Whether you’re taking advantage of the weekend to escape weekday stress, or taking a mid-week break from the everyday hustle and bustle, this road trip will have your worries melting away as you reconnect with yourself and those who matter most in Ontario’s Highlands.
Leave your cares on the doorstep as you check in to The Grand Hotel in Carleton Place then wander down the quaint streets to choose a spot for dinner. Indulge in seasonal local flavours at The Black Tartan Kitchen; sip a local beer and enjoy the welcoming spirit at The Waterfront Gastropub; or discover the old-English sophistication and unique creations at Smith and Barrel.
Spend the day being pampered at Mahogany Salon and Spa. Let the relaxing scents of essential oils sooth your soul as your body shines during an invigorating Sea Salt Glow body polish; breathe the good vibes in and the bad out during a Relaxation Massage; feel your skin revitalized and embrace a new pop of colour in your life with The Ultimate Moroccanoil Hot Stone Pedicure; and give your skin a ‘beauty break’ with The Beauty Break Express Facial.
Once you’re done being pampered, head to a private off-the-grid Cabinscape to spend an evening basking in the quiet sounds of nature and celebrating a little seclusion. Depending which cabin location you’re able to snag, your evening might look different, but we promise Mason Cabin, Auburn Cabin, and Joni Cabin will all give you the same chance to unwind and reconnect with yourself and those you’re travelling with.
Stop by a grocery store and grab something to cook your own feast, or go all-out and stop for dinner or pick up takeout if you don’t feel up to cooking (absolutely no judgement from us – you’re on vacation). If you’re booked at Auburn or Mason, we’d recommend stopping at Fall River Restaurant and indulging in a delightful daily special; and if you’re at Joni for the night, we’re fans of the mouth-watering braised beef short-rib and the apricot crème-brulée at Heirloom in Almonte.
One last thing to consider before enjoying your off-the-grid escape: whether you’d like any adult beverages during your stay. Joni is located on the property of Cartwright Springs Brewery meaning you can easily grab fresh brews before taking a stroll to your private oasis, and both Perth Brewery as well as Top Shelf Distillers are easy stops on your drive from Carleton Place to either Mason or Auburn.
Enjoy an evening forgetting your obligations under the stars and away from city lights at your cabin or, if you’re staying at Mason or Auburn, get a little expert guidance by heading to an event at L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area for a laser-guided light tour and the chance to look through a high-powered telescope.
Take advantage of the extraordinary chance to sleep in and spend a lazy morning sipping coffee from the deck of your cabin, basking in the tranquility around. Listen to the birds, feel a gentle breeze brush your skin, and the warm sun light up your face.
If you’re staying at Mason or Auburn, let the hearty flavours of a burger or fish and chips at The Crossing Pub delight your palate; or if you’re at Joni, indulge in both the sweet and savoury sides of French cuisine at Mill Street Crepe Company.
Spend the afternoon being amazed by the beautiful expanse of untouched wilderness at a park or conservation area before you head home. Marvel at the incredible display put on by the Showy Ladyslipper Orchids early summer in Purdon Conservation Area; take a break to sit and listen to the river cascading over rocks at the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area; or walk picturesque trails and go for a refreshing dip at Sharbot Lake Provincial Park.
Looking for a longer visit?
If you want to extend your trip for a longer escape, head to Hastings County for more peaceful moments and luxurious pampering. Plan a tour and tasting with Potter Settlement Wines and grab a decadent lunch at Hidden Goldmine Bakery.
Book a retreat at the award-winning Grail Springs Retreat for Wellbeing to spend time rediscovering yourself and nourishing your soul. Release the negative energy during spiritual enrichment classes; breathe deeply during yoga and meditation classes; nurture your body and revitalize your skin with a body wrap or other spa treatment; and spoil your stomach with nutritious flavourful meals.
Ontario’s Highlands Insiders
Knowledgeable in uncovering hidden gems, making fresh tracks, embracing new perspectives, and disconnecting from the everyday, this group of experts is happy to share their wisdom with you. With a passion for local stories, a love of delicious food, and a thirst for unrehearsed days, this team is made up of creative minds and wandering souls.