Last month my boyfriend and I booked a stay at the Viamede Resort in Mt. Julian and braved Toronto traffic on a Friday night just to make it happen. If you’re familiar with city traffic, you’d understand that this was probably the worst time to make a two hour commute but we wanted to get up there as soon as possible to catch the sky covered in a blanket of stars which is not a familiar sight downtown.
An hour out from Viamede, I gave the resort a call to see if dinner would be available upon arrival. A friendly representative by the name of Matthew picked up. “I’m so sorry but dinner service is over at 9pm. I can see if our chef can prepare a salad and a sandwich for you to have in your private cottage, though?” “Sure!” I replied. But when we arrived at 9:05pm, there was no salad or sandwich in sight, instead Matthew walked us into the dining room and gave us menus. “I’ve spoken to our chef and he would be happy to stick behind to make you whatever you want from our menu.”
That’s where Viamede set the tone and it was the tone that followed throughout the duration of our weekend stay.
The Viamede Resort was established over a century ago and it’s known as a destination that feels more like a homey cottage than a resort. There’s no wifi and you don’t need it. Simply put, it’s perfect for those looking to eliminate their screen time and reconnect with loved ones and even themselves on a mindful level.
If you’re looking for an experiential gift to give that special someone for Valentine’s Day or perhaps a getaway to treat yourself to, here are the reasons why the Viamede Resort is a great choice.
- YOU CAN BOOK YOUR OWN PRIVATE COTTAGE
On the historic property, you can rent a suite in their main lodge or Hilltop building but if you’re looking for a GETAWAY, I highly suggest renting your own cottage. Their biggest cottage sleeps up to 8 people, but big or small, they’re situated on a secluded street which backs onto the lake. The cottages come with a kitchen, comfortable bedrooms, living room, bathroom, and a deck with your very own BBQ.
2. THE SERVICE WILL BLOW YOU AWAY
As mentioned above, the service is terrific. It’s obvious that every staff member at the Viamede Resort takes pride in where they work. I never felt like I was a bother when I asked about dinner, when I asked for a matt to place by the entry door of our cottage, or a hundred questions about the resort’s history just to feed my curiosity. Every one I spoke to was friendly, helpful, and beyond welcoming. They truly make you feel like you’re a long lost family member who’s returned for long overdue stay.
3. BEAUTIFUL RUSTIC DECOR TO MATCH A HISTORIC VIEW
Viamede offers a kind of rustic charm that’s unique to it’s 100+ years on the planet, incomparable and almost incomprehensible to the modern eye. Their cozy nine-table restaurant, Mount Julian, was my favourite spot on the property. From framed vintage photographs, an extensive vinyl collection, and antique furniture, you’ll feel like you’re dining in a room from a period piece starring Daniel Day-Lewis. When you’re there, you have to check out the main living area with pioneer furniture and room decor that’s been left untouched for decades! Some might call this an instagrammable backdrop while others will just appreciate the historical charm of it and save the mental images in their memory bank. Either way, it’s a space full of character.
4. UNIQUE AND DELICIOUS FARM TO TABLE DINING EXPERIENCE
We were served fresh breakfast every morning and the pastas we shared on our first night featured fresh ingredients from their farm and local farmers. However, the most memorable meal we had was a 7 course meal in Mount Julian. The General Manager of the property took care of us the entire night, serving us a special Chef’s choice experience with wine pairings and ingredients that were foraged and farmed locally. Some of the dishes included devilled quail off with smoked paprika, Ontario pickerel, pork chop from pigs raised on the property, and a standout Bavarian potato salad with homemade pickles and rainbow carrots. This is hands down my favourite dining experience at any hotel and resort. Also of note, guests are not expected the tip the staff because they are compensated fairly for their efforts, however if you choose to do so anyway, I’m sure they’d appreciate the gesture.
5. EASY ACCESS TO OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
In the summer, you can go kayaking, mountain biking, canoeing, and fishing. In the winter when the lake freezes over, you can skate your heart out on Stoney Lake and go for a hike in the 9km of beautiful unmarked hiking trails around the resort. We saw 4 deers on our day excursion in the wilderness which was a great reminder of how tucked away this resort is.
6. VERY LITTLE NOISE AND DISTRACTIONS
Because Viamede is so secluded from the rest of the town, you’d be hard pressed to find any loud or unwanted distractions during your quiet stay. No traffic, no sirens, no screaming. Just birds chirping in the daylight, a joy-giving jazz playlist in the main dining areas, and absolute solitude in and around your private cottage.
The Viamede Resort is truly off the beaten path in every sense. If you’re looking for a fancy getaway with his and hers sinks, in-room snack bar, and expensive bath robes for your post shower regimens, the Viamede Resort is not for you. However, if you’re looking for solitude, nature, rustic charm and friendly faces, you’ll have a Valentine’s Day for the books on this charming piece of property.
B. Tru xx