By Mary Hughes
In the 1870s, Dr. Frank Sibbald fell in love at first sight with a majestic house built on the shores of Lake Simcoe, Ontario. He was a wealthy doctor, who had great enthusiasm for entertaining, and loved people and parties. He expanded the house, filled it with treasures, and welcomed guests for the most of his life. Little did he know that very same house would evolve into a sophisticated country inn resort, while still remaining in the Sibbald family. Today, the doctor would be astonished to see its transformation into 86 accommodations, restaurants, a golf course and spa. The Briars Resort and Spa is one of Canada’s leading destinations. There is something for everyone here, as I discovered on my recent visit.
Today, fourth and fifth generation Sibbald family are welcoming new and returning guests. The uniqueness of The Briars Resort and Spa stands out as an all-encompassing romantic destination, especially if you suffer from opposites attracting like most of us do. I like to sit and relax, while my better half likes to be busy. I found a remedy at The Briars! The old cliché there is something for everyone is really true!
If you are a golfer – most of us do enjoy a round or two – discover the 18-hole championship golf course that has been enchanting golfers for years. It is one of the province’s oldest courses. The tennis courts are adjacent to the front entrance of the property, and there are plenty of water sports on the lake, as well as the indoor pool. So, you don’t have to venture far. Trails for walking, biking, and hiking, are a stone’s throw away, as you head out the front door.
After a day of activity for some of us, the best part is the spa! It is an eight-room treatment center, located in the tower portion of the resort. It offers many top quality treatments for individuals and couples – you can even have lunch in the tower while overlooking the property!
Pencil in your calendar! Saturday nights are for the romantic at heart as couples dine by candlelight and dance the night away! Dinner and dancing is a pleasure that few of us have time to enjoy these days. It puts those dance lessons to good work! This extensive property is surprisingly intimate with all the private nooks and hidden corners you’ll discover. Many couples comment on the gracious dining room, and it, too, has private corners with tables for two.
Chef Trevor Ledlie has been tantalizing taste buds here for 12 years. The menu is extensive and proudly features locally grown fare, including herbs and vegetables from right on the property. Please save room for dessert, and I recommend the house specialty, Sticky Toffee Pudding! Before turning in you can always head for a nightcap at the Drinkwaters Lounge.
The accommodations are abundant in choice. Guest rooms in the original main house offer a New England style charm, including rooms with balconies and fireplaces. For the ultimate seclusion for you and your sweetheart, the Cottages have private patios, fireplaces, golf course, lake and woodlands views.
Each night after dinner there is a roaring fire outside the dining room surrounded by Muskoka chairs. Guests love to come and sit by the fire, enjoy a drink and even toast a marshmallow!
Wherever you are in your life together – a new couple or a well-seasoned pair – you can relax knowing the Briars has been welcoming guests since 1880, and has stood the test of time. Little did Dr. Frank Sibbald know that his contagious enthusiasm way back then would still be apparent today – and definitely then some!
The Briars Resort and Spa
Jackson’s Point, Ontario
800-465-2376 / 905-722-3271