Bon Voyage, Mommy Approved

Viamede, cottage country’s answer to cottaging for parents that need a break

City kid caught his first frog

When I was a kid I desperately wanted to go cottaging. My friends all had cottages. They were in mountains, on lakes, they were “somewhere up north” – which seemed magical and inviting and exclusive. Campers, RVs, tents, trailers, bunkies, chalets, farms – give me any of those and I’d have been a happy girl.

Arriving at Viamede

But my mom wasn’t into it. Not at all. She’s always say:

“So you want to take a vacation where I have NONE of my modern appliances, where I have to cook and clean and look after you while you run from the house to the beach and back, covering the place with dirt for a week. Tell me, how is this a ‘vacation’ for ME?”

I get her point now.


She referred to the Holiday Inn in Grand Island, New York, as her cottage. It had a pool, room service, house-keeping and plenty for us to do with – and without – my parents. I now know what the “without” was… but the fact is, we did have a lot of fun there.

However, as an adult, I now see the beauty and benefits of getting out of the city and into cottage country for some downtime. I completely side with my mom that it’s no vacation if I have to be on call for the needs of my family without the benefits of modern appliances, but I think I’ve found my happy place.


It’s a brilliant concept, and for Southern Ontarians, if you’re close to the Kawarthas, go! If there’s not a resort like this near you, it may just be your next big business idea!

Magic hour

The Kawarthas is cottaging country within 200 kilometres of Toronto. Set around Stoney Lake, the area is breath-taking. Viamede is a cross between a cottage and a resort. They’ve got it all, and they’ve got the perfect mix for the city slicker that needs a slice of country now and again.

Let’s start with the cooking – they’ve got the answer for that. Restaurants onsite take care of all your needs. Farm-to-table, food is local and fresh – and phenomenal. There are a couple of choices for dining – including a fine dining spot, Mount Julien, with an exceptional tasting menu. Ditch the kids and dine!

Decadent dessert

Or get a barbecue basket and relax on your cottage deck while you or the hubs fires up the grill. There is also a full kitchenette in the cottages so you can put provisions in the fridge and fix up a quick, no fuss snack. We brought frozen pizzas and lots of fruit and ready-to-eat snacks and drinks, even made Jiffy Pop. When was the last time you made popcorn on the stove?

Midnight snacks? An evening tea? Slip up to the main house and grab what you need. Treats? No problem. My jaw dropped when I mentioned I wanted to make a fire – cottages have wood burning fireplaces – and they handed my son a s’mores kit: A basket with chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallows and pokers to toast them on. (I’m a s’mores aficionado, for my best recipes look here).

They were delish. The main house also has board games and lots of VHS movies, we kicked it old school with the kids with a board game night and a movie night in our cottage.

My mom didn’t want to be chasing us, cleaning up after us, creating activities for us. Viamede also had the answers. Get cleaning service and leave the work to their capable pros. Activities a-plenty, we stayed beside the playground and the kids could wander over while we didn’t! There is an outdoor pool, a lake and an indoor pool with a swim-out to outside. Loved the bubble volcano in the indoor pool – but the best part is the sunsets. From any vantage point the sunsets are a spectacle. Magic hour is truly… magic!

The pool

But with other choices, from a gym to a relaxation centre to hiking trails, a farm and the dog – yes a cottage dog, my kids enjoyed borrowing her for an evening – the kids are entertained without TV. It’s cottaging without the effort, and more.

Sunning himself while getting ready to go paddling

Resort cottages have been around for a long time, and they’re a great way for people like my mom to get the cottage experience without having to bear the brunt of the work, it was actually just as relaxing for me as it was for the rest of the family.

(Well, a little bit stressful when my son decided to call 911 from the phone booth. Leave it to a 6 year old city kid to be a bit bewildered by an actual phone booth. I don’t know if he’s ever really experienced one, but I can tell you that the emergency response time was impressively fast!)

That view

The other nice thing about making memories at a resort cottage is that  you can do it in groups. Another couple, your whole family, extended family, organized trips – you have room to do it all, without having to host! My husband’s family used to rent a resort cottage for Thanksgiving and 50+ family members would gather for the holiday as the leaves changed colour and the resort would do turkey dinner for this little army – Canadian Thanksgiving is early October, it  works at a resort cottage quite nicely.

I’d always wanted a cottage – until now. I think I’ve found the place where our family can make memories. Hopefully not all of them will involve first responders, though now that I think about it, we did have the fire department crash our wedding as my husband and I exchanged vows. (We have the best wedding pictures), so I’m starting to see a theme. As far as cottage resorts go, Viamede stole my heart. There is so much to do and I think the kids will enjoy each return trip as we get to know Stoney Lake and The Kawarthas better – and don’t have to do any work or upkeep to our summer getaway spot, least of all, clean the pool, fix a roof or have someone pump the septic.

My mom would approve.

Family fun