Relax and unwind in Lanark County’s spas and B&Bs

Do you need to escape from your urban cares? A small-town or rural setting will have you breathing a sigh of relief as soon as you get out of the car. And if your destination is a converted church, an upscale suite, or a spa with an extensive range of treatments and fitness services, that sigh might just get a little bit deeper.

Circa 1894 Bed & Breakfast and Spa opened recently in a former United Church outside the village of Lanark. Several guest rooms are located in the one-time Sunday school, and all guests have access to a cozy shared lounge with satellite TV and a fireplace. They also enjoy unlimited use of the Scandinavian-style spa circuit of hot tubs, cold tub and saunas (infrared and Finnish). Massage, reiki and other spa treatments can also be arranged. The property uses botanically based shampoo and body wash, in keeping with owner Donna Dillman’s long-time focus on sustainability (she once fasted for 68 days to protest against uranium mining).

Another new addition to the region’s bed and breakfast scene is Suite Miss Scarlett. Housed in a restored 19th-century barn, it is far from rustic. Amenities include a full kitchen with gas range, a living room with a clean-burning fireplace, a king bedroom, a laundry room and a four-piece ensuite with a spa tub fashioned from an old maple syrup vat. The kitchen comes stocked with farm-fresh eggs, high-quality meats and other breakfast ingredients, along with a basket of baked goods, so people can eat when they like instead of coming to breakfast at a set time. “I always hated regimented situations,” proprietor Penny Smith explains, adding that she is happy to cook breakfast for guests if they prefer. During the day, you can explore the surrounding 100-acre property. Smith—who previously ran a visual effects company in Hollywood—purchased the site in 2013.

One of the most comprehensive spas in the region is Tay River Reflections, set on 260 acres just outside Perth. Dr. Manuela Joannou opened the spa in 1999 and moved it to its current location in 2005. The property includes a medical spa that offers treatments such as leg vein therapy and chemical peels. Guests can also relax with manicures, pedicures, wraps, facials, massages and other treatments.

The complex also offers the spacious Train ‘n’ Transform (T’NT) gym, with fitness machines, free weights, and a 100-metre indoor walking and jogging track. With a day pass, visitors can take fitness classes ranging from yoga and Pilates to circuit training, cardio, cycling, dance and more.

The newest addition to the property is Tay River Aqua, opened in 2015. It features two hot tubs, a cold shower, heated relaxation gazebos, a red cedar sauna, an outdoor fireplace, and an indoor lounge with dining and bar service. And beyond the spa, visitors can explore a network of scenic walking trails. “We encourage people to come and have a whole healthy day,” says Tyrell McKirdy, Tay River Reflections’ marketing and promotions manager. “It gives you the time to reflect.”


Circa 1894 B&B


Suite Miss Scarlett


Tay River Reflections

Photo courtesy of Tay River Reflections