Our Romantic Winter Road Trip to Arcana
What is Arcana? Arcana is a luxurious private resort located in Ontario that boasts beautiful mirrored cabins and a suite of outdoor activities fit for all visitors. Follow along as Ish and I drive deep into the forests of Ontario and enjoy every moment of the experience.
So, who’s up for a romantic winter road trip?
If you’re a long time Globetrotting Mama follower, you already know: I’m not a big Hallmark holiday fan. Who needs a date on the calendar to remember to celebrate the people you love, right?
Except that sometimes you do.
Sometimes, you get so swept up in work, home and oh, I don’t know ….A PANDEMIC…. that you forget to take some time to really appreciate those closest to you.
And while that can absolutely refer to your kids, parents, siblings or friends…for me it’s been time away with my husband that I missed most.
So recently I took my love on the road, literally.
Our Drive to Arcana:
Ish and I packed a few bags, some warm clothes (Thanks to my trip to Churchill, Manitoba to see the polar bears, I was well prepared with my Canada Goose gear) and an almost forgotten about adventurous spirit, and headed north on a romantic winter road trip to a secret location to experience Arcana – a unique natural resort in Ontario. With a snowstorm in the forecast we knew this breathtaking getaway would be a perfect fit for what we were looking for, time away together. And so, we took a secret mid-week getaway.
Tip #1: Define the Perfect Winter Romance Getaway
A romantic winter road trip north of the city was exactly what we wanted. Quiet time away from the internet and obligations. That meant we also weren’t looking for the kinds of excitement we often build into a family trip or any crowded destinations or guided adventures. Instead of theme park frenzy or even deep cultural exchanges, what we wanted was quiet, contemplative time. Long walks, time to read uninterrupted, deep belly laughs and real conversations.
Tip #2: Start the Romance on the Drive Up
We love road trips, so driving up Ontario and out to Arcana was a given. And when Toyota offered a chance to try out a gorgeous Nori Green Pearl 2022 Lexus NX 350 on our trip, we jumped at it. I love my RAV-4 but it is a 2013 and a family friendly SUV. I wanted to be in something a little bit sexier for our trip. And from the minute I drove the Lexus NX 350, I knew it was time to start thinking about trading up.
The Lexus NX 350 has had a complete design overhaul for 2022. A snowstorm in the morning gave us a chance to test out the vehicle during inclement weather. It handled like a champ and we could actually hold a conversation (and sing along to the tunes) thanks to an Active Noise Control 2.4 L turbo Engine. The car travelled smoothly (AWD) over the snow and ice and the Palomino (like a deep caramel colour) leather interior offered plenty of stylish comfort for the drive. The Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 features automatic high beam and emergency steer assist, oncoming vehicle detection/braking, road sign assist and more. And it was a pleasure to know that the all-new NX will also be built right here in Canada (in Cambridge for those who are wondering)!
Heated seats and steering were appreciated given the temps, but it was also just a fun drive. That happens when you have confidence in the vehicle. Ish and I shared the driving on the trip, but I prefer taking on the role of navigator on road trips, so I was in charge of manning the all-new Lexus Interface system.
It was easy. I connected my iPhone 13 to the CarPlay system and we were off. My favourite features: Voice control and hearing my messages from the kids being read to me over the car stereo – meaning the driver was never tempted to look at their phone.
Plus, Arcana provided curated playlists to help set the mood for the drive up and the surround sound stereo was incredible.
Tip #3: Finding the Perfect Property: Arcana Cabins
The beauty inside the car was reflected in the beauty outside as well. Arcana doesn’t disclose its location until after you book which adds to the fun and mystery of the romantic getaway experience. I can tell you that its about two hours north of Toronto and that when we arrived we were so struck by how picture perfect it was that we were thrilled to think that it was a special space just for a select few at a time.
There are only three cabins, a tea pavilion and a sauna/cold plunge pool on the property site, which leaves plenty of space for snowshoeing and long walks in the woods.
Each cabin is mirrored on the outside which creates an otherworldly feel to the location. Inside there’s a giant window wall with views of the surrounding nature, and inside you’ll find a fully equipped kitchen (with a bar fridge) and a shower that is decked out with everything you need.
A Few of My Favourite Things about Arcana:
You can order your meals up ahead of time and then warm them in the oven, on the stove or in the microwave as you need to. We enjoyed both breakfast options (a ham and leek quiche and a Belgian waffle with sausage) as well as the dinner options including macaroni and cheese and Angus steaks! We brought along a few snacks but really didn’t need it and with a town nearby and a pay-for-what-you-use snack cupboard in the cabin we were all set.
My favourite thing about the cabin was the various experiences throughout the property. In the tea pavilion we painstakingly followed the tea ritual which included choosing a record to play on the record player, lighting a fire and making the tea from a selection of ingredients that included a full cinnamon stick.
And our biggest laughs came in the sauna where we found the snow too much to resist and did our best attempt at a Canadiana experience. (Check out my @ByHeatherGD Instagram stories for a sneak peek at that ridiculously fun afternoon.)
We had incredible conversations as we walked, read and chatted throughout the day. And, at night,
the sound rituals and sleep masks inside the cabin made for a soothing escape.
It was nothing like the adventures we usually take and exactly what we dreamed it would be.
Tip #4: Plan the Experience
Looking back I’m glad that we took the time to think through what we wanted in a romantic getaway. From the Lexus NX 350 we drove, to the discussions we had about WiFi use (we tried to avoid it) and the conversations we saved for the trip, we both went into the experience with the right frame of mind to really make the most of it.
When it was over we left feeling ready and refreshed to take on the world. And because getting home required a long drive back, the vacation really didn’t end until we pulled into our driveway.
Ready to replicate our adventure?
The Lexus NX 350:
The Lexus NX 350 starts at $55,400, comes in four power trains including gas, self-charging hybrid electric, and plug-in hybrid electric (which is actually a first for Lexus with his model) and is the first vehicle in the lineup to receive the all-new multimedia Lexus Interface system. The ride was incredible in the winter and I already have visions of summer drives like this…
Booking at Arcana:
How can you book at Arcana? Arcana requires a minimum 2-night stay (minimum 3-night stay on long weekends). It is an 18+ property and one dog is allowed to join you with a $50 pet fee. While the entire experience is meant to be self-guided, your hosts do a great job of being available via text should you need them. Book early to get your preferred dates.
How to Pack for Arcana:
The trunk space was surprisingly large on the Lexus NX 350 but the cabin at Arcana is about 275 square feet so we didn’t want to bring too much with us. I’d suggest you only bring what you need (including your swimsuit for the sauna and cold plunge pool) and plan on being comfortable. While you could pack all your meals from home, I don’t recommend it. The meals we ordered through the property were restaurant quality and easy to warm or prepare. I’m glad we didn’t have to take time away form our romantic winter getaway to spend the extra time cooking from scratch.
Do you celebrate Valentines Day? Are you planning a winter road trip? Tell me about it in the comments!
This post is sponsored by Toyota Canada and I have received financial compensation. All opinions and romantic experiences are my own.
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