Tag: glamping

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: Camping with the Cadillac Escalade

Escalade for camping weekend

A couple of weeks ago, I went camping for the second time this summer and thanks to Cadillac Canada, I got to test drive a Cadillac Escalade for the trip.

Escalade in Killbear Provincial Park

It’s actually the first time I’ve driven an Escalade, and I was pretty stoked about it. Actually, I was pretty stoked right up until I got in the car and realized how enormous it is. As I’ve only been in an Escalade a handful of times as a passenger, I didn’t realize there are two rows of seats behind the driver, and just how much more massive it is than the other SUVs I’ve been driving (like the Chevy Equinox, GMC Acadia and Buick Envision). How big is it? I didn’t even have to do anything (such as wave to ask them to let me go through) and drivers readily made room for the Escalade so I could get by; people in my neighbourhood could see how this vehicle was not going to make it through the narrow two-way street I live on.

Escalade with Bun and Billie Jean

I was pretty intimidated and nervous behind the wheel at first, and especially so when parking underground (where space is tight and there’s all sorts of columns to maneuver around). I did eventually feel more comfortable driving it once we were out of the city (where traffic was less hectic).

The things I came to like about the Escalade as I drove it and had it for our camping weekend?

  • While you may not think of an Escalade and camping as going hand in hand, camping calls for so much gear, and we were three people and two dogs, and once we put the last row of seats down, we were able to easily fit all of the piles of gear and food. And we were all seated comfortably even with all of our supplies, which was great as we ran into traffic heading out of the city making for a long time in the car.
  • The sharp lines and boxiness of the car; I’ve always been more partial to more boxy cars versus ones with more curves to its silhouette. So aesthetically, it resonates with me.
  • Our Escalade colour, the Crystal White Tricoat, is a gorgeous, almost pearly, white.
  • The luxe, buttery interior. I  jokingly told my friend it made our camping trip into a glamping trip. Also, because it is so spacious, in an emergency, we could all sleep in the vehicle if we came across a bear.
  • The head’s up display on the car’s windshield. Not having to glance at the screen but having my speed and the GPS directions on the windshield (the head’s up display is when this info is projected onto a film on the windshield) so that I can keep my eye on the road is very helpful. I especially found it helpful in the Escalade because I found you could easily be driving quite fast without it feeling like you’re speeding. Being able to have my speed in front of me on this display helped me stay within the speed limit.

IMG_7670

So while the size was intimidating to me, the vehicle did turn out to be a great option for our weekend in the wilderness at Killbear Provincial Park. And I will say, the size of the car and how smoothly it drove did make me feel safe.

As for how camping itself went, I’ll be blogging about that soon. Spoiler alert: we (thankfully) didn’t encounter any bears.

Escaled with Billie Jean chilling

Leave a Comment September 6, 2017


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