Come Wander
Give the gift of the Black River Retreat

The holiday season is coming, and it’s the season for giving. You might be the type to start planning early, or the kind who is motivated by pressure, not even beginning your shopping until the eleventh hour. Whichever one, we’re here to help get the ideas flowing with a list of gifts that are sure to be a hit. Whether you’re shopping for your partner, your mother-in-law, your best friend, or your mail carrier, there are tons of cherished goods and memorable experiences perfect for gifting in Ontario’s Highlands. Get planning with our guide to the 12 gifts of Christmas!

1. Beer Lover’s Dream

Credit: @whitewaterbrewingco

Wish the craft brew lover in your life a beer-y Christmas with Whitewater Brewing Co.’s annual holiday gift collections. Mix in some beer with their cozy winter merch and you’ve got yourself a solid gift, most of which come pre-wrapped and ready to place under the tree! Their 12 Beers of Christmas even includes seasonal flavours like a milk and cookies stout, an herb beer, and a candy cane blonde.

2. Handmade Goods

Credit: @cheerfullymade

Cheerfully Made is a hub for local makers that can also be referred to as the saviour of Christmas. Everyone should be made aware of this cute store on the main strip of Almonte, which serves up handmade gifts you won’t find anywhere else, including clothing, prints, décor, and much more.

3. Romantic Overnight Stay

Credit: @shanenadon

Some people prefer to gift experiences rather than things. Sure, things are great – but experiences live forever in our memories and don’t take up space on our shelves or in our closets. Our recommendation for one such experience that is sure to stand out in the mind of your partner is a private romantic getaway to award winning Black River Retreat in Tweed. This cozy retreat brings the outdoors inside through Canadiana décor and offers incredible meals prepared by the in-house chef.

4. Ski Day

Credit: @sirsamsskiride

Give them a gift that will get their heart pumping and their cheeks sore from smiling too much, like some quality time on the slopes. Whether it’s a season’s pass, a weekend in the snow, or just a day trip, Freedom Finders of all ages will appreciate the chance to hit the slopes at any of Ontario’s Highlands’ three ski hills – Mount Pakenham, Calabogie Peaks, and Sir Sam’s Ski and Ride.

5. Pre-Christmas Outing

Credit: @emilycordonier

Treat your loved ones to an early gift by taking them to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park where they can choose a tree, see real live reindeer, jump on a wagon ride, and visit Santa’s workshop – and that’s just scratching the surface. Both kids and those who are young at heart will find themselves filled with Christmas cheer as they traverse the grounds, trying all the wintery activities they can.

6. Fur-filled Adventure

Credit: @xsally.kx

Cross off the animal lover on your list by gifting them an excursion with Winterdance Dogsled Tours in Haliburton. These working pups are happiest when they’re trekking through the snow with their pack, and you get to tag along as they speed through a winter wonderland.

7. A Day to Unwind

Credit: @pieradamt

Is there someone in your life who is always on the go and could use some “me time” to unwind? Mahogany Spa has a gorgeous and well-equipped location in Carleton Place that offers gift certificates. Treatments the lucky lady or fella can enjoy include anything from hair styling to one of our favourites, the invigorating Ultimate Moroccanoil Body Treatment.

8. Craft Spirits

Credit: @kaptinknapton

Do you have that one craft drink loving friend who prides themselves on their well-stocked liquor cabinet? Pay a visit to the newly opened Dairy Distillery in Almonte to pick them up a bottle of Vodkow, a vodka-like spirit made from milk sugar (both lactose and gluten-free). Another equally delicious option exists in Perth at Top Shelf Distillers, where the makers of Reunion Moonshine stock flavours you won’t find in stores, like Tom Green Maple Bacon Moonshine. Yum!

9. Theatre Fanatic’s Dream

Credit: @danafradkin Photo credit: Jean-Denis Labelle

In 2019, Perth’s Classic Theatre Festival will celebrate its tenth season with performances throughout the summer. Reap the benefits of buying early and you’ll save 25% on a season flex pass for gifting as you see fit. The recipient can even wait until the summer to pick their dates, so there’s no reason not to gift this to the live theatre fan in your life!

10. A Relaxing Getaway

Credit: @shmoozanna

One night accommodations, a romantic dinner, hearty breakfast, champagne, chocolates, and spa voucher. Does that sound like something that might top the Christmas list of your beloved? Treat them (and yourself!) to a spa rejuvenation package at Ottawa Valley resort Sands on Golden Lake. Book for mid-February and maybe you can kill two birds with one stone!

11. Overnight in a Winter Wonderland

Credit: @cassandrajowett

The outdoorsy type will love an overnight stay at Silent Lake Provincial Park, one of the handful of Ontario Parks that offers winter camping in both cabins and yurts. You can choose from wood stove-heated yurts without electricity, or propane-heated yurts and cabins with electricity: both sure to provide a warm and toasty home base after a day of snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

12. An Icy Ascent

Credit: @yoursoutdoors

If your angle is to give a super unique experience, it’s hard to beat ice climbing, an exhausting but exhilarating ascent up a giant wall of ice using ice picks. Local guide Yours Outdoors now offers gift certificates that can be used towards any of their experiences, including ice climbing just outside the village of Haliburton. Strap on your crampons together and get ready for a full body workout!


Shine at Giving this Holiday Season

Today’s craft markets are full of fresh, hip products made by creative and talented makers. This holiday season, go above and beyond by picking up handmade items with a story to tell at one of these Ontario holiday markets.

Discover Historic Accommodations in Ontario

Spend the night in historic accommodations to take yourself to way-back-when, and get into the spirit of the community you’re visiting. These inns have stories to tell of the people who lived and breathed inside their walls.

Cider Season

Find these cideries on your next road trip through Ontario’s Highlands to discover a refreshing way to toast the apple harvest with a cold cider.

An Ode to Poutine

Discover these chip trucks and their classic dishes, located throughout Ontario’s Highlands.

The Great Pizza-Off

Chow down on artisan wood-fired pizza at any of these gems across Ontario’s Highlands.

Before the Lake Wakes

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A Delicious Day Trip

Sip & Savour your way through the best food and drink spots in Lanark County.

The Perfect Scoop

Discover these top ice cream stops across Ontario’s Highlands to keep cool this summer on your road trip.

Exhale and Unwind

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Strawberry Fields Forever

Discover these top ways to enjoy the strawberry season, when you let these farm-fresh berries shine on their own or in a variety of treats.

Farm Fresh Finds

Indulge your taste buds this summer with these 5 local finds at Farmers Markets through Ontario’s Highlands.

Pause for Pi Day

Celebrate PI Day with the best pie at these bakeries in Ontario’s Highlands.

Winter Jams

Warm up your winter with good music and good food, together, at the Sharbot Inn & Crossing Pub, in Sharbot Lake, Ontario.

Valentine’s Day Treats

Treat that special someone this Valentine’s Day to a gift of sweets at one of these top places.

Moo-ve Over, Vodka

Discover Vodkow, the new beverage from the Dairy Distillery causing a stir in Almonte, Ontario.

The Best Baked Goods

Discover some of the best bakeries in Ontario’s Highlands and their tasty treats.

A Day in Ormsby

Discover why Ormsby Ontario is worth exploring on your next road trip.

A is for Apples

Meeting cider kings and discovering great things in Hastings County.

Concerts with a Community

In September each year, the spirit of community comes alive all across Ontario’s Highlands when the Festival of Small Halls rolls in.

Roam If You Want To

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Ground to Glass

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5 Senses of Nature

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Where Am I?

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Where Am I?

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Top 4 Summer Treats

Top 4 summer treats that are worth the stop on your next Ontario’s Highlands road trip.

The Rustic Roamer

I’m a Rustic Roamer. I wander to discover authentic moments, to embrace the spirit of locals, and to understand the stories of the communities and countryside that I visit.

Where Am I

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Maple Mania

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Life is a Highway

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The Ultimate City Escape

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My Hometown: Haliburton

After years of travel, read the story of why Emily returned to Haliburton to officially call it her home.

Journal of a Foodie

Take a journey through Ontario’s Highlands on a road trip that will satisfy your inner foodie.

Summer Brews

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A Different Kind of Detour

Take the road less traveled through Ontario’s Highlands to these unique festivals that are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Good Food, Great Company

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