Fun On A Winter Escape To Muskoka
We planned a winter escape in Muskoka and enjoyed some cold and snowy weather. With milder weather in Toronto, we needed to head north to prepare for our coming cruise to Antarctica. We had a great packing list for Antarctica. But we needed to refine it with some experience.
We were excited to return to the JW Marriott Rosseau. We knew the luxury resort offered us the experience we wanted. With lots of outdoor trails, it offered many outdoor hiking options. For a different winter experience, we did a day trip to the Muskoka Lakes Farm And Winery one day.
Heading North For Cold And Snow
In the winter in Toronto, we expected snow and very cold weather through at least January and February. We often found lots of fun things to do in the winter in Ontario. But this year we counted on snow and cold weather as part of our planning for an Antarctica cruise. We wanted to test our cold weather gear and get in better shape with some winter hiking.
Normally when we got a milder winter, everyone was happy. But when the snow left after the holidays and the temperatures drifted well above freezing, we were dismayed. At home in Toronto, we did not have the weather we wanted to prepare for our coming winter adventure to Antarctica.
When the forecast showed continued mild weather in the city, we decided to head north of Toronto to the Muskoka area in search of winter weather. The Muskoka weather forecast looked perfect. When we saw the snowbanks on the side of the road about an hour north of Toronto, we knew we made the right decision. We were happy we headed to the JW Marriott on Lake Rosseau for two days on a winter escape to Muskoka.
A Birthday Treat On A Winter Escape In Muskoka
We had some free night certificates with Marriott Bonvoy that soon expired. We enjoyed some great summer and fall visits to the JW Marriott but the rates were much higher than the certificates covered. So we were delighted when the winter rates at the JW Marriott on Lake Rosseau meant we booked our stay with the certificates with just a small points top-up.
With low occupancy mid-week in the winter, we even got a nice upgrade on points when we checked in. Our suite looked out over Lake Rosseau. This gave us a great view – even if the balconies were all closed in the winter.
While we headed north to get a winter escape in Muskoka, our trip was also scheduled right around David’s birthday. When we walked into our suite, it was clear that someone had prepared the room for a special birthday treat. Even the tasty welcome amenity wished David Happy Birthday.
Our suite had a great gas fireplace that we used throughout our stay. And it even had a small kitchen area for snacking. We used the soaker tub to warm up more than once!
Our haven in Muskoka had everything we needed for a relaxing birthday break.
Enjoying The JW Marriott Rosseau Muskoka In Off-Season
We soon learned how empty the resort was when we visited. There were only a few guests plus a small group at the hotel. Our room was dead quiet and we were often the only ones in the restaurants. Many people would have missed having people around. But the quiet was perfect for this escape.
We enjoyed the food options available at the JW Marriott on Lake Rosseau. With our Marriott Bonvoy elite status we got free breakfast and we had lots of tasty options to choose from.
One night the Italian restaurant Teca was open. And on the other night the Chop House was open. Of course we tried both. And the birthday treats kept coming!
We found pros and cons to travelling in off-season. Less people and lower rates were always welcome. But we also knew that off-season meant many places were closed. And hours of service reduced. We knew before we headed north that the fun Ice Caves at the JW Marriott Rosseau were not open mid-week. But we were disappointed when we learned the Ice Bar and vodka tasting was also closed on our visit.
On our winter escape in Muskoka we enjoyed some of the winter offerings at the hotel. But missed several experiences we hoped to try.
Hiking Around The Resort In Winter
While we enjoyed the quiet inside spaces of the resort, we headed north for the winter weather. Our packing list for Antarctica covered the many layers of winter clothes we needed. And our new cameras needed some winter tests. So we layered up and headed out on the paths around the resort. The resort offered snow shoes but we wanted to test the gear we planned to take to Antarctica.
The paths around the ponds were covered in fresh snow and there were no marked trails. So we tread carefully as we followed the route around the ponds. It was a great area to prepare for the outdoor expeditions on our Antarctica cruise. We stayed well back from the water since the ice was still barely formed. It was a great test of our boots and poles on the uneven ground. And we realized that when active we may not need as many layers as we feared.
After the pond area we headed towards Lake Rosseau. It was such a different view to see the lake area all covered in snow.
We tromped along the fresh snow. And could not resist a stop at the Muskoka chair sitting in the snow. From this lower level we got an interesting view of the snow-covered resort.
As we hiked around the JW Marriott Rosseau we took pictures and video with our new camera gear. We did not want a learning curve when we finally visited our 7th continent on our cruise to Antarctica.
A Day Trip To Muskoka Lakes Farm And Winery
When we visited Muskoka at cranberry season we enjoyed a day at the cranberry bog at the Muskoka Lakes Farm And Winery. We knew they were open in the winter with other fun experiences. When we called in advance we learned that some parts were open. But the skating path was not yet fully frozen. We still decided it was worth a day trip.
Arriving at the Muskoka Lakes Farm And Winery we walked around and checked out the ice path and the different hiking paths. If we had more time, we could have rented snowshoes for a hike. Our walk took us for a view over the cranberry bogs and the paths we walked on our previous visits. It was great preparation for the outdoor expeditions on our Antarctica cruise.
On our first visit to Muskoka Lakes Farm And Winery we did wine tasting and enjoyed the fruit wines. The patio was covered in the winter so wine tasting still happened in all seasons. A large fire pit area was set up by the store and cafe area. But with few visitors, the fires sadly were not going. But we still wandered in the store and picked up a hot treat to enjoy outside.
We loved the wide range of activities offered in the winter at the Muskoka Lakes Farm And Winery. Mid-week it was quiet. And the milder weather meant not everything was operating when we visited. But it was still a great winter escape in Muskoka.
A Sweet Detour On The Way Home
Our visit to Muskoka for two days was successful. David had a great birthday experience. And we got some practice with our winter gear and cameras for our coming cruise to Antarctica. With a weather forecast for more snow, we did not dawdle at check-out and headed back to Toronto before mid-day.
But when the snow did not really materialize on our drive home, we knew we had time for a detour. We loved when our road trips had enough time for stops along the way. We programmed the GPS for the Mariposa Market in Orillia and prepared for a tasty break.
Family members suggested several times that the Mariposa Market was a good stop on the way to Muskoka. We were teased with pictures of desserts. But when we entered we knew there were too many temptations on this stop. Even though we wanted many of the things we found, we ultimately picked up only two mini cakes. After all, we still needed another sweet treat for David’s birthday.
We left Orillia happy we stopped on our winter escape in Muskoka. But we knew this was not the last time this detour would be made!
A Great Winter Escape To Muskoka
We enjoyed our winter escape in Muskoka. Our luxury resort stay in off-season provided a great spot to relax after we explored the hiking paths. It was one of the reasons we kept returning to the JW Marriott on Lake Rosseau. When we re-visited to the Muskoka Lakes Farm And Winery we found some new winter activities too.
We wanted the cold weather and snow to help with the preparation for our coming cruise to Antarctica. So we were happy we tested some of our gear and made amendments to our packing list for Antarctica. Muskoka in the winter was a great way to prepare for the outdoor expeditions on our Antarctica cruise. When we also got some great birthday treats, it made the whole trip extra special.
Have you done a winter escape to Muskoka in Ontario? Did you find a favourite winter activity?
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