You may have heard of the Nestleton Waters Inn (NWI), but do you know how the Inn came to be?
From humble beginnings
“Our parents were hardworking, entrepreneurial people of faith,” says Deborah Kiezebrink, co-owner of NWI. She grew up in Congo, Africa to missionary parents, Charles and Fern Willner. The oldest of seven children, Deborah remembers growing up without a lot of money. This encouraged an innate resourcefulness that taught Deborah and her siblings how to be creative in their problem-solving and in contributing to the community. Among many innovations, Charles helped bolster the local healthcare system and Fern shared recipes with local women, so they could make and sell products in the markets to help support their families.
Deborah’s husband Erik grew up in Canada to parents who immigrated from Germany and Holland. His parents – Harry and Erika – worked tirelessly to create a life for their family by farming. Later, they worked as principal and teacher with the Durham District School Board. Erika developed a reputation for being a dynamic hostess who made the most delicious pies, jellies, preserves, cakes and cream puffs from scratch.
An inn is born
Erik’s family owned a charming bungalow on 96 acres near Port Perry, Ontario. At the time, Erik owned a construction company and, on a whim, he drew a sketch depicting how the bungalow could be transformed into an inn.
That’s when everything clicked into place.
“We begged him to build it,” said Deborah. So, Erik did. He closed his business and worked with his father to deconstruct the bungalow and raise the inn in its place.
The families lived and worked together throughout the construction, using original materials – the original siding became the planking on the ceiling of the inn’s terraces – and local materials like the rocks that were incorporated into the gardens.
Two weeks before the first guests were due to arrive, the inn still needed a lot of work. Deborah asked friends, family and church members to help – and they came through in spades!
With a 5-star heart
The Kiezebrink family believes it is an honour to serve people, and they were thrilled to earn their five-star rating.
“We treat our guests like family,” says Deborah. “Just like Canadians treated my husband’s family when they came to Canada.
Creating the five-star experience takes hard work, commitment to excellence, passion and heart. The Kiezebrinks genuinely care about their guests – and that’s clear when you see the gushy TripAdvisor reviews by guests and replies by NWI! Deborah recalls her upbringing in Africa, where so much was celebrated with food, music and dancing. She reminds herself and her staff that everybody should be able enjoy life before, during and after work.
“We’ve earned our five-star rating,” says Deborah. “But I want to have a five-star heart.” The families donate one well every year to a developing country, as well as donating and fundraising for local charities like Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
And an amazing chef
Today, Nestleton Waters Inn features 10 themed suites that take inspiration from countries around the world, including Germany, Africa and France. As well as welcoming guests from around the world, NWI is also a popular destination for weddings, as well as corporate retreats.
And who crafts unforgettable meals for guests, wedding parties and corporate groups? That’d be Chef Aaron Moss. “Our Executive Chef is a gift to our inn,” says Deborah. “He is passionate about food and using local ingredients, about creativity and fabulous flavours.”
Inspired by nature’s bounty, Chef Aaron visits local farmers, bakers, butchers and other vendors to find out what’s fresh and tasty. “I have a chef’s paradise here,” says Chef Aaron of the vibrant agricultural scene in York Durham Headwaters.
In 2018, guests can sample Chef Aaron’s culinary creations at a 5-course dinner date by candlelight as well as at the annual corn roast in August and a hog roast in September. His jams and preserves are available at the inn’s country store.
Visit Nestleton Waters Inn
Eager to experience unparalleled hospitality and amazing local meals, all wrapped up in a 5-star bow? Book your stay or plan your wedding at the Nestleton Waters Inn today!