Awesome Vacation in the Late Fall

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Holy smokes ActiveSteve readers, it’s already into 2011, but this here blog is stuck back in time at November 2010! I guess I had better do something about that. Here goes nothing 🙂 Allow me to start off with a skill testing question for you: How can you have a honeymoon without actually getting married? Give up? Just ask for it, and take a vacation with me! Yep, in fact a honeymoon is exactly what Deanna and I managed to get away on during a great week in mid November. Well, technically, it was just a honeymoon special, but we just treated it as a full-on honeymoon to make the most of it. Where did we go? An awesome place known simply as the Couples Resort, located just outside the east gate of Algonquin Park. Read on for the full details of the deal as well as what we got up to that week. And of course, don’t forget to check out all the great pictures that we took while up there for an amazing week!

Originally, we had been hoping to get away for a trip to London to do some cemetery-hopping to assist Deanna in some of her ongoing family history research, but that sort of fell flat on account of complicated schedules and the choice to save a few pennies. After that, we got the idea of looking for a cabin for a week in the winter, with the idea to do some dog sledding, skiing, snowshoeing, hot tubbing, etc. The decision to look for something with a hot tub got my mind back to looking up the Couples Resort. I’d passed signs many times while heading to various races around Muskoka and Algonquin Park. I was mighty glad I looked it up, as the facilities were absolutely top notch, with a price to match!

The Honeymoon special basically gave us a free night during our stay, so we extended from a 4- night to a 5-night stay there. We booked what was called a ‘Masters Junior Suite’. Essentially, 1000 square feet of opulence. We had an in-room double jacuzzi tub, steam shower, fireplace, kitchenette, sitting area, 47” plasma TV, king bed, separate bathroom, and the kicker, a nice private deck with our own hot tub! Yeah, it was as awesome as it all sounds. Also, because it was the shoulder season, and during the week instead of the week-end, the price was awesome. We paid just over $1000 total for the whole week. Oh, and did I mention that it includes gourmet 5-course dining every night, as well as full breakfast that was brought to our room every morning? Oh yeah, AND it was also customer appreciation month, so there was a mere $10 corkage fee to bring your own wine. Or if you wanted to dine in your room, there was a $10 delivery charge, but of course, then there was no corkage, so it was win-win!

Now as most of you will be well aware, ActiveSteve wouldn’t be able to simply lounge around fireside sipping wine for a whole week, and not take advantage of the amazing surroundings that we also had at our disposal. Before even heading up there, we had decided we’d try to squeeze in some geocaching, hiking, horseback riding, ATV’ing, biking, gym, and kayaking. I’m happy to report all activities transpired, save for the biking (weather just wasn’t right for that). Add on to that list some great soaks, plenty of R&R, pool, ping-pong, shuffle board, foosball, and even darts, as well as Deanna taking a little time out to hit the spa, and you will start to get an idea of why we have both decided we’ll definitely be heading back, and why we wouldn’t hesitate for a second to recommend this little slice of heaven to any of our friends. Unless of course you are averse to being able to completely unwind and do as much or as little as you’d like, all the while enjoying great food and wine 😉

On the food front alone, I could go on forever about the great choices on the menu. The executive chef always had a couple specials on offer each night, as well as a regular menu with mouth-watering options. We hoped to get to try it all during our stay, but there were a few unexplored options, as well as some dishes that were too tasty not to repeat. For example, for one of my appetizers almost every night I was too tempted not to order the Wild Mushroom Strudel. It was so heavenly, that we have since contacted the chef for the recipe.

To start out our grand experience, I first spent a week working in Toronto, sharing the 400 square feet of living space that Deanna enjoyed in Toronto. During the week, we headed out with friends to enjoy a meal and see the musical ‘Wicked’, which was good fun. We also attended the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Toronto taking the time to remember all those who have served and sacrificed so that we may enjoy things like vacations at a Couples Resort! At week’s end, we drove out to the resort, via a quick visit with Deanna’s folks in Trenton. Upon entering our massive suite, we were greeted with two ‘honeymoon’ mugs, complementary hot chocolates, and a nice card from the staff congratulating us on our recent life event. Hee hee. We got a good kick out of that. In truth, we never once said we were getting married, we merely asked what the honeymoon deal was and how to get it! Either way, we’ll take it!

Weather-wise, we had a mixed bag on the forecast, and most of it came true as predicted (how odd is that?). As a result, we tried to plan our more intense outdoor activities for the front half of the week, as there was a lot of rain forecast later. The first full day we did a bit of geocaching, as well as heading into Algonquin park for a day of hiking. We did a couple shortish ones, then hit the Centennial Ridges trail, which had a number of great vistas. Day 2 it was all about the off-roading as we rented an ATV for the day and took off on the snowmobile trails. I’d never rented one, particularly not a big one like the one we had, which seated both of us. We had a blast.

Sadly, from day 3 onwards, I had come down with a pretty significant flu / cold. I did my best to keep it in check and not let Deanna know how miserable I was feeling, but it was tough! We still managed to head out for a nice early morning kayak on Galeairy Lake. People thought we were nuts, as with the current water temps, if we bailed, we probably only had about minute to get out an get dry before risking serious problems. However, the glass-smooth water and still of the air was too much to resist for us, and it was well worth it. We both really love going out kayaking, so it was pretty special, and we saw some cool stuff like the wreck of an old paddle steamer on the shore of the lake. On our final full day at the resort, we headed out for some horseback riding, which Deanna had not tried since she was a very little girl. The horses were very docile, and we had a great time out there, in spite of the heavier rain and even a bit of snow flurries. Luckily, the hot tub was always a great respite after these activities, or even a nice lounging in front of a built-up wood fire!

Well, I think that should at least give you all a good idea of how Deanna and I spent our 1-week vacation. This was another milestone for us, as it was the first time spending a whole 2 weeks together. Happily, there were no issues whatsoever, and we both agreed that we’d be happy to do it again. Little did we know that in just over a month from then, Deanna would actually be moving in with me full time! In fact, at the end of that week, we actually rushed back to Ottawa so that she could have a job interview, which was ultimately from the firm that she now works for! So all in all, it was an a great week for many reasons, some of which we didn’t even know yet! That’s it for now friends. Next post will be about the opening snowshoe race of the 2010-11 season, so we’ll veer back into the roots of the ActiveSteve blog 🙂 Till then, play hard everyone!

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