From the moment we arrived at Clevelands House in Muskoka I was humming Time of My Life. I couldn’t help it. Life needs a soundtrack, right? And this song is the perfect fit for Clevelands House. In case it’s not immediately obvious, it’s because Clevelands House reminds me of the family resort in Dirty Dancing without all the drama.
Clevelands House is a throwback, and in today’s age of families often separated while in the same room by technology, this is a good thing. A very good thing. Because if there is one thing Clevelands House does well (okay it does more than one), is it brings families together. I guess after 145 years of hosting families though, you’ve pretty much mastered the ultimate family experience.
My mother, my girls and I were invited to stay at Clevelands House as part of our annual chick week. Chick week involves three generations, so anywhere we stay needs to have something for everyone. I needn’t have worried with Clevelands House. As if to confirm this, I stood beside a grandmother in reception who was at Clevelands for her twelfth year with her children and grandchildren. Apparently, it calls you back year after year and I can see why.
For starters, this resort sits on the gorgeous Lake Rousseau. It’s hard to sit on this shore and not find peace.
Then there’s the Kids Club. Clevelands House has a reputation for having one of the best kids clubs around. I was skeptical and sent my two mini-mes in for a review. After all these girls just got back from two weeks at one of the best all-girls camps in the country, so they can tell you if a kids club is worth it or not. Upon picking them up at the end of the day, I learned two things right away. Morgan was taught how to shallow dive and jump in the water without plugging her nose (a major accomplishment for her) and Ava was chosen as Camper of the Day. They had smiles from ear to ear, hugged their counsellors, talked my ear off about how amazing it was all night and then BEGGED to stay for a few more days. It’s fair to say that the Cleves Kids reputation is well-deserved.
Not to be left out, there’s a recreation schedule for the adults that is beyond compare. Yoga, fitness classes, bocce ball, badminton, tennis, painting and beer tasting are just a few of the activities on the Adult Social Program. Of course, you can also do absolutely nothing but read a book or take a walk while your kids are off enjoying their day. You can do it all or do nothing. Heavenly.
So far I’ve given you all the activities done separately but the real magic is the things you do together as a family. Like campfires, and fishing off the dock. Or playing on the floating water park. Maybe take a Family Cruise around Lake Rousseau, catch a show or play Family Bingo. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll sit and talk without buzzers or ringers interrupting. You could snuggle up on a Muskoka chair and just be. You may even catch siblings getting along. Time of your life, right?
Before You Go
Accommodations: Clevelands House has a variety of accommodations available to suit almost every travel arrangement. Suites and rooms are in the hotel and lodges. There are also two and three bedroom cottages available in addition to bungalows. We stayed in an Edgewater Bungalow with one bedroom (two beds). Our porch looked out on Lake Rousseau and was the perfect place to start and end each day. Rates vary between $179 per night for a standard resort room to $314 per night for a one bedroom cottage. Clevelands House is ideal for groups that want to travel together. Looking to give it a try? YummyMummyClub is hosting a Family Weekend Aug 15-18, 2013.
Dining: It’s no secret that I have a thing for food and if there’s anything I hate while on vacation, it’s bad food. Thankfully you need not worry about that at Clevelands House. The first thing you must do is get yourself to Abbey’s Bakehouse. Located in a church transported from Digby, Nova Scotia, they joke here that the food here is worthy of confession. I have to agree. It is sinful, but it’s so good you won’t care. Try one of the butter tarts or one of the cookies with the brownie baked in it!! Duke’s Refresher is located on the pier at Clevelands House and offers panoramic views of Lake Rousseau, ice cold drinks and incredibly delicious food. I highly recommend the burger served on Abby’s Bakehouse foccacia. Also the flat-iron steak with truffle butter is melt-in-your-mouth divine. IF you have room after your meal, stroll down the stairs and grab Moosetracks ice cream from Kawarthas Dairy. You won’t regret it. Finally, the main dining room offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sadly we only had breakfast here one day. The menu for lunch and dinner looks exceptional though. I’ll have to try it when I return 🙂
Sports & Recreation: Clevelands House is big on tennis, so if you’re looking to play, this is the place. It’s also the place to learn with private lessons available. Golf is also nearby at The Rock with shuttle service provided by Clevelands. If water skiing is your thing then say hello to your new best friend. Also, no surprise here, if you’re looking to learn they can do that too. In fact they guarantee they’ll get you up or you don’t pay. Most activities are not included with your room, so check before you go and budget accordingly.
Pleasantville Note: Word to the wise, although you may be tempted to have the breakfast sandwich at C.J. Minnett’s in the morning, walk over to Abbey’s Bakehouse instead and grab their breakfast sandwich for $4.95 on bacon focaccia. YUMMY! Also, before you check out stock up your cooler with goodies to take home.