SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE FEATURED ARTICLE:

Foxwood Resort: Lake of Bays, Muskoka

Muskoka’s Lake of Bays region is filled with the natural beauty of forests, lakes, rocky terrains and wetlands, making it a popular cottage and recreation destination. Nestled within it is Foxwood Resort, a bustling summer destination and a pristine, secluded winter escape.

Location, Location

Nestled into a remote spot amid Muskoka’s Lake of Bays’ 580 km of shoreline and beautiful islands, Foxwood is surrounded by natural beauty and tucked far away from any major cities or thoroughfares. Set at the end of the roadway into the property on almost 100 acres of forest, there are no passersby and no travelers speeding past on their way to somewhere else. Particularly during the winter it is just you, your hosts, Rob and Julia Wallace, and the very few other guests who may be on hand.

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The change of scenery is so distant from what most people are accustomed to that a stay of at least two days is recommended because, as Rob says, it takes people a bit to unpack, unwind and figure out the lay of the land and what they want to do.

History of Snowshoeing

Foxwood was originally settled in 1876 by Tom Salmon, one of the first settlers on the lake, so it made sense that Foxwood became the first Lake of Bays resort. One of Salmon’s granddaughters recalls him spending the spring, summer and fall taking men hunting and fishing in the region while his wife looked after the wives and children back at home – the beginnings of the original inn.

Known as a local pioneer, Salmon also became known for his handcrafted snowshoes. These shoes, which can be proved authentic by the ‘salmon’ marking carved into each, were popular in the day and are now considered collectibles.

Foxwood remained with the family until the current owners took over in 2002.

Winter Fun

Some of the winter activities at the resort include cross-country skiing from right out your back door onto the lake or the many trails in the area, access to discount ski passes at Hidden Valley Resort, sleigh rides, dog sled rides and of course, snow shoeing.

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Rob says they regularly take guests on midnight snowshoe hikes, loaded with a backpack filled with hot chocolate, to enjoy the sounds and sights you can only appreciate on a quiet winter’s night. With the stars more brilliant away from city lights and the sound of distant wolves as your guide, there is a whole world you didn’t know existed just waiting to be discovered.

Another favorite activity is a skate on the Arrowhead Skating Trail. This 1.5km skating trail, located in Arrowhead Provincial Park, winds its way through thick winter woods. The pristine setting provides a scenic, romantic, and stunning backdrop to a daytime skate. During January and February the trail is light by hundreds of tiki torches at night for an experience like none other.

Accommodation

During the winter Foxwood only opens two cottages so you are guaranteed a quiet and peaceful stay. One of the cottages, aptly named Snowshoe and in honor of Tom Salmon, is a 1,400 square-foot eco-cottage heated largely by solar panels and decorated with many original works of Canadian fine art.

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The open concept design and 9-foot ceilings make the space open and bright while heated floors and a see-through fireplace keep the entire space warm and cozy. The cottage is equipped for self-catering, and includes satellite TV, stereo sound, and WiFi.

Like a Visit with Friends

Throughout the year Foxwood is one of those places people visit and then go back to, tell their friends about or bring their friends to. Rob says they have both a high return rate and a high rate of referrals, in part he suspects because they try to make guests feel welcome.

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“Especially in the winter when it’s really just us and them we try to make people feel like they’re part of the family. We give them the space they want or can get them and out and show them all the area has or offer, whichever they want.”

He says despite the number of resorts in the area, there aren’t a lot like this – small, quiet and with a built-in opportunity to simply enjoy time with family and friends.

For more information, check out http://www.foxwoodresort.ca.

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