Come Wander

“The best journey takes you home.” – Anonymous

No matter how far you stray from home, for the rest of your life it will always call to you. Cherished connections with the land and the people alike live on in the memories of days past. The call may be strong, like a constant yearning for simpler times. Perhaps it’s that little voice in the back of your head, or the flash of a childhood memory now and again.

However it manifests within you, do you listen?

For Sarain Fox, Indigenous artist, choreographer, and TV host, that call brought her home to her roots in Ontario’s Highlands. Sarain set out on a quest to relive her story, a tale woven together with the landscape and people of the Ottawa Valley. Fueled by her love of snowmobiling and her memories of early morning ice fishing with her uncle, Sarain’s journey began with the familiar and ultimately led to the discovery of coveted spaces and new experiences in Ontario.

Sarain and her uncle Gordon set up a fire at her cabin in Golden Lake.

The Ottawa Valley: A Place Called Home

Sarain’s first stop on the road to rediscovery was the Ottawa Valley, where fond recollections of time spent at her cabin came rushing back. Waking in the hushed quiet of the early morning hours at Sandy Beach Cottages on Lake Clear, Sarain relived cherished childhood memories with her uncle, heading out to the lake long before the winter sun crested the horizon, eager to see which fish would choose to take a bite. Sandy Lake Cottages offered Sarain a peaceful location to rest her head before embarking on her journey, and a quiet place to eagerly await a tug on the line from the dark waters below.

Early morning ice fishing, on the scenic Lake Clear at Sandy Beach Cottages.

As both Sarain and the snow-covered wilds came awake, the day and the terrain sped past with a snowmobile ride near Barry’s Bay. Valley Adventure Tours led Sarain in pursuit of a breathtaking view of the valley below, where she paused for a quiet moment of reflection. The serenity of the trails combined with the rush of the snowmobiles to bring smiles to frosty faces. Steve, a guide with Valley Adventure Tours, led the group to spectacular lookout points with magnificent views of the Valley.

Snowmobiling with Valley Adventure Tours

Taking in the beautiful Ottawa Valley lookout points by snowmobile on a tour with Valley Adventure Tours.

Finding excitement in the Haliburton Highlands

With the past relived, and with a permanent smile affixed, it was time to forge new memories. Sarain’s journey took her west to the endless forests of Haliburton Highlands, and a cozy fishing hut on Mountain Lake at Ogopogo Resort. Here, mittened hands held fast while fishing lines danced and pickerel circled, eventually biting after a morning of teasing.

Ice Fishing at Ogopogo Resort

Testing out her ice fishing skills at Ogopogo Resort.

After a hearty lunch at The Cookhouse, the next adventure brought Sarain to the private snowmobile trails at Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve.With 400 kilometres of trails to explore, cliffs rose high above McDonald Lake and frozen waterfalls dotted the landscape, a reminder of how majestic a world we are in.

Snowmobiling at Haliburton Forest

Discovering a network of 400-kilometres of snowmobile trails at Haliburton Forest & WildLife Reserve

End on a high note in Hastings County

There’s truth in the saying “all good things must come to an end,” and Sarain’s final day of discovery was a special one spent in Hastings County. As was typical with the trip, the day started early when the fish are most active.  Setting up on Moira Lake in Madoc, snow drifted gently as Sarain crouched next to her fishing hole, taking in the advice of experienced locals on what was biting that day.

Ice Fishing on Moira Lake

Finishing up her ice fishing journey on Moira Lake in Hastings County.

As the snow continued to fall, the itch to hit the snowmobile trails settled in, and it was time to bid new friends goodbye and head north to Coe Hill. The fresh snow covered trails created a magical wintry playground; animal tracks were spotted, an invitation to play in the snow.

Snowmobiling in Coe Hill

Rounding out the discovery of the snowmobile network with Old Hastings Snow Riders.

Travel companions gathered as the trip’s completion loomed, and smiling from cheek to rosy cheek, Sarain embraced her newfound friends in farewell. The journey to relive her past and paint fresh memories brought Sarain one of the greatest gifts of all: new friends and new discoveries.

Making snow angels in Coe Hill

Making snow angels in the bountiful snow of Coe Hill.

Whether it’s a familiar place or entirely new to you, if you’re eager to explore on snowmobile or see what fish you can catch, a journey to Ontario’s Highlands is always like coming home.

Stories

Just Breathe

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

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.

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.

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.

Go Cross-Country

Glide over fresh snow on four cross-country ski trails near Ottawa.

Bask in Romance

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

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 […]

New Year, New You!

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

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.

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.

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 […]

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.

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.

Winter? Bring it!

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

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.

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.