Winter Getaway to Highfields Country Inn and Spa – Zephyr, Ontario, Canada

Winter Getaway to Highfields Country Inn and Spa
Zephyr, Ontario, Canada

It is snowing and cold in Toronto and my first thought is that I need to go somewhere warm. But we can’t afford it, and have managed to line up only one night of babysitting for our kids. Then it hits me that a romantic winter getaway can be found by going somewhere secluded, quiet and relaxing without getting on a plane. We found that place at the Highfields Inn and Spa. The warmth came from the lovely stone fireplace that burned all night in our king-sized room. It also came from our gracious hostess, Norma Daniel who used her magical hands to give both my husband and I magnificent spa treatments right on the premises of her atmospheric inn.

Highfields Inn
Highfields Inn
The drive up to the Inn was blissfully short – a mere 40 minutes from our suburban home. Yet, the scenery was so beautiful and the area so quiet that we could have been a million miles away. Highfields Inn is a rural retreat that is surrounded by rolling hills and on the day of our visit they were picturesquely covered with newly fallen snow. As a snowstorm was called for, we chose to gaze at these hills from the warmth of our room, the Garden Suite, so named because of its private walkout to a patio that overlooks the pool and the gardens. The room also boasted an extremely comfortable king sized brass bed, a tv/vcr, and a huge bathroom with a double whirlpool tub, a bar fridge and a separate shower.

A look at the ‘wall of fame’ in the foyer told me that for a quiet place in the middle of nowhere, Highfields has been visited by a number of celebrities. There were signed photos of stars like Ray Romano, Julia Stiles and Geena Davis, all of whom have spent time at the Inn for either treatments or a retreat; usually while filming in or near Toronto.

Chef Mark
Chef Mark in his Kitchen
After arriving we had a tour – the upstairs houses 8 rooms and suites while 7 treatment rooms and a cozy waiting area are located in warmly decorated basement. The dining room is actually a converted barn and was perfectly suited for an intimate dinner with its wood beamed ceilings and pretty tables for two. Since there was only one other party having dinner that night, we had the amiable Chef Mark almost all to ourselves. He whipped us up a delicious dinner that began with a salad of bison meat and mushrooms that totally exceeded my expectations. The meat was tender and filled with flavour. This was my first time trying bison and I certainly would want to have it again. This was followed by a tasty goat cheese tart and then we did our usual ordering of two different mains which we then split and/or eat off each other’s plates.

Brian had the Thai roast chicken while I ordered the lamb. As it turned out he preferred the lamb and I the chicken – hence the need for sharing.

Before dinner, we had taken turns being spoiled by Norma, as I alluded to earlier. My husband is one of these men who has never been to a spa or even had a manicure at a hair salon. You know the old school – “this just isn’t a masculine thing to do” type of guy. He agreed to try a treatment and Norma suggested the relaxation message which combines aromatherapy with various message techniques including wonderful hot stones (one of my favourite types of massage). He loved it. He has not stopped raving about it. He goes over each detail from the heated table to the way he got to choose his scented oils to the masterful way Norma used her whole arm in a sweeping technique across his back. He was very nervous before and very happy afterwards. I definitely have a spa convert on my hands.

My treatment also involved techniques that are new to me. Norma recommended the organic facial with reflexology. Facials are one of her specialties and she is very skilled in this area. The ‘coup de grace’ was having another therapist perform reflexology on my feet at the same time. These two treatments complement each other very nicely – you are on your back for the facial and your feet are just lying there so why not have someone use wonderful therapeutic pressure on them at the same time?

Occasionally, I would feel a twinge of pain as Karen worked on my feet. She asked me to tell her when that happened and without knowing a thing about me, she was able to tell me what part of my body was having problems based on the area of my foot that was sore. She was completely right about each area that she described. I was shocked. I had come to the Spa with inner ear pain in my right ear. Sure enough, the spot that bothered me on my right foot was one that relates to the inner ear. Other areas were also dead on.

Meanwhile, Norma had correctly diagnosed me as having Rosacea and was concocting a formula that was designed to help improve my skin and relieve its redness. She also used hot towels and hydration and facial massage at various points during the treatment. I came out glowing and relaxed with my face softer than it is has been in at least ten years.

Part of the magic of Norma’s treatments is the fact that she uses Eminence Organic Skin Care Products,which are handmade in Hungary, without any heating or hydrogenating processes. Hand picked fresh ingredients are used and these are hand-mixed with pure waters drawn from a thermal hot spring lake containing minerals and trace elements.

Cozy Dining Area
Cozy dining area
I must admit that it took as awhile to unwind when we first arrived at Highfields. We kept going out to our car to get something – asking questions of the staff, and it took us quite awhile to get the fire going the way we wanted it. However, by the next morning as we lingered over a delicious breakfast of toasted banana bread with cranberry preserves, along side fruit and yogurt, we realized that we finally felt comfortable and relaxed. Sadly as with many getaways, you have to leave when you finally remember how to relax. In our case, this was definitely true. However, I knew that some of the peace we found lingered when my husband did not automatically blare the radio on the drive home. Instead we talked about the scenery, our plans for the rest of the week and how much we enjoyed our very short 12 hours at Highfields Country Inn and Spa.

owner complained to me and I’d like to make her happy. Her name is Norma Daniel but I called her Norma Joseph in the article-that is one problem. Also I neglected to give contact info for people who might like to try her place so could you add this info:

Check out Highfields Country Inn and Spa at
Phone: (905) 473-6132 (local Uxbridge/Newmarket)
Fax: (905) 473-1044
Toll Free: 1-888-809-9992