The other weekend, my husband and I decided to break our usual weekend routine of dinner parties, brunch and Queen West crawling. We coiled ourselves together in a tube and got spun down a mountain, screaming for our lives until we slammed into a barrel of hay and got laughed at by on looking tweens and excitable dads. Had I been hung-over, this would have been the super worst trajectory– but I wasn’t – and it was the best winter day of 2010 for sure.

Not only is it fun to shake up my usual surroundings of cynical Toronto media types to instead play alongside tots and twelve year olds from North Toronto – but also there’s something magical and exhilarating about embracing winter to the max – even if my outfit is a little hodgepodge. Beyond being a haven for families who like to be loud in the pool, Horseshoe Valley really is a terrific getaway for couples looking to recuperate from a busy week, enjoy each other in a romantic setting and have fun doing a myriad of winter activities.

Tubing in the day, skiing at night, cross-country through the forest or just walking around breathing in the country air – it feels good. The moments of quiet when you only hear your own feet digging into the cold snow are beautiful. We didn’t go dogsledding, but we could have.

Horseshoe Resort is also home to Shizen Spa – so for an extra decadent retreat – book a hot stone massage or facial. I can’t speak for all the services but did get my eyebrows waxed and what is usually just a quick rip felt like a sensuous experience.

Just north of Barrie, it’s an easy weekend destination – but if you are seeking peace, we suggest you stay a Sunday night and book off Monday – or another weekday. It’s fun to watch kids zoom around looking for the ice machine but Peter, Mackenzie and friend totally hijacked the pool with their extremely loud and splashy game of monkey-in-the-middle. Their mom turned to us and said, “I hope you weren’t thinking you were going to have a romantic soak in the hot tub?” Nah – but we did exit the scene quickly – and managed to make up for it with an enormous whirlpool under red light in the privacy of our own room.

Don’t just complain about winter – celebrate it, jump into it – I promise you will laugh and feel totally alive, and in the moments when no one is around and you are amidst pine trees and thick snow – you will feel like you’ve stepped into Narnia.

Book your escape to Narnia now!

P.S – I think well behaved dogs are welcome