Come Wander

It seems every winter, my newsfeeds blow up with pictures of oceans, bathing suits, sunshine and cocktails. This year will be no different: friends and family will pack their bags and flock down south. Although thrilled for their upcoming hot, sandy adventures, it’s almost impossible to not feel a little restless. Each picture of a beach sunset usually makes the snow feel deeper, the cold feel colder and the warmer months seem like decades away.

Despite my desire to get out of the house and follow everyone south, the usual excuses are running through my mind: my vacation time is getting low, plane tickets are expensive, all-inclusive resorts aren’t really my thing, and don’t even get me started on my ‘beach body’.

Who needs all of that though? Let’s eliminate the stress and cost of heading abroad and look a little closer to home. Whether you’re looking to cozy up lakeside, or to hide away, nestled in the woods, relaxing adventures for two are speckled across Ontario’s Highlands.

Check out one of the following cozy cabin settings for a getaway that trades in jet setting for a road trip, beaches for hot tubs, sand for snow, piña coladas for local craft brews, and a la carte for fine dining. You won’t be disappointed.

Ogopogo Resort

One drawback of winter is its shorter days, but you can celebrate the season even as darkness falls during a stay in one of the adorable cabins at Ogopogo Resort. Watch sunlight sparkle off of frozen Mountain Lake, strap on snowshoes or cross-country skis to explore the powdery white wonderland by day, then lace up your skates and glide beneath the stars on the flood-lit rink onsite by night. For a little added luxury, tuck into the cozy Studio Cottage at night and choose your favourite way to warm up – soaking away any worries in the jacuzzi tub or snuggled up by the fireplace.

Insider Tip: Make some new furry friends by booking a dog sledding tour with Winterdance or Haliburton Forest. The huskies’ enthusiasm for the season will have you glad you skipped the beach, and these friendly working dogs are some of the best guides around to show you the true beauty of the winter wilderness.

Hush Lodge and Cottages

Let the warm hospitality of your hosts make you forget about the chill outside during a stay in one of these comfy cottages, or even in the lodge itself. Pack your cross-country skis or snowshoes to leisurely explore the local trails, or bring your snowmobile and put a little speed behind your exploration as you zip along the trails accessible from the resort’s doorstep.

Insider Tip: Sometimes winter has a way of seeping right down to my bones, but I’d hate to let that keep me from enjoying the sparkling snow and natural beauty surrounding the resort. Thankfully, with a sauna onsite, it’s easy to warm up after a day exploring the trails or skating on the lake.

Heather Lodge

Ok, as the name suggests, this one is technically a lodge as opposed to a stand-alone cabin, but with wooden accents, lakeview suites, and in-room fireplaces available (not to mention the incredible meals onsite), I just had to include it. On the banks of Twelve Mile Lake, peeking out from behind majestic tall pines, lies the warm and welcoming Heather Lodge. As an adult-only resort, the property offers a quiet and serene escape and is perfect for anyone looking for a romantic getaway with that special someone. Coupled with Chef James’ spectacular in-house cooking served in the lakeside sunroom, this truly is a peaceful place.

Insider Tip: Grab a pair of snowshoes from the main office and explore the natural beauty along the trails surrounding the lodge.

Black River Retreat

You really leave the world behind when spending a weekend at Black River Retreat. This secluded oasis only accommodates one booking at a time; so it’s just you, that special someone, and nature. Oh, and a personal chef. The log home, hiking trails, waterfront property, fire pit and hot tub are all yours to enjoy at your pleasure!

Insider Tip: Customize your experience! Call ahead and chat with Trevor about setting up a yoga session or couple’s massage, and don’t forget your iPod at home. With speakers hidden throughout the retreat, you can plug in and play your very own tunes both inside and outside to set the mood.

Haliburton Forest

I like to think of Haliburton Forest as my perfect balance between an escape away from the world and into the woods, and one that still offers the necessary amenities at my fingertips. Located about half an hour outside of the Village of Haliburton, it’s far enough out that you feel a world away from any hustle and bustle, while still having easy access to the mouth-watering dining experiences, unique workshops, incredible winter fun, and refreshing craft breweries across Haliburton County. If you’re not looking to stray too far from your cabin to explore the County, you don’t have to! There’s a restaurant, activities, a shop, and gas available onsite. Leave the car keys in the cabin and wander the property to marvel at the beauty of hand-crafted wooden products, learn about majestic wolves, rev your engine on snowmobile trails, try your hand at mushing, and warm up with a meal at The Cookhouse.

Insider Tip: If the thought of winter in Canada conjures up images of snowy woods and iconic Canadian animals, you’re in luck! Make sure to pop into The Wolf Centre to learn more about these glorious creatures and witness the dynamics of the resident wolf pack.

Cabinscape

Perfect for a truly private wilderness escape, these tiny cabins are tucked away on beautiful rugged landscapes, yet still close to trails and parks so you can explore the surrounding environment at your leisure. Spend the days wandering the woods by snowshoe, then cozy up for the night in one of these tiny off-the-grid spaces with a good book, a warm drink, and that special someone, and be amazed by how big of an escape this adventure actually is.

Insider Tip: Skip the dishes and the hassle of cooking! If you’re staying at Mason or Auburn Cabins, head into Sharbot Lake to grab dinner at The Crossing Pub, or if you’re staying at Joni, head to Arnprior and check out Krave Bistro  or Lumbertown Ale House.

Forget the beach. All you need to do for these winter staycations is grab your overnight bag and your beloved, hop in the car, and cozy up. Is there anything better?

Stories

Expert Tips to Catching Fish

As an angler who is passionate about exploring new waters, I’m grateful to live in a region that has endless options! Whether you’re shore fishing, venturing out by boat, kayak, or canoe, there are bass fishing opportunities for everyone here in the Ontario’s Highlands region. I’ve put together a list of my five favourite bass […]

Wandering the Festival of Small Halls

Discover all the small halls throughout the Ottawa Valley, Lanark County, and Hastings County that will host a performance for the Festival of Small Halls in 2019.

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.

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.

The Perfect Scoop

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

Buffalo Thrills

Discover good food and great memories at the Ontario Water Buffalo Company.

Summer Music Festivals

From rock to folk, these Ontario’s Highlands summer music festivals will keep you coming back year after year.

Art in the Summer

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

Unique Festivals & Events

Embrace the incredible spirit and wonderfully ‘different’ themes at events 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.

An Escape into Nature

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

Pause for Pi Day

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

A Winter’s Break

Sometimes what we need is a little technology detox to spend a little less time with the screens in our lives and a little more time with the people who matter most.

Valentine’s Day Treats

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

New Year, New You

Winter events across Ontario’s Highlands that will help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions.

Hit the Slopes This Winter

Discover the ski and snowboard hills in Ontario’s Highlands that both beginners and pros will appreciate.

Winter? Bring it!

Discover your love for the season with a classic Ottawa Valley winter.

The Best Baked Goods

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

Where Am I?

Visit Winterdance in Ontario’s Highlands and discover a love of winter from some of its biggest fans.

Where Am I?

Discover Calabogie Peaks Resort, a well-known gem, through new eyes.

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.

Where Am I?

Stand tall and marvel at the views from the top of historical attraction, the Dorset Lookout Tower.

Where Am I?

Step back into nature at the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve to celebrate sustainability in this unique place.

The Memory Maker

I’m a Memory Maker. I wander to celebrate traditions with loved ones and create lasting memories. I enjoy visiting the same place, annual festival, or seasonal tradition year after year.

Where Am I

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

Where Am I?

Mazinaw Rock, a hidden gem in Ontario that’s ironically, hard to miss.

Parks Worth the Admission

Visit these 8 Ontario Parks’ campgrounds in Ontario’s Highlands and discover why they are worth the admission.

Where Am I?

Make memories as you discover one of the Province’s most intimate hidden gems, The Haliburton Forest Festival.

Finding Imperfect Moments

Sometimes it is the imperfect moments that matter the most. Become inspired to roam without the burden of worrying about everything going according to plan.

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.