by Denise Davy
Garrett Klassen still remembers the moment with crystal clear clarity. He’d walked down his backyard and was standing by the edge of the Grand River, glass of wine in hand, gazing at the beauty that surrounded him. “There was the river in front of me and I couldn’t see any human beings around me at all. Then I turned around and I could see my house and I said to myself, ‘Wow, I live here’.”
It was ten years ago that Garrett uttered that “wow” but time hasn’t faded that first glorious impression. The elegant but cozy home where he lives with partner, Melanie Ward, happens to be the award-winning 3 Bears Bed and Breakfast. This busy B&B is nestled on one acre of lush property and has a magnificent view of the Grand River.
The property was already a bed and breakfast when Garrett and Melanie first saw it. They fell in love with it, and although operating a B&B wasn’t in their plans, they took on the challenge. They moved in and got busy stripping the floral wallpaper and making major structural changes. Today, after ten years of work, the home has been transformed into an elegant, spacious retreat with a magnificent state-of-the-art kitchen.
Last year a 3,000 sq. ft. addition was added, complete with a 360 sq. ft. deck and a balcony that affords an even better view of the Grand. Melanie calls the room, appropriately enough, the Riverview Room. “It’s just gorgeous,” she declares. “It’s beautiful all year round.”
Guests are often repeat customers who enjoy the world-class fly fishing or groups of women looking for a girlfriend’s getaway weekend. Others use it as a base while they go tubing, hiking and rock climbing in the Elora Gorge.
3 Bears also offers an executive retreat with a large meeting room, and it can also accommodate small weddings. There are three separate guest rooms with a capacity for nine people, featuring large windows with a view. There’s a communal space to relax that includes a pool table, a piano and a wood-burning stove. Because the home is a back-split that slopes down to the river, all guest rooms have a walkout to the garden.
Melanie believes it’s their attention to detail that keeps people coming back. “When you come through the door, we greet you and help you explore every room. In the kitchen there’s a never-ending supply of popcorn, and we have menus from every restaurant in town,” she says.
Garrett is a self-taught cook who has kept customers happy with such specialties as bacon-wrapped shirred egg, portobello mushrooms in balsamic glaze and eggs benedict with asparagus. Melanie calls herself the muffin queen and is known for her butter tarts and garden rhubarb muffins. The B&B (and the kitchen) will continue to be full for some time. “We always said we’ll do it until we don’t like it anymore,” says Garrett. “And we’re still liking it.” Plan a visit, and you will too.
What to see & do
in Elora & Fergus
Elora Culinary Walking Tour
Sample foods and stroll along the historic streets of Elora while learning the town’s history and architecture. Reservations recommended.
Spring Fling Craft & Vendor Sale
Saturday, May 12, 2012. 10 am – 3 pm at Castle Shannon Fire Hall on Route 88.
Elora Farmer’s Market
Saturdays 9 am – 1 pm, May 12 to mid Oct rain or shine. Bissell Park, East Mill St.
Activities to do
in Elora & Fergus
Upward Bound Adventures
Try a scenic sunrise or sunset champagne flight with a view that should be properly toasted.
Zipline across the Elora Gorge
Propel 200 ft. across the gorge, over 80 ft. above the ground.