Snap out of Winter Hibernation Mode with an invigorating trip away from the city, where recharging is a way of life, not something you do to your cell phone. Leave the stresses of everyday behind and just wander in Ontario’s Highlands, letting each new discovery wake up your senses and energize your soul. From the bends and twists of a freshly budding landscape that surprises around every corner, to the buzz of friendly conversations with locals and the unmistakable scent of sweet sugar bushes wafting in the air, there’s no better way to disconnect this spring and hit “reset” on your regular nine-to-five.
With the start of long weekends finally here, throw away the itineraries and forget Skype trip planning sessions with your BFFs (who’s bringing the waffle pan?) that mimic Board meetings. Pack up your car and your favourite people, and simply go. Go where the sun is shining. Go where the river takes you. Go where your soul says you should go next. You might end up paddling in serene nature with Holness Yoga, sharing stories over morning coffee from your cozy wooden deck at Spectacle Lake Lodge, or staring in awe at over 260 Aboriginal pictographs adoring the 100-metre surface of Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park – just because you saw the sign for it on your hike through.
Satisfy your wandering spirit as you discover new friendly communities and the people who call them home. Whether your perfect day includes copious amounts of vinegar poured over the best fresh-cut fries you’ve ever tasted from Wes’ Chips food truck, a serendipitous stumbling unto an outdoor art display (“Fieldwork”) that just happens to be on a farm, or swapping your favourite pierogi recipe with the guy you stumble into – literally! – while trying traditional Polish dancing during Kashub Day , you’ll always feel like one of the locals here.
Uncover a part of yourself you didn’t even know existed, like a Master Relish Maker, with a hands-on workshop like those offered at Abbey Gardens (they offer bread-making and coffee-roasting sessions, too, if condiments don’t strike your fancy). Discover your inner artist by rolling up your sleeves with Artech Glassblowing Studios where you can learn to hand-craft everything - cups and paperweights and vases. Or learn the art of making maple taffy just before Canada’s 150th birthday hits – try it at Fortune Farms in the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario, Lanark County.
Hit “pause” on your everyday life, and find peaceful stillness 20 metres above the forest floor at the Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve or an entire universe away with an intimate look at the night’s stars from the vantage point of your blanket at the Dark Sky Viewing Area. If you’re more of a cowboy(or girl) at heart, take in over 6,000 acres of pristine forests, bush, open field and the breathtaking Ottawa River as you saddle up for a “City Slicker Vacation” and feel all your worries melt away on horseback at Horse Country Campground (no riding experience needed)