It may not be the holidays as usual, this year, but there are still lots of ways to show your family and friends how much they mean to you. Now, more than ever before, retailers and service providers across Hastings County are opening up online shops or just making it easier for you to purchase from a distance.
So, whether you’re shopping for an outdoor adventurer, a gourmand, a serenity seeker, a naturalist, a creative, or a family, read on for 34 gift ideas.
The Outdoor Adventurer
Madawaska Kanu Centre (pictured) is one of the most renowned whitewater canoe and kayak schools in the country, so if you have a burgeoning adventure paddler on your list, you can’t go wrong with a gift card. Apply any dollar amount to any of the centre’s programs next year.
Built in 1974, Shannonville Motorsport Park has been the birthplace of multiple champions on the world motorsport stage. Maybe someone you know will join their ranks one day after starting their journey at the Shannonville Racing Academy.
One of the more popular locations for ice fishing in the region is Moira Lake, and Moira Lake Fish Hut Rentals has your winter anglers covered. The fire will be started, holes augured, and minnows ready. Transportation to and from the hut is also available.
For the hunter in your ranks, check out B2 Outfitters, which offers guided black bear hunts on about 60,000 acres in the region. Packages include guides, accommodations, six full days of hunting, transportation, and retrieval, cleaning, and hanging of bear.
Dogsledding isn’t as common in the south as it is in northern Canada, so a guided dogsledding tour with Ride the Wilderness could be a true surprise for your outdoor adventurer. Gift cards are available, and shipping is free if ordered before December 20th.
If you think your adventurer may enjoy four wheels over a dozen dogs, a guided ATV tour from the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance may be the ticket. Choose from day trips, overnight loops, and three-day adventures.
Tweed’s Enright Cattle Company is well-known for its high-quality cuts of beef and sustainable farming practices. Let your beef eater taste what all the fuss is about with a Kara’s Selection Box, which includes handpicked beef cuts, ranging from grilling steaks to pot roasts and recipes.
The Ontario Water Buffalo Company, located north of Stirling, is another renowned local farm, and like Enright Cattle Company it offers Feast Packages too. Three, in fact: Meat Lovers, Family Feast, and Charcuterie Board.
Few holiday gifts get gourmands drooling quite like gift baskets, and Cassidy’s in Maynooth makes up some great ones. The reason is Cassidy’s premium coffees, teas, Ontario-made chocolate truffles, maple confectionaries, and other mouth-watering offerings.
Although Kings Mill Cider is located in the rolling hills of Stirling, Kees Morsink and Margaret Van Helvoort will ship their award-winning ciders anywhere in Ontario. Choose from a range of brews, from bone dry to fruity, all made with hand-picked Ontario apples.
If your gourmand is more of a craft beer fan, then they may appreciate joining the Growler Club at 7/62 Craft Brewers (pictured) in Madoc. For one year, they’ll get a 64-ounce growler fill every month, 10% off merchandise, one beer flight, and one glass of beer on their birthday.
The gift of chocolate can only be topped by monthly gifts of chocolate, and Tara McMurtry, aka the Chocolate Harlot, offers just that through her Chocolate Harlots’ Club. Your harlot will be the first to taste the newest creations every month, collaborate on truffle and caramel development, and receive other perks.
The Serenity Seeker
There are few better ways to ensure your serenity seeker is taking care of their physical and mental well-being than with the gift of yoga. And Stirling’s Creekside Yoga has them covered with a range of options you can purchase online — from drop-in class passes, to online classes, to prenatal workshops.
The award-winning Grail Springs Retreat (pictured), located near Bancroft, sits on hundreds of acres of forest and a spring-fed lake. A wide range of activities are available, including yoga, meditation, and hiking, as well as spa offerings, such as massage, sauna, body scrubs, and facials. Best to go with an all-inclusive package.
Have a couple on your list needing some R&R? Then send them to Black River Retreat, a small couples’ resort on six acres of land along the Black River near Tweed. It features kayaking, hiking, hot-tubbing, and four-course dining. Suites include fireplaces and oversized log beds.
One of the gentler martial arts is Aikido, loosely translated as “the way of the harmonious spirit”, and it appeals to both the young and old, men and women. One great place to learn in the region is the Peaceful Warrior Dojo in Stirling, where Sensei Dan Boyle leads instruction.
While not all massages are meant to be relaxing, the ones at Radiance Spa in Madoc are. One-hour and half-hour relaxation massages are available, but we recommend the one-hour hot-stone massage. The benefits of hot-stone include increased circulation, reduced stress, and improved overall well-being.
Few activities get you as up close and personal with nature in the County like a paddling trip, especially one on the York River, which runs from Algonquin Park to the mighty Madawaska River. Check out Trips and Trails Adventure Outfitting for multiple day and overnight trips along the York.
Glamping has taken off in recent years, and the serene Four Seasons Getaway (pictured) on the Moira River is a great option no matter the time of year. This unique canvas structure has two double cloud beds, a hammock, outdoor kitchen, outdoor hot shower, woodstove, dock, and boats.
If a cottage is more appealing to your naturalist, consider Thompson Cottages, on Moira Lake. The two recently built modern cottages have three bedrooms each, open-concept living and kitchen areas, and big decks. In the winter, there is ice skating, fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobile trails nearby.
Cruising Canoes is best known for their guided canoe trips. But in the winter, they also offer snowshoeing adventures throughout the region at places like O’Hara Mill Conservation Area. Gift certificates are available online.
We’re in the heart of the mineral-rich Canadian Shield, so if you know a burgeoning geologist, make a virtual stop at Lakeside Gems Rock Shop. Located in Bancroft, aka the Mineral Capital of Canada, Lakeside Gems has everything from tools to books to mineral-collecting field trips.
The Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance has trails stretching from the Bay of Quinte all the way to Algonquin Park. But they aren’t free to use for
The Stirling Festival Theatre had to cancel most of their performances in 2020, but now they’re gearing up to open their doors for live and virtual shows in 2021. Expect a lineup heavy on tribute concerts and musicals. Tickets available online.
Coe Hill’s Tinhouse Woodworking and Espresso Bar (pictured) is closed for the season, but co-owner Jeff Wells is still in the shop churning out custom wood pieces, including everything from cutting boards to kitchen harvest tables.
Head to the Old Hastings Mercantile & Gallery for one-of-a-kind gifts like Canadian arts and crafts, vintage toys, and antiques. Located in Ormsby (population 20), the shop is owned by artists Gary and Lillian Pattison. Orders can be made via phone, email, and Facebook.
For your pottery head, check out Bailey-Brown Pottery’s online shop. Pam and Jeph’s functional pieces are, as they put it, “a celebration of colour — the feel of sun on shimmering water, of windswept grasses and sand and waterlilies…”
It will be tough to decide what to get at the eclectic Possibilities in Marmora, so a gift card may be in order. The shop specializes in painted vintage furniture, unique home décor items, fusion mineral paint and accessories, pillows, area rugs, and way more.
A family adventure out of the house should be well-deserved by January, and Silent Lake Provincial Park has it covered with its seven yurt camping options. Each yurt comes with electricity or a woodstove, bunkbeds with queen and single beds, an area to prepare food, and a barbecue.
Almost every family has at least one guitar nut, and if you think they might need lessons, give Steve Wright a call at Guitar Nuts in Bancroft. The music shop is known for its new and used guitars and wide array of other instruments, but lessons are also offered in the shop’s studio with local teachers.
You might need just one stop at The Tree Trunk (pictured) to cross off everything for the family on your list. The Stirling boutique and gift shop specializes in Canadian-made and eco-friendly products for babies, kids, and their parents, including clothing and home décor items.
Tweed Lanes is back open for 5-pin bowling on Fridays (4 pm – 9 pm) and Saturdays (12 pm – 9 pm). But for a special family Christmas gift, you can also book a couple of lanes outside of these times and/or arrange a party. Reservations are required before any visit.
We may all have cameras in our pockets, but we aren’t all photographers. Better to leave it to the professionals, and there are plenty across the County ready to capture your family or the one on your list. Two good options are Country Camera Photography (Bancroft) and Jenn Munro Photography (Stirling). Know a family of book lovers? Now you can send them an e-gift card from Ashlie’s Books in Bancroft. The independent bookshop has titles in a wide variety of categories, including Canadian non-fiction, history, local authors, and sustainable living.