Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2019

Grand Bend pier at sunset

Whenever I walk the beaches of Lake Huron my soul rests easy, as my footsteps leave imprints on the watery sand. I consider myself a woods and water woman – in other words, I’m drawn to those two earth elements. Sounds kind of airy, doesn’t it? The truth is, I’m pretty down-to-earth and practical by nature, and I guess that’s the key; anything that brings me back to those two elements, and I’m happy. Oddly enough, I live in the city about 45 minutes drive from the lake, but that’s okay. So long as I can escape when I need to when life and stressors get too much, I’m good with the compromise. I enjoy the close proximity to family who live in and around the city, and of course the amenities so close at hand, off-set by the 45 minute drive to the lakeshore.

My parents lived in Grand Bend, Ontario for almost thirty years, as did my husband and I for ten years. I loved small town living, walking into the grocery store or pharmacy and knowing the people working and shopping there. I revelled in being part of my community by joining the local arts group, and by extension, initiating the first writers’ group, Writing On The Beach, which still runs very well without me, now that I’m living in the city.

What’s fun and interesting is that Grand Bend and area showcases so much of those nature-based vistas that I crave, and there really is something for everyone. In fact, the region is more than a collection of small, rural Ontario towns and farms, or even the world famous sunsets over Lake Huron. It’s about a spirit and sense of belonging that permeates the air, welcoming visitors and residents alike, so I want to share some of that with my readers.

Located just 45 minutes from London, Ontario, 50 minutes from the Sarnia/Port Huron, MI border, and approximately 2 hours from Toronto, Grand Bend is the ideal spot to launch a vacation, host a creative retreat, and now, corporate events and getaways. Long known as a hub of summer activity, with pristine sandy beaches, lush Carolinian forests, The Pinery Provincial Park, bustling shopping venues and eateries to suit every taste and budget, Grand Bend has grown beyond the youth-oriented playground it became known for. Today’s Grand Bend and area has evolved to include up-scale dining establishments, entertainment venues, and “rustic-luxe” accommodations to her sandy shores.

Jeff Pacheco-Sales Manager, Oakwood Resort & Spa

In a bid to understand this exciting new side to an old favourite haunt, I met with Jeff Pacheco, Sales Manager for Grand Bend’s Oakwood Resort. The moment I walked through the wide front doors of the Oakwood, I was reminded of how truly lovely and welcoming it is. Jeff stood waiting for me, a wide smile on his face as he shook my hand. I thought I knew the Oakwood; I’d been there numerous times for brunches, lunches, and casual meals in the pub, but quickly realized there was much I had to learn.

As Jeff eagerly explained, the Oakwood has evolved too. While still maintaining its rustic lodge appeal, it has expanded beyond family vacations and local weddings to include corporate events, incentive rewards, team-building getaways, and retreats (think writing, art, music, health and wellness, etc.). With so much on hand at the resort, guests can stay put and enjoy golf, sun, sand, swimming, and pampering at the fabulous on-site spa, or they can venture 3 minutes down the highway and explore Main Street, the many shops and eateries, and of course, the main beach itself.

What I was surprised to learn is that, unlike my own assumption that the Oakwood was all about golf and pub food, is that they also offer complete experiential packages that tick all the boxes. With direct walking access to a private section of sandy beach, the Oakwood also boasts an indoor pool, plenty of large and more intimate meetings spaces, terraces with spectacular fairway views, and private dining options to suit every need. “We’re extremely dialled into what vacationers, groups, corporate, and event planners are looking for, and enjoy helping them build a getaway or event that’s fully customized,” says Jeff.

When it comes to organizing a corporate, group, or other event, I asked Jeff what advice he has for planners. “Hire a professional!” he laughed. “When working with planners, whether professional or individuals, we make a point to ask the necessary questions about guest numbers, the goal and drivers for the event, any themes or must-haves, meeting spaces, and really listen to their needs. It’s our job to make insightful suggestions, and one way we do that is by working with local experiential hosts, such as local micro-breweries, wineries, live theatre venues, and even jet-ski and parasailing adventure hosts. We work hard to make sure our guest’s time with us is truly memorable. When it comes to working with corporate event and retreat planners, we work with them every step of the way, to ensure no detail is overlooked. If you have an idea you’d like us to incorporate, let us know and we’ll work with you to make it happen. We’re always open to suggestions and new ideas!”

Cabin at Oakwood Resort

While touring the property with Jeff, I have to admit to being duly impressed by the overall scope and size of the property, along with the different types of accommodations they offer. Not only can guests stay in the main lodge, but there are a number of lovely cabins dotted along a path toward the lake that would be ideal for large and small gatherings. How ideal for a creative retreat, whereby groups can gather for meals, yoga, nature walks, mediation, and creative sessions, followed by great food and comfortable accommodations, separate from the main resort.

Of course summer is prime time for Grand Bend and the Oakwood Resort, with the lure of sun, water, sand, and summertime fun, but I wondered about the off-season and winter months.

“We have so much to offer people looking to get away from the city and really revel in nature’s wonderland during every season,” Jeff enthused. “In fact, cozying up by a roaring fire in our pub, visiting our local micro-breweries and wineries for a beverage and cheese tasting event, snowshoeing and hiking through our incredible Carolinian forests both here and at the Pinery Provincial Park, or snowmobiling the many trails that criss-cross the area, are just a few of the exceptional lures of our off-season and winter getaways.”

Talking to Jeff reminded me that Grand Bend and the Oakwood Resort really does offer some wonderful, unique opportunities not found elsewhere. After all, the on-the-beach location means visitors can walk to the shore or enjoy a meal overlooking the lake, fabulous sunsets, and sunrises, for those who love an early start to the day, accompanied by incredible views of the lake any time of year. Combine that with close (30 – 60 minutes) proximity to other day-trip worthy visits to nearby towns, such as Bayfield and Goderich, each of which offers completely different experiences and views, and you can see what I mean.

One of the biggest challenges areas such as Grand Bend face is that people tend to assume it’s a summer retreat, and forget that many local establishments, hotels, golf and country clubs, are open year round.

Winter in The Pinery

As Jeff says, “This area is so perfect for guests who love the Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons, with close, easy access to places like the Pinery Provincial Park, which is just 10 minutes down the highway, where visitors can take in the stunning Fall colours from September to November on a hike through the incredibly diverse Carolinian forest, or the brilliant greens of Spring, numerous picturesque farms, or experience the pristine beauty of our winter wonderland. The truth is, it’s the perfect place to get away to and reconnect with nature, and escape the pressures of city life and work.

When considering The Oakwood, it’s important to remember that we’re a full-service resort, with all the on-site amenities and area attractions right on our doorstep. In fact, more and more guests are just as excited about our off and shoulder-season stays, since prices are definitely lower, and there’s so much to do and explore.”

As we walked back toward the front lobby, I asked Jeff what’s next for the Oakwood.

We’re constantly looking to up our game in so many areas, but one we’re really excited about is expanding even further into corporate events. By offering customized packages that include really fun team-building components, such as our version of The Great Race, or scavenger hunts, to live entertainment, state-of-the-art technical and Wifi options, cozy or grand meeting spaces, and welcoming outdoor venues. We’re excited about the opportunity to work with companies, planners, and groups who want to experience all we and Grand Bend have to offer, without having to travel by air to distant places. In fact, industry research states that more companies are seeking meeting and event locations closer to home for a variety of very good reasons, including budgets, time considerations, and ease of travel. A fun new expansion is our increasing reach into the US market. After all, the US dollar goes quite a way here, and we offer a uniquely Canadian experience just a short 60 minute drive over the border, making us an exciting and attractive venue!

Driving away, I turned my car toward Main Street and the beach. An ice cream cone was calling my name, and I couldn’t wait to indulge my sweet tooth while meandering along the boardwalk and people-watching on that hot August day. I’m glad I was able to connect with Jeff and learn a lot more about a place I thought I already knew. Just goes to remind me that we all become complacent about what sits right in our own backyard, and by reaching out to Jeff at the Oakwood, I re-discovered an exciting vacation and event destination for the future.

For more information:

Jeff Pacheco: 519-238-7357
Oakwood website: https://oakwoodresort.ca/

Oakwood Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OakwoodResort
Oakwood Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/oakwoodresort_/
Oakwood Twitter page: https://twitter.com/OakwoodResort
Grand Bend Tourism: http://www.grandbendtourism.com/

Read Full Post »

Independent Author

Business & How To's by Redfern Studio

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

A topnotch WordPress.com site

Deborah Cooke & Her Books

USA Today Bestselling author Deborah Cooke writes paranormal romance and contemporary romance; she also writes medieval romance as New York Times bestselling author Claire Delacroix.

Writer Unboxed

about the craft and business of fiction

Pub(lishing) Crawl

Reading you under the table since 2012

You Read It Here First

Conversations with Today's Authors

The Baltimore Writer

Rus VanWestervelt (@rusvw13)

Crime Writer Sue Coletta

Inside the mind of a crime writer

Write Naked

A writing life cut open.

M.L. Swift, Writer

Much Ado About Everything

Steve Rose, PhD

Internet and Gaming Addiction | Identity | Purpose

Lara Krupicka

Helping families clarify priorities for how they spend their time, giving them stronger relationships and less-stressed lives.

O at the Edges

Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.

Media Magnetism

Attracting - and Maximizing - Today's PR Moments

hearts on sleeves club

If you wear your heart on your sleeve, join the club.

Author Lisa Rayne

Intellectual Thrillers & Romantic Fiction