Muskoka on The Cheap: Delawana Resort

If you’re looking for an affordable Muskoka getaway look no further than the Delawana Resort located on Honey Harbour just a mere 2 ½ drive from Toronto. 

Sunset at Delawana Inn

The History

The Delawana Inn first opened in 1897 as a hotel called the Victoria House. Since then it’s gone through many changes, including two fires, one in 1952 and one in 1973.

If you have visited Delawana in the past, you’ll remember it as an all-inclusive resort with day camps for the kids, breakfasts and lunches included, plus lots of family activities and evening shows.

Sadly, this type of model was difficult to maintain and in 2013, the Delawana Inn went into receivership. It was purchased shortly thereafter and reopened in 2014 as a self-catered resort. Think of it like being able to enjoy a cottage vacation without the hassle of owning a cottage.

West Beach at Delawana Resort

Accommodations at Delawana

There are different types of accommodations for every pocketbook and family. From large, fully-furnished cottages with full-sized kitchens that sleep eight, to smaller cottages for a family of five (no kitchen), and resort suites and rooms.

The prices range from $500/night for the large, furnished cottages to $100/night for resort rooms. We personally like the Trilliums Suites which are spacious and have a huge deck for enjoying the outdoors which runs $150/night.

Activities at Delawana

There are two beaches at Delawana. The North Beach is where most of the swimming is done. The water is quite shallow for the first ten to twenty feet making it perfect for families with little kids. The West Beach is where you can sign out canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats.

If you’re not feeling like getting sandy there is a large (unheated) pool that’s incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day.

With lots of field space, you can play a wide variety of outdoor games that can be signed out at the centrally located reception building including bocce, croquet, shuffleboard, horseshoes, and tennis. You can also sign out bikes to explore the area or simply hang out with your kids at the large playground area. 

At night there are three fire pits for roasting marshmallows. Last but not least, when it’s raining you can borrow from the free library of DVDs and board games, or sign out a book.

Swimming Pool at Delawana Resort Playground at Delawana Resort

Where To Eat

Whether you choose a cottage, resort room or regular room each accommodation comes with a charcoal barbecue. In the Delawana reception building are also three community kitchens where you can cook meals and wash dishes.

Off-site, within a few hundred feet of the resort is an LCBO, local grocery store, the Thrive Foods Café & Marketplace, and The Hive where you can purchase baked goods and freshly prepared foods. The Hive also offers yoga on the dock every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8am.




O Canada Sangria – Putting the “Happy” in Canada Day

Celebrating #Canada150 with a backyard barbecue, long weekend camping trip or get-together with friends? Nothing says Happy Birthday Canada like this Canadian sangria made with truly Canadian ingredients (not including the lemonade, if you choose to use it).

For research only, I’ve made my O Canada Sangria a few times over the last few weekends and can’t decide if I like it with or without the lemonade most. My friends are also equally divided 50-50.

canadian sangria, celebrate Canada Day

That means the choice is yours!

Celebrate Canada Day with the most Canadian sangria ever

 

If you like your sangria a little bit sweeter, add the lemonade. If not, leave it out. You can always add it later if you find it needs a little sweetness.

For the other ingredients, while any Canadian white wine, whisky, apple cider and maple syrup will work, I used Jackson Triggs Sauvignon Blanc, Forty Creek Whisky and Gilbertson’s Maple Syrup. The apple cider I picked up from our local farmer’s market.

Canadian Sangria

Though we could debate which fruits are the most Canadian, I included blueberries because Canada is the largest producer and exporter of wild blueberries in the world and with millions of apple bushels produced in Canada each year they also seemed like the perfect choice. I contemplated peaches instead of pears, but in the end, the combo of apples, pears and blueberries won out. Of course, if you prefer, you could substitute peaches, strawberries or raspberries for any of the fruit.

How to make Canadian Sangria

No matter which combo of lemonade and apple cider or fruit you use, this recipe comes together quickly and deliciously. While Canada Day is the perfect time to give this recipe a spin, this Canadian Sangria is delicious anytime of year! 

Simply, combine your ingredients, stir, chill and serve. 

O Canada Canadian Sangria

 

What You Need:

the best Canadian ingredients in this Canadian Sangria

  • 750mL Bottle of Canadian Sauvignon Blanc
  • 200mL Bottle of Canadian Whisky
  • 1 cup Canadian Apple Cider
  • 2 Tbsp Canadian Maple Syrup
  • 1 cup Fresh Canadian Blueberries
  • 1 small Canadian Apple (sliced thinly, skin on)
  • ½ Canadian Pear (sliced thinly, skin on)
  • ½ can Frozen Lemonade (optional)

What To Do:

Making Canadian Sangria

  1. Combine sliced pear and apple with blueberries in large pitcher.
  2. Add wine, whisky, apple cider, maple syrup and lemonade.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours.
  5. Serve cold and stir before pouring.

TIP: Leftover boozy fruit is great on top of vanilla ice cream with an extra drizzle of maple syrup.

PS: Want to know what else you can make with Canadian Whisky? Check out my Whisky BBQ Sausage Kabobs

O Canada Sangria
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Ingredients
  1. 750mL Bottle of Canadian Sauvignon Blanc
  2. 200mL Bottle of Canadian Whisky
  3. 1 cup Canadian Apple Cider
  4. 2 Tbsp Canadian Maple Syrup
  5. 1 cup Fresh Canadian Blueberries
  6. 1 small Canadian Apple (sliced thinly, skin on)
  7. ½ Canadian Pear (sliced thinly, skin on)
  8. ½ can Frozen Lemonade (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine sliced pear and apple with blueberries in large pitcher.
  2. Add wine, whisky, apple cider, maple syrup and lemonade.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours.
  5. Serve cold and stir before pouring.
Notes
  1. TIP: Leftover boozy fruit is great on top of vanilla ice cream with an extra drizzle of maple syrup.
  2. PS: Want to know what else you can make with Canadian Whisky? Check out my Whisky BBQ Sausage Kabobs.
Life In Pleasantville http://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/




Free Events In Ottawa You Don’t Want To Miss For Canada’s 150th!

Ottawa should be at the top of your list of must-visit destinations for Canada’s 150th birthday celebration this summer with an abundance of events guaranteed to get you in party mode.  

summer vacation

Ottawa is set to host some of its biggest and best events – ever – this summer, in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. We may be getting older Canada, but definitely not boring. 

Lucky visitors will be treated to a terrific assortment of FREE world-class events that will run throughout the summer. As for residents of Ottawa, there’s no better time to play tourist in your own city than in 2017! So, if you missed out on purchasing tickets to some of the Canada 150 events, don’t despair. There are plenty of fabulous things to see and do in the Capital this summer!

And did we mention? They are FREE!

Ottawa Welcomes The World

Ottawa is a diverse city, made even more diverse thanks to the large number of embassies and high commissions located here. Ottawa Welcomes The World will see 46 embassies and high commissions welcoming visitors to Ottawa’s Aberdeen Pavilion and Horticulture Building, to mark their country’s national celebration. Visitors can enjoy multicultural artistic performances, music, and foods from around the world (minimal fees apply to food and beverage sampling). Be sure to check the Ottawa Welcomes The World schedule, on the Ottawa 2017 website, for details. 

Free events in Ottawa, Ottawa Welcomes The World Ottawa 2017 Canada 150

Image Courtesy of Ottawa 2017

Inspiration Village

This spring, Ottawa’s historic market area plays host to multiple sea containers, forming a “village” that will feature special exhibits and events that showcase each of Canada’s provinces and territories. Fun for the whole family, Inspiration Village will present visitors with culinary demonstrations, live entertainment performances, several fun photo ops with Canadian props, and the chance to share your story about Canada, and your vision for our country’s future. And that’s just the tip of the Newfoundland iceberg! Be sure to check online starting in mid-May for a full list of everything happening at Inspiration Village for Canada 150. 

Free events in Ottawa, Inspiration Village Ottawa 2017 Canada 150

Image Courtesy of Ottawa 2017

Kontinuum

For those of us who live in Ottawa, we’ve been hearing about the Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) for a long time now. This summer, residents and visitors will finally be able to see what has been going on under our feet for the last few years! Kontinuum, taking place for Canada 150 at Lyon Station, promises “an ultimate underground experience with a futuristic and immersive multimedia production” showcasing “this innovative mode of travel” that will “build anticipation for this new era of transportation in the nation’s capital.” All aboard!

Free events in Ottawa

Canada Day Celebration

Ottawa’s Canada Day celebration is something that every Canadian should get to experience at least once in their lifetime. There really is no other Canada Day celebration – or fireworks display – like it.

Ottawa is set to host the biggest Canada Day celebration yet, on July 1, 2017. Parliament Hill, and the surrounding downtown core, will be ready to host thousands upon thousands of visitors from across the country, and around the world. This will be one huge Canada 150 party!

Festivities start early at 9 a.m. with a flag raising ceremony, and the Changing of the Guard. Don’t miss the iconic Snowbirds, with their thrilling acrobatics over Parliament Hill, at noon. Enjoy the noon hour entertainment show featuring the talent of local, and national, Canadian performers. Spend time enjoying numerous Canada Day festivities during the afternoon, and then get ready for an evening of stellar performances from some of your favourite Canadian entertainers. Cap off Canada’s 150th birthday with a bang watching the fireworks finale over Parliament Hill’s Peace Tower!

Free Events in Ottawa, Canada Day Celebrations Parliament Hill Ottawa

Image Courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission

La Machine

These are the things my worst nightmares are made of.  I can handle a giant fire-breathing dragon but, a giant (walking!) spider? Oh my! I go weak in the knees just thinking about it. I may be a huge arachnophobe, however, I must admit that I am very much looking forward to standing amongst the mesmerizing creatures of La Machine this summer.

After doing a little research on La Machine, I can assure you, it’s going to be sight to behold; definitely one of those “once-in-a-lifetime” events.

Based out of Nantes, France, La Machine makes its North American debut right here on the streets of downtown Ottawa. This “ambulatory urban theatre” is sure to be a crowd pleaser. So join me, face your worst fears this summer, and come see La Machine in Ottawa July 27-30th. Something tells me you won’t regret it!

free event in Ottaw, La Machine Ottawa 2017 Canada 150

Image Courtesy of Ottawa 2017

MosaiCanada 150

Technically, MosaiCanada 150 is not happening in Ottawa, it’s happening at Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, Quebec, just over the Jacques-Cartier bridge from downtown Ottawa. However, this mosaiculture event is a free must-see spectacle of magical horticultural creations that is sure to be well worth the short drive across the bridge. 

free events in Ottawa, Mosai Canada 150 Mosaiculture Horse

Image Courtesy of Canadian Blog House

For more information on these and all the other special Canada 150 events and activities taking place in Ottawa this year, be sure to check out the Ottawa 2017 and Ottawa Tourism websites. And if you love apps and social media like I do, download the Ottawa 2017 mobile app for even more fun!




RV’ing is Our Escape Hatch And Why It Might Be Just Right For You Too

My family has been known to suffer from affluenza. We have too much of everything – too much clutter, too much to do, too much busyness. Both my husband and I are self-employed and there are often weeks when we both work 50-60 hours due to our type A personalities. Both of our daughters are also actively involved in extracurriculars that take about 8 hours a week of their “spare” time. Once you’ve added in all of the typical things that come with a house and kids such as groceries, chores, homework, laundry, and social visits, our life goes from zero to eighty really quickly. While we love it most of the time, it can be a little overwhelming. In order to preserve what’s left of my sanity, when I start to feel like I’m drowning in stuff and things to do, I reach for our escape hatch.

Our escape hatch happens to sit on six wheels and is 40 feet long. If you saw it on the road, it would look like any other motorhome, but to us, it’s much more than that. Our RV has become our shelter from the storms of life and our collective reset button. Our RV is where we go when the outside world has us texting each other instead of talking to each other, when we are paying more attention to other commitments than family, and when we just need to escape for a little bit.

RV Escape, camping in Lake George

Happy Together

While our regular home isn’t huge, it’s more than large enough for everyone to have their own space and not see each other. With the demands of work, school, and outside activities, it’s quite easy to lose ourselves in our own little world – whether it’s the bedroom or the office. Our family containment unit aka our RV doesn’t allow for that kind of isolation. In the RV, chances are if I’m reading a book I’ll have a head in my lap, and fingers in my hair. There’s not enough room to walk past another person without noticing them and passing family members in the hall is considered mandatory grounds for a hug. Tight spaces (within reason) makes for a tight family.

RV escape, taking time to connect, father daughter time

Outside Time

We are a pretty outdoorsy family when we’re at home, but once we’re in the RV you might as well put us on The Amazing Race. The closeness of RV living is wonderful but it also forces you outside its rather confining walls. It doesn’t take long to go from “it’s so great that we’re all together” to “GET ON YOUR BIKE” when everybody is in tight quarters. When we are out in the RV, my kids wear their scruffy hair, dirty fingernails, and bare feet like badges of honour.

RV escape, outdoor time, biking, active family

Making Mountains into Molehills

It’s amazing how, once we’re in the RV and our problems are in the rear-view mirror (even if only for a short while), the big things become small things. Whether it’s the change in scenery, the relaxed feeling I associate with our RV, or just how having everyone together makes it easier to sort out any problems; I think more clearly whenever we’re travelling in our RV. Some of my best “a-ha” moments have happened while sitting in the RV watching the road unwind ahead of me. The kids like the break that escaping in our RV gives them from the stress of school and sports, even if it’s only a brief escape.

RV escape, road ahead, getting away from it all, Florida keys

Sleep Reset

My whole family has a tendency to burn the candle at both ends, especially as the end of the year looms. We tend to run on a sleep deficit year-round, but as we get busier and busier, the days become more filled with obligations and the nights become shorter as we try to cram everything in. When we’re out in the RV, we typically spend so much time outside being active that lights out can be as early as 8pm.  The best part about life in the RV is that there aren’t any of the big responsibilities to take care of: no driveway to shovel, no lawn to mow, and no pool to clean. Freed of these responsibilities, we can sleep soundly knowing that the only thing left unfinished might be a game of Jenga, or a puzzle we were too tired to finish.  Unlike more traditional vacations where I’ve been known to return more frazzled than when I left, an RV escape leaves us all rested and ready to take on the world.

RV escape, fishing in RV park, Florida Keys, Boyd's Campground Keys

Cleaning

Okay, I know this is going to sound a little crazy, but I love cleaning my RV. I know I’m not the only woman who obsesses about having a clean house, and the RV makes it so easy to stay on top of cleaning. At home, it takes about one full day per week to clean the house. It takes approximately thirty minutes for me to do a full weekly clean of the RV. There’s a lot less surface space in the RV and there’s less “stuff” lying around too. I may also lower the bar just a bit in the RV – I’ve been known to leave a glass in the sink all day (but not overnight, that’s just madness).

RV escape, cooking in RV

Our RV is not only transportation for our family vacations, but it truly is our family escape hatch. Almost as soon as I return from one trip in the family containment unit, I start planning our next collective reset. For my family, at least, R&R happens best in a third R – the RV.




The Best Indoor Activities in Tremblant

Tremblant is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Year-round, nature lovers and adrenaline junkies get their thrills pursuing any number of outdoor activities at this premier destination in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. Still, even the most hardcore tree-huggers, must occasionally retreat indoors. Thankfully, there are a number of indoor activities in Tremblant to please every member of your family. 

Aquaclub La Source

No matter what time of year you visit Tremblant don’t forget your swimsuit! Located in the heart of the Pedestrian Village, the Aquaclub La Source is the perfect place to tip your toes any time of year. In the winter, guests unwind in the hot tub after a day on the hill or swing from a rope over the indoor pool. In the summer months, an outdoor pool is the perfect place to cool off.  

indoor activities in Tremblant

Finally, if on the off chance you haven’t burned enough calories outdoors, there is a indoor fitness facility in case you want to burn off that extra Beavertail you had. Hey, this is a judgement-free zone.  

TBar

The TBar is found at the top of the Pedestrian Village and is the perfect place to let your inner fashion designer let loose.  Visitors can choose from a variety of t-shirts, sweats and even baby onesies to leave with the perfect souvenir. 

indoor activities in Tremblant

The TBar caters to the super artistic in your group and the kinda lazy. My daughters chose to painstakingly paint a elaborate floral design shirt. I decided picking out a screen design and having the staff at TBar put it on was enough effort for me. Either way, we all left winners.

indoor activities in Tremblant, t-shirt making

In the summer, visitors can create their masterpiece outside on the terrasse and in the winter, the TBar is a great place to shake off the chill. 

Le Studio Créatif

Unleashing the artist in you is super easy in Tremblant. At Le Studio Créatif visitors can choose from a wide array of ceramic pieces from whimsical to practical, then paint it to suit their tastes. 

indoor activities in Tremblant

Mission Liberté

If you haven’t tried an escape room type game yet, then trust me when I say, you’re not as smart as you think you are. So after you’ve worked your muscles outdoors, head to Mission Liberté to flex your mental muscles. 

indoor activities in Tremblant, mission liberte, escape room

Guests can choose from five challenges rated for difficulty on a scale of 1 to 10. We chose the Explosion Challenge at a difficulty rating of 7.5. Bottom line? We were virtually responsible for 25,000 fans meeting their maker. Oopsie.

If you’re with kids, or you have someone like me with you, be sure to opt for a lower difficulty level to avoid frustration. Take a few minutes to read the description of each challenge here.

indoor activities in Tremblant

No matter how you fare playing the game, Mission Liberté is great fun with your travel group. 

Shopping

If you are scoffing at shopping as an indoor activity, then we probably can’t be friends. I love the shops that line the promenade through the village and have spent many, many hours and dollars picking up some great finds. 

Indoor Activities in Tremblant

Personal favourites include RootsAdrénaline, Burton, and La Raffinerie

Univers Toutou

If you have a kid, you probably tuck them in with five bazillion stuffies nightly. Be prepared to add one more.

Indoor activities in Tremblant

Univers Toutou lets your youngins’ make their own plush toy from scratch. At the very least you’ll keep your kids amused for a while, and if you’re really lucky, they’ll leave with a lifetime friend. 

Coming Soon! Laser Tag

It could be just me, but there is something incredibly gratifying about taking your kids down in a game of laser tag. I make zero apologies for my competitive nature. I’m so excited to hear that Tremblant will soon have a Laser Tag facility in the village. Game on. 

indoor activities in Tremblant 

If you’ve worked up an appetite be sure to check out the best dining options in Tremblant from budget to gourmet! 

dining in tremblant, cheese, raclette, fondue