“I am not afraid,” I tell myself, unconvincingly. Strapped into the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, our car goes clickety-clack as we slowly make our way to the summit. And then, the point of no return, and we bomb back down the mountain. “Too fast! Too fast!” I scream in agony, only to be drowned out by my son’s screams of delight. “Faster! Faster!” He shouts to my ghostly white face. Oh, the things we do for love! Our father-son getaway to the Blue Mountain Village Resort is the best value-for-money trip in Ontario.
As we check in to our comfy suite at the Westin Trillium House there is an auspicious air of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. With so much to offer from climbing to caving, bag jumping to aquatic plunging, and more, we make our plan over pizza. At Firehall Pizza Co. my little angel devours a Little Devil of steaming, crunchy ‘za with cheese and pepperoni.
Our stroll through the village is full of distractions in every direction, but we’ve settled on the Open-Air Gondola for an unparalleled view from above. Upon ascent, my son and I, in our own private gondola, gaze out at the expanding horizon, the sun setting over Georgian Bay, and the sweet serenity of the lush nature, clean air and this beautiful moment together. He’s never been up so high.
Back in the village a band is performing on stage and provides a soundtrack for all the kids playing in the water feature. I am happy to recline in an easy chair, listen to the music and look up at the stars, while my water-soaked son is ecstatically darting through the cool water shooting up like geysers with all the friends he’s making that we’ll be seeing at the pool tomorrow.
After a few attempts at the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, I’m comfortable enough to no longer embarrass my son with my cold feet.
However, it’s time for an aquatic plunge. En route, we stop at the Climbing Wall for him to challenge his monkey-like abilities, and the Cascading Putting Course to reveal mine. There are 18 holes to this miniature course that take us up and back down the slope, and while it’s clear that neither of us has a future in golf, the laughs are as good as gold.
At the Aquatic Plunge Centre, both indoor and outdoor options abound. First, we must exhaust the water playground. Here we stand until a bucket fills and dumps its contents onto our heads. We swim outside to the pool rope, swing like Tarzan and fall in.
At last, the pièce de résistance: water slides. This is the height of summer fun for every kid.
Up and down, up and down, the hours pass yet each slide is as exciting as the first. Tuckered out -for the moment – we vow to return later.
Following a scrumptious lunch of Brie and apple grilled cheese sandwiches and barbecue chicken tacos we drive out to the Scenic Caves.
Upon entrance to the site, we try our hand at mining by purchasing a gem bag of sand that we empty into a water trough. We follow the stream and begin panning for treasure. Our collection of gemstones does include one lucky strike: an arrowhead!
With our semi-precious loot in tow, we hop on the Tractor Wagon Ride toward the Suspension Bridge. 80 feet high, 420 feet long, it’s a unique vantage to cross and view the forest while seemingly suspended within it.
Returning to the entrance we begin our hike into the forest cave system. Carved by glacial ice this was once home to the Petun First Nation. First on the trail is the “Refrigerator Cave,” aptly named for its frigidity—a welcome respite from the summer heat. It’s his first cave and an entrance to a whole new world of imagination. We descend into several more caverns, each with its own mystique.
Saving the best for last we enter “Fat Man’s Misery,” or, as my son calls it, “Daddy’s Misery.” Here we inch through a 36cm wide slit in the limestone rocks, and after kvetching and contorting I finally make it through to see my son waiting in laughter.
At last, it’s time for the beach, a private beach, available only to guests of the resort. A short drive and we arrive to warm sand and cool shallow water that extends far out. It feels like summer camp. We could spend hours here. There’s no rush. We have the luxury of time.
It’s a beautiful day, and we’re like two peas in a pod, tossing a frisbee, floating on boards, splashing and racing in the water, looking back on the blue hues of the Blue Mountains.
Each experience here is an adventure, each day an incredible memory. This father-son trip to Blue Mountain is only the first of many to come.
For more info go to bluemountain.ca
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.