A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I found a bigger way to escape together from the pressures of our daily lives and it was amazing! We took a long drive to a beautiful destination called Ste. Anne's Spa in Haldimand Hills, Ontario. It was a dream experience!
My mom has had a lot on her plate, both physically, mentally and emotionally. Both of my Grandmothers fell and broke their wrists within the last few months. My mom's mom had to have surgery to repair her broken wrist as well as a shattered elbow and then spent weeks recovering in the hospital. It has been a sad time, it has been a busy time, and I have watched my mom and dad juggle their responsibilities as they take care of their mothers and struggle with the emotions they feel as they are concerned for their mothers. I don't think there could have been a better time for my mom and I to be able to get away- this was the perfect Mother's Day getaway!
This is going to be an image-heavy post because everything was so beautiful there and I wanted to share it all with you and to illustrate the story of our time at Ste. Anne's Spa, so please follow along as I describe our experience.
Just a short drive from the highway, we came to this beautiful sign and a long, twisting private road that led to the spa.
After the first couple of twists in the road, I looked behind me and told my mom that I could not see any signs of the city in any direction. The only things that were man-made were the signs we saw along the road and we had to stop to grab a photo when we came across this one:
At the end of the road we found a parking lot and then followed a path to find ourselves here:
I felt like we were in an English country garden! The gardens were just gorgeous!
Birdsong Spa Cottage
We checked in and had a little tour of the spa before driving to our spa cottage (about a kilometre from the main buildings), called "The Birdsong". The Birdsong is a large cottage with four different sections that can be rented. The section we stayed in is called the "Eagle's Nest". The front porch had comfortable patio furniture (that we would use in the evening) in two arrangements (a great setup in case more than one group wanted to use them at the same time).
Inside of the Eagle's Nest was beautiful! There is a King and a Twin sized bed as well as a cozy sitting area with couches. There was a gas fireplace and cathedral ceiling! They even supplied us with some board games (but we were too busy with other things to get a chance to use them!).
The bathroom in the Eagle's Nest was spacious and beautiful! It was fully equipped with a large whirlpool tub, double sinks, and a walk-in shower.
In our bathroom (and in every bathroom throughout the spa) were dispensers filled with luxurious soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner and body wash from Ste. Anne's Skin Nourishment line (and they smelled wonderful!). These were all available to purchase from their gift shop, too.
Afternoon Tea on the Patio
After checking into our quaint little cottage, we headed back to the main buildings for afternoon tea! The weather was absolutely beautiful so we were able to eat out on the patio (shown below).
Here we are with our plates of delicious little treats! :) Yes, all that food was just for the two of us!
We enjoyed a little bit of everything they had to offer, from little sandwiches to sweets. We also tried some hot cocoa (not to be confused with hot chocolate ;) It was pretty bitter and definitely not what we were used to, but still really neat to try! :) The next time I had a choice from the tea menu, I went for apple cider (which came with a stick of cinnamon) and I loved it!
Right up there with the delicious treats was our view! Here's a little of what we could see from the patio: fields of grass and trees, flower gardens and the pool. We were on Cloud 9!
Meditation ~ A Wellness Class
After tea, we had a Meditation wellness class scheduled. We met our instructor in the waiting room (which was more like a super-comfortable living room) and she took us on a little walk outside, to the room where we'd be doing our meditation. We entered a fairly dark room and lay on comfortable mats with pillows under our knees and heads. Those of us who were chilly could use a blanket. We were given eye pillows and some calming essential oil to rub on the backs of our necks. When we were all comfortable, we were led through a guided meditation. It was sooo nice! Afterward, my mom told me that she felt like she was able to get into a state of deep relaxation.
My mom has been going through some difficult things right now and it has been a pretty stressful time in her life. She has been putting so much time into serving, helping, and loving others and I know it has caused her to feel exhausted at times. I was so happy that this was such a good experience for her!
Our next stop was the locker room to change into our swimsuits and spa robes. We spent most of the rest of our time at the spa in those robes! They were so cozy and soft! You are welcome to attend all meals in your spa robes too- it's relaxation at its best!
The Fieldstone Grotto
One of the things that I was most looking forward to was the Fieldstone Grotto (a hot tub, 65 degree plunge pool and a lap pool with a current you could swim against). These are outside and open year round! Here we are in the hot tub (I wore a rashguard in case we spent a lot of time in the sun, but it was very unnecessary in the hot tub! haha!).
I did try the plunge pool (it's supposed to be good for you to heat up in the hot tub and then take a quick dip in the cold plunge pool), but I was in there for less than a minute, so there's no photo! Here's my mom taking a little swim in the lap pool. I thought it was pretty cool- kind of like a treadmill for swimming!
Relaxing Outside & the Serenity Garden
The weather was gorgeous so when we were finished in the water, we dried off a little, threw on our spa robes and took a stroll out in the beautiful grounds. We were relaxing in our lounge chairs, enjoying this beautiful view:
... and letting our swimsuits dry when we spotted some hammocks across the field. This may have been my favourite moment from our whole weekend! We both knew we had to get into those hammocks, so off we went!
We giggled as we got ourselves situated in the hammocks and then we lay there looking at the trees above us, listening to the birds and a far off wind chime, feeling the breeze in our hair. It was pure bliss!
We had some more time before dinner so we decided to explore the grounds further and we came across a little garden with several paths through it. There were little statues and a small waterfall and brook.
The view was breathtaking! There is something about being out in nature like this that feels rejuvenating, like deep inside I was hungry for this (and didn't even realize it).
We could've gotten lost in this garden and spent a lot of time there, but soon it was time for dinner so we headed back to the dining room.
Spa Cuisine ~ A Delicious Dinner
We sat by a window and had a lovely view, so of course I took a photo to share. ;)
The photos below are (from L to R) our amuse bouche, our appetizers which were Beef Carpaccio and Butternut Squash & Apple Bisque. I loooved the bisque! I had Beef Tenderloin for my main course(the bordelaise sauce was a really nice touch!). For dessert, I had a lighter version of a Crème Brûlée with apples in it and my mom tried a flourless chocolate cake. She wasn't a fan of the flourless cake but our waitress was happy to exchange it for a different dessert which was great! I didn't get a picture of her other dessert because she dug in too quickly! ;)
Here's a picture of my mom with her main course (the Pan Seared Salmon). It was so pretty! Let me tell you it was also DELICIOUS!!!
What a wonderful experience it is to eat beautifully presented food cooked with fresh ingredients by an amazing chef! A couple of things that really stood out to us were that our waitresses always remembered to ask if we had any food allergies, and wanted to be aware of when our next spa treatment or wellness class was scheduled so they could be sure we had time to enjoy our meal. When we went to dinner, my mom sat down and realized she had left her glasses in the locker room. Our waitresses asked if they were reading glasses & quickly returned with a pair for my mom to use while reading her menu- now that's service! :)
Locker Room & Hot Tub
After dinner we sat in some amazing massage chairs and then headed down to the women's locker room where we tried out the steam room, sauna, and colour therapy hot tub. I'm a big fan of hot tubs, so I loved it. :)
The spa buildings are open until 11pm, so we didn't get back to our cottage until pretty late. We sat out on our porch for a little bit and chatted before heading inside to turn on our fire place and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere in our spa cottage.
Breakfast & A Massage
On Day 2, we were up early and off to the dining room for breakfast. My mom enjoyed an omelet and I ordered a quinoa bowl with blueberry compote. Then it was time for our spa treatment. We were scheduled for an hour long couple's Swedish massage. What a treat it was when we found out we would be having our massage in one of the treatment gazebos outside! It was lovely to have a massage while feeling the breeze through the curtains of the gazebo and listening to the birds chirping!
Lunch that day was White Bean Chili & Winter Vegetables for me, for a starter, and a Fall Harvest Salad for my mom. For our main courses, she had Aubergine Lasagna and I had Atlantic Salmon Tacos! We finished it off with dessert (a Raspberry Mousse and a Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry). Everything was delicious and made for a wonderful last meal at the spa- we were stuffed!
After lunch, we wandered the walking trails and took in more of the beauty surrounding the spa. Here are a few photos I took that afternoon:
I very much hope this will not be the last time I see Ste. Anne's Spa. I would love to return!
Thank you to Ste. Anne's Spa for hosting us for a spa getaway we will never forget!