Come Wander
Escape the City with Rural Living

When you escape the city to roam country roads, something beautiful happens. Gone are the traffic jams, the faceless crowds, and the countless street lights. Instead, you’re left with long stretches of freedom surrounded by views of firewood stacked for cold nights, paddocks with roaming animals, luscious gardens, and tumbling lawns.

The farm houses and quaint villages that dot these roads seem a world away from the tight-fitting city grid. There’s a different feeling in the air, less need to rush, and small town hospitality around every corner. Rural communities offer a different way of life: a slower pace, with more personable daily interactions, and authentic locals. In true small town fashion, many of these communities invite visitors in, offering the chance to discover more about the lifestyle and the people who live it. Sound enticing?

We put together our list of three ways to slow down and try out ‘life on the farm’ in Ontario’s Highlands.

1) Get Your Hands Dirty

Hugli’s Blueberry Ranch in Pembroke offers the opportunity to get a little closer to your food and to some of the people growing it. The Hugli family has been growing high bush blueberries for over 35 years and started this crop with the benefits to others in mind. While traveling in the 1970s, Bill Hugli came across a high bush blueberry plantation and was excited by the accessibility these plants offered for picking; he saw a way for many to be able to participate and benefit from this health-building food and the exercise of picking their own. Bill’s legacy lives on today as his family continues to bring people together each year to celebrate the beauty of spring blossoms, connect with local food, and indulge in the sweetness of blueberries. With local field hosts ready to offer expert advice on the best places to pick, and the gift store filled with local products and unique flavours, you can truly dig in and take advantage of the long days of summer by letting the radiant sun, warm air, and friendly faces breathe life back into your world.

2) Connect with the Herd

At the Ontario Water Buffalo Company in Stirling, Martin Littkemann and Lori Smith are so connected with their herd that they’ll want to introduce you to them. A weariness with milking cows led to the establishment of this unique herd and after traveling to water buffalo dairies around the world, these passionate farmers have knowledge and stories to share. Truly embracing a slower pace of life in the rural countryside, these herd owners keep their buffalo happy by not rushing the milking. Call ahead to book a tour, then take your time in the shop to savour the tenderness of water buffalo meat, and the softness of Mozzarella di Bufala, which melts in your mouth with one bite.

3) Saddle Up

Truly embracing the rural lifestyle involves trying out a different type of transportation. Horse Country Campground in Foresters Falls offers the opportunity to push traffic jams and city blocks out of your mind, saddle up, and enjoy the sweet smell of meadows accompanied by the rushing sound of nearby Ottawa River rapids as you roam the countryside on horseback. With ‘Life on the Ranch’ and ‘City Slicker’ packages available, you can choose your own level of adventure and enjoy the end of the day, when the nighttime bonfire cements your immersion into this rural lifestyle.

When we step out of our everyday to shake up the norm and experience something new, we’re able to see the world through new eyes. These are all chances to discover a different lifestyle and connect with locals, to feel like you’re traveling abroad when you’re actually within a few hours from home.


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.

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.

Before the Lake Wakes

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

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.

Exhale and Unwind

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

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.

Pause for Pi Day

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

Winter Jams

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

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.

The Best Baked Goods

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

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.

Ground to Glass

Discover how four craft drink makers harness Mother Nature’s flavours to elevate their beverages in Ontario’s Highlands.

5 Senses of Nature

Leave the city behind and immerse yourself in the natural charm of Ontario’s Highlands.

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.

Summer Brews

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

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.