I didn’t plan for it to happen. Really, I didn’t. In fact, the first time it happened it was almost by accident. True, I may have deliberately sought out the second time but the most recent occasion was based solely on an invite from a friend. Regardless, it’s now quite apparent that October had me day trip’n and sip’n throughout much of southern Ontario.
I must say, it was a stellar month.
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
It all started because of a little exploring I was doing near Toronto. While visiting the Cheltenham Badlands, I noticed a sign for a cider house and decided to swing by on my way home. I didn’t regret that decision. Moments after stepping inside I found myself sitting at the bar with a flight of ciders and a bowl of hot pumpkin soup in front of me. Needless to say I was quite pleased with myself.
I was seated inside Spirit Tree Estate Cidery. I immediately took note of its best features – wood-fire oven baked breads and pizzas and various ciders for sipping. My only challenge here was that I had come (driven) alone. Unable to enjoy my flight of ciders beyond a sip of each, I opted to purchase a little take-away to enjoy back home. A 6.9% alcohol ‘Dry Hopped Cider’ take-away I might add. I was doubly pleased with myself now. Next time I’m bringing a friend (a.k.a. a designated driver) and trying out one of their wood-fired pizzas with a full cider flight. Right!?
Having enjoyed my day trip n’ sip so much, I planned a few more day trips as the month went on. At Rattlesnake Point, just outside of Toronto, I was struck again and again by the beauty of the Niagara Escarpment and the views of the Fall colours. I sipped on my bottle of water that morning as I lingered on the trail as long as possible. I stopped to watch a few rock climbers navigate their way up the rock walls at Pinnacles Lookout too; something I had done myself a few years ago.
There’s something about a good hike that clears the mind. The wind was strong that day, I remember, and it made me feel as though all my worries were being blown away. I hiked two of the trails before finally heading back to my car with my empty water bottle.
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures
A few days later I found myself back on the escarpment. This time I was a few hours north of the city, in Collingwood, exploring the caves and caverns at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures. My 5-year-old accompanied me on this day trip and together we climbed down into the caves, shimmied through their narrow walls and marvelled at the bright green moss that seemed to cover everything.
True to their name, the area and the caves are extremely scenic and my daughter felt like a true explorer as she wound her way up and down the escarpment poking her head into crevasses and crannies that appeared along our path.
Hot chocolate was the ticket that day. The dampness of the caves and the air had chilled us and we needed to warm up. We ordered the warm drinks from inside the gift-shop and sipped on them as we walked over to the 420 foot suspension bridge to take in views of the Georgian Bay. The dreary day meant we had the bridge to ourselves aside from a small group of zip-liners we passed along the trail.
Muskoka Lakes Winery
Next up was a day trip to Muskoka to visit a cranberry bog during its harvest season. The fringe benefit of this seasonal adventure was the Muskoka Lakes Winery, located on site, that offered up tastings of its unique cranberry wines with cheese pairings. Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh is known for its ‘Bog to Bottle’ experience that takes visitors on a tour of the cranberry bog and then back to the winery to sample a selection of its wines including its best-selling cranberry and cranberry blueberry wine. It’s a unique and quite ‘Canadian’ experience and one I highly recommend.
The month of day trip’n and sip’n wound up last weekend with a visit to a few wineries in Beamsville; an area next door to the better-known Niagara wine region of southern Ontario. Friends brought us to one of their favourite wineries there – Megalomaniac – during one of its tasting events.What’s with the name? Well, apparently the owner had originally wanted to name the wines after himself (John Howard) but friends quickly scolded him for being yet another “megalomaniac” and a new name was born.
This time I wasn’t the driver so I was in full sipping mode. I worked my way around the tastings from the sparkling wine, the red wines and then over to the ice wines before picking up a few ‘souvenirs’. Another successful day of trip’n and sip’n.
What’s your favourite day trip’n and sip’n pairing?
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