Come Wander
Food at Abbey Gardens

Sometimes it seems we’re surrounded by information on how to be better: eat healthier, be more active, buy local. If you’re like me, you may be inspired by what you’ve heard and read about responsible and healthy food practices, like shopping locally and supporting sustainable agriculture. It’s easy to buy food from nearby responsible places, but what about getting even closer to your food than that? Imagine such a connection to your food that you feel the sponginess of dough in your hands, smell the simplicity of coffee beans roasting, analyze a hop ; doesn’t that sounds like the best way to discover more about what goes on your plate?

My favourite spot for immersing myself in all things related to local agriculture is Abbey Gardens. Unlike other gardens and green spaces, where you can “look, but don’t touch” the various displays, I especially enjoy the fact that you can get up close and personal here, spending a day immersed in the sensory surroundings of Abbey Gardens while getting your hands dirty, expanding your mind, and even trying out a new skill. So, what exactly can you do? Meander through the many gardens, discover the benefits of sustainable agricultural practices, admire ponies and heritage chickens in their paddock, and enjoy local produce at the Food Hub. For me, that’s a perfect day.

Follow the smell of fresh bread, the aroma of fermenting hops, and the scent of roasting coffee. You can also get your hands dirty at three sprout-up businesses that feature ‘get-close-to-your-food experiences’, right on site:

1) Haliburton Highlands Brewing not only features a variety of delicious ales, porters, and stouts, but offers the opportunity to satisfy your inquiring mind during a brewing workshop where you can explore the malts and hops that make up your favourite beers. With their seasonal beer, “Mosquito Saison,” you’ll be transported right to the cottage by the lake, where the buzzing is distant but the cold beer is right in your hand.

2) Into the Blue bakery serves up breads, buns, and bagels – and sometimes pizza – sourcing its ingredients locally whenever possible. The bread-baking workshop is a must to get a serious feel for your food and discover how to create amazing no-knead sourdough bread.

3) The irresistible smell of roasting coffee at County Coffee can only be topped by the local flavours of its fresh brews. With a workshop designed to help you discover how coffee is grown, traded, roasted and brewed for the best taste, and a focus on employing the most sustainable and equitable practices, you’ll never look at your morning cup of coffee the same.

Stories

Light Up the Holidays

When the holiday decorations go up in December the whole world begins to shimmer with magic. Every car ride or stroll is filled with wonder as we drink in the night filled with sparkling holiday lights of all colours. For the next month or longer, villages, hamlets, and towns in Ontario’s Highlands will be lit […]

Local Love: 9 Local Gift Ideas You Can Order Online Today

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Finding Good Medicine on Thunderbird Mountain

Having a guide can turn an everyday hike into the most amazing adventure. Although I’d hiked on my own in the past, making the hike with Tim Yearington of Bird Mountain Journeys wove together a story that allowed a deeper connection and different outlook on nature and history. It gave me a greater outlook on […]

Shiver-Worthy Spooky Spots

There’s something lingering in the air throughout October, leading up to the culmination of all things spooky on its final day – Halloween.   October starts with the summer’s lush canopy of green bidding a final farewell through a stunning display of vibrant colours. When the leaves die off and settle as a multi-coloured blanket on the forest floor, and the fog rolls in over the lakes and […]

Haunted Walks and Hair-Raising Ghost Tours

Have you ever wandered through an older building and felt the hair raise on the back of your neck, and not been sure why? It may be you are sensing something that others aren’t, some spooky aftereffect from a historical wrongdoing or the ghostly pinings of a disgruntled spirit. Many small communities in Ontario’s Highlands […]

The Artist’s Way

Who says art can only be found in big galleries or urban showrooms? To find fantastic local and Canadian art you need to head to the places that inspire artists to create, and Ontario’s Highlands is among the most beautiful places in Ontario (in our humble opinion). Beyond the inspiration found in the rugged hills […]

Big Attractions in Ontario

Are you the type to pull over when you see a comically large roadside attraction, or a picture-perfect spot to snap a few shots? Amateur photographers and Instagrammers alike can agree that a giant ice cream cone, a massive mural adorning the side of a building, or a full-size replica of a jet plane are […]

Ground to Glass

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

With Love, to the Ottawa Valley

From the rushing waters of the Petawawa, Madawaska and Ottawa rivers to the unspoiled woodlands of Algonquin Park, the Ottawa Valley is a sultry enchantress, enticing us with adventure. Renowned as a world-class whitewater destination and for the challenges found in its rugged hills and lush dales, the Valley pushes us to do more, live […]

With Love, to Lennox & Addington

Known for its pristine wilderness, incredible views and rugged natural spaces, the majestic beauty of Lennox & Addington speaks to the wanderer inside us all. From the craggy peak of Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park to the starry skies overhead, there is wonder waiting to be discovered here, a vivid reminder of how our […]

Your Guide to COVID-19 Safe Travel in Ontario’s Highlands

This year the key to exploring is to keep it local; this is the time to explore our own backyards, and the regions close to home that have so much to offer us in the way of exhilarating outdoor experiences, fantastic food and drink, and blissful relaxation. If you’re exploring a new corner of Ontario’s […]

Dark Skies, Starry Nights

Have you ever wondered about the mysterious realm outside our planet? Maybe you’ve wanted to roam the galaxy, travel among the stars, and get a new perspective on the universe. For now, stargazing is as close to it as us ‘average humans’ can get! Luckily there are still places to getaway, where the view of […]

Get in Step

April Verch, fiddler, singer-songwriter and step dancer extraordinaire teaches the basics of stepdancing.

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Art in the Summer

Celebrate creativity at art festivals across Ontario’s Highlands this summer.

3 Cheers for Mom

Discover ways to give a mom a Mother’s Day to remember, with gift ideas that go above and beyond.

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Get Your Hands Dirty

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The Creative Cruiser

I’m a Creative Cruiser. I wander with a desire to feed my curiosity, to follow my passions, and to grow from my discoveries.

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Seven charming museums in Ontario’s Highlands.

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Visit the Petawawa Heritage Village, where you can step back in time and explore the lives of those who wandered long ago.

Where Am I?

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Where Am I?

Discover breathtaking beauty blasted from the Earth at Marmora Mine in Ontario’s Highlands.

Where Am I?

Discover the story of the earth at the Bonnechere Caves in Eganville, Ontario.

Locals Know Best: Art & Culture

Discover the best spots to learn about the vibrant culture and hidden gems in Ontario’s Highlands through the locals themselves.