10 Things you NEED to try in Haliburton

“I’m lost at the lake, don’t bother me”

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To be QUITE frank, ever since making the “big move” to Toronto, I’ve discovered that I am undeniably, one hundred percent NOT a city girl. Having grown up as a bright eyed, sheltered gal from the burbs, I’d always been WILDLY envious of my Torontonion counterparts when they would describe big city life as vibrant, colourful or going so far as to suggest that it makes them “feel alive“. So I’m sure you can only imagine the shock & disappointment I felt when I discovered that running through the 6ix with my woes is simply not all it’s cracked up to be. Thanks for nothing, Aubrey. If anything, the only reason I’ve ever felt more “alive” in this city is because I’m now acutely in tune with my own mortality. Bleak, I’m aware – but let’s just say that my experience here has been very Gotham City rather than Sex & the City. I’m sorry fellow city dwellers, Toronto DOES have an undeniably amazing culture & social scene… but I tried, & the city life is just not for me!

10 Things You NEED to Try in Haliburton

SO what I’m trying to get across in an extremely overly pessimistic roundabout way, is that life in a concrete jungle has REALLY made me appreciate Haliburton, & what little time I have up North at the cottage. I’ve always been a diehard cottager – my parents started me young at the age of four – so I was positively thrilled when a particular collaboration proposal wandered its way into my inbox from Ontario’s Highland Tourist Organization.

** pinches arm & questions reality **

So what’s the deal? Well starting this winter on various weekends, I’m going to begin covering events, tourist attractions, dinners & excursions in the Haliburton & Highland region!!!

Mind Blown. DREAM FREAKIN’ COME TRUE!

Now because I’m SO excited, I thought I’d get a bit of a head start & share my top ten favourite things to do in Haliburton, so that if you ever happen to be in the area, you can get the MOST out of your Highland experience!

1. Go Tree Top Trekking

My family & I decided to try this on a particularly chilly summer day last year, & let me tell you… The Canopy Tour at the Haliburton Forest is friggin spectacular! You begin your journey canoeing across a lake to your “treetop apparatus starting point”. Side Note: This is undoubtedly NOT the correct term… but A+ for effort? The views from the treetops are absolutely unparalleled – I’d imagine this tour would be STUNNING in the fall.

2. Eat at Rhubarb

Image via: Rhubarb’s Instagram

Upscale dining in cottage country? Yes it exists, & it’s called Rhubarb. What I LOVE about this restaurant, is that the menu is always changing based on what’s locally available & in season (hi… can you say fresh?!) I seriously don’t think that I’ve ever had the same thing twice here, & it is without a doubt ALWAYS on point taste wise. Plus – the lake views from your table are also pretty stunning.

3. READ!!!!!

Not going to lie, one of my all time favourite activities at the cottage is to plant my keister lakeside & read a good book! It is, in my humble opinion, the BEST way to zone out & relax after a busy workweek! Here are some of my CURRENT fav summer reads right now!

4. Sip on “Docktails” 

Okay so I’ve one hundred percent lied to you. One of my all time favourite activities at the cottage is actually to plant my keister lakeside with a good book in one hand AND a “docktail” in the other! What’s a docktail you ask? It’s honestly just a cocktail that you drink on the dock – revolutionary, I know.

Anywho – I’ve really gotten quite good at making adult beverages if I do say so myself, & below are a couple of my “better for you” cocktail recipes that are PERFECT if you’re looking to beat the heat lakeside!

5. Visit Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre

Image via the Wolf Centre

One thing I’ve learned about Haliburton is that there is wildlife literally EVERYWHERE! We used to have a cottage on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka for well over a decade, & I have to say that there is absolutely ZERO comparison when it comes to the amount of wildlife you’ll be exposed to here in Haliburton!  It is really quite incredible!

One great way to learn about the wildlife in Haliburton is to visit the Wolf Centre. The primary focus at the Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre is research, education & sustainable land use. Due to the nature of the wolf’s sprawling sancutary, there is no gaurantee that you will actually see the wolves, however if you DO manage to catch a glimpse it is extraordinary!

6. Go to the Water Spa at Sir Sam’s

Image via Trip Advisor

So this is more of an activity that I prefer indulging in over the winter – HOWEVER, if you’re ever faced with a rainy day in the summer, why not treat yo self to a day at the water spa?! The Water Spa at Sir Sam’s is lined with jets & fountains that are designed to target specifc areas & trigger reflexology points; plus the plush chaise lounge chairs lining the pool don’t hurt too bad either! Not to mention, it’s really quite reasonable price wise!!

7. Make S’mores

A campfire is simply not a campfire if you don’t bust out a few s’mores here & there! These ooey, gooey desserts are somewhat of a delicacy up north – but if you’re looking to tone it down a bit, & wanting something on the healthier side of things, below are some “better for you” ingredients that I use to make s’mores:

8. Go Paddle Boarding, Kayaking, Canoe

Paddle boarding, kayaking or canoeing is hands down the BEST form of exercise up north! It’s equal parts fitness AND adventure which is just a fantastic way to fit your endurance in whilst on a weekend getaway!

 9. Beer tasting at Boshkung Brewery

Image via Boshkung Brewery

Okay so this is like the ONE activity on my list that I have yet to actually complete, but I’m positively DYING to visit this Brewery for beer tastings! Boshkung Brewery is located in Minden & is essentially THE beer of cottage country, with a special focus on local, Highland ingredients. They have seasonal, rotating & year-round beers! Yes, please!

10. Do NOTHING! 

Yes… you’ve absolutely read that correctly! Do NOTHING! I’ve said it one hundred times, & I’ll say it again. Doing nothing at the cottage, always feels like you’re doing something! Sit out by the lake, close your eyes & literally just take it ALL in! It’s true what they say… life is seriously so much better by the lake!

From Haliburton? What did I miss on this list?!

Brit

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