All it took was a simple conversation to get the ball rolling. As a result, some big changes have taken place at Riverrun.

Normally closed for the season this time of year, things are instead ramping up just in time for winter.

Riverrun, along with Aroma Maya Coffee Roasters, has created a winter activity pass in an effort to keep Colchester County residents on the move. The creation of the pass means Riverrun, which houses Aroma Maya, will be open year round.

“For years, Riverrun has been known solely as a golf club,” said Sergio Garrido of Aroma Maya. “This year, there have been some changes made with the goal of keeping the community active and engaged year round. We want to have a holistic offering for visitors. We plan on offering events and activities with a focus on a healthy active lifestyle. It goes far beyond the golf that’s been traditionally offered here for years.”

The winter activity pass provides a lot of opportunity for holders. First and foremost, it provides access to Riverrun’s walking trail, which has been well received.

The 2.67-kilometre trail shows off some of the beautiful scenery North River has to offer. It takes people on a journey past a nearby corn field, over a bridge that crosses a creek and along the North River. Eventually, visitors will pass holes four and five before looping back around to holes seven, eight and nine which leads them back to Riverrun.

While the weather still allows people to get out for a walk right now, there’s no doubt colder weather and eventually snow is on the way. But Garrido says that won’t mean the trail closes down.

“The trails will be perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing,” he said. “Once we have enough snow on the ground, the trail will be maintained and groomed. We’re in the process of acquiring the necessary equipment for that now.”

And there’s nothing better after going cross country skiing or snowshoeing than a hot beverage and a treat to warm up.

“There are perks to holding a winter activity pass,” continued Garrido. “Not only do holders get access to the trails, which they can access as much as they want as long as we’re open, they also get five free regular coffees. They’ll also receive preferred pricing on rentals, events and other activities we host here throughout the winter.”

Yoga on Wednesdays with Susan Scharpegge is just one example of the activities being hosted. The turnout has been impressive so far, and Garrido is confident numbers will stay strong when they introduce chair yoga as well. He says Riverrun’s location offers an amazing view that only helps when doing yoga.

The perks don’t stop there either.

“We have some terrific partners who are behind the winter activity pass,” said Garrido. “We went to them with this idea and thankfully, they believe in it and see the value of it just as we do. As a result, pass holders will receive discounts on rentals at Hub Cycle, a $10 gift card to Take It Outside and Elegant Steps and a discount at Hub Grub. As this grows, we’re definitely interested in adding more partners which just means more benefits to winter activity pass holders.

“There’s definitely strength in numbers,” added Garrido. “We’re community minded and we know when we link ourselves with businesses like we have, it makes us all stronger. I think when residents see businesses partnering like this, it does a lot for them as well. It helps keep people local and informs them on the different things available here.”

Those who haven’t purchased a winter activity pass are still encouraged to come and see what everything is about. A special $5 walk-in fee has been created and it too comes with perks.

“Much like the winter activity pass, walk-in guests basically end up getting that money back,” said Garrido. “In this instance, the walk-in fee comes back to our guests in the form of credit. So after they’ve been out on the trail or participated in one of the activities, they can use that credit to purchase a tasty beverage and a treat.”

Saturdays have also become popular. That’s when Aroma Maya hosts coffee day. Starting at 1 p.m., Garrido says coffee takes centre stage.

“We have coffee showings where we demonstrate the roasting process,” he said. “So as we’re roasting the beans, we’re explaining the process. People are very pleased with the amount of knowledge they get. A lot of the times, they don’t get to see what happens behind the scenes or why their coffee tastes so good. People are always full of questions. They like knowing how long the process takes, what’s done during the process and if anything is added.”

Aroma Maya’s coffee beans are exclusive to Guatemala, which is where Garrido is from. While the country isn’t a major player on the coffee market in terms of quantity, it’s becoming a leader in terms of quality.

“Riverrun is so much more than golf, he said. “That’s the message we’re putting out. It has been a challenge because we haven’t always been sure where this would end up. It’s brand new territory. But it’s nice because we can move at a pace that’s comfortable to us while taking direction from the market too. It’s hard to believe all this started with just a conversation and has grown from there.”

For more information, email riverrun@eastlink.ca or call 902-893-8400.