Just 14 kilometers (nine miles) from Corner Brook, Newfoundland, is an award-winning resort that is a gem in the wilderness. Justin Ladha, senior VP operations for Newfound Resorts, the developers that own and operate the Western Newfoundland property, is increasing awareness of the four-season resort.
"We opened Humber Valley Resort in 2004," he says. "It now has about 220 completed chalets. Eight low-rise condo units open this summer." The condos have one and two bedrooms.
Humber Valley chalets
"Chalets range in size from three to five bedrooms, all with ensuites. They average 4,000 square feet in size. The chalets have very large decks, some with outdoor hot tubs, overlooking the Humber River, the Appalachian Mountain chain or the woods."
Humber Valley Resort is secluded in 2,200 acres (890 hectares) of forest. "The chalets are built into a bit of a slope," explains Ladha. "When you're in one, you can't see the others, because the chalets are on one-acre lots and most are surrounded by trees."
How to get to Humber Valley
Corner Brook, Newfoundland, (population 26,000), the nearest coastal town, is a 20-minute drive from the resort. Humber Valley is also 20 minutes driving distance from the nearest airport, Deer Lake International Airport.
Humber Valley Resort is a one-hour flight from St. John's, Newfoundland. Nonstop flights from Toronto to Deer Lake, on Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing take 2.5 hours. Air Canada also offers flights to Deer Lake from Montreal (2 hours flying time) and Halifax (1.5 hours flying time). In addition, Sunwing flies to Stephenville Airport, which is a one-hour drive from the resort.
From the UK, Monarch Airlines flies from London Gatwick to Deer Lake International Airport in 5.5 hours.
Golfing on the River Course
Designed by Canadian golf course architect, Doug Carrick, Humber Valley's 18-hole, par 72 championship River Course measures 7,199 yards. Golfers enjoy views of the Humber River and Deer Lake from most of the holes.
At the 18th hole, the backdrop rises 400 feet to the Eagle's Perch. The clubhouse contains the pro shop, change rooms, a bar and a banquet room.
"The scenery and the change in elevations make Humber Valley's River Course an amazing golf course," says Justin Ladha. "It has actually been planted into wilderness, rather than growing vegetation around the course.
Newfoundland golf courses open from late May to the end of October, although weather can make opening and closing dates earlier or later.
Humber Valley Resort's Aveda Concept Spa has a large deck with views of gardens and Deer Lake. Guests have free access to hot tubs.
Therapists offer facials, massages, manicures, pedicures and other services in four treatment rooms.
Where to eat at Humber Valley Resort
Although each chalet has a fully equipped kitchen and dining area, guests can eat in restaurants at the resort or in Corner Brook, Pasadena and Deer Lake. Sully's Restaurant and Pub is in the Beach House, where guests attend evening barbecues, lobster boils and bonfire parties.
Mansion Pool Dining Room offers fine dining and wines in Strawberry Hill, Humber Valley Resort's heritage property. Queen Elizabeth II and US President Dwight Eisenhower have stayed here.
Guests can hike on the international Appalachian Trail, which passes behind the resort. Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is only 45 minutes away from Humber Valley Resort.
Mountain bikers follow hundreds of kilometers of trails on logging roads and below transmission lines. Guests can explore caverns, sinkholes and subterranean trails in the Corner Brook Caves network. Rock climbing, rappelling and canyoning are available at Steady Brook Falls.
"You can sea kayak on Deer Lake and even into the Humber River," says Justin Ladha. "That section of the river runs from the resort down to Corner Brook, so you can kayak all the way down. Staff pick you up, so you don't have to paddle against the current to get back to the resort.
"The northeast coast of Newfoundland is between one and 1.5 hours away," he adds. This is Iceberg Alley, where you can view icebergs and go whale watching."
Humber River salmon fishing
Trophy-size Atlantic salmon, weighing more than 11 kilos (30 pounds), are found in the Humber River. (Newfoundland and Labrador promote catch and release fishing.) The resort's Activities Center arranges mandatory fishing guides and licenses.
There are many other things to do at Humber Valley Resort in summer. Local stables offer horseback riding on logging roads, tours and horse-riding lessons. Guests can sail, canoe and kayak on Deer Lake, which is 30 kilometers (19 miles) long. (Hobie Cat and kayak use is free for guests.)
Western Newfoundland has more than 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) of groomed tracks for snowmobiling. Cross-country skiers find 40 kilometers of groomed trails at Blow Me Down Ski Park, near Corner Brook. Pasadena Nordic Ski Park boasts 12.5 kilometers (eight miles) of groomed forest trails, just 10 minutes from Humber Valley Resort.
Gros Morne National Park offers backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, as well as wildlife viewing (moose, hares, caribou, foxes, mink etc.). Use of ice skates and snowshoes is free for Humber Valley guests.
Marble Mountain skiing
"The best ski hill in Eastern Canada is Marble Mountain," says Ladha. "The average snowfall there is 16 feet a year. We have a shuttle service that goes back and forth between the resort and the ski hill. Marble Mountain is a five-minute drive (12 kilometers) from Humber Valley Resort." The lack of line-ups at the lifts and the reasonably priced ski lift tickets are bonuses.
Marble Mountain also has the largest terrain pipe and half pipe in Canada for snowboarders. For cat skiing, off-piste skiers head to Blomidon Mountains, just a half-hour from Humber Valley Resort.
Not surprisingly, Humber Valley Resort has won numerous awards. They range from Golf Magazine's Best New International Course to Meetings & Incentive Travel Magazine's Readers' Choice Award for the Best Meeting Facility in Eastern Canada.