We adore The Fern. The clincher was when we visited for a few days last winter and actually enjoyed the snow and cold. Then I knew that either it’s a very special place, or they put something in the water. Even if it’s the latter, I’m ok with that, because now my family adores The Fern, and we always have a place we can escape to that’s a (relatively) short drive from Toronto.
And Fern is so baby-friendly, I think larger hotel chains could learn a few tricks from them.
We so enjoyed our Toronto staycation, but this reluctant staycationer was exhausted afterwards. Toronto Island, The Zoo, Ontario Place – it’s a lot to cram into a week. And even though you’re not technically working, you are still at home with the distractions and stuff (read: laundry and dishes) that make your week off decidedly less restful. So when we decided at the last minute to nip away for a night, The Fern was our first choice. And this time we brought along my mother-in-law and sister-in-law!
To accommodate our two extra family members, we stayed next door to our usual Bayshore cabin – this one had three bed in one room and a double plus a fold-out couch in the other. The way it’s laid out with the entrance and bathroom in the middle meant ample privacy for all, and the kiddos decided to bunk in with “Nama” and “Aunty” so technically we should have had some couple time, even though Bub had other ideas 😉
Fern’s all-inclusive meal plan means all you have to worry about are snacks and the occasional lunch, depending on when you arrive. We arrived just before lunch, and we know our room would not be ready until later in the afternoon. I had our swimming gear within easy reach in our car, so after a great lunch we were able to enjoy the fabulous beach and pools. Having access to our car plus the convenient facilities meant not getting in to our actual room was not a big deal.
It was tough to decide which the kids preferred – the beach or the pool. We spent ample time at both, although we did have to make a quick trip to Memorial Hospital in Orillia for some stitches in Bub’s lip when he slipped getting out of the pool. I’ll include more details on that later, but we were pleased to be in and out of the hospital (including stitches) in 45min. The hospital is a mere ten minute drive from Fern Resort, which hopefully is not a selling point but it is convenient!
We weren’t there for long enough to fully utilize Fern’s Playvillage – which offers care for young babies and toddlers, as well as programs for older kids. Our daughter really enjoyed it on previous visits, and I have no doubt we’ll be utilizing it in future Fern visits to come. Fern Resort’s Playvillage is open all summer, as well as during the Holiday season, March Break, and select weekends and holiday weekends as well.
Fern Resort is very accessible, and getting around with a stroller is a breeze. All the washrooms offer stools to help little ones wash up, and there’s a change table in the main washroom in the lobby. They provide you with a highchair, bib, and clean washcloth for each meal, and there is a wide selection of toddler-appropriate foods and snacks. You are welcome to feed the kids from the buffet, or order any entree off the menu to be served in a smaller portion. Cribs and bed rails are available (book in advance), and they list those rooms to be made up first so the room is free for baby’s naps! 2% milk is available 24/7 at the coffee station in the main lobby, and you can use the microwave there as well. All rooms have a mini-fridge.
Fern Resort is a less-than 2 hour drive from downtown Toronto. It is not an inexpensive getaway, but they frequently offer specials and deals on their website, and there are discounts available for return guests. Your stay includes three meals per day, and at least one meal on the day you arrive/depart. Alcoholic drinks are extra, but there is a liquor store just five minutes away in Orillia.
We love it!