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Algonquin Provincial Park, with its wildlife and snow-covered landscapes, is one of Canada's most romantic spots in winter. The Couples Resort (formerly the Bear Trail Inn) in Whitney, Ontario, offers cosy year-round châteaux, cabins and rooms, near the park's east gate.

Walking across the snow towards a chateau
Walking across the snow towards a château
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Our two-night romantic getaway began with a five-course gourmet dinner in the main lodge. Candlelight glittered on our wine glasses and warmed the white linen tablecloth, as we dined on crab cakes and veal scaloppini. Background music played softly.

Outside our tableside window, big puffy snowflakes blanketed evergreen trees and fieldstone-fronted wooden buildings. We felt like we were inside a snow globe. Smiling smugly, we toasted each other: "Here's to not driving home on snow-covered streets!"

After dinner, we strolled two minutes to our room. Our boots crunched fresh-fallen snow that sparkled like diamonds. "Look up!" we exclaimed simultaneously. "The Big Dipper!" The clouds had cleared, revealing a plethora of dazzling asterisks in an ink-black sky. It was obvious why the resort named its spa villas and châteaux after galaxies like Andromeda and constellations like Orion and Lyra.

Outdoor winter sports

Snowshoes below a red bear paw trail marker and a Lookout Trail sign
Snowshoes below a red bear paw trail marker and a Lookout Trail sign
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

We loved the carefree ambiance. Want skates, snow-shoes or cross-country skis? Just sign for them. Only dog sledding and snowmobiling carried extra charges.

The resort's location, near Algonquin Park, allowed us to cross-country ski into the park's network of groomed and tracked trails. We whirled around the skating rink, holding hands, then donned snow-shoes to explore the Lookout Trail. Following red bear paw signs, we snow-shoed into a real-life Christmas card.

Pine boughs drooped under thick white icing. We made oval tracks over cotton batting snow, passing clumps of white birches and stumps topped with frozen marshmallows. Except for twittering chickadees and the staccato drumming of an ambitious woodpecker, the cold crisp air was silent. At the lookout, we wrapped arms around each other's waists, and gazed over forested islands frozen into Airy Bay.

A rabbit's trail led us down to the lake. The new-fallen snow was irresistible. Detaching our snow-shoes, we made angels in the snow.

Back in our spa villa, we warmed up in the sauna and steam room attached to our bathroom. "Ah, bliss," we sighed, totally relaxed in our bubble-filled double Jacuzzi. In front of us, blazing logs crackled in the fieldstone fireplace.

A couple relax on a leather sofa in front of a fieldstone fireplace
Relaxing on a leather sofa in front of a fieldstone fireplace
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Our room had everything we needed — thick white terry robes, candles, a king-size four-poster bed, hot chocolate mix, coffee, a microwave and fridge. When we wanted something else, gracious employees were happy to oblige. "Champagne flutes? Of course! Would you like a silver bucket with ice, as well?"

After selecting a romantic movie from the large selection available, we snuggled together and watched it from the cushy leather sofa in front of the fireplace.

As we checked out, a glance through the guestbook revealed that other couples shared our sentiments: "Very relaxing!" "Just what we needed." "Can't wait until our next romantic getaway!"


The Couples Resort: www.couplesresort.ca

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