The crisp air, dramatic colour, cool events and harvest bounty combine to make fall in Ontario the perfect season for a weekend adventure. So carve out time for a mini break this gorgeous autumn season to get out and do what you love.
I Heart The Arts
Feed your creativity with exceptional theater and artistic expression. Reserve your seats at the Stratford Festival where classic Shakespearean tales and contemporary stories are brought to life, and celebrate the sound of country at the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre’s presentation of Good Ol’ Country Gospel. The dramatic autumn colour is the perfect backdrop to follow the Elora Fergus Studio Tour or get up close and personal with artists during the Stratford Culture Days, September 27-29. Splurge on modern comforts and heritage elegance at the Elora Mill Hotel & Spa or eat, drink and rest at the hip Mercer Kitchen Beer Hall Hotel in Stratford.
Ultimate Fall Colour Road Trip
Cruise the stretch of Highway 60 between Huntsville and Barry’s Bay as it curves and winds its way through Algonquin Park, Canada oldest and most iconic provincial park. Admire the beauty of the forests lit up in blazing fall colour, reflected in rivers and lakes. Keep an eye out for moose, deer and bears and listen for the haunting cry of the loon. The Lookout Trail is a 2.1 km loop that treats you to a magnificent view, while the Centennial Ridges Trail is a more demanding, but equally rewarding hike. Killarney Lodge and Bartlett Lodge are located within the park along Hwy 60, and offer cozy lakeside or backwoods cabins and cottages. Go for a sunrise paddle and roast marshmallows on the fire at sunset. The Algonquin Visitor Centre contains a museum and art gallery well worth checking out.
Image credit: Bruce Wine Bar, Thornbury
Fall Foodie Reunion
With terrific ski and snowboarding, great paddling opportunities, adrenaline parks and cycling trails, The Blue Mountains is a paradise for warm weather and winter outdoor adventure. But in autumn, food and drink take centre stage. Round up the squad and follow the Apple Pie Trail to amazing restaurants like The Grey in Thornbury (we recommend a seat on the patio overlooking Georgian Bay) or to Bruce Wine Bar for wood-fired pizzas that are off the charts. Follow the trail to fresh ciders, apple infused cheese, and of course delicious pie. Be sure to check out new kid on the block, Spy Cider House and Distillery whose owners are passionate to the core about their local fruit. Grey County’s Saints and Sinners trail map will direct you to the area’s finest craft beer, wine and cider producers. Stop in at the Grey Roots Museum for the temperance, prohibition and bootlegging historical exhibit. From bakeries to bars, there’s a wide assortment of great spots to sip and sup in Blue Mountain Village. And Blue Mountain Resort offers luxury chalets complete with full kitchens and hot tubs, perfect for a weekending crew of foodies.
Say ‘I Do’ To The Honeymoon Capital
Become a part of Niagara’s love story. With sun-soaked vineyards, fresh local harvest cuisine, the awe-inspiring wonder of the world-famous Horseshoe Falls and luxurious places to stay, it’s easy to fall in love with this place. Take a boat tour through the mist and right up to the falls, tour and taste at a local winery, try your luck at the casinos and go for stroll through acres of beautiful botanical gardens. Choose from the fallsview suites at Sheraton on the Falls or a sweeping vista of vineyards at Riverbend Inn & Vineyard in the quaint village of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Image credit: Treetop Trekking
Indulge Your Inner Child
Take a break from adulting to enjoy the simple pleasures of country life in Kawarthas and Northumberland. Get Tarzan’s view of the gorgeous fall colours ziplining through the Ganaraska Forest, one of Treetop Trekking’s six Ontario adventure park locations. Join locals in celebration of pumpkins, mazes and all things harvest at the fall fairs in Norwood, Bobcaygeon and Port Hope. Treat your sweet tooth along the wildly popular Butter Tart Tour. Charter your own private houseboat through the Kawartha Lakes and Trent Severn Waterway or book an unforgettable fall sightseeing tour aboard a floatplane at Elmhirst’s Resort on Rice Lake.
Image credit: The Bloomfield Beauty Co.
‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ Getaway
Catch up with your BFFs in gorgeous Prince Edward County with local wine, chic digs, pampering treatments and a healthy dose of dishing. The Bloomfield Beauty Co. combines spa services with an equally therapeutic café and wine bar. Tour local wineries; the rural setting and rustic charm at The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery creates a perfect backdrop for an afternoon of wine tasting. The Manse Inn and Spa in Picton offers specialty packages catering to girls’ getaways. Or opt for the hip vintage vibe with a stay at the June Motel where it’s always wine o’clock.
Image credit: Ivan Sorensen
City Escape: Lights, Sound, Action
Head to Hamilton for a weekend of live music, craft brew, local art, foodie hotspots and nightlife. With a downtown location, free breakfast, free wifi and late check out, Staybridge Suites is a great choice for accommodations. Fast becoming one of Ontario’s favourite indie music and art festivals, Supercrawl takes over downtown’s James Street North Sept 13-15. Music, art, culture and craft beer collide at Collective Arts Brewing. The craft beer culture is strong in ‘The Hammer’ with Fairweather Brewing Company, MERIT Brewing, and Grain & Grit Co. just to name a few more. Hit up Mezcal for tacos and tequila. Lose yourself in the music at The Casbah or check out Seventy-Seven, a happening nightclub that offers bottle service.
Image credit: Martin Lortz
Release The Road Warrior
Every avid biker needs to ride the Grand Algoma Motorcycle Tour at least once in his or her lifetime. This epic route travels from Sault Ste. Marie up into the heart of gorgeous Algoma Country and loops back down to hug the shoreline of mighty Lake Superior. The scenic lake and landscapes combined with exciting twists and turns in the road (Highway 129 was nicknamed ‘Ontario’s Tail of the Dragon’) make for a spectacular riding adventure. The Agawa Bay Lookout on Hwy 17 in Lake Superior Provincial Park is worth a stop and you’ll want to wave at Wawa’s famous goose. From Carolyn Beach Inn in Thessalon to Best Northern Motel & Restaurant in Wawa and Lake Shore Salzburger Hof Resort & Restaurant in Batchawana Bay, you’ll find no shortage of friendly spots to stay and eat along the way.
Last Catch Fishing Trip
As the seasons change, fish are very active as they prepare for the colder months. This means you can squeeze in one more fishing trip before the temperatures dip and winter sets in. Head to the legendary French River, its fresh water, sheltered bays, narrows and inlets promise an amazing angling adventure. Chaudière Lodge is perched on an island in Dokis Bay, along the French River, with access to the open waters of Lake Nipissing, and offers you two different, dynamic ecosystems to fish. Bear Den Lodge is located closer to the mouth of the river as it spills out into Georgian Bay. Both offer full American Plan packages that leave nothing for you to worry about except catching the big one.
Photo credit: Tarandowah Golfers Club
Hit The (True) Links
Don’t let the sun go down on the golf season before discovering Tarandowah – Southwestern Ontario’s crown jewel, one of the country’s top rated public courses, and the finest example of Scottish style links in the province. You’d be hard-pressed to find better quality for value anywhere – all the more reason to make a round (or two) here the centrepiece of a fall stay and play getaway.