Lakeview Hecla Resort

snow angels and snuggling

So, Dad, I planned out our whole day. First we'll make snow angels for two hours, and then we'll go ice skating, and then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we'll snuggle. ~ Buddy The Elf

Doesn’t Buddy The Elf have the absolutely perfect winter plan? Doesn’t it sound like a great way to spend a cold winter’s day with a loved one? It sure does to me, and although Buddy The Elf is from a Christmas movie and all about Christmas cheer and the north pole, I have a sneaky suspicion with his interests and agenda he might also really enjoy a winter break in rural Manitoba. I know the perfect place for Buddy to make snow angels, go ice skating, eat sweet treats and snuggle. It’s Lakeview Hecla Resort in Hecla Provincial Park which is located approximately 200 km north of Winnipeg.

I first discovered Lakeview Hecla Resort in August 2013. You can read all about my amazing Hecla summer vacation by clicking here, but the short version is I loved my summer experience at Lakeview Hecla Resort and I knew I wanted to return. I was absolutely thrilled when I was invited to attend a Travel Manitoba media trip with some bloggers and writers to discover Lakeview Hecla Resort in the winter. I had an amazing time and I fully recommend Lakeview Hecla Resort for a great Manitoba getaway. The entire experience from start to finish was relaxing, refreshing and I left feeling energized. It was just what my soul needed for a winter pick-me-up.

 

During my trip it became very clear to me that winter possibilities at Lakeview Hecla Resort are endless, and there is something for everyone. Outdoor activities such as ice skating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, and fun times around a bonfire, all offer hours of family fun and are a great way to connect with nature and loved ones. Rentals for equipment such as snowshoes, cross country skis and toboggans are available onsite. If you prefer indoor activities you can play board games (lots to choose from at the front desk!), hang out at the vast array of indoor pools and hot tubs, and snuggle up and watch free movies in your beautiful room. If food is your thing, check out Seagull’s Restaurant, the onsite full service restaurant, and its delicious menu filled with great options (try the pickerel tacos they are awesome!), or grab a stool at the bar and order up a few Caesars to help numb the winter cold.

With very affordable prices (take a look at the current Cabin Fever package - it includes so many things and starts at $89 per night!), and being only two hours from Winnipeg, it is a fantastic option for a Manitoba winter getaway. The entire resort is updated with beautiful modern rooms and common areas with an Icelandic flare, and it is one of my absolute favorite spots to stay so far in all of Manitoba. This is a resort I will return to again and again and again.

So if you are looking for a great local Manitoba winter experience that won’t break the bank - stop looking - Lakeview Hecla Resort is it. It is the ultimate spot to enjoy Manitoba in the winter. While you are there, remember Buddy The Elf’s perfect winter agenda and be sure to make a few snow angels and take time to snuggle. You won’t be disapointed.

A huge thank to you Travel Manitoba for my great winter experience. For more information on Travel Manitoba please visit http://www.travelmanitoba.com/.

A huge thank you to Lakeview Hecla Resort for my great winter experience. For more information on Lakeview Hecla Resort please visit http://www.lakeviewhotels.com/hotels/hecla/.

manitoba powerhouse

She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails. ~ Elizabeth Edwards

Every once in a while you have the most perfect plan and it all goes crazy. You can pour over every little detail, arrange every single moment, and yet it is all thrown out the window in one quick second due to something completely out of your control. Sometimes those crazy mishaps and curve balls actually end up making the best experiences and stories. They become the thing you look back on and laugh about, the memoir you always share at a cocktail party, the incident that ends up becoming an inside joke amongst your family or friends.

Take for instance my family vacation in February 1992. I was in grade 8 and living in rural Nova Scotia. My parents had arranged this fantastic once in a lifetime family trip to Florida and we were super pumped. Until the biggest snowstorm of the year hit and our station wagon got stuck in the middle of the Trans Canada Highway, my dad cursing and trying to shovel us out to get us back on track. When we finally made it to the airport all flights were canceled and we ended up spending 26 hours sleeping on the airport’s benches and eating little bags of airline food because all the restaurants were closed down too. At the time we were upset, we were missing out on some warm Florida fun. But quickly our anger subsided and humor began to kick in. Our entire family started to look back on the experience with new eyes. Even though we eventually made it to Florida and had so many fantastic family experiences on our vacation, the adventure of being stormed in at the airport as a family is probably the one we reminisce about the most and it always puts a big smile on our faces. We had weathered the storm together and it brought us closer, and it is now a happy memory. 

Living in Canada these types of things happen all the time with the weather. You basically have a choice - you can complain and sulk about it or you can learn to adjust your perspective and embrace whatever Mother Nature has in store for you. This life lesson kicked in hard for me last week. I was invited to attend a Travel Manitoba media trip at Lakeview Hecla Resort in Hecla Provincial Park, approximately 200 km north of Winnipeg. It is a beautiful resort, in a beautiful provincial park, and I was with beautiful people who all shared my enthusiasm and love for Manitoba. We had the perfect Manitoba winter plan - to head to the marina on Hecla Island and spend the morning learning to ice fish with Jason Hamilton, a very experienced fishing guide, followed by a winter outdoor shore lunch. In the afternoon we would set out for a cross country ski adventure or partake in some snowshoeing or tobogganing. Sounds amazing right? The ultimate way to spend a February day in rural Manitoba!

As we walked out on the ice to where our guide Jason was set up and waiting for us we smiled and commented “it’s not too bad out” and “it should be a good morning for ice fishing”. Well Mother Nature - Manitoba’s powerhouse - sure had something else in store for us. As we snapped pretty photos of the shacks and the sun bouncing off the snow and ice, our fishing guide was struggling with the auger (used to drill the holes in the ice). Turns out the cold (-40 C degrees with wind chill!) had frozen the fuel line. Then came the wind. Holy cow! Mother Nature was sure blowing in a storm. The sun disappeared and was replaced by a whirlwind of snow and gusts up to 101 kilometers per hour. Some of us huddled in a fishing shack to escape her brutal force. When we emerged from the shack we discovered that Mother Nature was relentlessly pounding harder and harder - she had now lifted one of the ice fishing pop up shacks and blown it down the lake. One of our group members was struck in the head by it (thankfully she was okay) and our guide had to tackle the fishing shack like a football player to prevent it from being blown out to sea never to be found again. Things were getting exciting and crazy and we found ourselves in a the middle of an intense Manitoba adventure. But it was dangerous. It was time to bow to the power of Mother Nature and get off the ice before something really bad happened. We were forced to adjust our plans.

As we walked back to our vehicles I couldn’t help but look around and crack a smile. Our perfect plans were compromised by Mother Nature's own agenda, and instead of fishing and snowshoeing and toboganning we would spend the day soaking in the lovely indoor pools at Lakeview Hecla Resort, curling up with free movies, and gorging on amazing food from Seagull's, the resort's onsite restaurant. It was an incredible back up plan, and really showcased that Lakeview Hecla Resort has something for everyone and every situation, even in snowstorms. We all enjoyed watching the storm from the warmth and comfort of the resort. I can't think of a better place to be snowed in when a powerful Manitoba storm hits.

So in the end we didn't catch any fish, our auger froze up, our fishing shack blew away, and someone got hit in the head, but there was something humbling about Mother Nature and the winter experience in rural Manitoba, and our adventure was still very enjoyable. I will always remember the time we tried to go ice fishing in rural Manitoba and Mother Nature kicked our butt. That my friends, is a story I will tell at cocktail parties for many years to come. It will always put a smile on my face.

For more information on Travel Manitoba and great winter adventures and activities please visit http://www.travelmanitoba.com.

For more information on Lakeview Hecla Resort please visit http://www.lakeviewhotels.com/hotels/hecla/.

For more information on Jason Hamilton Outdoors, Lake Winnipeg Ice Fishing Guide, please visit http://www.jasonhamiltonoutdoors.com/home.html.

Little Gray Bird Attempting to Capture The Storm - Photo Taken By Shel Zolkewich

it feels like home to me

It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me, it feels like I'm all the way back where I come from. It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me, it feels like I'm all the way back where I belong.

~ Chantal Kreviazuk

I breathed a deep sigh of relief, letting stress out as I filtered the rocks through my hands searching for sea glass. I glanced over at my husband where he had collapsed amongst the rocks, his freckles danced in the sunlight and reflection from the waves. He looked up and whispered to me “I haven't felt this relaxed in a really long time”. We both felt at peace, at home, we felt like we had been transported to our roots on the east coast, even though we hadn't left southern Manitoba.

For the past few summers we have traveled home to Nova Scotia to see family and friends, and to unwind close to the ocean. We love our new life in Manitoba, but sometimes we deeply crave the sound of waves and trips to the east coast seashore. We have always thought of the ocean as our happy place, where we decompress, the space where we feel the most at home and comfortable in our own skin. So many of our favourite memories revolve around the sea, and the seaside lifestyle is engrained into our soul, our being, and is part of our heritage, helping to shape our personality and lifestyle. Besides missing family and friends back home in Nova Scotia, missing the ocean and quaint seaside communities is my biggest form of homesickness as I adjust to becoming a prairie girl.

This summer we decided to mix things up. No trip home to the east coast. Instead we wanted to finally visit Hecla Island, located in The Interlake area of Manitoba, and surrounded by Lake Winnipeg, the sixth largest freshwater lake in Canada. We heard rumors that the island felt like it was a “taste of the maritimes” right here on the prairies. As we are both proud Bluenosers, a claim like that demanded we check it out and see firsthand. With the assistance of Travel Manitoba we booked a room at the recently re-opened Lakeview Hecla Resort and set off for our own Manitoba maritime adventure. 

I find myself struggling to adequately describe our experience on Hecla Island. All the words and descriptions that come to mind do not quite do the island justice or completely capture the essence of the island. It is a place that you simply must feel and experience to understand how lucky Manitoba is to have such a beautiful resort and provincial park with a bit of a maritime flair. It is a combination of pure luxury at Lakeview Hecla Resort, the simplicity of pristine fishing villages, water views that will pull on your heart strings and bring a sense of calmness to your soul, and the ability to be so in touch with nature that makes this place so darn special and a true Manitoba gem. For me, it felt like the minute we drove across the causeway to Hecla Island we were transported to our own special place, a Manitoba maritime secret, and immediately we chilled out and our bodies shifted to island time.

Lakeview Hecla Resort offers beautiful rooms, delicious food, pure pampering with the pools, spa and golf amenities, and a peaceful and serene landscape. It completely lives up to its slogan “simply inviting”. The rest of the island offers simplicity with nature from rocky coastline beaches dotted with boats and lighthouses to hiking with seaside cliff views to grassy marshlands perfect for encounters with wildlife. Throw in a quaint fishing village and a marina and it is everything we hoped for and more for our Manitoba summer seaside retreat.  In all my Manitoba adventures there is no place in the province quite like Hecla Island. It is unique, and I immediately felt right at home. For us it was the perfect Manitoba getaway, and a place we will return to in the near future.

Heather Hinam, of Second Nature, Adventures in Discovery, which offers customized learning based adventures, met up with us one morning for some hands on exploring. Heather knows the island like the back of her hand, and graciously showed us around, sharing with us some of her favourite spots. As we explored the island together she described it perfectly, proclaiming that there is something for everyone and that all people can discover their own personal oasis on the island. She is bang on. My personal oasis was sitting on Sunset Beach watching the sun go down, while holding hands with my husband, soaking in the last of the day's light as it danced off the water. For my husband it was hiking out to the lighthouses, searching for sea glass, followed by skipping rocks. Those are just two options, but there are plenty more, and I encourage you to explore and find your own personal Hecla Island oasis too. 

So as summer draws to an end, once again my husband and I have made great memories at the seashore, this time without even leaving the province. Our experiences at Lakeview Hecla Resort and Hecla Island did not disappoint and we definitely experienced a little “taste of the maritimes”. It has made me fall even more in love with our fine prairie province, and I have never felt more at home here on the prairies.  

 How To Find Your Personal Oasis On Hecla Island

Watch the sunset at Sunset Beach. Climb the limestone rocks at East Quarry Beach. Have a picnic and enjoy a shore lunch. Enjoy a spa treatment at Lakeview Hecla Resort. Plan a unique adventure with Second Nature, Adventures in Discovery. Tour historic Hecla Village. Play a round of golf at Lakeview Hecla Resort. Hike one of the many trails on the island. Climb a viewing tower and search for wildlife. Chill in the various pools at Lakeview Hecla Resort. Go birdwatching at Grassy Narrows Marsh. Rent a boat or kayak and go for a cruise on the lake. Cast your line off the pier and reel in a big fish. Ride a bicycle all over the island on the designated bicycle trails. Enjoy dinner and drinks at Lakeview Hecla Resort or at the marina. Go for a swim at Gull Harbour Beach or Sunset Beach. Play a game of beach volleyball with friends. Watch the boats come and go and listen to the waves. Sing songs around a campfire. Search for sea glass and other treasures. Find a quiet corner and just simply relax and enjoy the view.

For assistance with planning your perfect Hecla Island adventure please visit Travel Manitoba at www.travelmanitoba.com.
For more information on Lakeview Hecla Resort please visit www.lakeviewhotels.com/hotels.php?entry_id=17994.
For more information on Hecla Provincial Park please visit www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks/popular_parks/central/hecla.html
For more information on Second Nature, Adventures in Discovery please visit www.discoversecondnature.ca.