I’d like to thank Cornwall Tourism for hosting me as media with one of their Cycle & Stay Packages so I could explore beer and biking in Cornwall Ontario. As always my opinions are always mine.
What I could tell you that you could bike from brewery to brewery in Cornwall, Ontario? You can depart on bike from Humble Beginnings Brewing in Ingleside and arrive at Rurban Brewing in Cornwall. Sounds simple right? Almost a straight 21km drive via Vincent Massey Blvd.
Here’s the hitch: Use only the bike trails on the Long Sault Parkway and the Waterfront Parkway and then up through Cornwall. It is a bit of a physical challenge if you’re not an experienced rider. It’s not overly stressful in terms of any elevations, but it’s not a short bike ride to do this route. However, the views are worth it.
This beer flight to beer flight route takes you on the Long Sault Parkway, a chain of 11 islands connected by causeways that is most definitely one of the most beautiful bike trails in all of Ontario. You will also cruise through the Waterfront Trail and the town of Cornwall. Just over 28 kilometres (just over two hours timewise) of a leisurely ride, minus all the picture-taking stops brought me from one beer-tasting flight to another.
Beer and biking Cornwall Ontario
Ontario craft beer is enjoying a high right now. It’s trendy and it’s good and I predict it will remain popular for the majority of my adult life. Long gone are the days of our Dad’s simple Blue and Blue Light. Our tastes are more refined now. Some like it hoppy and bitter, some like it malty with notes of caramel and chocolate or some straight up like the pineapple and sours. Whatever your taste preferences may be with respect to craft beer, in the Cornwall area, you’re bound to find it.
Beer and biking go hand in hand in Cornwall.
In 2020, bikes were sold out everywhere. With COVID and shutdowns, cycling has become a very popular outdoor form of activity. Cornwall is fortunate to have a long stretch of paved bicycle path that’s right by the water for the most part. There are over 40 kilometres of traffic-free, waterfront, paved recreation trails that people can travel. You don’t have to bike the entire 28 kilometres that I did. The access to it from many different points is amazing, so it’s great for families, seniors on a leisurely ride, serious cyclists, or newcomers to cycling.
Cornwall is has been recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition. Almost every single road in Cornwall has a bike lane, it’s pretty impressive.
Where Is Cornwall and Long Sault Parkway?
Cornwall, Ontario is located just west of the Quebec and Ontario border. The Long Sault Parkway, in the St. Lawrence River, is just west of Cornwall. This is the furthest eastern point of what is considered the 1000 Islands region. If you have been reading my posts for a while, you might remember that my kids and I spent a few days in Gananoque and 1000 Islands in the summer of 2020. Cornwall is just over the hour east of Gananoque.
The region around Cornwall is one of the oldest in Ontario and loaded with history. On my dad’s side of the family, we can even trace back to being farmers a couple of hundred years ago, just north of Cornwall in Glen Robertson.
The driving distance from Toronto is just over four hours.
How To Bike Around Cornwall?
Unless you have a vehicle driver like I did to drop me off, you’ll have to park and ride. The Civic Complex in downtown Cornwall offers free parking to cyclists. You can park your car, unload your bike and go off and enjoy the trail. You can also check out some of the history and culture that Cornwall has to offer.
There are places to rent bikes in Cornwall in case you need to rent a bicycle or want to and enjoy the trails here.
Stop 1: Humble Beginnings Brewing Co. – Pre Bike Ride Beer in Ingleside
My ride on this day starts at Humble Beginnings Brewing Co in Ingleside, Ontario. Humble Beginnings Brewery Co is a small batch, handcrafted brewery in an unassuming strip mall nestled between a major bank branch and a busy local restaurant.
With a view of the St. Lawrence River from its door, you can sit in the beer garden and watch the neighbourhood antics and get the small-town feel of the area.
The beers on tap this day are Mad Canadian Kolsch, Kiwi Campervan Pacific IPA, 65 Roses Red IPA and The Devil At Your Heels Copper Ale. Mad Canadian Kolsch is a clean, crisp lagered ale. Kiwi Campervan Pacific IPA is a bright, hazy and bitter beer featuring Pacific North West and New Zealand hops. The Devil At Your Heels Copper Ale is said to bring out your inner daredevil!
Based on the colour of the beer alone, my bet was placed on Kiwi Campervan Pacific IPA being my favourite, but it was the Mad Canadian Kolsch that edged them all out. Devil at Your Heels was the second-best in the flight to me.
Beer and biking Cornwall Ontario on this day was off to a good start indeed!
Long Sault Parkway
With my taste buds tickled and fuelled for the ride, I take off from Humble Beginnings Brewery in Ingleside, Ontario for the one-kilometre ride to the head of the Long Sault Parkway at the West Gate. The Long Sault Parkway is a series of 11 islands that were created from high points of land left after the flooding of the St. Lawrence River during the construction of the Seaway in the 1950s. In fact, the river has covered up some villages that once stood where the river now lies. There’s a bit of interesting Canadian trivia for you. Many of those residents from the now flooded villages were relocated to Ingleside or Long Sault. Some of the structures that could be moved were taken to Upper Canada Village.
Once the causeway is crossed, you find yourself on McLaren Island. You will ride past the McLaren Campground, then cross a small swamp and you’re on Woodlands Island. Woodlands Island is home to both a beach and a campground. Causeways carry the parkway east to Fraser Island, Hoople Island, Dickinson Island, Heriot Island, Vankoughnet Island, Phillpotts Island, Macdonnell Island and Mille Roches Island.
On Macdonnell Island, the parkway starts to turn northward as you pass an information booth for The Lost Villages. On this island, you also find porta-potties that are clearly visible in case you need to relieve yourself. Of interest, I learned that there are shipwrecks in this area! Took a bit of time to explore this. On Macdonnell Island is the diving club location for Save Ontario Shipwrecks.
In terms of scenic bike rides, this is one of the most beautiful in Ontario.
Waterfront Trail into Cornwall
After 10.1 kilometres of gorgeous scenery and easy riding, you find yourself at the intersection of the Long Sault Parkway and The Waterfront Trail. Head east on The Waterfront Trail here. What’s important to note here is that you will be sharing this trail with hikers and cyclists of all abilities. Cornwall’s Waterfront Trail is a multi-use trail that spans the city’s entire waterfront.
As I flew through this area, I had to pause at The Lost Villages Museum where over 70 vendors were set up. Dozens of artisans set up on the museum grounds selling all sorts of handcrafted goods. Instantly regretted only having my small backpack that was already jammed with bottles of water, sunscreen and spare underwear.
Once you get to Guindon Park, you can take a pause to refill your water bottle here, play at the park, rent a kayak or take a break and enjoy the scenery. At Guidon Park, the milage check is 17.39 kilometres and 73 minutes in time from Humble Beginnings Brewery by bike on Long Sault Parkway and The Waterfront Parkway.
Cornwall is a very bicycle-friendly city
Cornwall is proudly recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition.
The city is very accommodating to cyclists, with a network of over 75 kilometres of dedicated bike lanes and recreational trails reaching to every corner of the community.
A combination of the Waterfront Trail and dedicated bike lanes form to create an urban loop around the entire perimetre of the city.
Stop 2: Rurban Brewery – Post Bike Ride Beer in Cornwall
As far as Cornwall Ontario beers go, Rurban is the best. Rurban (the words rural plus urban) Brewing, is run by a husband and wife who have a long history in brewing.
The beers on tap in my flight this day are Cornwall Lager, Cherry Wit Wit, Kumk-What? and The Song Sings Itself. Cornwall Lager is a golden lager (however classified as an amber beer on an app), Cherry Wit Wit is a cream beer, Kumk-What? is a Creamsicle Ale and The Song Sings Itself is a UK Style Pale Ale. The Cornwall Lager was my favourite on the flight. I think. I liked them all but for different reasons. I’m a pale ale and pilsner girl primarily, but I’ll never snub an amber.
Beer and biking Cornwall Ontario finished on a high note! These beers felt very well deserved. Maybe it was the taste of satisfaction, but since I can’t purchase these in the LCBO at home, I made sure to take some cans with me. Beer from this brewery isn’t found outside the region, so be sure to visit in person to taste and purchase.
Where to Stay In Cornwall
If you are looking to visit a Cornwall Brewery while visiting the area to enjoy the bike trails, Cornwall boasts an amazing Cycle and Stay Package. Visit the Cornwall Tourism website to learn more about what is included and when it is offered. We stayed at the Ramada Inn and it was lovely. The bed was very comfortable and the room was spacious. There is a pool and a relaxing courtyard to visit. There is also a continental breakfast.
Everything in Cornwall seems relatively close so nothing was very far away from the hotel. You’re relatively close to all the good restaurants and downtown.
Why Beer and biking Cornwall Ontario?
Craft beer in Ontario is alive and well. And now that you know how easy it is to do, why not do it? I mean, think of all the calories you will burn and how much more space that will make for beer!
Interested in other great beer destinations in Ontario?
Heading into the second summer of the pandemic means more local travel. Since we cannot fly internationally yet, I am planning a series of small, shorter Ontario road trips for the kids and me. From our home in Toronto, I am planning trips within a five to six-hour driving radius. However, because these trips are more local, I cannot negate the care and maintenance of my vehicle. I have a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, which to me – is the absolute best road trip vehicle known to mankind and I’ll go into those reasons in another post. Jeeps are rugged, but still, require the same love I would have given to my Ford Escape or to my Grandpa’s Buick.
Before you pack your cooler with food, bathing suits, towels and your kids into the car, you need to make sure that you have taken care of everything else. Ensure you are not at risk of having a weird smell of that spilled orange juice basking that you cannot get rid of in the back seat. Or smeared, dead bugs all over your windshield that you cannot get rid of, no air conditioning or even worse, breaking down on the side of the road. Believe it or not, there are still areas of Ontario that have minimal to no cell phone service. I know this because I have been there. Roadtripping in Ontario is great fun. It’s awful when you end up with a problem on the road that you could have tending to beforehand.
Preparing for Ontario Road Trips
Like I mentioned before, in preparing for a road trip in Ontario, clean out the car! Our summers can be hot. Remove all the garbage and things that kids have leftover before they cake into the seats due to sun and heat. Wipe and clean up cracker crumbles. Vacuum it all up.
I’m a huge fan of washing the exterior and the interior. If anything else, it’s a feeling of pride to have a clean vehicle inside and out.
Want to know where some of my favourite places in Ontario are? Consider a road trip to any one of these Ontario destinations:
Below is my recommended checklist of what you need to do to get your vehicle road trip ready for the summer of driving in Ontario.
Get Your Vehicle Road Trip Ready
Take your car to your mechanic and have them do an inspection. Have them check your oils (brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant strength and power steering fluid). Also check coolant, belts, hoses and timing belt, battery, air filter, brakes, battery and fuel injector. If your brakes are worn out, get them serviced.
A clogged air filter restricts airflow in the cabin of the car. Replace it. Unless you have CAA or AAA, it’s cheaper to get these items serviced than to pay for a tow truck and a motel room in an unintended place.
Replace those worn-out windshield wiper blades and top up the wiper fluid in your vehicle. Dead bugs on the glass will come off easier with some fluid! It’s not hard to change your wipe blades on your own either. Websites like Canadian Tire make it easy to locate the correct size for your vehicle. Often you can find instructions on the manufacturer’s website or in the blade packaging.
Make sure you have adequate air in your tires and that you have a kit to fix a flat just in case. Check on your spare tire. Locate your tire iron and know where the release mechanism is if you have to change a flat. Make sure you have all the tools needed or be sure to have a CAA or AAA membership that you can call for assistance.
Fill your gas tank! Often the price of gas in remote areas is more expensive than in the urban/suburban areas. Once you get an hour outside of Toronto, the price of gas decreases by a few cents per litre but will increase the farther away you go. Be sure you leave your home on a full tank, but fill up along the way when presented with the opportunity.
Vehicle Packing List
I’m a strong believer in having adequate equipment in your vehicle as well. I’m not talking about packing snacks, although that isn’t a bad idea to have in your cooler. Same with ice and water in your reusable bottle.
Here is my packing list of items for your vehicle to make your Ontario road trips a success:
Get or make a decent first aid kit. Accidents happen – even a scratch on your arm while out for a hike, so be prepared with bandaids and antiseptic.
Invest in an Ontario road map. If you are travelling to areas with very little to no population – think of signs like “last gas for 50 miles”, then make sure you have a road map. Chances are, there will be no cellular service to access your maps app on your smartphone. I do have an Ontario road map in my glovebox.
I like having a blanket packed in the trunk at all times. Great for stargazing or planespotting stops and drive-in movie theatres
A change of clothing is great to have on hand too.
Boots. Take it from me, I’ve gotten stuck in mud and snow before. Having a set of boots in the trunk that you can put on is a lifesaver.
Rural Ontario Routes
Looking for some Rural Ontario Routes to check out?
One of my family’s favourite summer destinations is Tobermory, Ontario on the Bruce Peninsula. The first time we visited was in the summer of 2017. We designated Tobermory as a two-night stop on our way to Lake Superior Provincial Park from Toronto.
We subsequently visited Tobermory in the summer of 2018 as we loved it so much and enjoyed everything the area has to offer. The Bruce Peninsula is stunning. The town of Tobermory is quaint. The grotto is right out of this world!
How To Get To Tobermory From Toronto
The drive to Tobermory, Ontario from our home in downtown Toronto is approximately 4 hours. However, with the rate at which my children (and ex-husband) need to exit the vehicle for a pee, hunger and leg stretching, it honestly took closer to 6, yes SIX hours at that time.
The most direct way from Toronto is north on Highway 427 to the 401. Take Highway 401 westbound to the 410 and then take the 410 north. That highway eventually becomes Highway 10 and you will drie north on it until you reach a set of lights with a Champ Burger on one corner and a Super Burger on the other corner. We highly recommend Super Burger. Turn left and drive towards the town of Shelbourne. Follow the street signs that point north towards Own Sound. Once you reach Owen Sound, follow highway 6 north.
To get to that part of Ontario, you’re not driving on mega highways with rest stops. You will be driving through small towns. Once you head north of Orangeville, the next biggest city is Owen Sound. If you wish to purchase any groceries for your stay, Owen Sound is the best bet. If you want to pick up a snack or meal at a fast food place or use a washroom, again, Owen Sound is the safe bet.
We enjoyed our time in Tobermory in the summer of 2017 so much that we decided we would return in the summer of 2018 as well. And you know what? It is safe to say, I will return again. Tobermory boasts an abundance of things to do!
Top 5 Things To See And Do In Tobermory, Ontario
Here is the list of the best things to do and see in Tobermory, Ontario with kids. This is based on the activities my children enjoyed there. By no means is this a list of everything to do in Tobermory. When we return to Tobermory, I will definitely look into renting kayaks and snorkelling over the shipwrecks.
1.) Take a Boat Tour to see the two Shipwrecks in Big Tub Harbour
Tobermory is one of the best places to see shipwrecks in Ontario! Really and truly, nothing beats scuba diving shipwrecks if you are a certified diver. If you are not a diver or a snorkeler or you are travelling with your children and do not have other care for them while you are on a dive, then viewing from a boat is the next best thing here. The two wrecks you can see in Big Tub Harbour in Tobermory are called Sweepstakes and City of Grand Rapids.
The Sweepstakes went down in 1885, spoiler alert – no treasures left and currently lies in roughly 6 metres of water. It is one of the best-preserved shipwrecks of its time in the Great Lakes. The City of Grand Rapids wreck is from 1907, it was a double-decker steamer that caught fire while mooring. It was released from the dock and left it to burn in the harbour. It sank where it lies.
Totally worth seeing – see if you can get on one of the glass bottom boats to do this! Note – the boats can get very crowded fast. Either get a seat up top for premium viewing over the side or stay down below at the glass bottom.
2. Take a boat to Flowerpot Island
Flowerpot Island is only accessible by boat from Tobermory, Ontario and is one of the best experiences in Fathom Five National Marine Park! The island is famous for its natural “flowerpot” rock pillars, caves, historic light station and rare plants. This is a great spot for easy to moderate level hikers – my kids had no problem. Here you will find great swimming and snorkelling, picnic areas and overnight camping if you are adventurous. Be sure to bring your bathing suit in a day bag with you and have sturdy shoes. Hiking pro-tip: I don’t recommend that you come in flip-flops and try to do the hiking.
We were not prepared for the beauty here – it is so awe-inspiring! The water really is the colour of these photos – no filter! The rookie mistake we made when we went was not packing a cooler. There is really nothing to purchase here, bring your own food and water! Also, there are not a whole lot of places to dispose of garbage here, so please plan to take back with you what you bring.
Word of wisdom to the Instagram Models of the world – please do not try to climb the Flower Pots. It’s dangerous to you if you fall, but it’s also disruptive to nature. Imagine being the asshole who damages one of these natural structures so terribly that it changes the appearance?
How To Get To Flowerpot Island
There are a couple of boat charter companies to get you here from Tobermory, Ontario. You do have to pay for tickets to get out to the island and back. You can combine a shipwreck viewing tour or simply take an express boat direct and they have ticketed return times when they drop you off. According to the Parks Canada website, they recommend that you spend 4-5 hours hiking and see it all. Plan to spend the day – at least an afternoon, please don’t short change yourself on time here. Buying tickets from any of the suppliers in the harbour area of the town in advance is a good idea to ensure your plans for the day are not disrupted.
3.) Visit The Grotto in Bruce Peninsula National Park
The Grotto, found in Bruce Peninsula National Park, just outside of Tobermory, is a place that is so popular, we couldn’t get in the first year we tried. I severely underestimated that it is one of the top attractions in the province and that just showing up would suffice. It turns out it requires a little more planning to be able to see and experience this magical place.
We did our planning and did get into the Grotto in the summer of 2018. During the peak season of July and August, there are a couple of ways to make sure you are in Bruce Peninsula National Park and can access the Grotto:
1.) Be there already as a camper at one of the backcountry sites along Georgian Bay or in Cyprus Lake Campground.
2.) Reserve parking in advance if coming from outside the park. Parking is assigned by time blocks and only a certain amount of cars are permitted per time slot.
3.) Head up there in the off or shoulder seasons of April/May/June or September/October when the demand to visit is much less.
There’s a twitter hashtag you can follow for more information – #GrottoParking
As of June 1, some Parks Canada places began a safe, gradual reopening of some outdoor areas at national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.
Covid Protocols and The Grotto, Tobermory
Reservations for parking at the Grotto for the summer of 2021 will be available online on April 29th at 8:00 a.m. EDT. Important to note – Visitors will not be permitted to climb into the Grotto since physical distancing is not possible. Parks Canada is asking that you enjoy the view from above.
4.) Have ice cream at The Sweet Shop on Bay Street
There’s this sweet little ice cream shop with a lot of brilliant Canadian flavours of yummy ice cream. Located at 18 Bay Street, overlooking Little Tub Harbour, the locally owned Sweet Shop makes candy, fudge, chocolate and brittle onsite. Come after dinner, sit and relax! Walk around Tobermory and see the boats in the harbour with ice cream in hand, you won’t be sorry!
Singing Sands Beach is located off of Dorcas Bay Road south of Tobermory. This large sandy beach with shallow waters is part of Bruce Peninsula National Park. I admit, when my family rolled up to this beach, we were not impressed. It looked like it was full of weeds, there were not a lot of people there and it was windy. My family is a little spoiled. The kids are used to Prince Edward County and Caribbean beaches.
The water was warm and you could walk really far out before the kid’s lower bodies became submerged. The kids even had a good time. For those who are squeamish about things touching their feet in the water, I recommend wearing a pair of water shoes. It’s not really so bad once you walk out in the water for a bit. Admission here is free.
And as a bonus for you history buffs – there are historical walking tours available in town.
Tobermory Brewing Company
If you’ve been reading my blog posts and following me for a while, you know what a craft beer lover I am. In fact, Ontario craft beers rank as some of my favourites in the world! So no trip to Tobermory is complete without finding a brewery. And I found Tobermory Brewing Company. It’s Tobermory’s first and only brewery, a restaurant and a beer store. Sweet find, definitely worth a visit to sample the brew. The older woman hostess wasn’t over-friendly – I think she wanted me to leave because I had children with me, but the beer made up for it.
Women with children enjoy craft beer too. We enjoy the artisan work involved. Trying to turn us away with your 40-minute wait and it’s really crowded speech is a big mistake.
These are my family’s Top 5 Things to Do in Tobermory, Ontario! We cannot wait to return to the Bruce Peninsula to discover more of the area to see.
For those of you looking for the video blog – here you go!
Where to Stay in Tobermory, Ontario
My kids and I have stayed at the Blue Bay Motel as well as another location we do not recommend. We are booked to return to the Blue Bay motel this coming summer.
Take your family on a road trip – check out BOOKING.COM today (affiliate link, I make a small commission if you make a booking at no extra cost to you)
Hi readers! Happy New Year, it looks like we all survived and limped over the finish line. Please, pat yourself on the back, it’s well deserved. Despite all the difficulties everyone has been through, what has amazed me is the continual spirit of the travel community to keep the essence of adventure in our cores. Myself included. However, hiking and travelling in Ontario during this lockdown is a bit of a different beast. I’m not even talking about getting on a plane and going to a foreign country.
There is an ethical dilemma that has been weighing on me a lot as of late and I felt conflicted. I did not feel right writing anything new and publishing in the past month as COVID-19 cases around the Greater Toronto Area have been soaring. Simply put, I care a LOT about our outdoors and about my readers and if I am writing and providing you information, it’s meant for you to enjoy it. And enjoy it when it is safe to do so. Just because I have published a Guide to Hogg’s Falls in Grey County, I am not encouraging you to travel there from Windsor or Ottawa (or from any other distance of note) to visit right now.
I love sharing trails, insider tips and insights with everyone. Getting out in nature is so good for our health and wellbeing, especially right now. Exploring Ontario is so much fun because there’s always something new I can stumble upon. Nothing brings me more joy than promoting counties and tiny towns in the province of Ontario. Or recommending restaurants and small businesses that everyone needs to know about. I’m constantly compiling and sharing information on where to see the Best Sunsets In Ontario or where to find the Best Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in Southern Ontario. They get updated every so often.
On the other hand, information requests I have received for how to get into conservation areas that are closed for the season or due to Covid-19 measures or how to skirt paying for parking or admission in certain parks or conservation areas is not something I want to be known for. Please, do not ask me how to do that and please, do not attempt to do that.
Living through Lockdown Edition version 2021 in Ontario is not a plump bowl of cherries. I would love to pack up my Jeep and the kids and head back to Sudbury for some winter fun. It’s painful that we cannot. Full stop, I understand the desire to go out and explore. I am simply asking you to do so within the legal confines that we are currently faced with. I’m not the law. I cannot stop you from travelling from Toronto to take in a weekend away in Prince Edward County because you feel you need a weekend away.
Ethically, I will not encourage you to do that either.
Yes, I am acutely aware that transmission rates of Covid-19 from travel are low and it’s more likely to be spread indoors in close-contact settings.
I will encourage hiking, snowshoeing, skiing and travelling safely while abiding by current guidelines. If that means we are not supposed to venture far away from our home towns, that’s what I currently encourage. I’m going to resume publishing posts and have faith in the universe that soon it is safe for everyone to safely explore these destinations again.
There is hope on the horizon all. We just have to get there.
From Brighton to Trenton, Frankford and Belleville, the fall colours are coming out in full force! It’s the time of year where the trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go. And that we do. Quite frankly this is the time of year I love to be outside the most. The amazing array of colours spoil my eyes. Coupled with still moderately warmish days, it’s a shame to stay inside and miss it. Before the short days of winter, get outside and get that final vitamin D boosts from the sun. While you are at it, enjoy the splendour of October. Here are some of the best areas to see the fall colours around Belleville and Trenton in the Bay of Quinte Region of Ontario.
“How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”
Where To See Fall Colours Around Belleville and Trenton, Ontario
Want to know where to go for the best viewing spots for seasonal colour in the areas between Brighton to Frankford to Trenton to Belleville? I have my favourites that I will disclose to you here. So read on to find out where I like to be for optimal colour viewing from east to west of the Bay of Quinte Region!
Presqu’ile Provincial Park
How lucky is the town of Brighton to have neighbourhood access to one of the best provincial parks in Ontario? Presqu’ile Provincial Park boasts Lake Ontario access, bird migrations, amazing camping and lovely areas to wander. The wifi isn’t weak here though, cellular reception is fairly decent.
The best place to wander for fall foliage viewing in Prequ’ile Provincial Park though is the Jobes Woods Trail. It’s only a kilometre long so no complaining that it’s too arduous. Getting out for a half-hour walk isn’t that wrong is it? While the greens stay strong for a long time here, when they turn, is’s a brilliant canopy of golden hues overhead.
Frankford Tourist Park and Lock 6 on The Trent Severn Waterway
When I was growing up in Belleville, I missed a high opportunity to explore the area of Frankford. Now that I am older and my mom has relocated there, I’m sure glad she has. About 15 minutes driving north of Trenton, Frankford Tourist Park is a great place to park the vehicle. From there, you can stroll the banks of the Trent River on the west side. At Lock 6, there are picnic tables and places to rest and take in the beautiful setting.
Not only is this one of the best places to view fall colours around Belleville and Trenton, this is also one of the best places to catch a sunset in Southern Ontario. I mean come on, look at that still water reflection! Read Where To Find The Best Southern Ontario Sunsets
Sager Conservation Area
Roughly 30 minutes by car north of Trenton and tucked in behind the Oak Hills Golf Course is Sager Conservation Area. From the top of the lookout tower is one of the best places in all of the Bay of Quinte Region to view the fall foliage.
It’s a challenge to get up there! The hike from the parking lot to the tower is only half a kilometre and there are stairs involved as the trail is steep.
While this is a great place to go with the family, this area is not stroller friendly or good for the mobility impaired. There are 48 additional steps going up the observation tower after the steep trek. For the able-bodied, it’s worth the 30-foot climb for the panoramic views of the Trent Valley. On clear days, you can see all the way into Belleville, Trenton and Campbellford.
“Wild is the music of the autumnal winds amongst the faded woods.”
Here’s full disclosure on Mount Pelion, I’ve spent some time up to no good here in my teen years. Mostly it was late at night and I was trying to impress some friends. I didn’t appreciate how awesome the view was then.
Every local in Trenton knows how to get to Mount Pelion. The pity is, I don’t know how many actually go up there. The other day when I was there, it was empty except for a runner who whizzed by. Of course, it is early in the fall foliage season. Great for the curious wanderers, visitors to the lookout point are well rewarded with a perspective of the area that nowhere else can provide. It’s a short, but steep, uphill hike, that is worth it.
From the vantage point of the 30-foot lookout tower on top of Mount Pelion, you can see all of Trenton, into Prince Edward County and even all the way to Belleville. In the fall, it’s the perfect great time to see the autumn hues colours that blanket the city.
Riverside Trail Park
Fall is always one of my favourite seasons. The time when trees burst with its last beauty. As if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale. Riverside Trail Park is definitely where this is true.
On the trail that runs alongside the Moira River, there are several rest spots along the way to enjoy your surroundings. Pack a lunch, stroll with no destination in mind. You can park and start at the Canada flag planted on the hill that is used for toboggans and make your way along the river south and back again.
HR Frink Centre
This conservation area has a ton of lovely trails you can hike. I think I have some memories of my days as a Girl Guide on day trips here, that’s a lot of years ago by the way. Being a conservation area rich in a lot of trees, that’s a lot of colour bursts coming your way! There’s a marsh, a boardwalk trails in the woods and a ton of canopy tree cover. It’s a romantic spot for a socially distant date as well.
For more ideas of what to see and out around the Belleville and Trenton area, be sure to visit the Bay of Quinte tourism website. Happy autumn hue hunting!
Amanda from Ride The Bine hosted me (again) and my colleagues on this tour so we can witness first hand how to safely take beer and wine tours during our current times.
Welcome to the summer of 2020. It will affectionately be forever known as the summer where we couldn’t go anywhere except exploring in our own backyard. While the past few months have been utter emotional garbage for many, including myself, I’m turning my thoughts to the silver linings. There are a lot of positives on staying local, less travel time in the air with the kids and hearing them ask “are we there yet?”. I’m becoming an expert in southern Ontario. Seeing some of the same highways in different directions and at different times of day means seeing something new all the time. In that vein, once again, I find myself in Norfolk County.
Happily, I’m back on Ride The Bine, a fully guided beer and wine tour with my friends and fellow co-founders of the Toronto Bloggers Collective, Chris Mitchell and his wife Bri, Chris Rudder and Kevin Wagar. We are safely, in our new COVID style world order, reconnecting and enjoying some social distancing fun. It’s been months since we’d all laid eyes on each other in person and I cried like a baby all over Chris Rudder’s shoulder. For real, wrecked my eye makeup before I even left Toronto. This period has been hard on everyone.
Back to our day trip – Ride The Bine was started in March of 2017 by Amanda and Susan – 2 local girls with a passion for all things Norfolk. Amanda was our tour animator for the day and she is FUN!
Ride The Bine New Safety Measures
Since the last time I had been on Ride The Bine, there’s been a bit of a change in the world. A global pandemic, health safety measures, that kind of thing. Not to sound too blase about the whole scenario, but at this point in the journey, we have to have a laugh about something somehow. And really, I need a laugh, so bear with me.
Boarding the Mercedes Benz sprinter van, all passengers are required to put their masks on. There is a clear plastic barrier between the driver and the passengers in the back. I’m going to admit, it’s right out of a strange parallel world. I’m a hugger and very physical. Yet, I’m restricted from touching others. Hands to myself! I can do it, I can do it…
We were limited to a maximum group amount of eight people. In total, our group size was 5. We were able to safely spread out between the four rows of the cab. We also had generous amounts of hand sanitizer pumped into the palms of our hands as we boarded. Hand sanitizer was everywhere we stopped.
Stop # 1: Bonnieheath Lavender and Winery
Like many places in Norfolk County, Bonnieheath Lavender and Winery is a former tobacco farm. As we were lucky enough to visit in July, the lavender fields were IN FULL BLOOM. Like, perfect. Lavender is in bloom from approximately the last week of June through to the first week of August here.
If there is a reason to come to Bonnieheath in the summer, this is it. Excuse me, here are some obligatory lavender field photos with us.
Onto the winery! I visited Bonnieheath two summers ago and fell in love with their ciders. Happy to say that they are just as good as I remember! Known for their Folkin’ Hard ciders – named after the county of Norfolk, they are a blend of 100% Norfolk apples, along with other local seasonal fruits including sour cherries, blueberries, and strawberries. Good information to note – Amanda from Ride The Bine is an apple grower and her apples go into the cider blend. Hometown proud!
The tastings here were done in their production facility, which is inside. We were served by the owner who was wearing a face mask and a face shield.
We sampled their Fresh Apple, Cherry Bomb (cherry), True Blue (Blueberry and Lavender), and their Sweet Lips (strawberry and maple syrup) ciders. My favourite is Cherry Bomb by a long shot. It’s all for sale in their shop and yes I bought a couple of bottles to take home.
Also for sale in the shop is lavender products! Lavender is harvested and distilled in former tobacco kilns on-site. From there, they create their array of lavender products including soaps, pillow sprays, essential oil and sanitizer.
Stop #2: Burning Kiln Winery
For the third time, I find myself at one of the biggest and best wineries in all of Ontario – Burning Kiln Winery. The wines here pay homage to the farm’s history as they are named after some element of tobacco farming.
Before I talk about the wines, I’m going to tell you about their safety measures. In a usual year, Burning Kiln is host to multiple outdoor concert events and the vineyard provides a stunning backdrop for hosting weddings. The tastings were taking place in the outdoor canopy as weddings are not happening on the property this year. The staff all behind plexiglass poured the sample into a shot glass and then the shot glass into our sample glass. The sample glass was reusable and we all got to take our individual glasses home with us.
Having sampled some wines there in the past, I know a little bit about what I like the most here. Normally I go for a red, however since it’s summertime, a chilled white wine is my preferred drink. On this day, my favourite was the Sparks, a sparkling rosé made in the Cuvée Close method. Since I was there, I also bought the flagship red wine, Kiln Hanger. At $50 for a bottle, kiln-dried grapes, and barrel-aged for close to 3 years, it results in an incredibly flavourful and complex red. I’m going to save it for a special occasion.
Lunch: Canned Heat on the Patio at Burning Kiln
Canned Heat is in its 2nd year running food service on the patio at Burning Kiln Winery. With a huge focus on local food and ingredients and showcasing the best of what Norfolk, Ontario’s Garden has to offer, daily menu items feature local seasonal produce and a great variety of local fish fresh from lake Erie and local beef and lamb. Spoiler – I had the lamb burger and it was divine!
Stop #3: Hometown Brew Co. at Long Point Eco-Adventures
A couple of summers ago, my kids and I stayed at Long Point Eco-Adventures. Some craft beer on-site would have been nice. My wish has seemingly turned into a command!
Started by 3 local young guys in their 20s, here you can sip on brews and enjoy incredible views of the Turkey Point marsh, Lake Erie and Long Point. Hometown Brew Co. has several beer styles available to try including their famous Blueberry Saison featuring blueberries from the farm of one of the owners. The logo for Hometown Brew Co. features a lighthouse – reminiscent of the one in Port Dover and also Long Point. Being “home” at the lake is huge for Norfolk County folks – many residents own boats, cottages, or simply just enjoy being down at the beach after a long week of work, or a long hot day of working on the farm.
Here physical distancing is not a problem. Lining up for your beer, you have to adhere to markers on the patio. Tables are spaced fairly far apart so you can cheers your friends from a distance.
My favourite beers to try here are the Southern Ale and Southern Light. I also sampled the IPA and the Blueberry Saison.
Stop # 4: Inasphere Wines
Want to know where to enjoy incredible views of the Inner Bay of Lake Erie and Long Point? It’s at Inasphere Wines? Currently a family-run, working vegetable farm and winery, this is the lowest elevation farm in all of Norfolk County.
Ryan and his wife Shantel, are the 3rd generation to own and work the farm. Ryan is a winemaker and studied at Niagara College and Jackson Triggs to hone his winemaking skills. What’s incredibly unique is that he has grown up on the property, manages the vines and also produces the wine. Very intimate knowledge of the land and what he is putting in bottles for people to enjoy.
We didn’t enter their building except to use the washroom, we conducted tastings outside from a distance. We sampled their Dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Grey Area (lightly pressed Pinot Noir – red grape but produced as a unique white wine), and also their Cabernet Franc. Grey Area was fantastic!
Having done this tour with Amanda and Ride The Bine, I can unequivocally say that our safety, social distancing and hygiene were of the utmost importance. I have confidence recommending this tour to anyone wanting a safe and enjoyable guided beer and wine tour with a fantastic animator who knows everything there is to know about the area!
CHECK OUT OUR DAY HERE – VIDEO COURTESY OF RUDDERLESS TRAVEL:
And as a bonus, you might even be able to get a stop at Cider Keg Farm Market, a popular stop for boaters and cottagers to grab fresh, local produce to enjoy on their way to the lake. Ice cream, baked goods, meats, snacks, cheeses, preserves and a plethora of local produce is available for purchase. Heck, you’re in Ontario’s Garden, enjoy it!