Come Wander
Lake in Bancroft Ontario

It’s pretty hard to get sick of driving up here in the northern part of Hastings County. It’s easy to tune everything out and get lost in the lake views and rock cuts that flicker by on either side of the highway. Add a little music, the sun streaming through the open windows and road-tripping just might become your favourite pastime.

That being said, it’s not always just you in the car, is it? Add your partner, or your kids, or any number of other passengers and that peaceful drive to the cottage can easily turn for the worst. Don’t worry, everyone argues more in the car — it’s something about confined spaces.

Luckily, for those days when you just might be considering tucking and rolling out of shotgun, or for those when you’ve just got a little extra time and need to stretch your legs, there are some awesome pit stops on the way to your Bancroft area cottage. Mark these on your map for the next time you head our way.

Savoury snack stops: Because you only packed those granola bars for the kids.

Tinhouse Woodworking

Location: 5424 Highway 620, Coe Hill

In the heart of Coe Hill, you have to stop in and meet Knick, Jeff and June of Tinhouse. Knick the dog, named such for being born with only half of one ear, will greet you with a bark at the door. Try the coffee – please. The aroma alone knocks the socks off any fast food pit stop you might have been considering for a brew. Get it on ice or try their Coe Hilliano. Don’t forget a homemade energy bar to get you through the final miles of your journey. The shop is wood from top to bottom and lined with niche finds from artisans across the area. Have you ever seen a pyrography gourd that makes thunder? Ask how to get to the shop’s hidden room. It’s chalk full of other unique finds.

The Barn Chefs

Location: 5543 Highway 620, Coe Hill

If you’re looking for something a little heartier to keep you driving, stop in at The Barn Chefs — essentially across the street from Tinhouse. Be sure to ask Sarah and Luca about their beautiful story. The pair met in Italy and settled in Coe Hill after travelling and cooking together for nearly two decades. One of their stops was Kenya. There they met and adopted their little boy, Matayo. Fresh breads, delectable cold cuts, cheese, pizza, pastries, chocolate — it’s all made from 100 percent natural ingredients. Plus, after a visit here, you can say the same people who’ve cooked for Donald Trump, Katie Holmes, Angelina Jolie and Edward Norton have cooked for you. Last time we were there, we grabbed a Focaccia and tore it apart as we meandered back for our cottage-bound mission.

The Old Ormsby Schoolhouse

Location: 3084 Old Hastings Road, Ormsby

The Schoolhouse looks small, but inside the whole world opens up. With a long and complicated history, it was last renovated by Ernie and Debbie Pattinson for their wedding reception. Now, even packed with beautiful table sets and historical pieces in every nook and cranny, the tea room seems large and grandiose. If you stop in for lunch, ask Ernie to show you a picture of he and his twin, Gary, from years ago. It’s the perfect stop to get a bite, get out of your car and start your vacation early.

The Stone Kitchen

Location: 33 Sherbourne St. North, Bancroft

If you’re a taste-tester and you’re looking to try something original, this jam and gift shop is hard to leave without a life supply of jams. I love stopping here when someone new comes to visit because they’re always blown away. Plus it’s fun to stop for a treat every now and again.

Leisurely landscapes: Because when you’re packing for the cottage — let’s be honest — you aren’t packing for a hike. These sneaky sites combine the best of both worlds — a little fresh air, no extra planning.

Lakeside stop

Location: Heading north on Highway 62 just past Highway 620 you’ll see a picnic table sign. After that there will be a second sign across from a gravel road on your left.

Anytime I’m making a trek across the county I stop at this hidden gem. You’ll know it from the birch tree that someone carved their proposal into, “Will you marry me Allison?” (I hope she said yes, but I guess we’ll never know.)

The pines are so big that the light filters down in thin streams — you feel small in comparison. There’s a slanted path to the water to dip your toes in before continuing on. Of course there’s also washrooms and picnic tables, just in case you need either of those.

L’Amable Dam

Location: Old L’Amable Road, Bancroft

This is the best place to go for a dip. Locals and cottagers alike take time to travel here. They take advantage of the calm, cool water before it cascades over the small dam. You can often find families of all ages kicking up the water, rolling around in the grass or munching on snacks at the picnic tables.

High Falls

Location: Turn onto Y Road in Bird’s Creek and follow it all the way down. Go over South Baptiste Lake Road onto High Falls Trail. Follow it all the way to the dam.

You’ve probably heard of Bancroft Eagles Nest Park — it’s hard to miss — but have you heard of High Falls? You can hear the water rushing before you can actually see these falls. Watching the watercrash over the rocks and into the bay is humbling, to say the least. Chase the water along the trail that sticks close to its side all the way to where the water calms.

Kamaniskeg Lake Lookout

Location: Past Maynooth, before Combermere, across from Kamaniskeg Lake. Take Lookout Park Road.

This historical site is a chance to take in the vast size of Kamaniskeg Lake. If the sparkling water entices you to go for a dip, you can always head a little further down Highway 62 and follow Kamaniskeg Lake Road all the way around to the lake’s “boat launch,” which is actually a best-kept-secret beach.

Wild cards: Because it’s not a road trip unless it ends with a story to tell.

Robbie’s Hobbies

Location: 29640 Highway 62, Bancroft

You’ll know Robbie as soon as you walk in, he’s always there and he’s always ready to race — or help you un-crash your remote control racer. There are multiple racing tracks, the remote control racing cars are easy to get the hang of and you can rent by the hour. Your whole travelling squad can race against each other and it’s so much fun to shut off your phone, or your iPad, and have some good old-fashioned playtime.

Love Locks

Location: Millenium Park, Bancroft

There’s something really sentimental and wonderful about the idea of love locks. Bancroft installed a chain on its Millennium Park bridge this year. If you have a loved-one you cherish, or a special memory from the area, take a lock to the bridge and make it timeless.

Stories

Bringing Together the Best of Haliburton

Before Michael Schiedel-Webb came to live full-time in Haliburton, he had never made beer. Not once. Not ever. His first batch came from a really big home-brew kit, located in the living room of his cottage, in the middle of the winter. “It was minus ten, and we had to do some of it outside,” […]

Tales of Wilno: Exploring Canada’s Oldest Polish-Kashub Settlement

Wilno is a land with stories to tell – many stories, in fact. If the hamlet could talk, it would tell you tales of first settlers, church fires, bustling railway lines, and hockey games played on the outdoor rink. Known as Canada’s first Polish/Kashub settlement, Wilno is the place where settlers from Poland/Kashubia first laid […]

Celebrate All Things German this October

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Tiny Cabins, Yurts, and other Glamping Getaways

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Top 7 Comfort Foods and Where to Find Them

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Shiver-Worthy Spooky Spots

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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 […]

5 Fall Drives to Enjoy with the Windows Down

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Could this be Ontario’s tastiest bike route? A natural backdrop of Canadian Shield, shimmering lakes and lush Crown land forests surround you as you pedal down a 50/50 mix of quiet paved roads and gravel rail trails that traverse a series of communities. These small towns and rural hamlets are now known for art and […]

Big Attractions in Ontario

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Ground to Glass

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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.

Best Highway 60 Hikes

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With Love, to Frontenac County

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With Love, to Haliburton Highlands

We are so lucky to come from a place that has it all: phenomenal views, rugged landscapes, abundance of trails, and infinite opportunities for recreation, all enticing you to leave your comfort zone and step into the wild. Here, endless forests meet cool, clear lakes and rivers to create incredible vistas that reach out to […]

With Love, to Lanark County

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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 Hastings County

The deep lakes and meandering rivers here are ripe with life, both on land and in the water. This land is known as a region rich with minerals, and we haven’t forgotten how our communities were settled by the gold rush, where miners flocked, eager to delve into the earth to unearth its riches. Thick […]

Cycle Haliburton

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Roots of Revival in Smiths Falls

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Bikepacking in North Frontenac

Imagine a weekend of backcountry camping in a quiet forest just a few hours from Ottawa or Toronto. As you settle down at camp, you think back to the fresh moose tracks you saw earlier that day and the amazing swim you had when you stopped for lunch. The scenery feels familiar but something’s different. […]

Bancroft Rocks!

For one of the best views of Bancroft, turn off Highway 62 onto Eagles Nest Crescent; turn right onto Eagles Nest Park Road and go up, up and then up some more. From the parking lot, take the Hawkwatch Trail; it won’t take long. You’ll find the lookout deck where you can see for yourself […]

Best Ontario #RoadTrips

Did someone say road trip? The mere thought of a road trip brings to mind the excitement of heading out on an adventure where you may not know where you will end up but you’re pretty sure the getting there will be half the fun. When you head out for the day the options are […]

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

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Secret Swimming Holes

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Hidden Gems Along Letterkenny Road

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Meet Me at the Drive-in

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Go Backcountry

You waken slowly in the early morning, the high-pitched warble of birdsong drifting lightly through the trees overhead. The sky is faintly brightening with the coming of dawn, and the natural world is gradually blossoming to life. Around you there is no trace of human activity, no murmurs of voices, clanging of dishes, or whir […]

Live the Yacht Life

Live the lifestyle of the rich and famous – for a week, anyway – with a Le Boat cruising staycation.

Date Night In

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Dear Dads, We Love You

Tell Dad how much awesome he is this Father’s Day with a little local love from these places in Ontario’s Highlands.

This Fry’s for You

Challenge accepted: Take on the Great Potato Abundance of 2020 and put a dent in the local potato population.

An Ode to Poutine

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

Cocktail Hour is Back

If you’re missing your spring cocktails, the drink makers at Rhubarb Haliburton are happy to share their recipe for a delicious and fizzy cocktail.

Summer Brews

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

Exhale and Unwind

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High Tea Fit for a Queen

Make a high tea that’s fit for a queen using Tea & Cake’s secret scone recipe and how-to.

Chocoholic Fudgy Cake (Yes, Please!)

Rich, velvety chocolate, whipped ganache, creamy frosting…chocolate cake is the ultimate in old-time comfort foods. Ignite a passion for chocolate with this recipe from Hummingbird Chocolate Maker.

Cooking with Cider

A frosty glass of crisp cider may be the perfect accompaniment for patio sipping, television watching, dock sitting, or just hanging out in the warm, lemony spring sunshine, but did you know it also happens to be a fantastic and versatile ingredient for cooking? For Margaret Van Helvoort and Kees Morsink there is no bad […]

Before the Lake Wakes

Wake up lakeside with a steaming cup of coffee from a roastery in Ontario’s Highlands.

Baking with Beer

Great beer makes great food. Check out some great recipes to bake with beer with Chris Thompson from Whitewater Brewery Co.

Chocolate Marshkebabs DIY

Easter is just a bunny hop around the corner and dreams of chocolate are filling the minds of children – and adults, too. A chocolate treat is the perfect way to sweeten your spring, and when it comes to this dark delicacy, the folks at Perth Chocolate Works are the experts. Since opening their doors […]

Just Breathe

Discover the beauty of mindfulness and allowing yourself to Just Breathe.

The Great Pizza-Off

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

Spring is Calling

Hanging around the city when the scents of spring are tantalizingly tickling your nose is tough. This is when you yearn to get away from the slush, pack the car and head out for an almost-spring getaway to the countryside, where baby animals, maple syrup, G-rated fun, and fresh air are calling. Get out of […]

Spring Break

The sun is warm, the air smells like spring, and the birds are singing their special warm weather songs. It’s official; spring has sprung. After a long Canadian winter, spring getaways are a time-honoured tradition for families here in the great white north, and haven’t we earned a little fun in the sun? This is […]

Pause for Pi Day

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

Mad About Maple

Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes. Celebrate Canada’s iconic sweetener in all its forms in Ontario’s Highlands.

Breaking Bread

Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian – dine with confidence at these 10 Ontario’s Highlands restaurants. Your belly will thank you.

Best Pancake Breakfasts

Escape the city for a hearty meal with pure maple syrup at these top places for pancake breakfasts in Ontario’s Highlands.

Sweet Maple Escapes

Discover sweet places to stay for maple adventures in Ontario this spring.

Jigging Through Ice

You slip and slide your way across the ice, your arms laden with fishing gear, excitement building at the thought of the unscripted day ahead. Tucked amidst your gear is a warm blanket, a thermos of something rich and delicious, and a carefully packed cooler with goodies to keep you cozy all day. Ice fishing […]

Winter Just Got Awesome

Learn to climb or brush up on your skills with an epic ice climbing adventure at SOIceFest 2020 in Maynooth, ON.

Make a Toast (in Hastings County)

Tour craft drink producers for a chance to meet the makers, and get the inside story on what inspires them to make and sell their product. Oh, and sample delicious brews, too!

Ultimate Après-Ski Experiences

Meet up with friends after a day well spent on the slopes or on the trails. Discover these top places in Ontario’s Highlands to celebrate the Apres Ski!

Cheers to the Holidays

Get into the holiday spirit this month with these mixologists and craft drink producers in Ontario’s Highlands.

The Best Baked Goods

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

Embrace the Dog Days of Winter

If you can’t beat winter, join it with an epic dog sledding excursion through some of the most beautiful forests in Ontario.

Winter Jams

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.