It actually doesn’t start with us! Heather Lodge is all about a history since 1942, originally known as the Ellen Cliff Lodge when it first opened in the Haliburton Highlands in (we believe) 1942 (although we have been told it could possibly be older). For over 60 years, Heather lodge has offered couples of all ages a rejuvenating escape from the stresses of life. Over the years, the beauty of the Haliburton Highlands has not changed. The breathtaking views of scenic Twelve Mile Lake remain the same. Like any history, there is some gaps that we are trying to fill, but we have met many of its previous owners and have information that the lodge was also called Valley High as well at one time. The most recent owners were Bert and Conny Van Doggenaar. This couple from the Neatherlands have invested in the property they fell in love with, and renovated from top to bottom while still maintaining many highlights of the original. This includes the wall panelling and floor in the diningroom. The feel of the lodge is much the same, which offers a warm experience to our guests. This provides Innkeepers that reside in a property situated on five acres of manicured grounds the opportunity to cater to couples for romantic escapes.
Which brings us to “About Us." On the first of December in 2014, my husband Chef James Jennings, myself (Maria), and our two small daughters took over the property with a “vision”; to raise our family together in combination with our passion and experience in the hospitality industry, our lifelong dream. Our history begins at Wigamog Inn Resort, where we met and lived for many years. James started out in his teen years in the kitchen, and at the end apprenticed as a Chef. Myself, I started out in the diningroom. At the end, I became the Innkeeper/Operations Manager. With over 100 rooms and over 120 staff, we fell in love with not only each other, but the industry at the same time. After leaving the resort I moved on to working with a major food supplier as a Marketing Associate, and then Manager of the Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, I've worked as the Tourism Coordinator for the County. Chef James took a 3 year break from the kitchen and worked in the construction industry, although missed the kitchen and went back the culinary field with his most recent position as Executive Chef at Pinestone Resort. As you can see, the positions we continued with only enhance what we offer to the resort today. In the meantime we expanded our family!
Since we stepped foot on our adventure at Heather Lodge, we have strived forward with our vision; offering only Ontario Wines, opening to the local public for “dock n’ dine” reservations, and hosting larger group functions. We are on our third year as an Ontario’s Finest Inns and Resorts of Ontario Member. This is all driven with the focus of taking the standards to a new level, and offering our guests an outstanding experience.
We love what our guests love... that original historic charm of the lodge; casually elegant, stunning views, gorgeous gardens, decks, and docks. We love the simplistic life that Haliburton Highlands has to offer, with outdoor activities in all four seasons, a quant and supportive community, and the wildlife/scenic views that we are surrounded by. We welcome our guests with open arms and strive to maintain an impeccable experience at Heather Lodge, leaving our guests with a “home away from home” feel that will return time and again.
Executive Chef~James Jennings