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Arowhon Pines Resort Review

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Arowhon Pines Resort is located in Algonquin National Park, Canada's oldest and largest of all Ontario Provincial Parks at 7,630 km2. Algonquin, was also the first provincial park in Ontario, which protects a variety of natural, recreational, and cultural features and values. As one of the largest provincial parks, Algonquin is biologically diverse with more than 1,000 vascular plant species and more than 200 vertebrates that breed within its boundaries, including seven species of salamanders, and ten species of frogs and toads. The park is also famous for being the backdrop to a number of movies filmed there, such as Call of the Wild, Solo, Indian Summer, and many more!


Three photographs alongside each other in a row. The first of the sun coming through the trees and a path in the middle. Then a close up of red coloured mushrooms and a wild flower meadow filled with small yellow flowers.
The Wonders of the Outdoors at Algonquin National Park, Canada ©M D Harding Travel Photography

Arowhon Pines Resort Review


About Arowhon Pines


It all started back in 1938 when feisty Lillian "Granny" Kates decided to build a lodge to accommodate her visiting parents. It had to be a design that was organic to the site. Legend has it that four architects were hired and fired before Charles Coleman, a Cleveland architect visited Little Joe Lake, and came up with a sketch within hours of the Arowhon dining room, much like you can see it today.


It was a further two years before woodsmen Paul and Jack Luckasavitch of Whitney, Ontario successfully selected the trees. With extraordinary skill, workmanship, strength, and courage they built a magnificent building with no power tools, just axes and cut saws. Can you imagine no roads, only a hand winch and a team of horses to hoist the enormous central chimney?


In 1970, it was with reluctance that Helen and Eugene Kates took over. They took on the tremendous work to reorganise, refurb, and refine the resort. Taking a special approach to the seasonal kitchen. Arowhon's own recipes and menus were developed. Then in 1978, Arowhon was recognised with an invitation and five-year membership in the prestigious Relais and Chateaux.


To this day Helen's practice continues with taste testing each and every ingredient before it is served to your table!


Three white plates in a row, first a plate of scrambled eggs with salmon, a bagel and tomato next a plate of shrimp and scallop linguine and the last plate is with a large slice of chocolate cake with white cream filling and strawberries and strawberry sauce.
Food at Arowhon Pines, Canada ©M D Harding Travel Photography

Getting To Arowhon Pines Resort


Algonquin National Park is easily reached from both Toronto and Ottawa. We traveled from Toronto via the Park Bus on the way out and with the local bus from Huntsville on the way back. Since Covid, the train station in Huntsville no longer operates and the Park Bus is on a limited schedule. We found ourselves with limited options, we didn't realise, just how isolated you are from the modern world in Algonquin National Park. If you can and are able to, the best and most flexible way to reach and explore the national park would be by hiring a car. I wasn't that keen on navigating five-lane highways and on the other side of the road.


The Park Bus ($75/£48) departed at 7.30am and was scheduled to drop off at Canoe Lake at 11.30am it's then a 15-minute drive to Arowhon Pines Resort. The lake is beautiful, with access to hire-out canoes, a cafe, and Canoe Outfitters store (with everything you will need for camping, mosquito headwear, insect repellent, clothing, and much more).


We had already pre-arranged a pick-up from Canoe Lake to Arowhon Pines.


Three images in a row. The first a photograph of the park bus, then the Canoe Outfitters shop and finally a photography of Canoe Lake.
Canoe Lake Stop, Algonquin National Park, Canada ©M D Harding Travel Photography

For the return journey, we researched various tour companies that would be close by, so we could tag along for the remainder of the tour and return with them back to downtown Toronto. The other option was a 3.5/4 hour taxi ride with a flat fee ($600/£355).

On the outward bus, a lovely German gentleman suggested the local bus from Huntsville. The Park Bus did not have wifi, we had never heard of Huntsville and had no way of researching it.


Upon reaching Arowhon Pines the staff were very friendly, and kind to assist us with our return journey. A local taxi from Huntsville was booked for the 1-hour journey to Huntsville ($160/£95) and for the local bus journey of 4.5 hours to Yorkdale (Later in the journey it was announced the bus was ending the journey at Union Station, downtown Toronto ($70/£42). Which was amazing! As with the park bus, the local bus wifi was also scarce. It would have been a further adventure navigating the journey from Yorkdale to downtown Toronto.


We did contemplate taking the taxi for a 2-hour journey to Ottawa and then transferring to the train to Toronto. Though we were advised that Huntsville was a better option.


Three images in a row. The first of the road crossing you have to navigate to get to the "bus stop". Which is shown as a concrete vacant piece of land in the second image and the third the local bus at final stop, Union Station, Downtown Toronto.
Huntsville to Downtown Toronto with the local bus ©M D Harding Travel Photography

Accommodation


There are three types of accommodation at Arowhon Pines; rooms in cabins, two-bedroom cabins, and luxury private cabins.


We stayed in the Sherwood log cabin in a private bedroom with a private bathroom, looking out onto Little Joe Lake. The room was a great size, very comfortable and quaint. With amazing views across Little Joe Lake.

  • Each of the rooms, bathrooms, and lounges has been renovated in the last five years.

  • To keep the resort peaceful and quiet, there are no televisions, telephones, or radios in the rooms.

  • There is electric baseboard heat, hair dryers, extra blankets and fans for hot nights (Sorry, no A/C), fluffy white towels, locally made green soap, and shampoo.

  • There are two personal floatation devices (PDF) in each room — extras are available in the office.

There is a central lounge shared amongst the guests in the cabin, with comfortable sofas and chairs around a wood-burning fireplace, books, and games. Alongside the shared central lounge there is a spacious outside shared deck with Algonquin chairs, which have comfy red cushions.

Multiple photograph collage of accommodation, balcony, shared deck with chairs and shared lounge area within the log cabin.
Beautiful and quaint accommodation at the tranquil oasis Arowhon Pines, Canada ©M D Harding Travel Photography

Food


The food is locally sourced, produced, sustainable, and seasonal. Including summer vegetables from the farm, local whole heritage breed animals, and freshly caught fish. There are homemade chutneys and sauces that accompany house-smoked heritage pork, local lambs, chickens, and turkeys. While jams and bread are made from scratch in the kitchen, salads are enhanced with lettuce and herbs from the kitchen garden. You are in for a real treat. The food is delicious!!


Your stay includes three consecutive meals per day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner with baked goods and snacks available throughout the day and for early risers. On weekends there is a large buffet set for meal times. Wow, incredible choice. Something for everyone. If you do have any food requirements, please notify Arowhon Pines in advance. Planning on a day hiking or checking out early? Picnic lunches are also available.


Three images in a row with various delicious deserts.
Delicious Deserts at Arowhon Pines, Canada ©M D Harding Travel Photography

Activities


There are a variety of different levels of hikes around the resort and throughout the park including Yellow Trail, White Trail, and The Medicine Tree Trail. If you have a car you might like to visit the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre, Logging Museum, the Look Out Point, and enjoy the waterfalls or stay and relax by Little Joe Lake, a swim, canoe day trip to Gibraltar Rock, Burnt Island Lake or take a sauna. Don't miss the Little Joe Art Gallery with paintings from local artist Elizabeth Johnson with beautiful oil impressionistic scenes from Arowhon Pines (if you are lucky, you might get to meet her too). If travelling with family, friends or the weather takes a turn, head to the games room. It is well stocked with board games, books, a ping pong table, and in the evenings you can watch a movie.


A photo collage with the sauna, sailing boats, deck chairs, Little Joe Art Gallery and canoes.
Activities For Everyone at Arowhon Pines, Canada ©M D Harding Travel Photography

We loved our stay at Arowhon Pines and would love to revisit it in the fall. When will you visit?


Happy Travels,

Michelle:)


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