When I was younger, I was outside almost all Winter long. We would spend days out there in the COLD, snowy Canadian Winters enjoying ourselves without feeling the cold. Since I’ve been in my 20’s that changed and I honestly considered myself someone who hibernated all Winter long. I sold my skis, sent my husband on all of the school field trips and avoided getting a chill at all costs. This actually had become a mindset until this year when I realized that I was missing out on my past-love of outside activities in the Winter.
Knowing that I’d done this to myself, I was a bit ticked off and decided to take more opportunities to get moving outside when they popped up. I didn’t dig the fact that my girls grew up thinking of me as someone who they couldn’t go tobogganing, skating or skiing with. The fact is that I have residual injuries from a car accident so I have to be careful to not fall down or get injured but that shouldn’t mean that I avoid trying things with caution but I can still try.
With that background, you’ll understand my position when I was helping to plan the #LetsGOMaple event in Orillia, Ontario with Casino Rama Resort and Ontario’s Lake Country. These are clients of the marketing company, SJ Consulting that I own with Stacey Martin of This Lil Piglet. The clients were wanting to highlight the amazing Winter activities there are in the area during the season and we set up a fantastic schedule of events for the influencers who were invited, most of which would have us exploring and enjoying outdoor Winter activities.
I set off with an eager attitude which wouldn’t have happened in Winters gone by. I was determined to get over my ingrained avoidance of the cold and LIVE!
The event base camp was at Casino Rama Resort which didn’t suck. This is a place where luxury is the way of life but it’s done with a welcoming attitude. I hope I’m explaining this well….essentially everyone is welcome and feels it! Anything and everything you need during a stay has either been thought out or can be provided.
Casino Rama Resort is located in Orillia, Ontario which is a hotbed for Winter fun. I arrived with my skis and gear and was greeted by the valet staff who are always so helpful. I left my gear with them and once I checked in I got settled into my Deluxe Suite. At Casino Rama Resort all of the rooms are suites which have plenty of room for your skis, boards or even mountain bikes during summer months. They have planned ahead to be able to accommodate all kinds of guests…even the elevators are over-sized for larger gear.
The hotel has fantastic amenities; spa, pool, restaurants, entertainment and yes of course the casino. I just adore going to Rama because there’s absolutely no work for me once I get there and knowing that we had a busy schedule during the days meant that I’d be able to rest and relax in an environment that’s comfortable.
The first event was going to start our Winter escape off with a bang! We were touring Casino Rama Resort, including seeing the backstage area where so many talented performers have prepared for performances. This was a real treat for us.
Following the tour, we dined at St. Germain’s Steakhouse which is one of my all time favourite restaurants.
The chef went above and beyond and provided us with a tasting menu that was to die for. At St. Germain’s the menu is wonderful for any palate. From seafood to steak, the food is locally sourced as much as possible and the flavours are out of this world.
If you’re going to be in the Orillia area, check out the current promotions on at Casino Rama Resort and book a stay! I can confidently say that you won’t be disappointed.
After a good night sleep, we headed out early in the morning and went to visit Shaw’s Maple Syrup Bush to see how this family has been tapping maple since 1904. This is a must-visit location if you’re a maple syrup fan at all. Five generations have tapped these trees; today they collect 60 000 liters of watery maple sap each season from 4000 trees.
Stay for a tour where you’ll learn the history and the process for tapping maple…and get ready for some delicious pancakes with fresh maple syrup!
With full stomachs, we boarded the bus and headed over to Horseshoe Resort for some FUN with Fat Biking, Snowshoeing and Snow Tubing! Horseshoe Resort is located just 45km North of Toronto in Barrie Ontario and is a Winter wonderland for family fun. There are all different passes to purchase and so many activities for different levels of experience. On our tour we were going to have a half an hour to try out each of the 3 activities.
First up was Fat Biking with Ride Guides which was something I’d heard about and had been dying to try. Check out how very cool the tires on these bikes are!
We were going to have a taste of what a Fat Bike lesson was like. Normally they’re 2 hours long and there are activities for all levels of riders but for us it was a half hour ride which apparently was enough for me to fall in love with it.
The ride is bumpy and FUN! I was completely exhilarated and will be bringing the kids back with me for sure. The guides are super supportive and informative…so much so that I actually felt like I could have done the 2 hour option.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to participate in snowshoeing as my knee was playing up but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the hoots and howls of laughter from the group who did enjoy it.
Once we were done with snowshoeing, we headed over to hit the Snow Tubing hills! Look how high these are! There are 5 different chutes with instructors at the top of each who are not only funny but informative. Jump on the magic carpet to get to the top and enjoy!
I have something to admit to you folks…I’m scared of heights and going fast. It’s ok..I know that you may have seen me as fearless (sarcasm) but this was one activity that I just couldn’t get myself to do. Instead, I shot a Facebook LIVE video while my friends had a blast whipping down the hills. I caught this photo of my friend Alexa and honestly doesn’t it look like she’s just chilling there?
The day we went it had been raining and yet we still managed to have a BLAST at Horseshoe Resort because they have a quality facility with plenty to do!
If you’re at Horseshoe Resort make sure to head to the Crazy Horse Sports Bar & Grill and spend some time out on the patio like we did.
After a long day enjoying ourselves, we headed back to Casino Rama Resort to unwind. I hit the pool, steam room and hot tub and then headed out to visit Rustica Pizza Vino in Orillia for dinner.
I am ALL about finding restaurants that use fresh ingredients in creative ways and Rustica Pizza Vino didn’t disappoint. We had the pleasure of having the owner share the history and philosophy of bringing authentic Italian pizza to the area.
If we don’t make/grow it ourselves, we rely on our neighbourhood farmers, brew masters & pasta makers to help stock us up with the highest quality local products
Using a wood-fired pizza oven which reaches 900 degrees, Marc from 30 Day Adventures and I had the chance to be taught by their chef how to make my own pizza!
Following dinner we had the pleasure of spending time in the Orillia Museum of Art and History where the International Women’s Day Art Show was on. The theme was Renewal and there were artists from varying types of art on display.
We took a tour of the Museum and heard the history of it being the Postmaster General’s location in the past. This building is seeped in history and lovingly upkept by the community where these days art classes and more take place.
On the tour this piece screamed for attention from the moment I walked in the room. My eyes darted between the Barcode on the girl’s forehead to her piercing gaze and I couldn’t look away for some time. Learning that the artist is a Syrian refugee who has recently arrived struck me deeply and perfectly fit the “Renewal” theme of the show
I still think about “Barcode”.
This was a fascinating tour for me; between the history and the artwork on display, I was intrigued and will be planning a time when I can go back and go slowly through the museum.
What a long and satisfying day we had in Ontario’s Lake Country! This is a taste of what is possible to experience when you visit here. From maple syrup…to snow tubing to great food and art galleries, the area has something for everyone!
I’ll be coming at you with another article about our second day’s adventures in the near future but in the meantime go check out the area and start planning a trip!
Check out these blog posts from my fellow bloggers who also attended this trip:
- Exploring Ontario’s Lake Country Winter Wonderland by Jo-Anna of A Pretty Life in the Suburbs
- Exploring Ontario’s Lake Country with #LetsGoMaple by Julie of Try Small Things
- Exploring My Adventurous Side in Ontario’s Lake Country #LetsGoMaple #50FirstsAt50 by Sandy of Canadian Blog House
- Fascinating Facts About Ontario’s Casino Rama Casino #LetsGoMaple #ramarocks #OLG by Sandy
- Indoor Fun in Ontario’s Lake Country #LetsGoMaple by Jenn of Jenn Writes
- #LetsGoMaple and Challenging Ourselves by Linda of A Labour of Life
- Travel Outfits and my #LetsGoMaple Trip by Linda
- Great Places to Eat in Orillia. @OntLakeCountry #LetsGoMaple #ontlakecountry by Craig of Big Daddy Kreativ
- Enjoy a Winter Wonderland in @OntLakeCountry #LetsGoMaple by Craig