The Inn at Horseshoe
Rural Route 1, Barrie, L4M 4Y8, Canada
Very Poorly Maintained & Dirty
My husband and I stayed in one of the “premium” suites at the Inn - for a romantic getaway to celebrate a milestone birthday. We booked this room "upgrade" primarily for the fireplace and the extra-large Jacuzzi. To say that we were “underwhelmed” is an understatement; we were borderline disgusted with the quality/condition of the room.
The room itself was VERY poorly maintained, dirty and outdated (circa 1980's). When we arrived in the room, the walls were dirty, scuffed and had something that looked like food splashed on it. The casing around the closet door was pulling right off the frame. The bathroom was by far the worst – our sink had multiple cracks in it, the faucets functioned poorly, the Jacuzzi tub was stained and grey/brown on the bottom (we didn't even use it because of this), and there were missing and cracked floor tiles with dirty/stained grout. Our disappointment didn't end there. My husband and I decided to have wine in front of the (VERY old electric) fireplace, but the chairs in the sitting area were so stained and dirty, we didn’t even want to sit in them.
We had also booked online to combine our stay with the Treetop Trekking adventure (which we were very excited about). Two days before our stay, I called to check when our time was for the start of the Trekking. We were advised that they did not have our reservation and, when we explained that we had booked our package online, the staff member said that their e-mail hadn't been working properly and that we should have called instead. From a business perspective, if you know that something isn't working properly and that it affects the quality of customer service, don't you get it fixed??
Hotel and restaurant staff were friendly, though, and the food at Sillks was very good. We had breakfast at Crazyhorse, where the food was mediocre at best. When I shared my complaints about our room with management at the Inn, they advised that they would offer us a "special" rate the next time that we stayed there. Since we have no intention on spending any other money at this poorly-maintained "resort", this was no consolation and, in our opinion, very poor business. We were also told that they had refurbished some of the rooms in the Inn. I'm not sure which rooms these were, but my hope would have been that they might have started with some updates to the rooms that were the MORE expensive to stay in?
My advice ... if you have a burning desire to see Horseshoe Valley, book some activities (by phone!) at the Adventure Park or go out for dinner there. Don't waste your money on the Inn!
More about Barrie
Rainbow over the bay
St. Andrews Church
The Municipal Library
Fake Rodin at the MacLaren Art Gallery
Travel Tips for Barrie
Go for Church or Community Centre Suppers
If you are visiting in a community like Barrie for a while, get hold of a local newspaper and check out for special dinners - Strawberry Suppers, Fowl Suppers (turkey/chicken - not bad food!), or Robby Burn's Dinners.
The food is home cooked by the members of the church, or by the group organising the meal, and is normally delicious. The desserts are usually the thing that everyone is waiting for be it strawberry shortcake at a "Strawberry Supper", or lemon meringue (my favourite). The price is usually right too, and it goes back into the community or church.
The pictures I'm showing is from the January Robby Burns Night at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Barrie. The haggis was made by the minister, Rick Horst, a Dutchman who does a great Scottish accent, and who addressed the haggis in the traditional manner. There was talent afterward - a sing song of old Scottish songs, and great Burns' poems recited.
Northern 'sampler' - Springwater Provincial Park
Just north-west of Barrie outside the Midhurst area is Springwater Provincial Park.
Besides being a place to take a walk / snowshoe in the woods, there is an outdoor animal interpretive area with many animals including bears, wolves, coyotes, beavers, etc.
Much better than a zoo! Open year 'round.
Singing swans of Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre.
Observe Trumpeter Swans, frogs, turtles, muskrats, beavers and other marshland birds and animals on a boardwalk, natural trails, canoes, wildlife blinds or observation tower. But this could require lot of patience and if you are not careful, kids can lose interest easily.
Address: P.O. Box 100, Midland, Ontario, Canada L4R 4K6 at Highway 12 West, across from the Martyr's Shrine.
Get out of the cold and find a place to chat
I've driven by this for ages, and never took the time to stop and enjoy. However, it was a cold December day, and a friend and I needed to catch up on old times and new times.
It is called The Meeting Place for good reason - it is a place that is nice and cozy to meet and have a coffee or drink, and feel welcome. All I've had was a "skinny cafe latte" (using skim milk) and caramel flavouring. It was delicious, though. The desserts look wonderful - could spend a few months go through them all, I think.
Sunrise on a snowy winter day by the bay
I took this out the window about 8am Christmas morning (2004). There was a bit of steam coming off Kempenfeldt Bay, there wasn't much wind, and the sun was just making it's way up into the sky. Inukchuk was looking over it all, taking it all in.
Nothing seemed more wonderful at that moment than the world in its silent beauty.