Come Wander

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. 

You nestle into a soft cocoon of blankets while curled up on the couch, the fire casting its flickering glow onto the faces of friends or family as you share comradery and conversation. You clasp a warm mug in your hands, the rich scent of creamy chocolate drifting up to you.

This, you think, is totally hygge.

Whether you pronounce it hoo-ga, hee-ga, or hooge, the Danish concept of hygge has something special to it. Coined by the people who are considered the happiest in the world, hygge is a feeling of coziness and comfort that comes from an atmosphere or experience.

It’s about feeling good combined with connecting with our persons.

The beauty of hygge is you don’t need to travel to Denmark to enjoy this Scandinavian experience; it can easily be incorporated into your lifestyle, with oh-so-cozy results. This winter we invite you to find your hygge close to home, right here in Ontario’s Highlands. Read on to find out what you can do to hygge your lifestle.

Hygge is…Setting the Mood

Candlelight can turn an everyday room into a romantic and homey space, and the sweet scent of beeswax candles can really set the mood.

Hygge Here: Find pure beeswax candles from Lucky Clover Candles – their hand-dripped pillar beeswax candles will make your home smell nice and feel cozy. Not all candles need to be utilitarian; Lofthouse Beeswax Company’s floral-patterned beeswax candles will make a glowing statement for any room.

Hygge is Being Cozy

Feeling comfortable and cozy is one of the key ways you can truly “be hygge” and using a variety of textiles like soft wools, smooth woods, or thick corduroys amplify the hygge factor.

Hygge Here: Wrap yourself or someone you love in softness with a warm blanket from Pearl’s Gem in Smiths Falls, or a recycled wool blanket from Anupaya and know you are helping wild spaces by removing one pound of waste for every blanket sold.

At Serendipity Alpacas in Lanark Highlands you can browse their ultra-soft alpaca fibre socks, mittens, scarves, and even sweaters. Snuggle down with pride for the Valley in a branded hoodie from Ottawa Valley Apparel or warm up with sheepskin slippers from The Real Wool Shop in Carleton Place.

*Shops noted in this story also offer online sales and/or curbside pick-up so you can bring the hygge to you without travel.

 Hygge is…Pampering Yourself

The Danes don’t believe a visit to the spa is something to feel guilty about, it’s an important part of embracing a balanced lifestyle that’s good for both your physical and emotional well being.

 Hygge Here: This winter think like a Dane and book a salon or spa experience from Ommmh Beauty Boutique in Minden and walk away looking and feeling great. In Lanark County, Mahogany Salon and Spa has spa packages offering head to toe pampering from services like body polishes, facials, manicures, pedicures, and more.

Hygge Is…Drinking It In

For the Danes, the epitome of hygge is savouring a cup of something warm and delicious while snuggled up on your comfy chair, and preferably while swathed in a soft blanket.

Hygge Here: Get the ultimate in pampering contained in a mug with the award-winning Mayan spicy drinking chocolate from Hummingbird Chocolate Maker or savour a warm and soothing London Fog from Harvest Social in Smiths Falls.

Hygge Is…Surrounding Yourself with the Things You Love

Marie Kondo isn’t the only one who believes you should surround yourself with the things you love, and if you want to hygge-up your life this is a big first step. The things you love can be a tangible item like a favourite mug or blanket, or it can be spending time with the people you love most in the world – both are hygge.

Hygge Here: Head to Tin Barn Market in Almonte to find items you will fall in love with, like a rustic, hand-crafted mug or a delicate pitcher filled with a handful of dried flowers. Wander through the Gallery Gift Shop in Arnprior to find items that call to your soul; browse their local products like burnished pewter bowls or coasters crafted from nearby Tweed marble.

 Hygge Is…Taking a Staycation

What could be more hygge-like than savouring the great outdoors by day and then cozying up next to your special someone in front of a crackling fire, in a cabin or room nestled deep in the forest by night?

Hygge Here: Book a romantic couple’s staycation at a location close to home. Stay in a snug cabin at Deacon Escarpment Cabins in Golden Lake and wander 30-kilometres of trails by day and then hygge-ing at night. Snuggle up in front of the fire while looking out over Spectacle Lake in one of the cozy rooms at Spectacle Lake Lodge. Book a cabin getaway at Hush Lodge in Barry’s Bay and hike the Thomas P. Murray Trails right from the lodge. At Calabogie Peaks Resort you can ski in and out of one of their mountain condos or resort rooms and dine at a FeastON certified dining room to refuel at the end of the day.

Hygge Is…Games Night

Gathering with friends or family from your social bubble for an old-fashioned games or craft night is the perfect cool weather experience. Add in a wood fire, a few cozy throws and a mug of hot cocoa and you will really be rocking the hygge life.

Hygge Here: Start a tradition with your friends or family and gather for a games night with a jigsaw puzzle that combines art and science from The Occurrence. If you’d rather chat while doing something creative, pick up a fun knitting or crochet kit from Yarns Aplenty in Smiths Falls or JanKnits Studio in Haliburton and make something warm and cozy while chatting over a glass of wine.

 

 

Stories

Secrets to Unforgettable Edible Experiences

Do you remember a meal when after you’ve eaten the last bite you told yourself (and probably others) that it was “the best meal you’ve ever had”? This is often a holiday meal you and your family talk about for years and years, but can also be a quick and easy meal you enjoyed with […]

Meteor Showers, Big Planets, and Other Celestial Happenings this Fall

Fall is the perfect time for astronomy lovers to explore the night skies no matter where you are, but especially in Ontario’s Highlands, known for some of the darkest skies in the province. In fall, the cold air holds less moisture than warm air so the night sky is amazingly clear; plus, this is the […]

Food for Thought: Responsible Tourism Through Food

Raise your hand if you’re all about snacks while hiking, camp meals on the fire, or cabin feasts with friends? (we’re going to go ahead and assume that your hand is up because all these things are awesome). Plant life contributes to the ecosystem, meals are the cornerstone of communities, and packing the right food […]

4 Ways to Connect with the Land

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. The next time you are outdoors, take a moment to stand and truly feel of the land beneath your feet. If you concentrate really hard you may be […]

Connecting to the Land and Algonquin History: Amber Hein

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. On my mother’s side, I am Algonquin Anishinabek, an original inhabitant of Turtle Island, known today as North America. The traditional homelands of the Algonquin people are the […]

How to Give Back to the Land

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. – Amber Hein is Algonquin Anishinabek, an original inhabitant of Turtle Island, known today as North America. Read her perspective on how to give back to the land […]

Responsible Tourism: Be a Better Ally to First Nations peoples

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. Canada is home to more than 630 First Nations, representing over 50 sovereign nations with their own lands, culture, language, creation stories, language or dialect. With such a […]

The Best Fall Canoeing

Discover these top lakes and rivers in Ontario’s Highlands to discover the beauty of fall colours from a canoe.

Retro Campers, a Geodesic Dome, and other Fun Places to Lay Your Head

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. Why sleep in a boring old hotel when you can turn your overnight into an experience all its own? We love discovering new places to lay our heads and the more unique the better. These are the places that are so fun they just […]

Local’s Take: 3-Day Wellness Retreat in Hastings County

Local’s Take is a series highlighting the staycation experiences available close to home this summer. The experiences featured in this series were hand curated to highlight fun insider spots in our region. Use these stories as your launchpad to create your own staycations in Ontario’s Highlands.  Local: Nathan and Jessica Rogers From: Stirling, Hastings County Travelling: Hastings County Exploring in […]

Local’s Take: 2-Day Cabin Disconnect in Haliburton Highlands

Local’s Take is a series highlighting the staycation experiences available close to home this summer. The experiences featured in this series were hand curated to highlight fun insider spots in our region. Use these stories as your launchpad to create your own staycations in Ontario’s Highlands.  Local: Danielle Meredith From: Haliburton Travelling: Haliburton Highlands From the turn into the driveway, […]

Local’s Take: Paddle, Cycle and Stargaze in Lennox & Addington

Local’s Take is a series highlighting the staycation experiences available close to home this summer. The experiences featured in this series were hand curated to highlight fun insider spots in our region. Use these stories as your launchpad to create your own staycation in Ontario’s Highlands. Local: Rob Plumley From: Lennox & Addington Travelling: Lennox & Addington I’m pretty fortunate […]

Responsible Tourism: Respecting Nature’s Soundscape

When you hike, is it to experience nature? Perhaps catch up with friends? Whether if it’s one or the other – or maybe both! – nothing trumps taking a pause to listen to nature’s ‘music’. There is beauty is listening to bird songs, frogs’ choruses, and the wind through the trees. In fact, it’s an […]

Translating the Vibe in Haliburton: Nick and Benton

“In every season, Haliburton is inspiring – the pace, vibe and cottage feel creates the perfect setting for creativity.” ~ Nick Russell & Benton Brown, Haliburton musicians Picture this: You are at the cottage seated with friends and/or family around a roaring bonfire, the low murmur of voices competing against a chorus of crickets and […]

Find Inspiration in Ontario’s Highlands

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. We all want to be able to make beautiful music, paint stunning works of art or write beautiful prose, but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they? It’s fair to say that fostering creativity is difficult to achieve in a […]

Get the Most Out of a River Experience

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. Getting to know a river is almost like embarking on a wet and wild love affair. You forge a connection, learn everything you can, and then strengthen it over time. Sounds like a relationship, doesn’t it? The connection you have with a body of […]

Responsible Tourism: Discover the Benefits of Local Travel

When was the last time you discovered a local landmark or business that you didn’t know was there? In Ontario’s Highlands, we have some amazing spots and experiences that you might be surprised to hear about. For example, did you know the longest canopy boardwalk in the world is located in Haliburton Highlands? Or that […]

Spring Refresh

It’s something we dream of all winter – that magical moment when the sweet spring sun touches our skin for the first time, and the whole world feels bigger and brighter. This is when we peel back the layers we’ve piled on for the winter months and for the first time get a full glimpse […]

9 Sweet Summer Treks

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. These days the warm weather is telling us summer is here and we don’t need to be told twice to get out and embrace the outdoors and the freedom it offers through physical distancing. The best summer hikes not only take us into the wild […]

Mad About Maple

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

5 Ideas for a Romantic Valentine’s Day (at home)

*Stay home, stay safe. This article contains experiences you can have at home or that conform with current stay-at-home orders. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but unfortunately this year brings with it new challenges.  You can’t go out to dinner, you can’t go see a movie, and many of the typical Valentine’s Day […]

Go Cross-Country

Glide over fresh snow on these cross-country ski trails near you.

Thinking of Camping in 2021? Read This.

The ground may be covered by snow right now, but we’re dreaming of the warm weather and the camping season to come in the wild places in Ontario’s Highlands. Camping reservations have recently opened at provincial campgrounds across Ontario and if last year was any indicator spots will book up fast. You can book a […]

Finding Your Wolf Spirit at the Haliburton Wolf Centre

Have you ever had a pivotal moment in your life? One event that stands out to you and makes your path in life clear? My moment came to me in the form of a wolf as black as the night, with golden eyes that seemed to peer into my soul. Not many people can say […]

Winter Stargazing: A Christmas Star, Meteor Shower and Northern Lights

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  While many of us are tucked up in cozy comfort in the night hours, the intrepid astronomers among us head outdoors to drink in the starry night skies. Stargazing in winter may be a wee bit nippier but it definitely brings the best rewards, […]

Coming Home

Discover the story of Sarain Fox and her journey home to the Ontario’s Highlands, relieving memories of ice fishing and snowmobiling along the way.

12 Gifts of Christmas (Online)

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 11th hour. Whichever you are, we’re here to help get the ideas flowing with a list of online gifts that […]

Light Up the Holidays

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  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 […]

Find Your Hygge Here

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  You nestle into a soft cocoon of blankets while curled up on the couch, the fire casting its flickering glow onto the faces of friends or family as you share comradery and conversation. You clasp a warm mug in your hands, the […]

Embrace the Norwegian Concept of “Friluftsliv”

Friluftsliv (free-lufts-liv): Free air life *Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  If you’re worried about being stuck indoors this winter, the Scandinavians may have the solution with this hard to pronounce and consonant-filled word: friluftsliv. Loosely translated, friluftsliv means “free air life,” a concept that was coined by […]

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 […]

Tiny Cabins, Yurts, and other Glamping Getaways

So you’ve seen the Instagram posts of friends or family seated around a rustic campfire, enthusing on the beauty of nature and a rugged camping experience, but you’re thinking “That’s totally not for me?” Hey, don’t sweat it, you are not alone. Camping isn’t for everyone, and who says it should be? If everyone were […]

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 […]

Cozy Up to Fall Camping

So you’re not ready for camping season to end? Here’s a tip: It doesn’t! Just because the summer is over doesn’t mean we need to head indoors, when it comes to camping experiences, fall is where it’s at. Fall camping is an entirely different (and some would say better) experience from summer camping. Sure it’s […]

Find Your Zen

If you have been feeling a little tight around the shoulders, are sleeping a little less deeply, or just generally feeling stressed, we have good news. There is no better time to connect with yourself, family, or friends, than right now. After such a momentous year, what we all could use right now is a […]

With Love, to Frontenac County

Now more than ever we are drawn to our community, and the places that help us to unwind and get outdoors. To get away from the crowds and reconnect with our roots. Frontenac County tempts us to sit back, unwind and check into vacation mode, to rediscover a world of countless lakes and a region […]

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

Lanark County is a land of sweet contrasts, where dense forests of sugar maple border lush, green fields and you’re as likely to come across a cyclist as a farmer on one of the region’s winding roads. Urban and rural unite here to create a region that’s as colourful and varied as the patchwork quilt […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.

Just Show Up

Hit the water and take advantage of these easy kayaking and canoeing opportunities in Ontario’s Highlands.

Exhale and Unwind

Experience a slice of farm life at Dwyer’s Farmhouse in the Ottawa Valley.

Pampering at Home

Pamper yourself with a little self love with this recipe for an at-home spa day from Wind in the Willows Spa in Haliburton, Ontario.

Before the Lake Wakes

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

Just Breathe

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

Perfect Picnic Spots Near Ottawa

Discover these perfect picnic spots throughout the Ottawa Valley and Lanark County on your next road trip just outside of Ottawa.

Get Hooked

Expert fishing guide Sebastian Kowalczuk shares his secret fishing spots where you’re guaranteed a good catch.

The Hottest Views

Soak up incredible views and beneficial side effects across Ontario’s Highlands.

Bask in Romance

Add a little romance at one of these nine intimate Ontario retreats.

Daily Dose of Nature

Discover these places in Ontario’s Highlands that allow you to get out into nature, benefiting your mental and physical health.

Mindful Moments in Nature

Live in the moment and tune into yourself at one of these 6 nature spots in Hastings County and Haliburton County.

Golf, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Discover these 5 golf courses in Ontario’s Highlands, perfect spots for your next golf escape.

Namaste Outside

Breathe the fresh air at outdoor yoga workshops and events near Ottawa, Ontario.

3 Cheers for Mom

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

The Church Couple

Meet Donna and Cam Dillman, owners of Circa 1894 B&B in Lanark County.

SUP with that View

Grab your SUP board and take in the beautiful views at these 5 places in Ontario’s Highlands.

An Escape into Nature

Find your connection with nature and each other during a cabin getaway at Deacon Escarpment in Renfrew County.

A Silent Ski Cross Country

Take a break to recharge your spirit and relax your mind while cross country skiing in the snow-covered woods of Silent Lake Provincial Park.

The Serenity Seeker

I’m a Serenity Seeker. I wander at my own pace, searching for a way to unwind and reconnect with myself and with the people who matter most.

Where Am I

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

Bit by Serenity

An expert traveller’s advice on how seek serenity and embrace a slower pace in Ontario’s Highlands.