Beyond the city limits we breathe easier as we head to the Kawarthas, home of the Kawartha Dairy ice cream, the Canadian Canoe Museum and Petroglyphs Provincial Park. In the middle of it all are miles of pristine wilderness, best experienced, as we discovered, at Viamede Resort on Stoney Lake.
Settling into our own private waterfront cottage we flick on the porch grill and unpack our pre-ordered barbeque take-out basket. I man the bbq and get to work on the lemon and herb chicken kebabs, seasoned brisket burgers, marinated ribs and foil-wrapped corn on the cob seasoned in chili lime butter. My family sets the lakeside table with red skin potato salad, wild mushrooms with herbs and shallots, and 40 Creek Whiskey baked beans, slow cooked with caramelized onions and double smoked maple cured bacon. We gratefully welcome the immediate change of pace from the city to the lake. Here, we have nothing but time, as we gaze out at the silent glistening water.
140 years ago this was a logging camp. Now, we laze the afternoon away at the pool, alternating between tanning and floating. Having “worked-up” an appetite we celebrate the farm-to-table program at the 1885 dining room, and indulge in crunchy panko crisp salmon cakes, cornmeal crusted rainbow trout with caper and tarragon aioli, and a hearty herbed-chicken pot pie.
S’mores kit or survival kit? For us, they’re one in the same. As the sun sets we gather around a fire pit provided with all we need to create the perfect s’mores.
Following an early morning hike along wilderness trails, we head to the boat house and select kayaks–I choose a canoe–to paddle to the tiny uninhabited islands that jut out in the middle of the lake. We are so far away from CNN and any of the minutia that clutter our daily lives. It is a wonderful release as we stretch out and bask in the summer glow. That’s why people come here, for a quiet retreat.
Before we do head back to the city, there is one thing we need to learn: how to survive a Zombie Apocalypse. Stranger things have happened, I’m sure, but should zombies take over the world, and overrun our cities, we will come back to Viamede with our new found skills and survive in the woods. Buroak Wilderness Living Skills offers us the essential techniques. In the distance I hear my son screaming as our guide chases him around the field with a spear, while I busily focus on starting a fire with a flint and a stone. Weapons, tents, water purifiers, we go through the gamut of necessary paraphernalia, and feel confident we could protect ourselves…when the time comes.
Dinner at the Inn at Mount Julian is a multi-course array of local produce. Duck prosciutto with Riesling peaches, Pork terrine and crostini is served on a granite slab. Seared scallops on creamed Napa cabbage are decorated with vibrant shucked peas. A bowl of deep red heirloom tomato with basil leaves, buffalo mozzarella and pesto tastes fresh from the garden. To our surprise a whole roasted pheasant is presented, accompanied by crushed fingerlings and quail eggs. Overly satisfied, there is still plenty left over to take home…in case there’s an apocalypse. Dessert is a super rich bacon butternut tart with shaved dark chocolate, walnuts, and fresh whipped cream. I love all those words and leave not one crumb behind.
We’re blessed in Ontario with a wide range of options for weekend getaways. Viamede is our memorable discovery.
For more info, go to: www.viamede.com
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.