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Author name: A Local Wanderer

A woman wearing a black toque and purple long sleeve sweater, is smiling while holding up a large mouth bass

Fall Bass Fishing on Limerick Lake

Three years ago my partner, Eric, and I visited Limerick Lake for the first time. We had a memorable experience and had been talking about planning another trip there ever since. Our time finally came to head back to Limerick Lake last weekend.

Not only did we experience some great fishing on this trip but the timing was perfect to witness the incredibly vibrant autumn colours as well!

A charcuterie board featuring foccacia bread, slices of salami and mustard in a jar, served to eat.

The 24 Hour Foodie Road Trip in North Hastings

The northern reaches of Hastings County are a rugged, forested highlands dotted with over 250 lakes and rivers. But while all that wild consistently draws outdoor adventure-seekers, a growing number of chefs, farmers, and artists are waking visitors up to the fresh flavours and rich culture that have always been here. Follow this eight-stop weekend trip for a taste of what North Hastings has on offer right now.

Little Miss Ottawa sitting in a yoga studio

Creekside Riverside

No matter how busy the day gets we can also make time for ourselves. There are so many physical and mental benefits to yoga and meditation and the yoga retreat really helps you see that. I returned to lots of deadlines and in a normal week, I would have overworked and tired myself out. Instead, I found myself listening to my body, and tuning in to what I learned from the retreat, whether that was a short meditation, a walk, or yoga.

Country road in Stirling, Ontario as part of the apples to apples cycling route.

Apples to Apples Cycling Route

If you’ve got a hankering to crush some gravel and sip some cider, check out the Apples to Apples v.3 route here on Ride with GPS. This route is shorter in length, with just over 10% elevation gain over the course of the ride. Be prepared with a comfortable bike, a water bottle, a couple of friends, and a method to carry home the fruits of your labour. I’d love to know how you make it your own (and which King’s Mill Cider you choose at the end!)

man and woman inside a teepee tent

5 Glamping Getaways in Hastings County

Let’s face it: camping is great, but we don’t all want to sleep on the ground or cook over an open fire. An actual bed with sheets would be welcome, as would four walls, or at least some strong canvas. Luckily, glamorous camping, a.k.a. glamping, has taken off across North America in recent years, including here in Hastings County. From a riverside yurt to an off-grid cabin in the woods, here are five spots to get your glamp on.

Farmtown Park entrance

Take a Trip to Farmtown Park in Stirling

If you are looking for a family excursion that is both fun and educational, you will want to spend an afternoon at Farmtown Park. There are 9 different buildings to explore, like Heritage Village, the old schoolhouse, and learn about cheese and butter making. Farmtown Park is a great way to get the kids out to do something that they will not only have fun doing, but will also learn a lot of history. You’ll want to be sure to visit soon though, as they are only open during the warmer months, from May to the end of September.

A male geologist shows two children a mineral specimen found from the earth.

On the surface, North Hastings is beautiful. Under the surface, it’s even better

No matter which way you’re coming from, the road to Bancroft is long and calm. Big trees and clear lakes flank the roads towards this North Hasting County town. On the surface, it’s cottage country; a place people live in or visit because they love ripple of the water and a breath of fresh air.

But what lies under the surface makes the region even better. Several mineral species, such as graphite, mica, sodalite and even marble, can be found in the soil. Bancroft was once a town that lured workers to toil in small mines. From the past, to the present, there has been great value in this land. It offers an opportunity to discover – or experience – something unique.

Entrance sign for the Municipality of Centre Hastings, located in Ontario.

End of Summer Family Fun

I think it’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t exactly gone the way any of us had planned. None of us could have ever predicted what these last few months have thrown at us. So, if you’re trying to squeeze in a few more family days before summer ends, I think a day trip close to home is just what you need!
Take a day to explore the little village in the heart of Centre Hastings, that you are sure to love exploring with your family.

Two woman are side-by-side in a lake with their arms folded on top of a dock, smiling at each other.

5 Cottage Getaways in Hastings County

Mention the word “cottage” to most Ontarians and you’re likely to instantly conjure images of rustic cabins, crackling fires, and sunsets dropping on calm, tree-lined lakes.
The cottage is part of our provincial lore; it’s our oasis in a world moving way too fast. And here in Hastings County, where secluded lakes, dense forests, and sparse populations are the norm, it’s easy to find your cottage sanctuary.

Three people participating yoga with an instructor demonstrating in front of them.

Yoga and the River

We were all seated comfortably in the yoga pavilion – a simple wooden structure with screens for walls where light and fresh air enter freely. The wind in the trees and the sound of the river hushed any unnecessary mind chatter and the retreat began with the simple sharing of how we found ourselves seated here in the woods. One participant said it well when she shared: “I came to see what the yogis in the forest could teach me”.  Learn more about Yoga & The River Retreat at Madawaska Kanu Centre with yogis, Jessica & Nathan Rogers of Creekside Yoga.

The Hella Hastings Tour

I found myself in the saddle, too far in to turn around on a Friday afternoon in October 2018. We had planned a cycling route that would push our limits, but that was still close enough to civilization that we could call for backup if we needed it. That’s how the route – which we dubbed “Hella Hastings” was born. Right in our own back yard.

I’m Laura, part of the team at The Brake Room in Belleville, and I’m sharing the story of my first bikepacking trip, some tips I learned, and our Ride With GPS route.

Picnic on the dock

The Perfect Off-grid Weekend in Hastings

Find a quaint cabin; invite good company; pack a cozy sweater; power down. Outside all weekend? YES. Off-grid cabin? COOL! Lake swimming? Sign me up! This spur-of-the-moment plan my husband, Andrew, and I decided on was shaping up to be the perfect getaway.”

The beginning of Paige Wentworth’s off-the-grid cottage getaway in northern Hastings County, in the summer of 2019. Be inspired to have a cottage getaway of your own!

The Moira River at Vanderwater Conservation Area in Tweed, Ontario.

5 Trails to Explore as Responsible Hikers

Much of our world has changed dramatically over the past six months, but our vividly green outdoors have not. One activity that remains similar to its pre-pandemic existence, is travelling along our outdoor trails. If anything, thanks to social distancing guidelines, there is simply more room to explore and experience. As we emerge from months of lock down, natural outdoor spaces will play a larger role than ever in boosting both mental and physical health, providing an opportunity to get outside with minimal risk.

A woman and man buy produce at a local farm stand, Melrose Market Garden, located in Melrose, ON.

Up and Running: Farmers’ Markets and Farm Stands in Hastings County

Farmers’ markets and farm stands have long been symbolic of summer. They offer fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables at established community locales and they come in a variety of sizes and shapes: there are large village ‘markets’ supported by dozens of vendors, as well as smaller farm stands tucked away in hamlets, at the end of laneways, or along busy highways. No matter the venue, there is nothing quite like fresh asparagus in May, strawberries in June, or corn in late summer. There is nothing quite like locally grown!

Woman wearing a helmet on a bicycle travelling down a country road.

Marmora By Bike: Three Ways to Explore

On any given summer day, the trails snaking through Marmora and Lake are populated by ATV enthusiasts. In winter, the snowmobiles take over. The uninitiated might think that the local trails are designated for motorized traffic, but in fact, these multi-use trail are cyclist, hiker and even horseback-rider friendly.

Lately we’ve had the chance to cycle around Marmora more than ever before, and thanks to the trails, each time we return, it’s easy to find a new route to explore. Here, we’re sharing a few route options to provide a starting point for cycling in Hastings County.

Crowd of people on Mill Street in downtown Stirling for the Water Buffalo Food Festival

Stirling Water Buffalo Food Festival

Back in 2017, Local Wanderers Britt and Jeff visited the Stirling Water Buffalo Food Festival that September. It’s unfortunate that this year (2020) it’s cancelled. But we thought we’d share this overview of Britt and Jeff’s experience as we “Dream On” for the hopeful next edition of this Festival in 2021. According to Britt and …

Stirling Water Buffalo Food Festival Read More »

7 Local Shops for Father’s Day Gift Ideas

You may not be able to celebrate Father’s Day as usual with your dad this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still show him some love. Many shops across Hastings County are offering online and phone sales, and some will even deliver. From craft beer and cider, to paintings and woodwork, to fishing and hunting gear, here are seven local options.

An Epic Fall Family Weekend in Hastings Highlands

It’s dark outside as I drop my bag on the floor of the Baptiste Lake cottage – “Aaahhhh. We made it!” My husband orients himself outside with a flashlight, my son lights a fire in the woodstove, and my daughter turns on the classic rock of 97.7 Moose FM radio while I unpack the groceries that will fuel the amazing weekend of activity we have planned. After settling in, we each grab a beverage, find a cozy spot on the couch, and switch on a movie to de-stress from the workweek and drive from the city. The fire crackles, owls hoot, and the wind softly blows leaves off the trees onto the roof of the cabin as we drift easily off to sleep.

Southern Ontario Ice Festival – Icy Cliffs

It takes a special kind of person to strap knives to their feet, tie themselves onto a thin rope, grab two terrifying, pointy axes and decide to ascend an ice-laden cliff. Not to mention that this is all done during the depths of our frigid winter months. This is, in a nutshell, the basics of ice climbing in Hastings County. Every February the Southern Ontario Ice Festival takes over the small community of Maynooth for a weekend of ice climbing festivities.

The Ontario Cottage: A Perfect Place to Be

It’s a cool summer morning and a light breeze through an open window leaves you with the impression that you need to plaster on a sweater before you get out of bed. Obviously, this is only temporary as the sun will continue to climb and quickly heat up eastern Ontario to a roasting 30 degrees. For now though, you enjoy the brisk daybreak and look out at a perfectly calm lake. Like a mirror for the sun to put on her morning makeup, the lake sits perfectly still, similar to your early morning demeanour.

For the Love of Maple

If there was only one word to describe Spring in Hastings County, and it would be…MAPLE! In late Winter and early Spring, there are maple-fests, pancake breakfasts, and sugar bush events happening in the area almost every weekend! It’s a great opportunity to get out there and have some family fun while enjoying some delicious pancakes covered in sweet, local maple syrup. If you’re a maple syrup lover, (and come on, who isn’t?!) it’s likely one of your favourite times of the year!

A Reconnecting Ride Through Vanderwater

There’s something about hopping on a bike and ripping through a forest, bumping over roots and rocks.  Even riding down your local street and going incredibly fast on some fresh, smooth pavement.  A bike can be a conduit to new and exciting places, or it can be the fun and excitement of itself.

It’s a trait that separates the sport and the object from so many other activities and vehicles. For me, mountain biking is my absolute favourite or more appropriately trail riding as mountains are few and far between in this corner of Ontario. To be honest, a mountain really isn’t necessary as all you need are some significant up and downhill sections to make the experience fun and challenging.