I once had a glass-doored shower.
It had a waterfall shower-head. The enclosure was tiled with heavy travertine. There was a slightly rougher-surfaced slate underfoot. We added a shiny chrome floor-to-ceiling caddy for loofahs, scrubbies, shampoos, conditioners…
At the other end of that Vancouver apartment bathroom sat a white tub. Beside it sat an inverted glass bell jar that hung in a heavy iron stand. The bubbled glass was filled with Epsom salts and a big aluminum scoop. Almost every night I dug into those salts, sprinkling them, along with some essential oils, into that tub filled with deep hot water.
That was then.
Now, I live in a trailer with a sink so tiny, that even if I merely dribble the tap, it splashes over onto my feet. The whole thing makes an airplane toilet look spacious. Pulling the curtain around its thin plastic walls and using the hand-held shower is kind of like trying to replicate a Houdini-bound-in-a-trunk trick.
In other words…it’s small. And, as you might have already deduced…there is not a tub in sight.
Which is one of the reasons I was so thrilled when we decided to take a break from our trailer life to celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary.
We checked into our room at Viamede Resort on Stoney Lake. The suite was huge. And though the deck looked in need of sprucing up, and some of the finishing touches were a little dated, it was clean and there was enough room, if one was so inclined, for a circus troupe and a chorus of dancing girls.
We grabbed our stuff and headed out to canoe around the endless little coves of Stoney Lake. After, we hung out at the pool, reading and lounging. I realize this next bit might sound crazy, because even though we’ve been traveling for over four months, it felt like we were finally having a little holiday.
Back in our suite, I filled the bathroom tub with steaming water and sunk back until only the smallest bit of my face was left to the air.
I stayed like that for a very long time.
There is a reason why immersion in water is often a metaphor for rebirth and so often used in baptismal ceremonies. I rose out of that tub as a new woman, a woman reborn.
Oh hallelujah, I truly did.
With my baptismal bath completed, we were about to discover the best part about the resort.
We walked over to the St. Julian Inn and sat down to tuck into a nine-course dinner that included almost all local wine pairings.
The candles threw gold and shadows across the table cloth.
Just about every bit of food was locally sourced or grown on-site; the wild blueberries, the maple syrup from their ‘back forty’ , the medium-rare slices of duck, the local fish or the panna cotta dessert made with the milk from the nearby farmer’s corn. The textures and flavours were focused and fabulous.
Finally, after so many tastes and wine tastings, we finished our meal with a splash of locally-made ice cider that reminded me of that same deep taste found in some of my favourite BC ice wines.
The dining room music came from a record player. Sometimes there would be a tiny hiss and crackle as the needle pulled Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass from the vinyl. The sound’s imperfections made it seem as if it was time-travelling to us, an unexpected and perfect background to our dinner in a building erected in 1874.
In fact, in the end, that’s what I liked the most about the place. It was as if we’d landed at an imaginary rich uncle’s super-huge cottage complex, a place that felt no need for flash, a place slightly aging in places, but in a way that felt comfortable and effortless.
Everything was available with no fuss. The canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards along with all the attendant gear was simply laid out on the beach. There was nothing to sign out, nobody monitoring things, just a casual understanding that, of course, you’d put it back when you were done.
And like any good imaginary über-rich uncle’s cottage, when it came to the most important things, like tubs, King-sized duvets and especially food and wine…it was perfect.
With a front yard that stretched out into an infinite reflection of the sky…life suddenly felt pretty large and lovely. Sometimes all one needs is to check in, sink into a lounge chair and check out.
If you decide to explore Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes region: Viamede Resort has all sorts of packages, including their new winter-stays. Whatever you do, make sure you make reservations for dinner at St. Julian’s.