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Seasonal Sips: A guided tour of Hastings County’s cafés and coffee shops

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‘Tis the season of comfort and joy, and let’s face it, we could all use a little more of that!

Across Hastings County, there is a myriad of lovely quaint cafés where you can pop-in and order yourself a warm coffee, tea, specialty latte or hot cider to get you through your Christmas shopping excursion, or to keep you toasty as you commute to work. There are also spots where you can buy your favourite holiday beverages and make them in the comfort of your own home.

Let’s explore some of Hastings County’s best spots to relax and enjoy a treat to warm the soul.

North Hastings

Wattle & Daub Café at Heart of the Park photo source: Facebook

As you travel to the northernmost portion of the county, it’s hard not to notice the change in temperature. It’s colder, snowier and chillier the further you venture up Highway 62, so it makes sense some of the best places to stop in, and warm-up area in the north end of the region.

At the Wattle and Daub Café in the heart of Bancroft, hot beverages and sweet treats are a specialty. The café offers a variety of coffees, teas, and specialty hot drinks that pair perfectly with the baked goods made in-house, including warm, gooey brownies, cookies and cakes. Patrons have labelled this destination as “uniquely wonderful” and a treasure in the community.

In another part of Bancroft, over on Bridge St., a little café is serving up amazing, flavoured lattes that will make your season bright. The Muse Gallery & Café has an entire menu just for hot drinks, including peppermint and mocha lattes, flavoured espresso coffees, London fogs and plain Americano when you just need a java fix. Pair it with a homemade tart or square and check out the local art showcased inside the café while you relax and enjoy.

The Muse Gallery and Cafe’ photo source: Traveller Ariel W. on TripAdvisor

If you’re enjoying a day trip up Highway 62, you may also want to check out Café BC. This family operated eatery is rated the No. 2 café in the region on TripAdvisor and serves dishes that are hearty and perfect for cold weather. A customer favourite, aside from the homemade soups, salads and hot dinners, is a dessert called the Twister – a must-try dessert similar to a glazed donut, perfect for savouring alongside a hot tea or coffee.

Twisters at Cafe’ BC photo source: Facebook

Last but certainly not least, Maynooth offers a quiet spot to sip on your favourite flavour of tea – Memories Bakery & Tea Room. Inside this house that’s been converted into a gorgeous parlour, visitors get a taste of sweet and savoury treats while enjoying an Earl Grey, steeped to perfection.

Central Hastings

Jenny’s Country Lane – Pie photo source: Facebook

A little hidden gem in Tweed awaits visitors who love a good hot beverage and home cooking. By the Way Café serves up what one traveller described as “the best coffee” and delightful, light fare to boot. Currently, this restaurant is serving takeout, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting a steaming hot coffee with a warm bowl of soup and a side. Take it to go as you explore the area’s great shops and grab a few gifts for loved ones.

Just down the road in Madoc, it’s hard to pass through the village without noticing Hidden Goldmine Bakery. This country café on Durham St. in the heart of the village is known far and wide for its baked goods, but also for its delicious teas, coffees and hot drinks. Currently, for the holiday season, Hidden Goldmine is serving up rich eggnog and hot chocolate. Or, if you’re craving something that reminds you of the tastes and aromas of the holiday season, the hot apple cider and fresh cinnamon buns may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Cold days also call for the warmth and spice of a vanilla chai latte. Customers at Café23 in Stirling-Rawdon say the West Front Street eatery serves up delicious hot lattes that are best paired with some of their homemade desserts, like donut drops or a bowl of steaming homemade soup. Café23 offers a great place to rest while exploring the downtown to purchase some great local gifts for everyone on your list.  

Just to the east, over on Mill St., longstanding restaurant Jenny’s Country Lane has been a staple coffee shop in the community for years. Locals flock to Jenny’s for a hot coffee, tea, or hot chocolate served with a whopping slice of pie. The coconut cream, Dutch apple, and chocolate come highly recommended. Why not take your dessert and a coffee-to-go and head across the street to the historic covered bridge for a treat by the water?

South Hastings

O’ Connor House Tea Room photo source: Facebook

If you haven’t visited Deseronto in awhile, O’Connor House Tea Room is the perfect reason to hop in the car and take a drive. Located on Deseronto’s Main St., O’Connor House offers a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere, according to its many patrons. Now that the weather is getting chillier, the fireplaces are on, and the tea is steeping. For a truly English experience, order your afternoon tea with an arrangement of scones and jams.

Staying home for the holidays

As we enter the holiday season, it may feel more comfortable to stay in where it’s warm – and that’s okay. One may still enjoy the offerings of local businesses in the comfort and familiarity of home!

There are many local businesses throughout the entire region where you can order your holiday beverages and treats and pick them up curbside, enjoying them with your immediate family (or, let’s be honest, keeping them all for yourself!).

The Apple Store in Stirling-Rawdon is an excellent option for this. Here you can find sparkling cider to celebrate the holidays or pick up a jug of apple cider. Imagine curling up by the fireside, stirring your steaming cider with a cinnamon stick. It doesn’t get much cozier than that.

Similarly, in Madoc, you can pick up baking and beverages at Hidden Goldmine Bakery – or even some takeout like soups, sandwiches and salads.

At some of Hastings County’s businesses, you can even shop online for your needs. Alice’s Pantry in Bancroft offers tons of options online and delivers items curbside. Voila! Order your local coffee, tea, and all the fixings, and brew to your heart’s content at home.

Other places offering curbside pickup of holiday beverages and treats include Oats & Honey Bulk Foods in Madoc, Kings Mill Cider in Stirling-Rawdon and Ivanhoe Cheese.

One more thing: Don’t forget that our local businesses offer gift cards. During the holiday season, this is a wonderful way to support locally-owned shops and cafés, even if you are staying close to home during the winter months. Think about purchasing gift cards for family members or to stow away for another occasion. There are all sorts of ways to keep our local economy thriving while also staying safe.

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