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Three Wineries In Norfolk County You Need To Get To With Ride The Bine

Living in Ontario has so many perks! Aside from a decent climate in terms of being in Canada and access to world-class cities such as Toronto, Montreal and New York, USA within a handful of hours, the food and drink scene here is exploding. Over the past decade, the craft beer and wine industry have seen a huge boom and changed our consumption for the better. The three bigger areas in the province for wine are Prince Edward County, Niagara Region and Norfolk County. I’m taking you on a tour to show you three wineries in Norfolk County you need to know about.

NOTE – this tour was done pre-COVID. For updated safety on the tour and what the wineries and breweries are doing to keep patrons safe, read about my most recent experience on Ride The Bine by clicking here.

Three Wineries In Norfolk County You Need To Know

When it comes to Ontario Wines, I’m really picky. Let me just say up front that there have been some that have not sat right in my stomach. Or have not gone past my palette in a favourable way. Clearly, I will not focus my attention in that direction or recommend anything to you that I don’t like. In the true spirit of being authentic, if I won’t buy it for myself to consume, I won’t tell you about it.

While Norfolk County does have a lot of wineries that are flourishing, I’m going to focus on my favourites at the moment. These three wineries in Norfolk County are Dover 13 (Smoke and Gamble and Friskey Beacher Wines), Burning Kiln and Blueberry Hill Estates. I visited Burning Kiln in the past and I’m glad I was able to make a return trip!

Read more: Family Friendly Fun in Norfolk County, Ontario

While there are some LCBO locations in Ontario that you can walk in and purchase wine from these businesses, local restaurants are their strongest partners. Also, tourism is the biggest driver for awareness and sales. Meaning, online orders that deliver as well as drive-up business is what keeps them alive.

These wineries are also found on the Toast The Coast Trail, which are outstanding wineries from the town of Simcoe in the east to the town of St. Thomas in the west

Vineyard at burning kiln winery

Where Is Norfolk County?

Norfolk County is in Southern Ontario. To reach the area, it’s just over two-hours driving from downtown Toronto. It’s become a very accessible place for local tourists from the areas of London, Kitchener/Waterloo, Guelph, Hamilton and the rest of the Greater Toronto Area. The great cycling food and wine has brought patrons from Quebec as well.

Tourism data shows local beverages are the big driver for visitors. Norfolk County has a strong beach and boating culture, being situated on Lake Erie. Many people have owned cottages in Turkey Point and Port Dover going on 3-5 generations back! This is an area that is also popular for sport fishing and kite surfing. Cycling has seen increasing popularity over the years as has hiking.

Eat, Shop and Stay in Norfolk sign

RIDE THE BINE

The only way that I recommend visiting multiple wineries or breweries in one day in Norfolk County is by talking Ride The Bine. Ride The Bine was founded in 2017 by Amanda and Susan – both country girls from Norfolk County and are now raising their own families there. They have a huge, invested interest in seeing the area succeed. Amanda treated me to our afternoon tour and she is a blast. I can get along with pretty much everybody, but she’s genuinely enthusiastic, incredibly knowledgeable, humourous and full of personality.

Ride The Bine is a beer, wine and cider tour company. They have a couple of big vehicles, like a mega-comfortable Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and they drive you from tasting to tasting, providing exceptional commentary and company along the way. They can take you and your closest friends, colleagues, bachelor and bachelorette parties, divorce parties, custom tours, you name it. If you’re looking to sample some of the beer, wine or cider from Norfolk County, Ride The Bine is the safe and easy way to go. Way more fun than calling your Mom to come to pick you up because you drank too much.

Understandably, taking a tour in post-COVID times is causing trepidation. Have no fear, I’ve been told that measures to keep everyone safe are coming into place. To inquire and/or book your own Ride The Bine experience, check out their website here: https://www.ridethebine.com/

Tell them I sent you!

Ride The Bine wine, beer and cider tours in Norfolk County - Tour host Amanda and her Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van

The Wines and Vines

In Norfolk County, agriculture is a strong industry. Known as the Garden of Ontario, the previous king crop of tobacco has given way to ginseng and the soil is excellent. Interesting factoid for you, I’ve been told that the largest medical marijuana grow op in Ontario is here. Now that cannabis is legal, there is huge opportunity here for big a financial boom.
Commercial farmers have been driving innovation through big organic operations and a whole lot of trial and error. Standard crops here are berries! Blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, goji berries, oh and hazelnuts! You will see how berries factor into the wine industry here…

DOVER 13 WINERY

The first winery I want to introduce you to is Dover 13 and they can be found at 455 Radical Road, just west of Port Dover. Dover 13 isn’t the name of the winery, it’s an umbrella over a couple of different wine companies – Frisky Beaver, Smoke and Gamble and Crappy Wine. Is the wine crappy? Crappy Wine isn’t terrible, it’s a bunch of leftovers they didn’t know what to do with and mixed it all together. It’s dirt cheap and good for a Tuesday.

What I bought on my visit there with Ride The Bine in January and oven ordered for delivery to my house in Toronto during the COVID-19 pandemic. I placed an order for Frisky Beaver Badass Baco Red, the white wine as well as the blush and Smoke and Gamble Cabernet.

Smoke and Gamble Cabernet wine bottle at Dover 13, winery in Norfolk County. Get to know the wineries for Norfolk County.

Now I’m a red wine drinker in the winter and blush and white wine drinker in the summer. Smoke and Gamble Cabernet is medium-bodied and would be really good with red meat if you eat it. If not, it’s a good hanging out and date night wine. Flavours of black currant and cherries with subtle oak.  The blush is an amazing warm weather BBQ hang out wine.

Frisky Beaver Blushing Beaver wine bottle at Dover 13, winery in Norfolk County

BURNING KILN WINERY

Stop number two on our adventure was Burning Kiln, a previous favourite of mine. It’s hard to knock this one off my favourites list.

My first introduction here was when I was staying right across the road at Long Point Eco-Adventures and it’s a fantastic place to stay. Not just because it’s across from a winery, but because it’s a magnificent experience. While I did take my kids to Long Point Eco-Adventures, it’s an excellent place for an adult getaway. Check it out: Ultimate Luxury Family Glamping at Long Point Eco Adventures

kathrynanywhere at Burning Kiln enjoying Inferno red wine

Norfolk County was once renown for tobacco farms in Canada and a lot of those old farms are now home to the wine industry. Burning Kiln is in one of them and it’s gorgeous. The original barn still stands, the tobacco kilns are repurposed. 

And the wine? Well, it’s amongst the best Ontario has to offer. Their reds? Well, the cab francs are great. Whites and sparkling wine? Wow. I’ll head back to Burning Kiln with Ride The Bine again.

Burning Kiln Sparks bottle with glasses at Burning Kiln winery in Norfolk County

 

FRONT ROAD CELLARS AT BLUEBERRY HILL ESTATES

I’m going to let you guess what the wines that started this winery were made from.

We are in Ontario’s Garden…

And this is where berries grow.

If you’re looking for an introduction to fruit wine and a new taste, go no further than Front Road Cellars at Blueberry Hill Estates. Fruit wine isn’t their only specialty. Ciders rule here too. Blackberry and blueberry ciders amongst the most popular.

One of the most picturesque estates in Norfolk County, this is a popular place for weddings and a pick your own fruit section. Once the restrictions all lift, hopefully, it can operate as it did before. This is a not to be missed place.

Blueberry Hills Estate Winery logo in a wine glass

 

CONSIDER MAKING A WEEKEND OUT OF IT

If you’re in the Norfolk County area to take a tour with Ride The Bine, check out some of the local accommodations. The Port Rowan Inn, Long Point Eco-Adventures – both I highly recommend. If they are booked up, you can check out Days Inn, Best Western and Quality Inn as they are all great options. Alternatively, there are cottages to rent and some Airbnb inventory. If you’re more of a camper, there are provincial parks in the area.

Where ever you stay, there are lots of things to see and do in Norfolk County all time of the year.

 

Adventures to these wineries in Norfolk County were hosted by Amanda from Ride The Bine.

While we had a great time together, she in no way strong-armed me into a good review!

Ride The Bine Beer and Wine and Cider Tours in Norfolk County. Visit wineries in Norfolk County you need to know about!

Best Hiking Trails For Families in Southern Ontario

Ontario is a mecca for outdoor activities. I have always been an avid hiker, camper and nature lover, making me well-positioned living in Southern Ontario. And as my children have gotten older, we’ve been out more and more and more. And I am constantly searching out the best hiking trails for families in Southern Ontario.

Travel is not recommended right now, but it does not mean that you have to stay inside. In a time of social distancing, we are being told to avoid contact with others. It’s safe to still enjoy nature and remain a safe distance from others. We can be outside and safe. We can stay a couple of metres away from other people, we can wash our hands frequently. It’s become prudent to carry hand sanitizer and we do. Lucky for us, there are a few less frequented hiking areas you can go to and I’ll tell you about them.

Best Hiking Trails For Families In Southern Ontario

Here are the best hiking trails for families in Ontario to practise social distancing. The list is completely unofficial and purely based on my personal experience over the years and that of fellow bloggers.

Skinner’s Bluff Loop Lookout on the Bruce Peninsula Trail

This section of the trail is on the Bruce Trail and it’s hard to find. Kind of for good reason because it’s a secret. Safe to say, it’s extremely safe for social distancing! To find the trailhead, you need to get yourself on a dirt road called Colpoy’s Range Road outside of Wiarton, Ontario. Look for the Bruce Trail markers. It’s well worth the hunt to see the amazing views of Georgian Bay.

Fairly safe and easy for kids on the trail sections. You’ll want to exercise an abundance of caution at the lookout points though. They are not protected by barriers. The view would be ruined if there were barriers, so please hold your children’s hands and keep pets on a leash. It can be quite buggy in the summer, you’ll want to pack bug repellent. Bring snacks and your camera.

My and my kids on Skinner's Bluff look out #brucetrail #skinnersbluff #wiartonontario #epichikes #hikewithkids #takeyourkidseverywhere

Barron Canyon Trail in Algonquin Park

The Barron Canyon Trail in Algonquin Provincial Park can be accessed most easily from the Sand Lake Gates. That’s the eastern section, closest to Petawawa, Ontario. Normal provincial park fees apply.

The canyon trail is only 1.5 kilometres and is a loop. The loop takes you up to the amazing north rim of the Barron Canyon. And the view is outstanding. This is what you’re here for. Like Skinner’s Bluff, you have to exercise caution and common sense, don’t play around on the edges.

It’s an uphill hike for about 200-300 metres, but not difficult at all. Once you reach the canyon, it’s fairly level, few ups and downs. This trail is moderately trafficked in the summer under normal conditions. My four-year-old son basically ran up this hill, so it’s manageable for all family members. You can read all about it in more detail here: Epic Hikes With Kids – Barron Canyon Trail

Hiking in Algonquin Provincial Park, one of the best trails for families in Ontario

Hilton Falls Trail in Hilton Falls Conservation Area

A 10-metre spectacular waterfall view is a reward for this easy hike. To get to the falls from the parking lot, it’s a two-kilometre walk. Same distance going back, with kids, budget about two hours for this. It’s a great place to go on a hot day to cool off, to feel the mist from the water and get amazing Instagram shots. Seriously.

Last time I was there with my kids, other families were walking behind the waterfall and kids were frolicking in the water at the base.  This trail has been REALLY busy on nice days, so plan to go on a less sunny day for fewer crowds.

BUT – There is more to Hilton Falls than the actual waterfalls. Take a detour out onto the trails and see the best-kept secret out there – the reservoir.

This conservation area is closest to Milton, Ontario. Normally, there are entrance fees there for parking. Also, ice cream is sold at the visitor centre.

Hilton Falls at Hilton Falls Conservation Area in Halton, easy family hike

Mount Nemo Loop Trail in Mount Nemo Conservation Area

If you want to avoid crowds and have a nice hike in the Greater Toronto Area, this is the place to go. Mount Nemo is gorgeous, has caves and you can spot vultures circling in the air. Here, you can go rock climbing or find a lookout where the CN Tower can be spotted on a clear day. There’s a loop you can hike that’s approximately 5.3 kilometres and will likely take you 3 hours to do with kids.

Just north of Burlington, there are entrance fees, same as Hilton Falls. PRO TIP – visit Hilton Falls and Mount Nemo in the same day. Pay for parking in one location in the morning and your daily entrance fee receipt provides access to all Halton Parks for the same day. Same goes for Rattlesnake Point (below, under non-social distancing protocols).

Buffalo Crag Lookout – Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area

Just a six-kilometre bike ride or quick car ride from the Hilton Falls Conservation Area parking lot is Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. An easy 3.2-kilometre trail to the Buffalo Crag lookout for one of the best views of the escarpment. If you are a fan of the Canadian TV show, Schitt’s Creek on CBC, this is the conservation area and trail where Patrick proposed to David on the episode called “The Hike”.

The views here are amazing. There are two ways to do the loop, you can side the side trail along the escarpment or you wan take the maintained walking path.

In full disclosure, these trails have just been given the green light to re-open and are only permitting people in for two-hour windows. You have to reserve online ahead of time. It’s a bit difficult to run your kids through here within two hours, to be honest, but if you move at a brisk pace, it’s doable. While we are under social distancing protocols, you cannot visit two conservation areas in one day. Hopefully, that lifts for 2021.

At the RattleSnake Point look out in Halton Conservation Area

Bennett Heritage Trail – Silvercreek Conservation Area

For all-season hiking, Silvercreek Conservation area boasts some of the best hiking for families in Ontario. Only an hour from Toronto, and part of the Bruce Trail, this is where you can get away from it all, including in the dead of winter.

When this trail is muddy, it can be very slippery. If you are here in the winter, be sure to bring your cleats (snow picks) for your hiking boots as it can be icy. This trail can be challenging, so if you’re looking for adventure, this is it. You’ll find some diverse terrain here and it will be a memorable day for the kids.

If you finish hiking around this conservation area, you can continue on an eight-kilometre trail to Terra Cotta Conservation Area. With the Bruce Trail, the possibilities are truly endless!

I ventured out to Silvercreek Conservation area on the Bruce Trail yesterday with members of Women Who Explore Ontario. #silvercreekconservationarea #brucetrail #womenwhoexplore #womenwhoexploreontario #discoveron #ontarioforyou  #girloutdoor #girlsthatwander #hikingculture #gogalavanting #girlswhohike

Cliff Top Side Trail via Carriage Trail and Spillway Trail – Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

If you have a day to spend hiking, Mono Cliffs Provincial Park is the park to take the kids too. It’s a day-use park, so there is no camping here. However, there are a lot of areas here to toss out a blanket and hang out for a while. While I am recommending one trail and path, there are many here that wind around and intersect.

Getting to the Cliff Top Side Trail at Mono Cliffs takes a bit of time. It’s approximately an 8-kilometre trail from the parking lot and back. With kids, it could take you four to five hours, but it’s worth it. Some trails in this park are classified as moderate hikes, some are easy. Some trails are surrounded by forest while others are more of an open field setting. They range from well-worn, sandy paths to rocky trails to wooden boardwalks. That said, my kids basically ran through here like they were in their playroom.

If you’d like to know more details about this park and the trails there, I did an entire post on it here: Mono Cliffs Provincial Park – Best Place For Mother’s Day Hike

boardwalk at mono cliffs provincial park - best hiking trails for families in Ontario

Cataract Falls via Trans Canada Trail and Kettle Trail Loop – Forks of the Credit Provincial Park

The 6.6-kilometre hike to Cataract Falls and back to the parking lot looks like it’s going to be really easy, but has a lot of ups and downs. That said, you will find places along the way to take a moment to sit by the pond on a bench. I would also recommend that you could have a picnic once it is safe to do so (when restrictions are lifted) as it will be one of the best soul-refreshing moments of your day.

This trail is a great place for active kids to let them run and wear them out. Classified as a moderate trail in this provincial park which is only for day use. No camping is permitted here. Honestly though, you will forget you are anywhere near a city when you’re in Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. Only an hour from downtown Toronto in Caledon, you will need to obtain a valid Ontario Parks day permit at the parking lot.

kids at Forks of The Credit Provincial Park best hiking trails for families in Southern Ontario

Oak Ridges Trail at Seneca College

As beginner family hikers, and kids ages 3 – 11 years old, we chose the Oak Ridges Trail at Seneca College in King, ON for one of our first Winter treks. It’s a mostly flat provincial recreational trail running the full length of the protected Oak Ridges moraine. It was a level “easy” according to AllTrails (which is an app) and even with a bit of elevation very manageable for kids and all skill levels.
We entered from the Dufferin side and bypassed $2.50 parking at Seneca’s King Campus by parking along the road by the trail entrance (which is legal & many do). Lots of little streams and small bridges and a neat little stone-built fire hut the kids had fun chasing each other around.
Stumbling upon Eaton Hall overlooking Seneca Lake (former residence of Lady Eaton, gathering place for many Eaton Family celebrations & backdrop for several movies) made for a great history lesson and photo opp around the 1.5 km mark. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be on a leash. The 9km trail is well marked, and since we only conquered under 3 km of it our first go, we’ll be back this summer to explore some more!
Said to be best hiked April – October, we really enjoyed a less busy experience in January.   With lots of little wetlands throughout, bring your bug spray if visiting in the warmer months.
Oak Ridges Trail; House of Kerrs

Spirit Rock Conservation Area

If you’re looking for a great place to go hiking with your family in Ontario then consider Spirit Rock Conservation Area. Spirit Rock is located just north of Wiarton, approximately two and a half hours north of Toronto. Spirit Rock Conservation Area is one of the best places to hike on the Bruce Peninsula. It offers picturesque hiking trails, incredible views of Georgian Bay and some amazing historic ruins. So clearly, this is one of the best places to hike with kids in Southern Ontario.

Spirit Rock is set over 87 hectares and is home to the ruins of the Corran. The Corran was once a lavish estate in the late 19th century. Now all that is left are a scattering of stone ruins that have been taken over by nature. There is also an old spiral staircase that you can carefully descend down to the water’s edge below. The main trail through the conservation area is the Bruce Trail. You can enjoy the loop trail that is approximately 2 kilometres and takes from an hour to an hour and a half. The trail takes you through the forest, past a few great lookouts and over the rocky and rugged Niagara Escarpment. And it’s a perfect place for a family hike with shaded trails that are manageable for children and kids will love exploring and climbing over the ruins.

Spirit Rock Conservation Area trail - the world as i see it travel blog

Old Ausable River Channel, Pinery Provincial Park

Located on the shores Lake Huron, just outside of Grand Bend, Pinery Provincial Park is a hidden gem in the Ontario Parks’ system. The 21 square kilometres of rare forests and rolling dunes offer excellent year-round outdoor recreation, including 10 walking trails, a 14 km bike trail, 38 kms of groomed ski trails and the Old Ausable River Channel (OARC), which runs the length of the park.

While we love to take a traditional hike during our summer family camping trips to the Pinery, we also like to “hike outside of the trail” and canoe or kayak the OARC.

Originally named “La Riviere aux Sables” by early French voyageurs, this river has a rich cultural history and, since its creation, has always been full of life. It provides habitat for more than 35 species of freshwater fish, several endangered freshwater mussel species and many reptiles and amphibians, including the threatened Eastern spiny softshell turtle. The surface of the river is covered in pond and water lilies, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot one of the resident beavers or river otters going about their day. Don’t forget to look for white-tailed deer along the banks, and bring your binoculars to view the many species of birds that call the park home.

Old Ausable River Channel - To & Fro

Marla Ward: www.toandfroblog.com 

Niagara Glen

Niagara Glen is a great activity for families visiting the Niagara Falls area because it gets you away from the almost carnival atmosphere of the falls and into pristine Carolinian Forest. It’s also one of the rare free-activities in Niagara Falls.

Located right next to the Niagara River near the whirlpool, Niagara Glen is only a 10-minute drive from the falls. Before starting your hike, there is a grassy picnic area and bathrooms above the gorge.

The 4km of trails are in a gorge so you have to descend down a spiral metal staircase. The terrain of the glen can be hilly or include staircases in some areas so it isn’t suitable for strollers. There are multiple looping trails here among the boulders to explore. My favourite is the River Trail as it gives you views of the turquoise water and the American side of the gorge as well.

Niagara Glen is a bouldering destination so you may spot some rock climbers on your hike. These huge boulders that dot the park are leftovers from when the river eroded the area thousands of years ago. Kids may enjoy exploring around the boulders as some of them have small caves and may even include ice of you are there in late spring.

It’s a great destination for families as you can spend as little as 30 minutes doing a short hike or as much as an afternoon exploring the whole glen.

Brianna – Website: https://curioustravelbug.com/

 

The Durham Regional Forest Trail

The Durham Regional Forest Trail is 35 km from Oshawa. Take the Lake Ridge Rd exit on the 401 W onto Goodwood. On Concession Road 7 you make a left to your destination. The trail is close to Uxbridge.

The reason I like it because it is a 12km loop, with moderate difficulty, an elevation gain of 400 meters and takes about 3 hrs to complete. Novices are going to love the fact that it is clean, neat, consistent and marked all along. It is accessible all year. If you take your dog with you it has to be kept on a leash. The trail has very few ruts, roots or rocks. If you want a nice, moderate work out this is the trail for you.

On the weekend it is an amazing escape with the scenery being luscious and robust. The plantation forests were set up more than 70 years ago and are constantly maintained. Even on a hot humid day you can be sure of lots of shade.

The forest is about 405 hectares and is famous for hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, bird watching and mountain biking.

The parking is free, it is never crowded, quiet, peaceful and an easy trail to follow.

Jerry Godinho from https://fourcolumnsofabalancedlife.com/

 

Swan Lake Trail

We’ve always been an active family, but typically that’s skiing and zip lining and swimming, or learning a new sport. We’ve never done a lot of hiking together, but that changed when we were invited to do an RV trip with Ontario Parks last fall. We started with Grundy Lake Provincial Park and in the morning went for a quick walk before heading straight over to The Swan Lake Trail.

Swan Lake Trail is a moderate hiking trail that’s about 1.5 kms long and will take roughly an hour. It runs through the Swan Lake nature reserve and is ideal for families just starting to hike or families with young kids. The Swan Lake views through a boggy marsh and up over stunning rock formations will leave you wanting more. My kids loved that there’s an interactive research portion too. So, if you spy wildlife in a particular spot you can text a number and help researchers to document it. Gnarly trees and walkways through swampy bogs appealed to my young teens. This was the start of a new passion for our family and is definitely a place to find the best hiking for families in Ontario.

Swan Lake Trail, Grundy Lake Provincial Park

 

I hope this list inspires you and your family to get out and enjoy some of the many beautiful hiking trails this province has to offer. This post is meant to be a work in progress as we explore more. Have no fear, I’m always on the lookout for the best hiking for families in Ontario. The more trails I find, the more I will report back!

The best hiking for families in Southern Ontario, from Algonquin Provincial Park to Halton Conservation Areas to the Bruce Peninsula, know where to find the best hiking trails in Southern Ontario for families

Where To Find The Best Southern Ontario Sunsets

Being a professional sunset chaser means that I have seen some of the most beautiful and stunning sunsets around the world. I have said it before, and I will say it again – Ontario is a jewel. Ontario boasts some of the most alluring landscapes and scenery you can find. Some of the most bewitching sunsets I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing have been right here in Ontario. In our new world order, I’ve come to accept that Mediterranian sunsets are a pipe dream for the next couple of years. Who knows when I’ll be in the Caribbean again? Domestic travel only is going to be on the docket for most people. I personally foresee a lot of road trips and explorations closer to home this year.

If you’re going to be hanging around home, why not know where to go to see the best sunsets in Ontario?

Where To Find The Best Southern Ontario Sunsets

I have a slight bias in some of these locations. Each of these places holds a special memory, which likely makes the sunsets all the more special. That said, feel free to make your own memories during magic hour and dusk. Here are some of my favourite places to find the best sunsets in Southern Ontario. As I explore more and more I will have more to share, but for now, here’s my shortlist. I hope you are inspired to search some out as well:

Scarborough Bluffs Park, Ontario

The Scarborough Bluffs are an escarpment range in the east end of the amalgamated limits of Toronto. Not technically in Toronto, but they can claim themselves geographically that they are. In all honesty, the Bluffs are in Scarborough. As an old score Torontonian, I’ll never accept them as Toronto, but I digress…

The views of Lake Ontario and Bluffers Park from the escarpment are brilliant and there are a few lookout points to explore. In the interest of safety, do not cross barriers for photos. Unfortunately, people unfamiliar with the terrain and area have crossed the line and have put themselves in a position where they have required emergency extraction from the area. The Scarborough Bluffs are an eroded and environmentally sensitive area and you do have to take care when on the escarpment.

It is worth it to stroll or hike along the top of the bluffs where you are permitted to be. The best time of year to be up there, in my opinion, is summer and early fall. If you’re feeling adventurous, bring a bathing suit and towel and hit the beach while it’s still daylight.

Sherman Falls, Ancaster, Ontario

Sherman Falls, on the Bruce Trail just outside of Ancaster, Ontario is a 17-metre-high curtain falls, often nicknamed Angel Falls or Fairy Falls. Being there in any season is like being in a fairy tale. These waterfalls are one of the most Instagrammable waterfalls in the area and it’s rare to be there without other people around unless you go early in the morning or hang around in the late afternoon into dusk. From here, there are other waterfalls you can hike too. The area of the province is known as the City of Waterfalls (Hamilton). It’s a bit odd when you see Hamilton from the QEW highway to envision all the splendour of the area, yet here it is.

Summer is a very busy time at Sherman Falls, so if you are inclined, I recommend winter for a visit. These waterfalls are on private property, please respect the area. The owners graciously allow people to enjoy them but please do not climb the sides of the ravine or the waterfall

Sherman Falls, Ancaster, Ontario, magic hour pre-sunset

Windsor, Ontario

Before going to Windsor, Ontario in the fall of 2019, I had no idea of its beauty. The sunset I witnessed from the Best Western Plus Waterfront Hotel on Riverside Drive solidified my new found love for The Motor City. From the window of the “Justin Trudeau” suite, I spent good, quality time mesmerized by the sky. In the distance, the Ambassador Bridge.  This is a view I would want again and again and again.

Want this view on your next stay in Windsor? Be sure to book your stay at The Best Western Plus Waterfront Hotel here (this is an affiliate link meaning I make a small percentage of commission when you book)

Windsor, Ontario sunset of the Ambassador Bridge

Long Point National Wildlife Area

You have to know a guy who has a boat to get to the secret beaches and sandbanks at Long Point. And once you’ve played around on the sandbanks, that boat has to bring you back under the setting sun. And there is no finer person to know than Captain Graham with Long Point Island Huggers.

It’s worth the drive to Long Point towards the sand and pit formation to see one of Canada’s UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. 

Captain Graham is so knowledgable about the area that you’ll leave the cruise with a whole new appreciation of the wetlands. He takes his pontoon boat that accommodates groups and people of all ages for wonderful cruises from sunrise to sunset.

sunset at long point national wildlife area

Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park

I never knew that mother nature could paint us this palette just 2 1/2 hours outside of Toronto. This cotton candy sky view on the lake is only accessible by canoe. Everything about this moment was perfect, stillness in the water, spending time with good friends. Once the sun was down, we were treated to one of the best star shows I’ve seen in a long time! If you’ve never considered Peterborough and the Kawarthas (@thekawarthas) for your summer adventures in Ontario, then I definitely think you should.

Cotton candy skies - That's out food in barrels in the canoe so bears cannot get to them

Presquile Provincial Park, Ontario

Skipping rocks at sunset! Well, at least he’s trying hard too… My son and I camped in a Minka Tent at Presqui’ile Provincial Park in the autumn of 2019. We were treated to another amazing Ontario sunset. This stunning view is just outside of Brighton! Right on Lake Ontario.

This little slice of heaven is at the far west end of the High Bluff Campground area. There’s a small beach and a lot of flat rocks. Enjoy!

Skipping rocks at sunset at Presqu'ile Provincial Park

Frankford, Ontario

Sunsets in Frankford, Ontario are best viewed from the east bank of the Trent River. Full disclosure, this picture is from a private residence. Yep, this is where my Mom lives and I can have this view anytime I go visit.

Unless you know someone who lives along the river, you’re not going to get THIS view. I happen to have it on good authority that you can drive to one of the canal locks on the Trent Severn Waterway, park and witness a similar sunset from a private area.

Sunset from the west banks of the Trent River in Frankford, Ontario

I hope these sunsets have inspired you to seek out sunsets close to home. While this list is only a handful, I will be sure to update this post as I witness more. Make no mistake there are many more exceptional sunsets to be seen in many other areas of the province.

Looking for unique and memorable activities in Ontario to enjoy while sticking close to home? Be sure to check out Looking For Exciting and Unique Places To Explore In Ontario? We Have You Covered!

 

PIN ME FOR LATER!

Want to know where to go to find the best sunsets in southern Ontario? I'll tell you where here! From Windsor to Presqui'ile Provincial Park and places in between

Stay Home Canada – TravelZoo Canada and Peace Collective Collaboration

This above picture in the Kawarthas isn’t me today. Just like the vast majority of Canadians, ⁠I’m staying home except for essentials. In a time like this, you can almost envision staring off into the future and dreaming about travel in a post-COVID world. Where will we go and what will travel be like? Although we can’t be there in person, we can dream about time well spent on any one of the lakes in Peterborough and the Kawarthas region of Ontario. Many parts of Ontario provide ample amounts of space.

If we close our eyes, maybe we can hear the water slapping against the rocks. Maybe we can smell the trees. Maybe we can see the cotton candy sunsets…

Although we are feeling grounded and it’s not fun, I’ve pledged to stay #HomeTodayTravelTomorrow. The hope is that staying home now means we can travel sooner in the future. The goal is that we will have helped halt the spread of Covid-19. If we all do our part now, we can all enjoy time together on the lake one day!

Stay Home Canada shirt
Stay Home Canada shirt on Peace Collective. Shop here: https://bit.ly/3d1TPFA

If you’re home and you want to show it off, make sure you check out the brand new apparel collab by Travelzoo Canada and Peace Collective showing off a powerful message we can all get behind: Stay Home Canada, along with city-specific versions tailored to show love for Toronto, and other cities across Canada (you too Calgary!). Not only can you get a super hip shirt or mask, but 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗺 𝗽𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗵𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝟯 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗮 𝗖𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵 𝗮 𝗹𝗼𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗯𝗮𝗻𝗸, 𝗼𝗿 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗮 𝗺𝗮𝘀𝗸 𝘁𝗼 𝗮 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗲𝗿.

Stay Home Canada mask on Peace Collective. Shop here: https://bit.ly/3d1TPFA
Stay Home Canada mask on Peace Collective. Shop here: https://bit.ly/3d1TPFA

To reward travellers for staying at home, Travelzoo Canada is also providing these goodies:⁠
📣 $10 Travelzoo gift code free with each garment sold (expires late 2020)⁠!
📣 All orders automatically enter the GOLDEN TICKET contest. That’s your chance to win a trip for 2 to Portugal in 2021⁠!
Head on over to travelzoo.ca/stayhome until Friday, May 8th to get the extra goodies!⁠

If you got this far, answer me this: Who will you hug first when you get the chance to do so? I haven’t seen my mom since February. Her house is the first place I’m going to head once it’s safe.

 

Please note, clicking on the links to shop Peace Collective are affiliate links.

I may earn a small commission in exchange for Travelzoo memberships.

 

Youngest Countries In The World

Spending time at home with my kids during this time of self-isolation, I’ve had to answer some weird questions from my kids. Things like “what colour is the coronavirus” and “can you fart, sneeze and cough at the same time”. There have been annoying questions like “can I have another snack”. However, there have also been some cool questions like “how old is the sun”. In discussing the age of our country, Canada and our neighbours to the south, the kids wanted to know what are the youngest countries in the world. I had to do some research to answer this for them, but I’ve now come up with a list of what’s considered to be the newest countries in the history of the world.

The Youngest Countries In The World

 

Palau – Independent since 1994

“In Palau, women play a very important role in issues of policy. Women traditionally own and devise land. We control the clan money. We traditionally select our chiefs; women place and remove them. Having observed their upbringing closely, we are able to decide which men have the talent to represent our interests. From birth, Palauan women are responsible for the men. When men marry, the women arrange for the settlement, and when they die, women bury them. Women are caretakers of the environment” -Mirair Gabriela Ngirmang in the book, 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005.

I could not help but lead with this quote about Palau as it’s the first thing that jumped out at me – a nation that honours women first and foremost. Independent since 1994 from the United States, this peaceful South Pacific country observes a matrilineal tradition. Heavily influenced by Phillipine’s cuisine, a delicacy in Palau is actually fruit bat soup. However, fish, pork, yam and potatoes are the local foods.

This tiny county of only 459 km2 and a population of approximately 18,000 people are mainly Roman Catholic in religious observance. Tourism and fishing are the main industries in Palau with tourism focusing on scuba diving around the barrier reef and over wrecks well below the surface of the water left over from the second world war.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

There’s no time like now to #visitpalau Photo Courtesy- @buntumdiewelt.de

A post shared by Pristine Paradise Palau (@visitpalau) on

 

East Timor – Independent since 2002

For a small South Pacific nation, the country of East Timor is mighty in art and sport. Used by many Australian productions as a setting for films, televisions shows and documentaries, the island landmass of 15,007 km2 is said to be shaped like a crocodile and carries heavy lore surrounding that. The legend is that inhabitants of East Timor are descendants of the crocodile. Presently, there are estimated to be 1,200,000 citizens there.

Before European colonialism, East Timor was an exporter and trader of sandalwood, honey and wax to the Indian, Chinese and Malaysian nations. It is one of the oldest sites of human activity in all of southeast Asia. The current culture of East Timor reflects numerous influences, including Portuguese, Indonesian and the religious observances of Catholicism. Gaining independence from Portugal in 1975, it was subsequently invaded by Indonesia only 9 days later. In 2002, it was finally granted sovereign state status after decades of bloodshed.

While half of the population lives in abject poverty, East Timor is one of the most oil-dependent countries in the world. East Timor earns revenue from offshore oil and gas and exports of coffee, cinnamon, marble, petroleum and sandalwood. Starbucks is a major purchaser of coffee from the nation. Tourism is big, upwards of 75,000 visitors per year are welcomed here.

 

Montenegro – Independent since 2006

The next three countries have all come out of the fall of Yugoslavia. Like many border formations in Europe, wars and battles were fought and pieces of land changed hands through Kingdoms and in political deals many times. Without sounding ignorant to the history of the country and the conflict throughout the past hundreds of years, I’m only going to mention the split from the Yugoslavia, the Belgrade Agreement, which saw Montenegro’s transformation into a more decentralized state union named Serbia and Montenegro in 2003, and then gaining full independence in June 2006.

Montenegro is a country in Southeast Europe on the coast of the Balkans. the population here is just over 600,000 and the landmass is just 13,812 km2. The road structure of Montenegro is not yet up to Western European standards and the railway is the method to keep things moving. The economy depends on the service industry, meaning “intangible goods” that include attention, advice, access, experience, and affective labour.  Tourism was a bug industry for coastal Montenegro in the 1980s, but the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s crippled it, only just seeing a rebound now. The Adriatic coast is 295 km (183 mi) long in Montenegro, with 72 km of beaches and many well-preserved ancient old towns to explore. Montenegro is home to significant cultural and heritage sites from the pre-Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque periods.

A multi-lingual and ethnic state, the cuisine the country feasts on is a mix of oriental and Mediterranean. Sports play a huge role in the lives of citizens with football, water polo, basketball and handball being known as the ones they dominate in.

Serbia – Independent since 2006

Like Montenegro, Serbia’s official date of independence is June 2006. And to date, disputes around defined borders still go on, with Kosovo declaring independence from Serbia in February of 2008.

Located at the crossroads between Central and Southern Europe, Serbia is located in the Balkan peninsula and the Pannonian Plain. The landmass is a total of  77,474 km2, and almost 30% of it is covered by forest.

Serbia’s economy is fairly stable and is considered to be upper-middle for income although unemployment figures put them at around 12%. There is a lot of foreign investment from companies such as  Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Siemens, Bosch, Philip Morris, Panasonic, Michelin, Coca-Cola and Carlsberg. Agriculture yields plums, raspberries, maize, wheat, sunflower, sugar beet, soybean, potato, apple, pork meat, beef, poultry and dairy.

Serbia produces about 230 million litres of wine annually. I’m in!

Kosovo – Independent since 2013

Kosovo is a beautiful, majestic country. Full of gorgeous national parks, forests cover 39% of the area. Hiking trails infused with waterfalls, charming towns to appease the eye and chaotic recent history that makes your scratch your head and say what?

Landlocked between Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro, this Balkan Country in Europe has less than 2 million inhabitants and a landmass of 10,887 km2. Independence was fully gained in 2013 from Serbia after a torrid history of ethnic cleansing and war crimes. The history of this area is disputed by all sides and is still claimed by Serbia as part of their country. Only some UN countries officially recognize Kosovo as its own country. As a potential candidate for the European Union, the climate boasts a Mediterranean feel and is prime for international tourists to arrive and explore the mountains, canyons and rivers. 

Today, while 95% of the population identifies as Muslim and has the highest percentage of Muslims in Europe behind Turkey. Kosovo identifies as a secular state. Kosovo boasts ranking ninth in the world for having free and equal tolerance towards not just religion, but also atheism.

 

South Sudan – Independent since 2011

South Sudan became an independent state from Sudan in July of 2011 as a result of a peace deal that was brokered in 2005. With a population of approximately 11 million inhabitants and a land size of more than 600,000 km2, this young country suffers from a severe humanitarian crisis in terms of water and food. South Sudan has an extremely violent past. The most recent civil war ended only in February of 2020. Many inhabitants identify as Christian and female literacy is amongst the lowest in the world.

According to Wikipedia, as of 2019, South Sudan ranks lowest in the latest UN World Happiness Report, second lowest on the Global Peace Index, and has the third-highest score on the American Fund for Peace’s Fragile States Index

This is not a hot spot for tourism and generally is not considered safe for female travellers. South Sudan’s underdeveloped economy boasts natural resources such as oil and agriculture to drive it’s future forward.

 

Bougainville – Voted for Independence in 2019

The final country on the list is the largest of the atolls in the Solomon Sea. Here lies an island that voted to leave Papua New Guinea at the end of 2019. The referendum that its citizens voted on with a majority of 97% is not yet binding. It has to be passed by the government of Papa New Guinea.

An island named after a French navigator, this is a country that has changed hands numerous times between Germany, Australia, Japan, America and Papa New Guinea. This doesn’t even begin to explain the civil wars the people here have endured. With a population of under 300,000, the island measures at 9,384 km2. The economy of this newest country has been centred on mining and agriculture. In the post COVID-19 world, Bougainville is looking to tourism to help bolster the economy.

Voting began on November 23 and officially ended on December 7, 2019. The results of which were announced on December 11, making Bougainville the newest country of the world.

Hope you have enjoyed this little tour of some of the youngest countries in the history of our world. As time goes on, people and nations evolve and politics fracture agreements. Perhaps there will be new countries on the horizons of 2021 or 2022. Hopefully, any future transitions are peaceful. When it is safe to travel again, we can look forward to collecting new passport stamps along the way.

Ever wondered what are the newest nations in the world? And how did they form? Check out this list of the youngest countries in the world that includes Palau, Bougainville, Kosovo, Serbia, South Sudan, Montenegro, East Timor. Interestingly these countries are in the South Pacific, Europe and Africa.

A Grounded Extrovert Travel Writer’s COVID-19 Self-Isolation Diaries From Toronto

The Self-Isolation Diaries From Toronto by A Grounded Extrovert Travel Writer is not a sponsored post in any way. It’s been a while since I’ve done something from the heart for zero pay or compensation, so enjoy.

Hey, how you doing? Well, I’m doing just fine on this day 28 of self-isolation for the sake of our health.

Truth? I just lied. It’s day 28 since the city of Toronto started to shut everything down and I feel like I am dying inside. In my normal life, I am an extrovert, I thrive on the company of others. While I do know how to be and function as a regular person alone, it’s not my preferred way of life. Mainly, I earn an income working in television and documentaries, but my passion is creating content as a travel writer. Ironically, due to how ordinary people travel and the spread of a virus, my wings are clipped.

After returning from Latvia (read all about those adventures here) and Poland in November, and countless other travels in the fall of 2019, my kids asked me to stay home for a while to be with them. Fair request and I had some personal matters to attend too. I gladly did all that and had an upcoming calendar with new destinations and exciting plans filling up for April, May and June. I’m not even going to list what they were and where because those are all cancelled now.

Hello, depression my old friend.

The Extrovert Travel Writer Is Forced To Become A Homebody Recluse

What happens when a travel writer is not travelling? I can’t say it’s fair for me to speak for anyone else, but I feel sluggish. Directionless. Confused. I am searching for a purpose. Unmotivated. Grieving. Some have pivoted and have been able to make some other types of content. I see you pounding out posts like there’s a pandemic on our hands and… oh wait… There is. I’m still all baffled about being inside and home for this amount of time. I can barely edit together scenes. Everything used to take me four times less time to do.

We have to stay home and hide from the coronanananana virus. For the sake of livening up the situation, my children and I will refer to anything COVID-19 related now as the coronanananana.

My accountability tweet. The first time I am writing in a month.

Anyone else dreaming of the days of yore when we could freely walk down the street with friends? It’s spring, patio season at all the bars and restaurants would be ramping up right now. I’d be excited to put on a spring dress, a fun pair of shoes and head out. Instead, every single bar and restaurant is closed except for take out service. Parks have been condemned to be empty. Barely a soul walking the streets or sidewalks unless it’s sunny outside. If the sun’s rays are sneaking out, all the runners appear. Hefty financial fines to be issued though to those not belonging in the same household standing or socializing too close to each other. House parties are forbidden. Some stores around Yonge and Dundas Square have used plywood to board up their windows and doors.

It’s almost feeling apocalyptic. Everyone who was on assignment or on vacation was forced to struggle to return home. Toilet paper, ground beef and wifi have become the new currency (it’s a joke, but almost real). Add in some zombies wandering around searching for brains and we’re suddenly cast members in The Walking Dead. I wish I knew who to credit for this meme of Rick Grimes with his shopping list.

meme of Rick Grimes from the Walking Dead with his grocery list

 

Listen, I still do not understand why normal citizens of this country flooded all the grocery stores and bought out six-month supplies of toilet paper for a virus that affects your lungs and symptoms do not include constant shitting and frequent butt wiping, but I digress…

The Month Of March Became A Year Of Hell

 

Do you remember life before the lockdown? The last swimming lesson the kids had was on Wednesday, March 11. Little Man passed his salamander level, ready for sunfish. Miss M is swim team training, she hopefully will move into competition or lifeguarding. On Thursday, March 12, the premier of Ontario, Dough Ford and Education Minister Steven Lecce announced that the schools would not be reopening after March break and the children needed to stay home until April 5th. They predicted that on Monday, the 6th of April the kids would be back to school and the closure was a precaution. Friday, March 13th, I enjoyed an evening at the gym where no one bothered me and the equipment I wanted to use was all mine. My last evening out to dinner at Banu on Queen Street West was on Saturday, March 14. The city of Toronto announced that at as of midnight on Monday, March 16th, it was closing down all the restaurants and bars in the city to flatten the curve.

It was during this week that we learned what social distancing was. That the virus was now in Ontario and spreading. Coronanananana is coming to get us, but it really didn’t seem like the hype was worth it just yet. We had seen what was going on in China for the past couple of months, that it had spread heavily to Iran and Italy, but Canada is untouchable.

It’s all we are entrenched in now and all we know for the foreseeable future. Climbing numbers of new cases every day. Now I know people who have and have had the virus. There are reports that people are actually dying.

Sunday, April 12, Covid-19 Ontario Update
Sunday, April 12, Covid-19 Ontario Update

 

Climbing The Walls

Our former lives seem so far away. Walking outside and greeting a neighbour with a hug or a high five is not something we can do. Prior to March of this year, I had never heard of the phrases social distancing and self-isolation. Today is April 12th. Our children did not return to school this past Monday. The province of Ontario has extended our emergency orders and subsequent home lives until April 24th or something like that.

Provincial parks and conservation areas are all closed. There is no possible way I could have utilized my Ontario Parks annual pass to go and take a hike or toss a canoe into the water. I haven’t seen my mother aside from on Facetime since the middle of February. There are news reports of people being fined for not following the rules. Despite closures and being told to stay home, some have taken it upon themselves to head out to the trails and waterfalls anyway because they think they are entitled to do so. Allow me to be crystal clear here, the longer entitled assholes continue to pull this shit, the longer we’re potentially exposed to the virus, the longer we are all under quarantine in our homes #STAYTHEFUCKHOME

I’ve even chosen a theme song for this period of history.

Social visits in my world now consist of either yelling hello from the sidewalk or on Facetime and video conference calling on Zoom. Saturday nights are for virtual happy hours. Society today is all seemingly observing the Finnish tradition of getting tipsy at home in our underwear called “pants drunk”. Kippis!

To all the single parents trying to work from home because we need to get paid to keep the roof over our heads as it’s better money than the CERB from our government and assist their children through their TCDSB virtual learning lessons for the foreseeable future, we will get through this, somehow. There is hope that the kids will go back to school before the end of the school year, but there is no guarantee.

@kathrynanywhereSend HELP! ##marchbreak2020 ##3weekmarchbreak ##marchbreak2020 ##coronalockdown ##corona_lockdown ##fyoupage ##momsbelike

♬ original sound – haileybeiberofficial


I have decided to entertain my son and help him get his energy out by propping up his old bike in the living room and turned it into a stationary bike so he can “ride” and watch YouTube at the same time. There’s a tent in my living room and my daughter is taking zoom calls with her Girl Guide pack. She’s mastered Tiktok and Facetiming with friends along with enjoying worthwhile games as Roblox, Adopt Me and Flee The Facility. 

My daughter taking zoom calls in a tent in the living roomMy daughter taking zoom calls in a tent in the living room during the covid-19 pandemic

 

Fucking and bonding over Jason Bateman in a world pandemic

This is a hard time to be dating. The province of Quebec has gone so far as to promote monogamy, so there it is, multiple partners is off the table for the time being. We have to hang out at home. All the time. We’re forced to have conversations and get to know each other. Or not converse and watch Ozarks. Season 3 is pretty stellar so far by the way.

Guess you get to know who you would want by your side in the midst of an annihilation of society. The solid standard of a job, sense of humour and kind of cute is completely out the window now. You start to look for basic skills such as the ability to siphon gas, know how to break into a pharmacy, a natural penchant for shit disturbing and some bushcraft. If they have the aforementioned survival skills, a nice smile and a six-pack, that’s the jackpot. 

Dating during covid-19

 

Everything Is Out Of Focus

How are we all doing for real? I admit that I don’t do well without other people around. No lying here, I’ve had mood swings. My kids are still spending a couple of nights a week at their Dads and it’s good because parenting during quarantine is like normal parenting except you’re now homeschooling your children weeks after they were supposed to return to school but they aren’t and you’re drowning in virtual schooling on top of working from home, keeping the house clean, laundry done, keeping up personal appearances like eyebrows, and my bikini line. Which by the way, since all the spas and hair salons are closed so we can social distance and self-isolate, is difficult. No doubt some women are celebrating the freedom of not caring because the option fails to exist.

Straight up, I have problems focusing to begin with. With everything that’s been going on, with the kids off school, in my workspace all day long and the news in our faces and the rules constantly changing, it’s been a tough go for me. I am accepting that everything is taking me four times as long to do and I’m making lunches and dinners during my workday. I’m refereeing disputes between the kids, monitoring screentime and what they are consuming on their devices and homeschooling with assignments that the teachers are sending and navigating Google classroom. It’s becoming more increasingly difficult to settle into thought processes and feel creative, at least in this house.
Again, I wish I knew who to credit for this graphic, but it sums it up right now. It’s okay to not be your most productive during a fucking global pandemic.
It's okay to not be your most productive during a fucking global pandemic

Can This Really Go On For The Next 12-18 Months?

Realistically, this way of life could last for the next 12-18 months. There are scientists working on a vaccine, but guarantees of having it sooner rather than later aren’t likely. There are a lot of folks who are not on board with the social distancing and still think this is mass hysteria being spread by the media. To them I say, I’m so glad this has yet to touch your lives, but when it does be ready.

I can’t go on like this forever, but for right now, I’m okay not being my most productive. I’m still going to try though. What I need though is exercise, badly. First for my mental health and because I have so much energy to burn through. Second, I have a thyroid condition and if I don’t exercise, I become 300 lbs. My home doesn’t have the space for a home gym. Sadly, I am lacking a backyard that I can walk out my patio door to head out to enjoy. The common area courtyard in the complex I live in is closed for our safety. I’m getting so mad at people not following the rules, it’s going to make it that much longer for the rest of us. I can’t say I will ever take going to the gym or to the pool for granted after this.

At this point, I cannot handle another person telling me to stay home. I am doing my part. My kids are doing their part. I need to know everyone else has done their part so we can all move on quicker. This sedentary home life with no in-person interaction is not something I’m cut out for in the long run. I’m glad some people are made for it. Good for them. Stinking introverts. I’m not and as much as it seems appealing to sit on my couch, I can’t much longer. What I want to do is to run sprints in the park. Head out to a patio with friends, order chicken wings and cheers our pints together. To take my kids over for playdates at a friend’s house.

Foodie Adventures

What good is coming out of this? Personally, I’m reading books again for the first time in ages. Due to my lack of motivation to work, I’ve actually spent time sitting on the couch with my kids while they’re home with me. I’m more in touch with friends now, albeit online than ever. I am cooking for my kids more and they’re enjoying it. Today was bacon grease pancakes. BOOM!

In all honesty, knowing that I cannot cook the exact same thing every single day, I have had to get creative. I learned about cooking up pancakes in bacon grease from my friend, Andrea who runs the blog, Mommy Gearest. She’s been cooking and baking every day during the pandemic and has come up with some interesting recipes that I’ve seen on Facebook and Tiktok.

I got an accidental meat delivery from TruLocal. I contacted them to let them know their delivery service has dropped a box of meat at the wrong house and they came back to me a couple of hours later saying I could keep the box and enjoy. WOW! So now they’ve gained a new future customer with me and I’m trying out things I might not have ordered myself to cook like Miami Ribs are in the oven tonight. Ground turkey? It was great in spaghetti sauce! The nitrate-free pork bacon was what I cooked up and used the grease for the pancakes. The bacon was delicious, my kids enjoyed it way more than regular store-bought bacon.

pancakes cooked in bacon grease from TruLocal

As a society, this has been a huge wake-up call on how we conduct ourselves. Let’s be more kind, compassionate, help neighbours, be fearless, love unconditionally and spend more time living in the moment.

I can’t wait to hug my mom when it’s safe to do so. I hope you get to hug a loved one soon as well.