Haliburton and the Ontario Highlands are hot spots in a cold winter.
Almost everyone dreams of having a warm winter escape, but sometimes the best travel experiences aren't necessarily a flight or time zone away. When I spent an un-girly girls' weekend in the Ontario Highlands and the town of Haliburton, I found blazing red flames, pink and purple beets, a warm workout, and the perfect place to sizzle and fry the catch of the day. In short I found plenty of things to heat up the winter weather- and to warm my heart!
Rhubarb easily tops my list of the most delicious places to eat in the Haliburton area. It features a fantastic selection of Ontario produce and the restaurant also makes their own savory and sweet preserves. During our visit, I feasted on local heirloom beets and goat cheese; followed with a special of roasted trout, veggies, and grilled pineapple. I barely had room for the delicious hot chocolate lava cake dessert! The country-chic design, the friendly staff, and the delicious food made for the perfect setting for a girls' night. (They have a great wine list too and it includes a few Ontario VQA selections which I heartily encourage you to try!)
If you want to know more about the fantastic food in the Ontario Highlands and Haliburton, there's a great post by the Calculated Traveler that will make you drool!
Artech Glass Blowing Studio
The easiest way to beat the winter blues in Haliburton? With fire, of course! At Artech, you can create your own, one of a kind, handmade blown glass paperweight, fairy ball, or vase. The searing hot fire from the kiln will definitely blast away any chills you might feel, while the funky decor of the workshop will warm your heart. I was admittedly a bit hesitant at first but I soon found my confidence with the clear instruction and easy techniques and I loved picking out the different color combinations - kind of like a grownups' version of playing with crayons! So much fun you'll forget that winter is raging outside!
A different kind of camp
Think camping is just a summer activity? The Haliburton County Folk Society offers a different kind of camp - one that's perfect for music lovers! Their weekend music camps help bring out your inner music super star but if you're more of a fan than a performer, keep a close watch for upcoming concerts, which are the perfect way to pass a winter's evening.
Snowshoeing - yes, to warm up!
I know, I know, it doesn't make much sense! But snowshoeing is a fantastic way to do something outside in the middle of winter and still stay warm. You work up quite a sweat as you explore the great outdoors and it was a lot easier than I was expecting. And the Ontario Highlands is a beautiful place to experience it for the first time. You can read the full report of my adventures here.
Baked & Battered Country Bakery and Fish Fry
You don't have to go out ice fishing to enjoy the catch of the day. Baked & Battered is a combination of a cafe/bakery (which serves light lunches, cookies, squares, chai lattes (from scratch), and a fish fry shop. The fish fry side serves up huge portions of fresh fish and chips and, best of all, you can convert your chips into poutine. Now, unlike most other Canadians, I'm not a huge poutine fan. But every now and then I get a craving for it and the poutine at Baked & Battered was fantastic, as good as anything you'd get in Montreal. Now that's heart warming!
Sure, there are times when we all need to visit a bright beach (maybe with a pina colada in hand!) but in the heart of Canada, in the middle of winter, you can still have a sunny escape.
How do you make the most of winter?
If you enjoyed this post, you'll also like:
Snowshoeing in the Ontario Highlands
The Cheeselover's Guide to Norfolk County
Icefishing in Central Counties Ontario
My trip was facilitated in part by Ontario Highlands Tourism and I thank them for their support.