Tag: dog-friendly

Travel Swellness: 10 things to do in Norfolk County

Long Point Eco Adv Wilderness Pod

Road tripping was the theme for my summer 17 and I thought I’d challenge myself in trying something new-ish to me: glamping! I have glamped before once, in Chile, but it was so luxe I actually wasn’t quite sure if it is considered glamping… but I suppose it was!

Little did I know that before I made it to my glamping trip in Norfolk County that I’d go camping twice, which is way more challenging.

I’d never been to Norfolk County before. Coined Ontario’s Garden, the area boasts fields where all sorts of produce is grown, everything from ginseng to cabbage. It is a quiet and cozy getaway that I feel hasn’t quite hit the super trendy status of Prince Edward County, which makes it more low key and relaxing. I drove there from Toronto  in a Chevy Equinox and it took about three hours because we hit traffic.

With three whole days to explore, and some good weather, we got to explore much of the area. Planning a getaway to Norfolk? I think you should! Here’s how you should fill your time.

Long Point Wilderness Suite

Stay at Long Point Eco Adventures. I love being in nature and Long Point Eco Adventures makes it an easy go for urbanites who want to try camping. I did one night in an adorable Wilderness Pod (that’s the cute wooden pod at the top of this post) and two nights in a Wilderness Suite tent. Both feature a bed with linens and electricity and a washroom (for the pod, you shower in an outdoors shower nearby). The Suite had a king-size bed and a very nice outdoor shower attached to the tent; don’t you love showering in fresh air? It’s the best. The breakfast, which is included with your stay, is a buffet and it includes some kick-ass breakfast potatoes and bacon. I looked forward to those every morning!

Long Point Eco Adv breakfast

There’s a food truck on site, so you don’t have to fuss with a camping stove or anything like that. The lunch we had from the food truck is tied for my favourite meal of the trip. We had this awesome, very flavourful salad and steak frites.

Long Point Eco Adv lunch from food truck

Drink and eat at Burning Kiln Winery. Right across the street from Long Point Eco Adventures is Burning Kiln Winery and you’ll see the tobacco kiln out front. The winery has repurposed the tobacco kiln to dry grapes, which enhances the flavours and brings out different nuances to the grapes. I really enjoyed the tasting here, and the food is superb, too. The food truck at LPEA is actually from Burning Kiln, so it’s no surprise that the dinner here is my other meal tied for fave meal of the trip. Portions are substantial so go with an appetite (or ask for a doggy bag — your pod or suite has a mini fridge!). My favourite was the Pinot Noir (and I’ve got a bottle of it at home now to break into, can’t wait!).

Billie Jean hiking at Long Point

Take a hike. My dog, Billie Jean, and I both love to hike and we took advantage of the trails on the Long Point property. A few of the trails the start near the Wilderness Suites can get steep so proper footwear is a must. We also hiked in Waterford by the Black Bridge, but the trail we found there was mostly a paved path, so it felt more of a walk in a park than a hike in the woods, so there are options if you’re more keen on an easier stroll.

Long Point Eco Adv ziplining

Zip line at Long Point Eco Adventures. There’s a really free and joyful feeling that comes with zip lining. I’ve done it several times now in both North America and the Caribbean and while it doesn’t give me an adrenaline rush in the places I have done zip lining, that familiar whirring sound and the lush forest below is great as an unexpected way to enjoy the beauty of Norfolk County.

Blueberry Hill

 

Enjoy a cider tasting at Blueberry Hill Estates. Stop into Blueberry Hill Estates for a cider tasting to whet your appetite. Better yet, pair your cider tasting with a cheese tasting. It’s a great way to test your tastebuds and learn more about cider. There are also some incredible baked goods for sale (hello, butter tarts!); take some to go to enjoy back at your pod.

Mountain biking at Turkey Point

Go mountain biking. Remember how I said zip lining doesn’t really give me an adrenaline rush? Well, mountain biking does. In that I’m-so-terrified-of-crashing-and-my-heart’s-going-a-million-miles-a-minute way. I’ve never tried it before and I think our ride in Turkey Point Provincial Park was the perfect first attempt. Paul Meiklejohn from Elevation Mountain Bike Camps & Coaching is a former pro mountain biker and he was very patient and gave me clear instructions and was very encouraging — even when I had to try three times before I made it over a very little bump. The trails are so narrow (to me, at least) and I was terrified of my handlebar catching on them, which they eventually did. So I wiped out a few times, but nothing serious, and while I can’t say I truly found it fun (OK, well, it was fun but tied to a whole lot of fear!) I was very proud of myself for trying something new and out of my comfort zone. I can definitely see why people love mountain biking, I’m still too much of a chicken to embrace it.

Inasphere Wines

Go for a wine tasting and the views at Inasphere Wines. This jaw-dropping view is what greets you as you drive up to Inasphere Wines. I recommend going in to get your wine tasting and then stepping outside to grab a Muskoka chair to sit in as you take in this spectacular sight (those are cabbage crops, btw).

Port Dover Beach

Visit the beach at Port Dover. You guys, there’s palm trees in Port Dover! Real palm trees! They’re definitely not native, but it’s a fun addition to the beach here. It was very windy the day we ventured here, but this sandy beach was lovely and there are a charming retro diner in this beach town that I definitely want to check out the next time I’m in the area. 

Pigs at Ralphys Retreat

Say hello to the animals at Ralphy’s Retreat. Call head to arrange a visit to the animal sanctuary, Ralphy’s Retreat, where you’ll find mostly pigs. Those mini potbellied pigs? Lots of people get them as pets, only to learn that they grow up into large pigs. Some of those abandoned pigs end up here at the Retreat (there were also some horses, too) where they are well cared for while they await finding a good home.

Billie Jean at Long Point Beach

Spend a day on the sand at Long Point Beach. There’s a dog-friendly section of the beach, and the lake is warmer than Lake Ontario, so on a nice day, even I (not a fan of cold water) would consider venturing in for a dip.

This is just a taste of what Norfolk County has to offer. What else is there? Well, I didn’t have time to try axe throwing at Long Point Eco Adventures, and there are a few restaurants I didn’t have time to check out (there’s only so many meals one can cram into each day!). The weather meant we had to cancel stand-up paddleboarding and the other watersports, and it also meant we couldn’t check out the observatory (too cloudy!). What’s this mean for me? Well, I’m pretty sure this means another visit is a must!

Billie Jean in Long Point Wilderness Suite

And yes, fellow folks with dogs, Long Point Eco Adventures is dog-friendly. Billie Jean was a very happy camper exploring the woods and searching the grass for scraps near the food truck and taking advantage of the king-size bed in the Wilderness Suite. I highly recommend this for you and your pup, and for anyone who wants the nature and outdoors fun of camping but with zero of the task of packing up loads of gear and supplies nor the work of making a fire or pitching a tent.

Have you been to Norfolk County? Would love to hear about your recommendations!

 

 

1 Comment October 11, 2017

Travel Swellness: Dog-friendly road trip to Prince Edward County

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With my recently adopted dog, Billie Jean, who I adopted from Save Our Scruff, much of my life now revolves around whether she can be included in my plans. In fact, she’s part of the inspiration behind the road trip series I’m doing this summer.

Bun in Chevy Equinox

For my second visit this summer to Prince Edward County, I went with one of my girlfriends (like the last visit in early June) but this time, I planned a dog-friendly trip so both my girl Billie Jean and my bestie’s adorable silky terrier, Bun, could join, too.

The County is, yes, a little bit country, but it’s also more than a little posh with its wineries and great food, and with two girls and two dogs, thanks to General Motors Canada, I got the Chevy Equinox to test drive for this trip and it was the perfect vehicle for us. Roomy (for road trips, I often lean towards overpacking, plus Billie Jean doesn’t travel very light as there’s her crate, giant bag of food, toys, and more). Also, the Equinox is, in my opinion, both practical for my lifestyle but also quite refined — just like me (I’m the picture of refinement, no?!)! I love, love, love its luxurious interior — they had me with these leather seats. And as you can see, both Billie Jean and Bun got very comfortable and relaxed in the car.

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Of the cars I’ve driven in the past year or so, I think it’s the Equinox I feel most comfortable driving. I guess I’m partial to SUVs (I like the height of them) but this crossover seemed more easy to maneuver than others I’ve driven. Also, since I usually road trip with one friend along, I loved that we could each control the temp of our space in this Equinox. It’s key for us both to be comfortable when you’re on the road for a couple of hours or more.

One thing I did notice: Either we toured around more than we realized (there was our last day when we had the hardest time finding a spot open for lunch, so we did roam around a lot!) as it would say it seemed the Equinox isn’t as fuel efficient as other crossovers I’ve driven recently (although it is 5.7 L/100 km hwy). I will have to pay closer attention to this from now on.

For those of you with a dog in your brood who are looking to visit Prince Edward County, here are some of the things you should add to your itinerary.

The Ferg The Loft

Stay at The Ferg

Finding accommodations that accept pets isn’t the easiest, so when I came across The Ferg and it ticked off both boxes for beautiful and cozy (and a great location!) and also allows dogs, I knew I had to visit. And coincidentally, one of the owners, Jaime, is someone whose book I copy edited some years ago! Small world.

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We stayed in the Loft at The Ferg and its two floors fill with natural light during the day, and it’s decorated in the prettiest cottage chic. Spacious for us with the two dogs, and just off of the main street in Picton, and most key, it’s within walking distance to my favourite ice cream shop, Slickers Ice Cream (have the Campfire!). And for late night or early morning quick jaunts outside, there’s a grassy backyard that both dogs enjoyed.

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Eat and drink at Norman Hardie Winery

You may have to wait a little longer as they seats guests with dogs on the tables by the outside of the patio, but the wine and pizza (I’m in love with both the mushroom and the margherita) is well worth waiting for.

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There’s usually a special side dish you can order as well (last time it was a gorgeous asparagus with burrata cheese dish) and it’s always superbl; this visit we had the green salad that is on the menu, and it is quite possibly the best green salad I’ve had (so fresh and with a lovely vinaigrette). Norm Hardie is pretty much always my first stop in the County, as we plan to arrive there around lunch as our first stop and are usually ravenous after the two-hour drive.

Visit the alpacas at Shed at Chetwyn Farms

Introduce your canine to some adorable alpacas at Shed at Chetwyn Farms. I’m a little obsessed with interspecies friendships, and how cute would a dog and alpaca friendship be? I actually didn’t get to stop by this trip at Shed because it was closed the day we were nearby, but I do usually pop by to say what’s up to the cuties and to check out the beautiful knit goods in the shop.

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Visit Prince Edward County Lavender

For $2, traipse around the beautiful lavender fields at PEC Lavender and breathe in that lovely, relaxing scent. If the fields are not in bloom, pop into the shop to buy lavender souvenirs to make your home a soothing oasis. The dogs visited the fields with us, but it was hard for me to get Billie Jean to pose for pictures. I don’t think she “gets” Instagram yet :)

Enjoy taco time at Guapo’s Cantina

I was introduced to Guapo’s Cantina on my foodie tour of PEC last summer and I think we taste tested each type and they were all incredible. So you can imagine how devastated I was when we drove all the way there on our way home only to find it closed that day (we were in PEC in June, so it wasn’t high season yet, so many businesses were closed Tuesdays). It’s set up outside of Traynor Family Vineyard, so you can easily grab some tacos with your four-legged buddy along with you and grab one of the tables outside.

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Play at Sandbanks Provincial Park

There are two dog-friendly beaches in the Park, and we set up ourselves at what I think is the smaller one that’s not on Sandbanks Beach. There were a handful of dogs off leash and splashing about in the shallow water, which Billie Jean ventured into (she doesn’t mind getting wet, but doesn’t seem fond of swimming, so likes to have her feet on the ground). She was in heaven, as was Bun. It was my first time spending time in the Park and next time I hope to explore Sandbanks Beach more.

Perfect Lil Bakeshop with BJ

Buy dog treats at Perfect Lil Bakeshop

I discovered the adorable Perfect Lil Bakeshop during my visit in early June and Billie Jean loved the dog treat I brought home for her last time. So we made a point to go again to get our dogs some treats, except they were all out! Not to worry, as we picked up plenty of treats for ourselves, including a delectable strawberry rhubarb pie to share.

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This dog-friendly trip marks my fourth visit to the County and I feel like I’ve gotten to know a lot of the great spots in PEC, but I’d love to hear about your favourites (Especially of the dog-friendly variety, because Billie Jean is just dying to visit again!)

 

 

Leave a Comment August 8, 2017


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