Do you only have a few days to get away this summer, or want to spend your vacation dollars locally? Why not plan a road trip within Ontario? The province has so much to offer. Here are some experiences I have enjoyed while staying in the province and on budget.
Oxford County Cheese Trail
Perhaps you’re from Oxford County or the surrounding area and looking for something interesting to do. A day spent on Oxford County’s Cheese Trail in the Dairy Capital of Canada will be sure to tantalize your tastebuds.
We started our day in the far north of the county at Mountainoak Cheese outside of Haysville. The van Bergeijk family uses milk from their own dairy farm to make award-winning Gouda cheese. The many flavours made it difficult to pick what to bring home, but I eventually settled on the Wild Nettle Gouda. And best of all, you can sample some of the cheeses before making your selection.
Heading south through the scenic rolling hills of Oxford’s north, the next stop was at Bright Cheese and Butter, owned by dairy farmers from the Bright area. For cheddar lovers, I recommend you buy some Bright Brand Extra Old for the wonderful ‘nip’ it leaves in your mouth.
Our sweet tooth was then calling which required a stop at Habitual Chocolate in Woodstock. An array of chocolate made right from the single varietal cacao beans in the storefront satisfied our chocolate craving.
Moving south of Woodstock to Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, the highlight for me was their fresh cheese curds that they make every Friday. I’ve never had curds that squeak in your mouth like that! Amongst the many swiss-style cheeses available at Gunn’s Hill, they are very well known for a delicious cheese called ‘5 Brothers’. It is named for owner Shep Ysselstein and his four brothers.
Our day ended after the four stops to go home and feast on our purchases along with a barbecue with friends. The Oxford County Cheese Trail has many more sites that are worthy of a visit. Check out Tourism Oxford’s website to plan your trip as you #TryTheTrail and support local producers and farmers.
Kingston and 1000 Islands
Summer was the perfect time to head to the Kingston and the 1000 Island area for a few days away. The highlight of my visit was a tour of the Kingston Pen. I literally felt like the prisoners had just left and I walked in to see what life was like behind bars. Be sure to book ahead for tours as they often sell out.
Kingston area is the perfect place to visit for history buffs. Old Fort Henry brought me back to a different time and the 1000 Island evening cruise told many unique stories of the area. Spending some time in nature, a guided kayak tour in the 1000 Islands gave us an amazing view of the scenery from a different perspective and a nice workout.
Depending on what activities you and your family like to do, you will for sure find something to interest everyone in the Kingston area.
Whether camping, cottaging or ‘B and B’ing’ in the Muskokas, I want to recommend for a neat little side-trip to Johnston’s Cranberries near Bala. You see how cranberries are grown and harvested, sample wine, go for a hike and much more. I love ‘experiences’ and this was worth the drive. And of course a hike in the famous Algonquin Park is a must-do as well.
This is just a sampling of what Ontario has to discover. Pick a day or two, grab some friends or your partner and family and hit the road for a wonderful time in our province.
And of course, as you head out, make sure your vehicle is properly insured! If you have any insurance questions, contact your South Easthope Mutual agent or broker or call 1-800-263-9987!
By Julie McIntosh, South Easthope Mutual Marketing and Communications