There is no denying the fact that Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood, Ontario is known for one thing, their incredible ski hills. However, over the Christmas holidays, I had the opportunity to explore a couple other attractions in the area proving that there really is something for everyone.
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Each year for the holiday season my husband and I make a trip north to visit with my family, who all live up in and around Muskoka, Ontario. It’s a well-known tourist area with beautiful lakes, cottages, and campgrounds in the summer and great skiing all winter long. While the holidays are an opportunity to rest and relax for some people, for us, it’s all about making memories with our loved ones, especially my nieces and nephews who are honestly just growing WAY too quickly for my liking. For this reason, we are often searching for new experiences and opportunities to have fun.
This year, my sister-in-law suggested that we take the nieces to check out the Plunge! Aquatic Centre at Blue Mountain Resort. Unlike many resorts in the area, Plunge! is open year-round including indoor and outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs. That’s right – an outdoor swimming pool in the winter!
For those that are traveling a greater distance to visit the area, they have logging available right on the resort, just a short walk from the Aquatic Centre and the rest of the area’s attractions (we’ll talk about that more later). They also offer packages if you’re heading there for a specific reason including, obviously, ski packages, but also (to my surprise) a Plunge! package. However, if you’re just looking to hit the pools for an evening the price is incredibly fair, in my opinion. A 3-hour pass is only $16 for an adult, $13 for a child, and gives you full access to everything that they have available. They also offer a discount to groups of 4 or more.
Inside the Aquatic Centre, there was a fair-sized hot tub in the back corner, a splash pad style playground for young children and the indoor pool. The first thing that I noticed is that the indoor pool connected directly to the large outdoor pool, allowing you to swim out to the outdoor attractions. For those that would prefer to make their transition on dry land, there was a door right next to the pool leading to the patio area outside.
We spent much of our time outside, both because we were more intrigued by the outdoor swimming concept and because my nieces thought the options outdoors were great. The main pool had a waterslide available and open, even in the winter. Further back, there was an ‘adventure’ pool with docks and rope swings for additional fun. Alongside the main pool was the outdoor hot tub, a favourite of the adults.
I was surprised by how warm the outside pool actually was, they do a great job in keeping it heated. If left to my own accord I likely would have spent the whole time in the hot tub, but I had nieces that wanted Auntie Britt to watch them come down the water slide and it was certainly warmer in the pool than outside it!
There were only a couple of things that were impacted by the fact we were outside. The handrails for the pool ladder and hot tub were metal, which combined with the steam from the warm water meant they were sheer ice. However, this is something that the resort couldn’t really do anything about, so I certainly don’t hold that against them. Also, the actual deck between the pool and hot tub had the potential to become incredibly icy with people moving back and forth. I will say, the people working that day were all over the task of salting the deck, however, that meant walking on chunks of salt… There is no solution to that situation that will keep everyone happy, but they did their best to ensure the safety of all visitors which is so important.
When we finished at Plunge! we then set out to explore the Blumination Dream Trail. Right in the heart of Blue Mountain Resort is an area known as the Village, packed with restaurants, coffee shops, store, and accommodations. It’s like having its only little town. This is where the Dream Trail was centered from December 1, 2018 to January 6, 2019. This included beautiful light displays through the Village and along a path that extended out around the pond, a fireplace with a roaring fire to sit around, scheduled light shows, and more.
While I read that they offered horse and wagon rides and visits with Santa at various points over the holidays, we weren’t there for these events. However, throughout the time that Blumination is running, they had fireworks on Saturday nights over the pond which we did have the opportunity to take in. The show itself was quite impressive for a smaller weekly show. There was something magical about watching the fireworks in the night sky with the ski hills stretching out behind them.
Overall, I thought that the Blumination display was incredibly well put together. Shout out to the incredibly friendly workers at Starbucks that were faced with an impossibly long line of people looking for hot drinks to warm them up on a cold night. They handled it all calmly and with a smile on their faces.
I wish I could have taken more pictures; however, electronics and cold weather don’t always get along. The fun of winter adventures, right? Despite this one little hiccup, we had an amazing time I and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to get away over the holidays. We’re already talking about returning for the 2019/2020 Christmas season!
How do you celebrate the holiday season? Have you ever travelled during the holidays?