The Case for Guest Rooms

Understandably, our cottages get snapped up pretty quickly during the summer months. We get it – the private deck, having a small kitchenette for cooking, putting the kids in the second bedroom so you have some time to yourself. Today, we’re going to make a case for why a guest room may surprise you.

1. Waterfront views

It may seem like the cottages get you the best views, but many of our rooms and suites have private balconies overlooking Stoney Lake. If you’re on the second floor of the main building, you get a really nice look out over the pool, docks, and wide vantage of the lake to spot loons.

2. You can still BBQ

That’s right! For guests who like firing up the grill to make their own BBQ lunch/dinner, The Porch Kitchen has two BBQs, picnic tables, utensils/dishes… pretty much everything you need to put together a delicious picnic. If you don’t want to do a grocery run, we also have a BBQ menu so we’ll provide all the fixin’s as well.

3. Breakfast is closer

Our fresh breakfast buffet in 1885 is that much closer when you’re staying in a guest room (as is our all-day coffee and tea station). DIY waffles? Enough said.

4. Stay close together… or far apart!

Whether you want to get adjoining rooms with friends/family or you want something quiet and secluded, our rooms offer a wide variety so that we can best accommodate what you’re looking for on your vacation.

5. No missing out

Essentially, we just want you to know that staying in a guest room doesn’t mean you’re missing out from the full experience. Both our cottages and guest rooms are cozy, comfortable, and get you access to all of our resort amenities and recreation activities.

 


From the Mount Julian Kitchen

by Mandy Weaver, Culinary Chef

And so, with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Spring and summer seem to have blended into one and descended upon us in a rush and I, for one, am happy to welcome it in.

Greetings from the Mount Julian kitchen. I feel that it is high time I introduce myself. My name is Mandy and I will be cooking for you today. Taking the freshest ingredients I can either forage myself, gather from the garden (with Bob’s blessing, of course!), or source from local providers. Preparing and assembling said ingredients into a coherent dish for your sensory pleasure.

In my first couple weeks at Viamede, there were some adjustments made into my new surroundings: new relationships built, new foraging locations sought out, and new menu ideas blooming into existence. The North Kawartha area has proven to be a fascinating location, flush with much familiar vegetation as well as a few ‘new to me’ items ripe for the avid forager to discover. I always keep in mind the sustainability of the item foraged. Thus far in my short time at Viamede Resort, we have collected, frozen, pickled, preserved, dehydrated and utilised spruce tips, ramps (also known as wild leeks), lilac flowers, chive (so much chive), daylilies, as well as many other wild flowers. Now, berry season has started!

Bob the Gardener and I go for regular tours of the gardens to see what is usable now, and what I can start planning to use in the coming weeks. He’s grown oodles of lettuce varieties and herbs galore. The carrots, beets, and radishes are just at the baby stage, which pair perfectly with fish or make an enticing amuse bouche, and, don’t tell him, but I’ve even started getting into his peas.

I still have much to discover in the field of local farmers (mind the pun), however, Buckhorn Berry Farm has had a phenomenal strawberry season. Fingers crossed I make it out one more time before the berries are all gone.

Having been born and raised in Norfolk County on the shores of Lake Erie, farming, foraging, preserving and freezing has always been a big part of my life. To now be in a position that, though far from home, brings me back to my roots, I feel quite blessed. I am grateful to my parents for providing me with a solid foundation in sustainably harvesting from the land, as well as the Viamede Team for inviting me in and providing me this opportunity to expand my knowledge, while also pursuing my career and living my dream all at the same time.

Signing off for now,

Mandy

 

Enjoy a 5, 7, or 9 course tasting menu at Mount Julian restaurant – call or email to reserve your table!


Farm-to-Table Musings


Red Exclamation Point - Sensitivity WarningWarning: This blog post is about our farm program, and talks about animals being killed.


by Ben Samann, General Manager

For almost a decade, Viamede has had a farm program. From the first day, the purpose was officially to provide food for the kitchen and interest for the guests. Unofficially, it’s been a way for guests, staff, and me, to remind ourselves on where meat comes from.

For me, raising turkeys, chickens, and pigs for meat has been a way to keep myself grounded. The restaurant industry is full of wasteful practices, and for many, there’s simply a financial incentive to not waste food. By raising pigs, I look at bacon in the garbage and see a small part of a pig that gave its life. If I’m going to eat meat, and source meat for hundreds of people, then I need to make responsible, educated choices on the ethics and my own personal feelings.

Any meat served in our restaurants is killed at a licensed abattoir, which means it’s properly inspected and certified. However, there are times when we kill animals on site, and staff are invited to learn the process, participate, and take a chicken home with them. This is entirely voluntary, and people come away with a much deeper understanding of where meat comes from, and why that matters.

Each year, at Easter, we get our chicks for the season. We raise chickens for fun, mostly, rather than the eggs, and most years, we re-home them to local hobby farmers. The most common breeds we get are Silkies, Brahmas, and other heritage breeds, but this year, we got Cornish Cross, a classic meat chicken. They grow almost too fast for their own bodies, and after a few weeks, are ready for the table.

Recently our sous-chef Mandy, groundskeeper Brad, and I, went to the farm and killed our chickens. It’s not something I enjoy in the least, and it prompts a lot of thinking – hence this blog post.

For a while now, Chef Kyle, Mandy and I have been talking about meat and what it means. We all see it very similarly – meat can be delicious and a fantastic part of a meal, but too often, we end up with flavourless, overbred and poorly cooked meat in a dish that really doesn’t need it. “Tofu’s a poor substitute for meat, but then, so is supermarket chicken.”

I cooked some chicken on the grill without seasoning, and you know what it tasted like? Nothing. If the whole flavour of the dish needs to be added anyway, what’s the point of having chicken in there?

For years now, we’ve worked with the idea that all dishes should be vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free unless there’s a good reason for them not to be – we don’t use beef stock in our soups or flour in our gravies, for example. This makes it easy to accommodate guests with most of our menu, but it’s also highlighted how easy it is to work without these things in many cases. Obviously, our creamy pasta has cream and cheese, our burger is all beef, and our pork chop is amazing pork from the pigs we raised on the property.

Meat should be a feature. We should be sourcing the best meat we can get, and using it in ways where it really stands out. If it doesn’t stand out, we should look at replacing it.

As time goes on, I imagine we’ll be learning more and more about this. In the meantime, it’s a lot of musing, playing, and learning.

Thanks for listening.


Viamede’s Summer Bucket List

Summer is officially here (anyone else ready to say so long to that cold and rainy spring?)! School’s out, long weekends await, and cottaging season is on. We put together our top 5 picks to check off your summer bucket list – Viamede style.

Feed Farm Pigs

Guests can go to the Viamede Farm at any time to visit with our turkeys, ducks, chickens, and quail. If you come along for a farm tour in the afternoon (part of our recreation schedule), you can help feed our pigs! We’ll also tell you all about how our farm works, where eggs are collected, and let you cuddle with a silkie chicken (they are very silky).

Feed Pigs at Viamede Farm; located at Viamede Resort in the Kawarthas

Join a Wild Food Hunt

Come along with staff for a foraging expedition and learn more about how wild food can be used in your kitchen. With things like cattails, chives, wild berries, and greens, what we find might just be in tonight’s dinner menu. For the foodies, we also recommend a tasting at Mount Julian and one of our other activities like Pickling or Bread Making Class.

Cannonball into Stoney Lake

There’s nothing like a classic Canadian summer of enjoying life on the lake. While you can kick back and relax by the pool (no judgement here), we’ve included this on our bucket list because taking a big leap off the water trampoline and cannon-balling into the lake is too much fun.

Family friendly resort; Stoney Lake in the Kawarthas; Viamede Resort

Go Cycling

If you’ve brought your own wheels or want to borrow one of ours, there are some neat places to check out by bicycle! You can stick to the back roads and explore along Stoney Lake (Eels Creek, about a 9 km ride, has a great hiking trail). Head back up to Highway 28 (which has paved shoulders), and pedal to Burleigh Falls for a picnic by the lock.

Try Something New

Whether you’ve never fished, played disc golf, gone stand-up paddleboarding, or been tubing, we’ll help you say you did something totally new this summer.