The lush countryside north of Toronto boasts major manor houses for family getaways that are the prestigious luxury inns of Canada's Cottage Country .The lush countryside north of Toronto boasts major manor houses for family getaways that are the prestigious luxury inns of Canada's Cottage Country .
Ontario Country Resorts for Family Reunions Ontario's Lake District has been a favorite recreational destination of Canadian families and foreigners for generations. In addition to the province's beauty, Ontario also boasts of a fairly low crime rate. Its traditional country resorts are a nice alternative for families who enjoy the year-round inns of the northern United States, since the climates are about the same. And if you plan your holiday to include Ontario's many small town museums, you will learn about a rich history that is sometimes overshadowed by Canada's powerful neighbor to the south.
Just as corporate honchos know the value of combining important functions with a bit of R&R, families wanting to celebrate a special occasion, reunion, or family wedding can choose to be pampered at a top country inn or resort.
Most establishments I've selected are members of the prestigious Ontario's Finest Inns &Spas and located within a 1-2.5 hour drive from Toronto, and just over an hour from New York or five hours from Los Angeles by air. Keep in mind that simple or elaborate preparations can be organized based on your budget, from as little as $100 CDN per person per night with meals, to thousands of "loonies" (Canadian dollars are named for the ubiquitous bird pictured on the coin ) for those requiring the best that a luxury resort has to offer.
The Eganridge Inn & Country Club
Ontario, Canada K0M 1N0
Overlooking charming Sturgeon Lake in the heart of the Trent Severn Waterway, the Eganridge will impress even the most discerning relative and is most suitable for the family with older, well behaved children. In 1988, the hundred-acre, 18th-century estate was transformed into a magnificent seasonal lakeside inn and golf course. Eganridge offers their guests first class accommodations with continental breakfast. Guests choose from one- or two-bedroom cottages, one of six suites in the Dunsford House, or one of twelve terrace rooms with a king sized bed, all with Jacuzzis, some with bathrooms grand enough to hold a party! From May-October five Luxury Cottages are also an option for guests. This manor is perfect for gatherings up to 40. Be it a la carte in the dining room, a special menu ordered for a private dinner, or a family BBQ, eating at Eganridge is a CAA/AAA Four Diamond experience. It's the highest rated restaurant in the Kawartha's, one of the most popular cottage country getaways! Upon request, Eganridge's staff also customizes events suited to a family's interest including golf, volleyball, tennis, croquet and beach activities.
The Millcroft Inn
55 John Street
Ontario, Canada L7K 0C4
This inn, a member of the Vintage Hotels group, just oozes of elegance. An affair hosted at this property nestled on 100 acres of woodland trails in the Caledonia Hills will be remembered! This former knitting mill built in 1881, just 40 minutes from Toronto, has 52 quaint rooms including the 'crofts' — 20 charming, two-story chalets with fireplaces, most suitable for families. Activities are abundant all year round and include bicycling, croquet, hiking, tennis, sleigh rides, cross country skiing and snowshoeing, to name a few. The Millcroft has a games and exercise room, sauna, Jacuzzi and outdoor pool. Older family members can relax in the Millcroft Inn Spa. An array of esthetic treatments for both men and women is offered, including make-up applications for the ladies of the family who want to look fabulous! Meals are a culinary experience. Although the food is presented as art, almost too beautiful too eat, it is a casual place with friendly staff, and if you're lucky to be able to book one of the few tables in the pod, you will find yourself overlooking a man-made waterfall that the kids may enjoy.
55 Hedge Road, RR 1
Ontario, Canada L0E 1L0
The Briars occupies 200 acres on the shores of beautiful Lake Simcoe in Jackson's Point. On staff at this Ontario heritage property is a social group specialist, who'll tend to all of a family's desires. A social package includes three delicious meals daily in the 165-year-old Regency manor house; special banquets can be arranged in one of the conference rooms. The Briars offers tastefully decorated wing rooms, small cottages or lodges with living rooms. Also included in a package is a social and children's program and use of all recreational facilities including tennis, cycling, swimming, boating, winter sports, a solarium and outdoor pool, sauna, whirlpool and an exercise and games room; golf and spa are extra. On a summer's eve, guests can catch a film at The Briar's own "Summer Cinema" or check out the latest theatrical production at the adjoining Red Barn Theatre, a regional company generously supported by the resort.
81175 Benmiller Road
Ontario Canada N7A 3Y1
Benmiller is five miles from Goderich in the heart of the rolling hills of the Maitland River Valley, about two hours' north of Toronto. The Benmiller's accommodations are comprised of five historic buildings forming a country village housing 57 guestrooms, suites and deluxe suites. Many of the spacious rooms feature fireplaces, kitchenettes and balconies. Baby cots and a playpen are available upon request. Here, it is most economical to book a package that includes breakfast and dinner. Prior to arrival, the on-site staff can prearrange delicious meals to be served in their dining room or one of three private banquet rooms. In warmer weather, many families opt for a barbecue on the patio, where a marquee tent is provided in case of inclement weather. There is so much for families to do together at this inn including nature walks, skiing trails, guided hikes, renting bikes, playing board games in the Fireside Lounge, swimming in an indoor pool or playing ping pong. Also, there is babysitting available for little ones so mom and dad can enjoy a luxurious facial or an invigorating massage at the full service spa.
The Westover Inn
300 Thomas Street
Ontario, Canada N4X 1B1
The Westover in St. Mary's is the perfect place for the theater-going family. This quaint Victorian inn, built in 1897 as three unique buildings housing 22 guestrooms, is just 15 minutes from Canada's famous Shakespearean Stratford Festival. In fact, the most luxurious suite is named after actor Christopher Plummer, who stays at the inn whenever he's performing. Packages include accommodations, a gourmet four-course dinner and a hearty breakfast in one of two dining rooms or the outdoor patio. Functions can be pre-booked in a private room or under the stars on the beautifully landscaped, 19-acre property. Families can participate in biking, hiking and swimming in the summer. In addition to attending first-class theater, your reunion can include tube sliding and bowling nearby, walking tours of picturesque St. Mary, or golfing at St. Mary's Golf and Country Club.
Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa
1 Langdon Drive
Ontario, Canada N3H 4R8
Sitting on 200 acres of gardens and woodlands in Cambridge, and mentioned last, but certainly not least, is this member of the exclusive hoteliers' Relais & Chateaux. Langdon Hall has been the choice romantic getaway for couples since 1987. Recently, the estate, built in 1898 by Eugene Langdon Wilks (great-grandson of American business tycoon John Jacob Astor), has grown to include the Stable Lofts, which would easily fit an extended family with over 20 people. Even the family pooch is welcome to attend a gathering here. In addition, the 52 posh guestrooms tucked into the Cloisters and Main House are undergoing a major renovation, with upgrades to fireplaces and bedding. They are so comfortable, no matter how old you are, you'll sleep like a baby.
A number of stately areas, including a conservatory and terrace overlooking a lily pond, serve scrumptious award-winning fare. Other facilities include walking trails, croquet, tennis, bikes, outdoor swimming in the summer months, exercise room, and a whirlpool and sauna that the whole family can use. If the sauna's not enough, larger families ranging from 80 to 100 members can rent out the entire property – for many loonies of course!
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