Inns Magazine Issue 3 Vol. 20 Great Escapes Fall 2016 - Page 17

Sunny Rock, where water and woods are a given

Sally brings her career as a camp director to the business. Over breakfast, she and Jan foster a feeling of family by lighting a candle to remember the thousands who’ve slept there over the decades and to induct first-time guests as alumni. Then they plop a strange antique on the table and ask guests to divine what it is as they nosh at a true cottager’s breakfast, albeit one with considerable elan. Red River cereal might be topped with fresh berries and yogurt; scrambled eggs might be accompanied by asparagus wrapped in ham, zinged up with jalapeno cheese. The tomatoes could come from their own garden, the lettuce from a neighbour’s, the maple syrup from a sugar bush down the road.

They’ll also provide optional dinner, or invite folks to barbecue. “It could be a hot dog or filet mignon,” Sally says. “It doesn’t matter. It’s the fun and fellowship that count.”

A raft of recreational opportunities might help melt the calories. There’s swimming and a natural whirlpool to enjoy. Canoe, kayak and paddle boat equipment is available. Guests can catch pickerel, brown trout, smallmouth bass. The rolling countryside is perfect for biking and hiking, and the area is a magnet for rock-hounders. Winter brings snowshoeing, dogsledding, ice fishing – even car racing on ice. “One of our guests races,” Jan says, “and he’ll take other guests for a ride.”

Rich, too, are the year-round arts and theatre possibilities. But folks can just sit and read, either on the wraparound deck or in that sunny front room.

What the owners discourage is constant connection with the world. Internet access is possible, but the area’s remoteness makes connectivity spotty at best. Though there’s television in the common room, there’s purposely none in the bedrooms. Instead, quips Sally, “Sitting in the in-room rocking chairs looking out the large sliding door could be like viewing the Nature Channel.”

In fact, Sunny Rock is so cottage-like that it offers “cottage country dream” packages. Guests can pre-pay for eight nights and spread them over a year as desired, returning again and again as to a cottage. For their loyalty, they get a ninth night free. Buy 10 nights, and snag two additional nights. Now that’s the perfect recipe for escape.

By Peter Johansen