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Outdoor Activities

Soak up the sun: 12 patios to check out in Hastings County

The days are long, the nights are warm, and the mosquitoes are finally getting less annoying. It’s patio time. Whether you’re looking for river views, a more urban oasis, or craft beers under the stars, Hastings County has you covered. From north to south, here are a dozen of the best patios in the area. …

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Introducing Hastings Hikes!

Escape the Indoors on our Monthly Hastings Networking Hikes Join together with local business owners to network and foster creative discussions during a peaceful hike on the beautiful trails of Hastings County. Meet like-minded individuals Discover collaboration opportunities Give your eyes a screen break Generate new business ideas Last week of each month: Mondays @ 10:00am …

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Hikes and hops: Where to pair nature treks and craft beers in Hastings County

Is there anything more refreshing than a crisp, cold beer after a healthy hike? Lucky for us, Hastings County has plenty of craft breweries just down the road from stunning nature trails. From Stirling to Madoc to Bancroft, here are some of the top spots to pair a walk in the woods with a post-hike …

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Maple sap tap in a tree

Sweet Talk: Hastings County Sugar Bushes are Fun Places to Visit

It’s that sweet time of the year! Local maple syrup producers have been prepping for weeks, and now, the sap is running. Hitting the sugar bush is the first harbinger of spring, and after a long, cold, COVID winter, it’s a lot of fun to visit a local ‘sugar shack’, take in an Ontario Maple …

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Family Day 2022: Why Not Try Something New?

We’ve been celebrating Family Day in Ontario for 14 years now. It’s a day to experience whole family activities and have some fun amid warming February temperatures. This year, given the recent loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, we can eat in or get take-out at local restaurants, take in a movie, or simply get outside and …

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Hand recovering geocache on a tree

Geocaching: An Outdoor Treasure Hunt that Anyone can Play

Geocaching is a great outdoor activity that can be done absolutely anywhere, and is free to do aside from a GPS device (which most of us can use our cellphones for).  If you haven’t heard of geocaching, it’s basically a worldwide treasure hunt.  That’s right,  geocaching is happening all around the world.  How cool is …

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Hastings County Birdwatching: Diverse, Undiscovered

Last week, we had the chance to catch up with two of Hastings County’s avid birdwatchers, Kyle Blaney and Tom Wheatley. They’ve both been birding in the area for several years, and in turn, have created their own unique and unforgettable experiences. Despite their separate paths, they both say the same thing: The birds of Hastings County are extremely diverse, and the next great birding location is here, just waiting to be discovered.

Woman holding umbrella

Adventures in April

COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into our plans for over a year now, and March Break 2021 is no exception… or should I say April Break! Have you seen every piece of every puzzle in your home more times in the last year than you can count? Have you played every board game you own and feel like you have seen everything on Netflix?

It’s time to shake it up! Leave the living room behind and adventure into the outdoors! Here in Hastings County, we are so lucky to be surrounded by nature and unique local businesses. While we are currently under restrictions, that doesn’t mean we can’t have an exciting April Break!

If you’re stuck on what to do, check out some ideas shared in this post…

a bowl full of produce

How to Start a Garden from Seeds

If you’ve never gardened before, growing your own vegetables can feel overwhelming, and you may not know where to start. However, with a bit of guidance, you can easily grow your own food. Three years ago, when I started my first garden, I started small. I picked four things to grow that year – tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, and lettuce. The following year I added a few more vegetables, and the third year I had a full-fledged garden happening!

two boys and girl play musical instruments

Fun Activities To Do On Family Day 2021

Family Day is fast approaching (on February 15th) and I think we can all agree that this Family Day is going to look like no other Family Day that we’ve celebrated in the past. Despite whatever current restrictions will be in place on that day, you can still enjoy it by spending quality time with your family. There are plenty of things you can do that are fun for everyone while socially distancing and staying close to home.

Dad with 2 childen ice fishing

Outdoor Winter Family Fun – Covid Edition

Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021at 12:01 a.m., the government issued a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for permitted  purposes or activities, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for work where the work cannot be done remotely. This order and other …

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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!

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!)

Aerial photo in the fall of the countryside in the Township of Carlow/Mayo in Hastings County, Ontario

Take in the Colours of Fall along the North Hastings Scenic Routes

There’s no better way to witness the true beauty of nature’s vibrant fall colours than a road trip through the countryside. With 13 routes to choose from you will find yourself meandering the countryside through large and untouched forests, and along river banks and water falls, while valley vistas and historic homesteads speckle the area.

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.

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.