As many of you already know, we've been celebrating our anniversary week at the same place we honeymooned two years ago -- Sir Sam's Inn and Water Spa. We missed doing anything for our first anniversary, due to Don's cancer diagnosis and not knowing when where and how he would be treated. So we decided to celebrate health and life and love by going all-out for our second anniversary. As last year taught us, you never know what's coming your way, so you might as well do what you want when you want it. Our unborn children aren't exactly gonna be fighting over their inheritance...
It's been a lazy bunch of days, as we're realizing just how sleep-deprived we've been. Napping and reading have been a big part of the week, as well as pretending to read while we're really napping. We've had great intentions of doing more vigorous activity, but... it's also been bloody hot. Today (Wednesday) is the first comfortable day, in fact.
Ah, but I'm not here to talk about today, I'm here to tell you all about yesterday, our actual anniversary day. You see, I've been posting the food and beverage reports to friends on FB (and somehow, they still seem to like us), but somehow the anniversary day needs a bit more space.
Even on such an auspicious day, Don still got up early to do his workout. I took the time to work out my imagination and dreaming technique, which was actually quite good that morning -- none of the wacky stuff you've caught glimpses of in my other blog, nope, it was all deer and flowers and sunshine. Yes, really. Yes, me. See what a week off can do for a girl?
When we'd both finished our respective workouts, it was time for breakfast! Yes, breakfast. Yes, me. Pick yourself up off the floor people, it happens sometimes. Most especially when it comes as part of the vacation package (hey, I'm cheap, suck it up), and when there's a chef like this cooking it for me! Keeping with the "go big or go home" attitude, I allowed myself to give in to the temptation of thick-sliced lemon-poppyseed French toast, doused in a home-made strawberry and blueberry maple syrup. Holy mother of pearl, was it ever good -- and I almost managed to finish the whole damned thing, almost... Don went the good boy route (keener!) and had a western omelette with sharp cheddar cheese, with strip bacon, just to be different (he usually goes for the peameal). Also to be wild and crazy, he had decaf instead of his usual tea. I tell ya, things can get pretty zany when middle-aged folks go on vacation. ;-)
We took our last coffees to go, and grabbed a pair of Muskoka chairs in the shade of a nice old tree, with a bit of a breeze coming off the lake. I've FINALLY been able to start reading a book by one of my earliest friends (we met in grade 1, thought each other terrible snobs at first, but then realized we were both incredibly shy and became fast friends shortly thereafter) -- Caitlin Sweet's "The Pattern Scars". Now, Cait has always been a writer, even in grade one, but HOLY CRAP, this novel is incredibly powerful. She's really pushed it into the next level, and it's no wonder she keeps winning accolades and nominations and CBC book contests and all that nifty stuff. (I'm only half-way through, so don't anyone spoil the ending for me.) I'm not just saying that because she's one of my friends, I'm saying that because it's truly an amazing book. Go buy a copy, in hard cover, and one for all of your friends. (No, she's not paying me to say this, although she does know my favourite chocolate, hint, hint...) Don's got his hands on John Irving's latest, "In One Person", and is over half-way through too. He doesn't gush quite the same as I do, but he does say "it's a really good book, I'm enjoying it." Of course, he's trying to actually read it right now, so... perhaps he'll gush later.
Our shady reading was interrupted by a need for our favourite daytime drink here: cranberry and orange juice, 50-50. Sir Sam's is very enviro-conscious, and use the compostable cups for their outdoor "to go" glasses -- yay Sir Sam's, we really appreciate it!
After our oh-so-busy morning, we headed up for a hot shower to prepare ourselves for our Spa Bliss. We've had a couple of massages here already with Cindy and Sheryl, who are AMAZING, but for our anniversary day, we upped the ante and booked them for TWO HOURS.
It started with a Mango Scrub and Wrap. First, they donned loofah gloves and exfoliated our bods until they were shiny. Then they drizzled warm mango goop all over us, and wrapped us in cocoons for the remainder of the first hour, while they massaged our necks, heads and faces. Then they sent us into a warm shower to de-goop -- our skin was so soft, and we were so relaxed, we could hardly walk in a straight line, or even form coherent sentences. We floated our way back to the massage tables, where they poured moisturizer and essential oils all over us, and went to work massaging the rest of us -- mostly shoulders for me, which are always ridiculously tight. Even after 3 massages in a row, there are still knots back there -- although they've been reduced to little marble-sized knots, as opposed to the big chunks of marble I showed up with. I think I need a personal masseuse to just follow me around all day... who also cooks breakfast... and maybe we can outfit our bathtub with one of those shoulder massagers... no, those things are so powerful, it would probably send our old tub directly to the basement, ah well.
We were advised to not bathe or shower for at least a few hours, so all the moisturizer had a chance to soak in, so... we headed to the patio for more cranberry-orange concoctions and books. It looked for a while there that we might get another thunderstorm, but we stayed safe and dry.
Then we headed up to our room for a hot soak in the massage tub. All the goop in our skin caused the jets to turn it into a bubble bath! Hopefully nobody slips in there...
Then we got dressed and headed down to dinner. All our favourite staff were on duty in the dining room, minus Claudio (who we had previously, inadvertently, frightened into thinking I was a restaurant reviewer, when Don asked for a copy of the menu so I could write about it on the internet -- but he gave us awesome service!). Tara was bustling around, looking after everything for everybody -- she's always got tons of energy, and is really amazing at her job, Savannah dropped by to say hello and happy anniversary, and Chris was overseeing it all. Omar was assigned to our table -- a really sweet and fun guy here from Mexico, who has taken it upon himself to teach Don some Spanish this week. He's only been here a month, so his English is still a bit rusty, but he's obviously been a waiter back home for a while. And he does some pretty fancy tricks with a wine cork, which he's promised to show me, so I can entertain people at parties. :-)
And speaking of wine... we once again decided to go above and beyond, for this celebratory day, and chose the Veenwouden Classic Private Cellar 2003 from Paarl Region, South Africa. We can't remember having wine from South Africa before, but this was a fantastic introduction -- layers and layers of flavours, sharp and round at the same time, made our mouths ever-so-happy!
And speaking of happy mouths... we both started with the Lemon Butter Poached Prawns, with mango hollandaise on a bed of young frisee. If you think that sounds like lemon-buttery-goodness, multiply that by 1000. Definitely not diet food, but proof that God wasn't fooling around when we were given taste buds.
They did have a purely vegetarian offering tonight, but it was a meatless chicken breast, and (TMI?) that tends to cause issues with my digestive system, so I stuck with the fish. It was a Pan Seared Ontario Yellow Pickerel, with a puttanesca sauce and an onion tortilla. And the portion size was perfect for me, though I didn't finish the onion tortilla. To be fair, though, the onion tortilla was actually two slices of multi-layered towers of ten tortillas, filled with onions and cheese -- absolutely delicious and decadent, but (TMI!) my body cannot handle too much of that richness, and I didn't want to spend the rest of the night in either agony or the bathroom... (OK, the squeamish can read again.)
Don went for the Confit King Cole Duck Leg with lemon scented risotto and a grape preserved & reduced balsamic reduction (yes, a reduced reduction... I'm just copying this down from the menu). The meat was cooked so tenderly it was practically falling off the bone, and he adopted some of the cooing sounds he always grins at when I'm eating something divine.
We were so stuffed, that we decided to just split a dessert (yes, even cheap old me couldn't justify ordering two), and chose a chocolate peanut butter mousse cake, topped with roasted almonds and served with strawberries and whipped cream, and a drizzle of caramel. It was surprisingly light and fluffy, and after thinking we'd each only have a bite, we finished the whole thing. :-) As it was a special occasion, we also ordered two decaf Spanish coffees -- whoops, ESL thing, we were brought two decaf coffees, and he served them to us in Spanish. Maybe if we had asked for Irish, it would have been more clear... But he's so sweet, we didn't want to embarrass him, so we just drank our coffees and smiled.
After dinner, we headed to the bar, where we were the only ones around -- unlike our last trip here, everyone seems to go to bed pretty early this week! Maybe it's the heat. Chris offered to buy us a round, since it was our anniversary, but our plan was to go for the single malt (not the wine he was used to serving us), so we let him off the hook. I had the Balvenie, and Don went for the Lagavullen. Some of the staff dropped in and out to chat as they were finishing up, and Omar joined us for a while as well, but then even he had to go to bed, as he was on breakfast duty and needed a snooze first.
And so we toddled upstairs with a wee tipple, and toasted two adventurous years. Ain't life grand.