Come Wander

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!

Ontario’s Highlands Insiders

Knowledgeable in uncovering hidden gems, making fresh tracks, embracing new perspectives, and disconnecting from the everyday, this group of experts is happy to share their wisdom with you. With a passion for local stories, a love of delicious food, and a thirst for unrehearsed days, this team is made up of creative minds and wandering souls.


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

Follow only with Chris from Travelling Mitch as he wanders through Haliburton Highlands and Hastings County on the Rustic Roamer Road Trip.

Ground to Glass

Discover how four craft drink makers harness Mother Nature’s flavours to elevate their beverages in Ontario’s Highlands.

5 Senses of Nature

Leave the city behind and immerse yourself in the natural charm of Ontario’s Highlands.

Where Am I?

Devour an Ottawa Valley tradition and feel your taste buds rejoice with Wes’ Chips in Arnprior.

Where Am I?

Discover the big things happening in the small towns along the Rideau Canal.

Video: 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

Explore the sweet moments and ageless beauty of Perth, Ontario.

Maple Mania

Discover one writer’s quest to discover what makes Lanark County so sweet with Maple Mania.

Life is a Highway

Two wanderers explore 135 kilometres of hidden gems in Hastings County.

The Ultimate City Escape

Explore these three ways to escape the city, slow down, and absorb rural life in Ontario’s Highlands.

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

Take a trip around Ontario’s Highlands to these micro-breweries to discover your perfect summer beer.

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

The Good Food Tour, a delectable walking tour in Almonte the showcases a story and the local flavours.