Sideroad Sippers on Rural Route Tour Company – Take A Guided Day Trip From Toronto

Rural Route Tour Co bus and postcard - day trip from Toronto

Imagine trading the urban hustle of Toronto for the serene beauty of Ontario’s countryside. Where charming villages, lush landscapes, rolling hills and hidden gems of the Durham Region await your discovery. Whether you’re craving the taste of farm-fresh cuisine, fresh ciders or meads, the thrill of outdoor activities, or the tranquillity of nature’s embrace, Rural Route Tour Company has curated the perfect itinerary for you – the Sideroad Sippers.

Hop on a day trip from Toronto with Rural Route Tour Company, where everyday day trips from Toronto into the York Durham Headwaters Region transform into memorable adventures, narrated and guided by Tamara Stefek. Tamara is a public relations pro with a long career of working in tourism.

The idea to launch Rural Route Tour Company percolated back when she worked as the director of communication at the Shangri-La Hotel and subsequently filled in as Headwaters Field Representative and more recently Director of Industry Relations contracts for Central Counties and York Durham Headwaters. There weren’t nearly as many companies back then as there are now and tour companies were very much focused on running tours in Niagara Falls and down into Prince Edward County. Tamara saw the gap throughout the Central Ontario region. She realized there was a lot that could be shown to the world within an hour or two from downtown Toronto and decided to go after it herself.

Through all of the testing and licensing, she launched another career – a commercial transportation operation. While she was ready to get Rural Route Tour Company off the ground in early 2020, the world pressed pause and she was forced to recalibrate and create what she has today.

Rural Route Tour Company van and Tamara, the owner and guide

Meet Tamara from Rural Route Tour Company

Tamara is so passionate about showing people what’s beyond our immediate backyards. While she now calls Toronto and resides there with her husband and two sons, she was raised a couple of hours away in Norfolk County and fell in love with the York Durham Headwaters Region in her career while promoting rural tourism.

She’s enthusiastic and excited to greet new passengers and take them on a day’s adventure to meet people and see places they’ve never been to before. Tamara has sought out businesses and companies that share the same values and mindset as her. She’s keen on working with ethical and responsible businesses and with those that will leave the guests with an overall positive experience.

Tamara runs tours on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday plus custom tours are available. These days are based on the availability of the partners in the region as these are the days they are mainly available. For example, one of the places we visited is only open Wednesday to Saturday so even if you wanted to do that tour on Monday, the venue isn’t open.

Of note – tours may run in a seasonal cycle, for instance, spring has a maple-focused tour and fall has some focused on the foliage and colour. Closer to the holiday season, be on the watch for the Christmas Crawls! I hear that libation tours turn to light tours.

I was able to take two amazing tours with Tamara and the Rural Route Tour Company, The Sideroad Sippers Tour and The Rural Makers Tour. She drove me and the others in the group both times and made sure we all enjoyed ourselves. Let me tell you all about the Sideroad Sippers Tour in this post!

SideRoad Sippers Tour

Come along on an adventure on the Sideroad Sippers tour! The tour started with a central downtown Toronto pick-up location for this group and this tour takes you to the back roads of Durham Region. This area is a delightful escape, brimming with picturesque landscapes and vibrant local charm. Imagine winding through rolling hills, where every turn reveals a new tapestry of lush farmlands, dense woodlands, and quaint, welcoming villages.

Each route offers a unique story, from the serene shores of Lake Scugog to the enchanting trails of the Oak Ridges Moraine. We find ourselves in the Greenbelt area of Ontario. Historic towns like Goodwood and Uxbridge invite you to explore their cozy cafes, unique shops, and rich heritage. Whether you’re a hiker seeking out a trailhead or a casual day-tripper, the back roads of Durham Region promise a joyful escape and endless discoveries.

The Second Wedge Brewing Company

Our first stop of the day – Second Wedge Brewing Company. Second Wedge Brewing Company, nestled in the heart of Uxbridge, Ontario, is a living testament to community resilience and spirit. When a devastating tornado touched down, tearing off the roof and causing significant damage, the local community rallied together to support their beloved brewery.The tornado that damaged the brewery, touched down on May 21, 2022. Friends, neighbours, and patrons joined forces to rebuild the brewery. With determination and a shared love for craft beer, Second Wedge Brewing Company and its loyal patrons and neighbours not only restored its roof but also solidified its foundation as a hub of local culture.

Second Wedge Brewing Co Exterior and bike racks

Today, Second Wedge Brewing Company stands stronger than ever. We met the co-founder, Joanne, who was so happy for us to try a flight of her beer and indulge in a snack from La Tachiqui – Authentic Argentine empanadas handmade in Oshawa.

All trails seem to lead to Uxbridge. With this brewery being right over the second wedge of the Oak Ridges Moraine, it makes sense that we are lead here first. Let me tell you a few things that make Second Wedge Brewing Company a cool spot to hang out: On the day we visited, I happened to see some newer moms with strollers and babies arrive and happily take up space in the beautiful beer garden. Oh yes – there is an exterior beer garden that seats 100 and is growing some of the ingredients they use in their brews. Also, the beer is good and brewed and bottled on-site.

Second Wedge Brewing Co beer flights and wall selection on Rural Route Tour Company

My favourite beers at Second Wedge Brewing Company are the Elgin Blonde (a blonde ale named after a nearby pond) and the Reticent Fox (a pale ale with an orange peel flair named after a wandering neighbourhood fox). I was happy to make a purchase there to support locals and take some of those tastes of the day home with me.

Second Wedge Brewing Co KathrynAnywhere with beer flight on Rural Route Tour Company day trip from Toronto

Applewood Farm and Winery

Deep in the picturesque Durham Region, north of Port Perry and close to Seagrave, you will find Applewood Farm and Winery. Applewood Farm and Winery offers a charming escape into the heart of Ontario’s countryside. This family-owned gem, renowned for its warm hospitality, country shop and scenic beauty, invites visitors to experience the magic of rural life. The aesthetics of the shop, the outdoor bar and the surrounding farm area that you are free to walk through, provide an experience you won’t forget.

Applewood Farm Winery exterior

What sets Applewood Farm and Winery apart is its dedication to crafting exceptional fruit wines and ciders, made from the finest local produce. I highly recommend trying their strawberry cider. Also on tap is the blueberry cider. Oh and try the Meade. Okay, try everything here. And don’t forget to save time to pick up a few items to go in their shop. They have honey and wine and all sorts of goodies for you there.

Applewood Farm Winery strawberry cider on Rural Route Tour Compnay day trip from Toronto

Take some time to wander through the sprawling farm. They have a maze that’s perfectly tailored to families so that kids and get their sillies out, have a pair of ducks who hang and entertain the patrons, you can enjoy seasonal pick-your-own fruit activities, and savour delightful tastings in the cozy, rustic winery.

Applewood Farm and Winery isn’t just a place to visit—it’s a destination that captures the essence of community, tradition, and the simple pleasures of farm life.

Applewood Farm Winery garden bar with owner, Matt Passafiume

Banjo Cider

Welcome to Banjo Cider, where every visit is a playful symphony of flavours and fun! Tucked away in the rolling landscapes north of Uxbridge, this delightful cidery transforms apples into pure, liquid joy. Imagine stepping into a whimsical world where orchards hum with the gentle strum of nature and the air is alive with the sweet aroma of the country air. Banjo Cider crafts crisp, dry (less sweet) from local fruits and infusions.

When we arrived, we met Patty, one of the owners who had long envisioned making cider on her farm, with her husband. Their farm had old apple trees and they bought a small press. Once they started, they were hooked. And the business has grown every year since!

Banjo Cider exterior and owner, Patty while on Rural Routes Tour Company day trip from Toronto

When you are going to Banjo Cider, it’s pretty much imperative that you try a flight of cider because they have a few varieties and they all taste very different. Of note – there is also a non-alcoholic cider option.

In the flight of cider that I tried, I tasted the Citizens Cider, Heart of Gold, Maud and Doppelganger. I highly recommend the Maud. It has a bit of a raspberry taste to it and is a nod to Lucy Maud Montgomery who resided in the area until her death.

Banjo Cider flight and menu on Rural Route Tour Company day trip from Toronto

Open year-round, in the summer, there is live music, a restaurant, a big patio, and this is a family-friendly establishment. In the winter, the tasting room is open and on occasion, so is a reservable firepit. On weekends, I hear there is a communal fire going for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re sipping on a sun-drenched patio or exploring the charming orchards, Banjo Cider promises a tune of happiness in every glass. Come, let your spirit dance to the melody of Banjo Cider’s irresistible charm!

Banjo Cider mileage sign from a day with Rural Route Tour Company on a day trip from Toronto

Should You Take the Sideroad Sippers Tour?

The vehicle that Tamara drives can accommodate up to 12-13 passengers aside from her, so you can be sure that each one of these tours is intimate. And it’s the connectedness of the small group and not a big bus tour that really makes for a special day trip from Toronto.

Every single one of these breweries and ciders that we visited have all grown and expanded over the past couple of years and has wonderful brews and ciders for guests and patrons to enjoy. There are, of course, non-alcoholic versions as well.

Lastly, I just have to point out that Second Wedge Brewing Company, Applewood Farm Winery and Banjo Cider are either family or woman-owned and operated. And that’s something pretty exceptional to support.

 

Thank you Tamara for hosting me on a wonderful day on the Sideroad Sippers Tour with Rural Route Tour Company. I can’t wait to do it again.

Please note – I was hosted on this excursion and I genuinely had a great time!

 

Rural Route Tour Co Tamara Selfie at Banjo Cider

 

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One thought on “Sideroad Sippers on Rural Route Tour Company – Take A Guided Day Trip From Toronto

  1. Pingback: Rural Makers Tour with Rural Route Tour Company - Day Trip From Toronto that You Don't Have To Drive Yourself - Kathryn Anywhere

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