Here and there
By Mike O'Brien
(published in "The Northside News" July 2000)
I recently discovered a wonderful retreat just outside the City limits, thanks to our 14 year old daughter and a provincial newspaper. That paper had run a contest for Mother's Day, with the grand prize being a stay at the "On the Pond" spa and lodge located on the Mactaquac headpond. Lauren took it upon herself to write listing the reasons why her Mom deserved an escape weekend, and was selected the provincial winner. Typical fare for this very special and thoughtful girl.
The package included Anne's choice of a massage or facial, and an evening for the two of us! We packed out bags last weekend to cash in our chit.
This place is a real treasure. It is owned and operated by Donna Evans, formerly of Sunset Drive (one of the large Evans clan from that neighborhood). The Inn features eight guest rooms and large living and library rooms, both furnished with numerous "comfy" couches and chairs. The atmosphere is conducive to both relaxing and meeting fellow guests. Donna also has a large dining room and serves great home cooked specialty meals.
The Inn is a 5 minute walk from the lower gates of Mactaquac Park, meaning the beaches, trails and golf are readily available for guests. I took advantage of this and jogged throughout the Park while Anne was being "transformed" by her choice of the facial.
Another asset of the Inn, other than the host herself, is the atmosphere to be experienced while sitting on the rear deck. There's a great view of the headpond across the flower garden. The Inn, however, is set back from the water just far enough to give the sensation that you are in a clearing in the forest.
Just before Donna served us breakfast on the deck, a deer had wandered up for a look see, and during the meal a family of geese waddled around at the waters edge while a loon fished for food. Talk about relaxation!
This is the second season for the Inn, and business is brisk. Aside from travel and escape "spa" weekend reservations, Donna has also found a niche in the day conference trade. She has numerous bookings for groups using the relaxing surroundings for training or strategy sessions, followed by a hearty meal. She hosts other special functions as well.
She related a story of one such booking this past winter. A group of women, all friends with most being mothers of small children, decided to "escape" for a weekend and booked the entire Inn. Before hand, many had purchased lingerie in order to hold a "racy" fashion party.
Apparently they had a ball. I only thought it fair to offer to cover the next such fashion show for this paper. Aren't I thoughtful?
Donna has years of experience in hosting "day adventures" and soon hopes to offer such activities at her Inn. She has a small dock and guests can canoe or kayak, or use the bikes to ply the trails in the park.
Meanwhile, her forte remains the "spa" operations... facials & massages, aromatherapy, body scrubs (what if you're ticklish?), manicures and pedicures, fitness room and whirlpool, etc. Sounds great, doesn't it? Check it out for yourself at www.onthepond.com.
Thanks for the hospitality, Donna, and remember my offer.