The Sherwood Inn

The Sherwood Inn lies on Lake Joseph–lovingly nicknamed Lake Joe by the locals–in the picturesque Muskoka region. Muskoka is to Toronto what the Hamptons are to New York and is a popular weekend getaway for city folk, with many well-heeled Canadians and Americans from Kenny G. to Cindy Crawford keeping cottages directly on the waters of Lake Joseph. The area’s best known product is the Muskoka chair (known in the US as an Adirondack), characterized by the backward-slanting wooden planks of its seat, the construction of which makes it difficult to get up; you’d rather just stay seated. The nature of the Muskoka chair encourages relaxation and thus perfectly reflects the atmosphere at the Sherwood Inn, whose clientele are mostly over 50. Even a fidgety hipster, though, can ease into the post-career mood of the other golden-age guests and revel vicariously in the feeling of having achieved everything important in life, shifting in good conscience into standby mode.

"The buildings, which borrow from the style of New England country homes, have taken on a charming patina. The interior design and the artworks by local artists take their inspiration from the scent of cedar and the almost overwhelming shades of green and brown of the surrounding forest."

In addition to the two larger hotel buildings, the Sherwood Inn also has multiple small but luxurious cottages, some of which boast private docks and fireplaces. Built in 1939, the complex was once considered a gourmet destination and the most exclusive lodging around. By now the buildings, which borrow from the style of New England country homes, have taken on a charming patina. The interior design and the artworks by local artists take their inspiration from the scent of cedar and the almost overwhelming shades of green and brown of the surrounding forest. Eccentric details like a telephone mounted by the bathtub and the shuffleboard deck adjacent to the breakfast room terrace are quirky punctuations in the calm continuum. Those who wish to do more than simply enjoy the quietude can make their way to the tennis court or the nearby golf course. But the Sherwood Inn’s highlight is its small beach, where you can borrow an array of canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats for a jaunt on the water. Paddle out a bit, and you can wave to the Lake Joseph residents on their motorized boats and dive into the crystal-clear water. As the voices of Frank Sinatra and Neil Young waft from the homes across the water, it’s easy to see why getting older might not be so bad after all. AL

This review is included in TTA11. Click here for more information about the issue.

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