By Erica Eades
Vic and Carol Bode believe they hold the key to the “best kept secret in Pakenham.” As owners of Carnivic Lodge, a stunning log-home-turned-B&B just minutes away from Mount Pakenham, it’s no wonder the couple feels deserving of such a title. Tucked away on a secluded rural crescent, the venue boasts three uniquely designed bedrooms, a hot tub, a fully equipped on-site meeting space, and some of the best star-gazing in the area.
The Bodes began construction on Carnivic Lodge in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1991 that they opened as a B&B. Since then, their business has relied heavily on the nearby ski hill, with families and ski patrollers alike taking advantage of the convenient location. However, they’ve also played host to a slew of international guests, including the Canadian Ambassador to Mongolia, and the organizers of White Lake’s Russian Folk Festival.
At Carnivic Lodge, comfort and relaxation are of the utmost importance. In the winter, guests are invited to settle in by the wood stove, while Vic entertains on the family’s 1936 Heintzman baby grand piano. (“It’s a rustic setting,” he says, “and music’s an important part of that.”)
Guests will also be treated to a first-rate breakfast of homemade French toast with local maple syrup, bacon or sausage, and a large spread of cereal, fruit and yogurt. The meal is generally created by Vic, a trained chef, and served “diplomatic-style” – a skill he honed while working at Rideau Hall. “A lot of the presentation we do comes from what I’ve seen at embassies and so on,” he says. “When we do B&B, I throw the white jacket on and bill myself as the resident chef.”
In terms of accommodations, guests have three different rooms to choose from: The Blue Room, which features one double bed; The Burgundy Room, which offers one double and one single; and The Loft, which has two single beds, a super single and a cot. Rates start at $95 for two people, with a cost of $40 for each additional guest. They also offer a winter ski and snowboard special: $124 gets you one night accommodation and two full-day passes to Mount Pakenham.
Outside of their standard B&B business, Vic and Carol have also begun to hold events in their on-site banquet hall. To date, they have hosted the Maple Run Studio Tour, various Christmas parties, and a handful of corporate functions.
Though Vic believes many people come to Carnivic Lodge to experience the slower speed of life, it’s no doubt the Bodes’ impeccable service that keeps them coming back. Whether it’s picking up a pizza from Pakenham’s Centennial Restaurant, doing laundry for their guests, or simply engaging in a Sunday morning conversation, Vic and Carol are always willing to go that extra mile.