Travel Swellness: A quick getaway to King City

Kingsbridge outdoor pool

Early this summer (where has summer gone already?!), I went for an overnight getaway to King City, which is just north of Toronto, to experience an equine therapy session with Jennifer Schramm and I got a chance to stay at Kingbridge Hotel and Conference Centre.

Kingsbridge indoor pool

I’m almost reluctant to write about this little gem because I want it to be my little secret, but this property is so quiet and pretty, I really felt like I’d escaped city life even though I hadn’t (I was conveniently near a suburban Walmart when I needed a pair of emergency shorts given the warm weather). I know it’s probably funny to some people that I consider King City a getaway (especially as I know people who live in that area!), but when you live right downtown, and escape to the quiet and greenery of the property, it does feel like you’ve taken a road trip to completely different surroundings.

Kingsbridge swing

On the property, there are hiking trails, where you’ll find this darling swing from a tree, and a quiet little river. There’s also one of the coolest indoor tracks I’ve seen here; it circles through the woods, so I got to fit in some speed work when it rained briefly.

Kingsbridge indoor running track

My entire stay, I had the pools entirely to myself, and the quiet time in the sunshine helped to calm my frazzled brain. I spent most of my time outside by the pool or hiking, but there’s a cozy library you can lounge around in, too.

A short drive away is where I grabbed a couple of meals. Firstly, a good thin crust pizza at Locale. This place was a popular spot and I’ve heard that a lot of the dishes are great (that’s always the downside of traveling solo — not getting to try more dishes when eating out!).

Roost Cafe in King City

For a casual lunch, I popped into The Roost Cafe for a fresh chicken wrap and a smoothie; it’s a charming coffee shop set inside of a century home, and there are pretty views from its’ patio.

Before driving back to the city, I went for a hike in Happy Valley Forest (one of the largest intact hardwood forests on the Oak Ridges Moraine, which was pretty but I had to cut my hike short as I hadn’t packed insect repellent and got more than 30 mosquito bites in the half hour I trekked there. Douse yourself in repellent if you go!

I often crave getting outside of the city, and I think a weekend at Kingbridge is a great option because it’s so close to the city and yet offers some light hiking, greenery, an indoor and outdoor pool, and a running track (helpful if you’re a runner in training for a race), all on a beautiful property. The only thing missing is perhaps a spa treatment, but I’m sure there’s a day spa nearby you could book a treatment at.

Have you been to King City? I’d love to hear your faves in the area.

Leave a Comment August 16, 2017

Foodie Swellness: Hello, Absolut Lime

Absolut Lime

I’ve been slacking on the beverage posts. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t slacked on the drinking and enjoyment of them this summer (erm, sometimes before I have a chance to photograph them, oops!), but am just behind on the posting about them!

Absolut Lime mojito

One of my new faves is Absolut Lime. It’s the latest addition to the core flavours from Absolut, and I’m surprised it took so long for them to add lime, especially since it’s the leading flavour profile for many cocktails!

For those watching your sugar, there are no added sugars to this flavoured vodka (although if you’re truly watching your sugar, you wouldn’t be drinking this at all!); I think it’s all about moderation, anyhow, obviously since I drink these cocktails on occasion. This Absolut is smooth and offers a refreshing hit of fresh lime. I’ve been using it to make the Absolut Lime Mojito, but once I pick up some ginger beer, I’ll be making some Mules, too. Here are the simple recipes for both of those cocktails, cheers!

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Absolut Lime Mojito

  • 1.5 oz. Absolut Lime
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup
  • half lime
  • 6 mint leaves plus one mint sprig
  • Soda water (I used my Bonne O for this)

Muddle mint leaves and simple syrup in a  highball glass. Fill with crushed ice. Add Absolut Lime. Stri, Toip up with soda water.

Absolut Lime Mule

  • 1.5 oz. Absolut Lime
  • 5 oz. ginger beer
  • 1/3 oz. fresh lime juice

Fill a mule cup with ice cubes. Add Absolut Lime and lime juice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with lime wedge.

Leave a Comment August 15, 2017

Healthy Swellness: Equine therapy in King City with Jennifer Schramm

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Early this summer, I was invited to try a session of equine therapy in King City, Ontario. I had never heard of equine therapy, but I love the idea of quality time with horses so I accepted the invite to join Jennifer Schramm to try a session of equine therapy so that I could get a taste of what her workshops, Unbridled Experiences, are like.

I arrived and Jennifer and I spent the first part of the session chatting inside. And then we stepped outside to the barn to meet the horses. As our first exercise, she had me meet each horse but I wasn’t to pet them. After spending a few minutes with them, she asked me what I’d noticed about each horse. I could tell one seemed more impatient and distracted (and I guessed he was the youngest), another was more calm, quiet and seemed more sensitive (this indeed was the oldest horse) and the third horse was somewhere between the two. Jenn told me my assessments were quite accurate. It’s pretty interesting what you can read about an animal by just being in their presence.

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So I learned from my two-hour session that there are different types of equine therapy and it can be beneficial for a wide range of issues. For example, it can be a helpful therapy for children with autism; from what I learned from Jenn, the therapy then revolves more of the routine of caring for the animal and being in the moment and being in tune with the animal’s cues.

But the therapy session I took part in was crafted around more around self discovery; considering an issue or area of one’s life you’re coping with and seeking some answers to, and through exercises with the horses, drawing some insight on how your actions, motivations and behaviour are affecting that area of your life.  Horses are powerful, sensitive and emotional animals, though, and through that, they can help reveal things about yourself you may not even realize.

This might be easier to illustrate with a hypothetical scenario. For example, let’s say you’re feeling lonely because you feel like friends have been distancing themselves from you and this is the issue you’re focusing on for your session. I did a few different exercises with the horses, but one I did with the oldest horse involved having to get her to move through two pylons I’d set up, but without pulling or pushing her to direct her that way. If you (as “lonely person with no friends”) were doing this drill and were really impatient and angry with the horse, you might come to realize that those aspects of your personality and how you’ve been treating your chums may be what is making your friends shy away from you.

I can tell you it took awhile but eventually the horse made her way through those pylons, but only after I got a bit of guidance from Jenn. To finish the session, we headed indoors where we chatted some more and she asked me to jot down my thoughts just for myself to process the day’s session.

I wasn’t in a rush so before I left, Jenn introduced me to her mini pony, Paddington, who that day was being kept in the stables as he was a bit under the weather. He’s an absolute darling.

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After one short session, I can’t say if I’m entirely a proponent personally for equine therapy, but I think if it works for you, or you’re seeking something different in your journey of therapy and self discovery, go for it. I will say that some quiet quality time with the horses, and simply having time to focus and connect with your own thoughts and feelings and issues you’re dealing with does feel quite therapeutic in and of itself. Whether one can glean and learn from the interactions with the horses is something I’d have to explore much more of.

For more about Jennifer and her equine therapy Unbridled Experiences workshops in King City, visit www.jenniferschramm.com.

Paddington

Leave a Comment August 10, 2017

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