Sunday, March 07, 2010
Refreshing My Batteries
I used to hate winter, it was cold, harsh and gloomy. Sludging through knee deep snow, sliding on the ice and feeling the Summer will never come. I've never gone away in the winter to a warmer place, instead opting to tolerate the quarter season of deep freeze.
For the past four winter's my wife and I have embraced the season and enjoyed the sunny, clear skies of the deep freeze by taking a mini-holiday during February for some rest and relaxation. The first year we went to Elkhorn, a luxury resort (hotel) out near Riding Mountain Provincial Park. It was extremely cold that year, but we tackled the cold weather by renting snowshoes and trudged through the ski trails and explored the park. The lodge itself was pretty much a hotel complete with typical hotel trimmings like a pool/day spa, restaurant, and all the rooms in one complex. The room was equipped with a large flat screen TV, fireplace and in-room whirlpool. It was nice, luxurious, but expensive! (just under $200 a night).
For the last three years we tried something different, Bear Country Cottages. Only an hour drive north of the city (compared to 3 hours north-west to Elkhorn) situated between Grand and Victoria Beaches in Belair, MB. They have individual wood cabins that are either two or three bedrooms and they all feature a stocked kitchen (minus the food), a cozy living room with fireplace and satellite surround-sound TV. The master bedroom has a beautiful spacious whirlpool hot tub that has a large picture window overlooking the treed lot (with an outdoor to view deer...or them viewing you). These cabins are built within the forest, but the outgoing road leads to homes and cottages, which in turn lead to Lake Winnipeg. The past two years when we trekked over to the lake, we discovered there was open water near the shore, despite the freezing cold temperatures (it must be at least 10 degrees colder on the lake!). We managed to gaze out into the white horizon with endless white all around us, except for a couple of ice fishing shacks.
Overall a nice way to spend a couple of days in the middle of the coldest time of the year, did I mention the hot tub? The rates at the Bear are very reasonable, $125 Sun-Thurs and $140 on the weekend/per night. This year was great, sitting in the tub watching the Olympics over the sound of bubbling jets sipping on our favourite beverages and enjoying a few days away from the big city, computers and the reality of winter. If only it could be this good every year!