jacuzzi. The bathroom was my own private spa equipped with a multi-head Euro double-man shower, steam bath, and sauna. Laughing to myself, I thought, why would I ever want to leave? It was easy to assume why this was called the "Honeymoon Villa". I guess "not leaving" was the whole idea. Now I'm sure at this point you must be wondering what I was doing at this resort alone. Well the truth is I wasn't. But I'll get to that point later.
There is a resort dress code in affect at dinner only at the.dining room in the main lodge overlooking the lake. The waiters and waitresses are all dressed in crisp, white shirts and black vests, appropriate for any occasion. The quiet and dim room is decorated in rich wine tones, large comfortable chairs, and a large wood-burning fireplace. Breakfast and dinner is included during your stay; the large selections of both domestic and imported wines are sold at cost.
For dinner that night I sank my palate into an eight ounce New York Sirloin steak. The tangy mushroom peppercorn sauce and Montreal steak spice did not over power the cut, but complimented its natural, grilled flavor. It was recommended by our waitress to try the Cabernet Franc Reserve to flatter the meal. The full-bodied wine was dry, with hints of bell pepper, berry notes and raspberry. A bottle (again at cost) is $20.85 CND.
The menu is forever changing and is alway's accompanied by a tasty soup, salad and dessert. I was told that I couldn't leave without trying Mrs. Sorensen's homemade chocolate almond tortechocolaty, sweet and heavenly. a comforting finish to a perfect old-fashioned kind of meal.
At no extra charge I took full advantage of room service for breakfast. It was hard to decided between the fluffy warm waffles or hardy Canadian bacon and eggs, so I ordered both!
Other specialties on the menu included: Stuffed Boneless Leg of Lamb, sautéed in Rosemary Garlic Sauce. The Grilled Fish of the Day is marinated in citrus juices, red onions and olive oil. And of course the Pasta of the Day is a choice of a Four Cheese or Vegetarian Lasagna. It was obviously a tough decision to make but what can I say, both myself and my guest were partial to the steak.
The wine cellar is forever experimenting with different varietals, updating or completing a hefty accumulation of wines from around the world. One favorite caught my attention and that was our own Canadian Chardonnay Malivoire 1999, which is one of Wine Access Magazine's Top 100 Canadian wines.
Gazing around the room during dinner it was obvious that we were accompanied with not just couples who needed time alone, but newly weds (who also needed time alone!). Weddings for less than 10 people can be arranged at The Bear Trail Couples Resort with Reverend. Heather McLurg or the Minister Age Smies officiating your intimate ceremony on site. More information is found at http://www.nexicom.net/asmies.
My days at the resort were spent exploring the wilderness and hiking to a windy lookout point in Algonquin. The nights found me soaking in the Jacuzzi, watching a fire burn down slowly into golden embers until the early hours of the morning.
Now as far as my gracious guest goes? I choose to keep that part of my weekend a mystery for the imagination. But I will say this, if I had the power to slow down the sands of time that weekend I would have taken full advantage. The Bear Trail Couples Resort allowed me a few extra moments (on this rollercoaster I call my life) that goes down on my list of experiences that I would freeze to make last just a little bit longer. Many thanks to all, my weekend will never be forgotten. By Joanna Niebler, Toronto Correspondent.