Close your eyes, listen to the birds chirping through the trees with glee, and smile as the warm summer sun splashes from cheek to cheek. Rural romps are an essential therapy. Adventuring outside of Toronto on a weekend away to enjoy the great outdoors leaves one feeling refreshed and ready to return home to tackle the city’s colourful chaos.
Langdon Hall is one of Ontario’s most celebrated luxury retreats, located in Cambridge, it’s just a short 90 minute drive from the city. My last visit to Canada’s acclaimed Relais & Châteaux property was during the festive Christmas season, when the stately manor house is decorated with gorgeous garlands, local music talent play classic carols and guests keep warm with mulled wine by booming fireplace.
It’s clear that Langdon Hall struts her best stuff during the warm summer months, when guests arrive here in droves to enjoy a stroll through lush gardens, cycle around quiet nature trails, splish splash in the pool and join a team of curious cooks to harvest everything from bright berries to plump pumpkins on the properties postcard-perfect farm.
If you’re keen to romance your sweetie, Langdon Hall’s most legendary moments are shared during the hotel’s annual summer BBQ series. Tickets typically go on sale in April and the series runs from June until August. Langdon Hall’s Chef Jason Bangerter crafts a finger-licking-good series that showcases beautiful bounty harvested in Waterloo region alongside talent from celebrated chefs such as Marc Lepine (Atelier, Ottawa), Victor Barry (Piano Piano, Toronto) and Vikram Vij (Vij’s Restaurant, Vancouver).
Book yourself into a sweet suite for the weekend and armed with a stack of magazines and bag of books you’ll find bliss before and after the barbecue binge.
Each morning guests skip through the dining room and nibble through a massive table teaming with freshly made pastries, house-made jam, seasonal fruit salads, hearty quiche and a platter decorated with slivers of cheese and curls of charcuterie.
On a hot summer day it’s best to spend the afternoon at Langdon Hall’s pool which sits surrounded by lush gardens. Smiling staff serve glasses of bubbly, pints of craft beer and are happy to pair a selection of nibbles if you’re feeling peckish.
The hotel’s spa recently enjoyed a major facelift, now offering a relaxing communal space featuring al fresco garden patio, indoor heated jet pool, steam room and sauna. Take a moment here to master your manicure before tip toeing over to Langdon Hall’s farm.
Food nerds, horticulture hounds and garden nymphs arrive to the Langdon Hall farm with a look of absolute awe. Moments before sunset, warm light streams through the sky, illuminating a farmers fantasy which feels a bit like you’ve taken a wrong turn and happened upon nirvana meets Narnia.
The hotel has a handful of horticulture experts on staff throughout the year who till instagram-worthy beds featuring a colourful parade of fruits and vegetables. During each BBQ, the farm acts as a living theatre for guests throughout the evening, as white tablecloth topped tables offer a front row seat to the dancing of kale and cabbage.
It’s best to approach the BBQ buffet as if you’re marching in a marathon. Mother Nature only reveals herself to those who press her closely. So take your time and smell the roses. Start things off by sipping a choir of craft cocktails while nibbling through a plate teaming with sourdough slathered chicken liver parfait, plump pickles, brilliant beets topped with fresh mozzarella and smoked trout dolloped with buttermilk and dill.
Before filling up on BBQ, allow yourself a moment to digest. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the farm with a glass of wine in hand. I plucked a few raspberries from a nearby bush and plopped them into a Grenache-forward rose from the South of France. As your berries bob up and down, follow your nose to the sweet smell of smoke and say hello to the choir of chefs who have tilled and toiled to produce a magical barbecue feast you thought you’d only realize in your wildest dreams.
Langdon Sangria | white wine, seasonal fruit
Maple Flower | maple whiskey, elderflower liqueur, pineapple juice, ginger beer
Miss Wilks’ | ketel one vodka, lychee liqueur, grapefruit, cranberry
Walter’s Smoked Caesar | smoked vodka, capers, walter’s premium caesar mix
Bill’s Seafood Boat | shrimp and oysters
Grilled Lamb | salsa verdi, currents, lamb fat marble potatoes
Pork Belly a la Plancha | apples and mustards
Merguez-style Smoked Sturgeon
Sweet Table | raspberry curd with chocolate & matcha, niagara cherry trifle, mulberry pie, terroir au lait pot de creme, peanut & strawberry macaron, carmel corn cookies, LH crackle cookies
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