One of the best vacations I ever had happened less than an hour from my front door in Ontario’s Highlands. As someone who travels a lot and has seen some amazing destinations, I’ve thought a lot about how a trip so close home remains in my Top 5 travel experiences.
The company for sure helped; the weekend was spent with girlfriends who were up for an adventure as much as I was. The utter ease in getting there didn’t hurt either. We didn’t have to arrive at an airport hours early, or spend most of a day travelling to our destination; proving that you don’t have to go far to get away. Ultimately though, it was the people we met at each stop, like Ian & Jeanie at Perth Outfitters and Gordon & Linda at Perth Manor who made the trip so memorable.
This year, Ontario’s Highlands is inviting guests to Come Wander through the region, and in the process discover what type of wanderer they are by visiting FindYourInnerWanderer.Ca. Guests answer a simple quiz and are entered to win a travel package based on their wandering type.
I took the quiz and was not surprised to learn that I am a Memory Maker. Considering I still talk about our amazing time in Ontario’s Highlands, it’s clear I made lasting memories there. That’s why I’m sharing our exact itinerary with you so you can get out and make some memories of your own.
Kick it Off on The Right Note
Most modern women are steeped in stress. Let’s face it, that’s part of the reason you’re taking this journey. Why wait then until the end of your weekend to feel it start to slip away then? Start your girls’ getaway at Tay River Reflections in Perth and kick this trip off on the right note. Go ahead and out-Canadian yourself by getting a Maple Massage; this was the treatment I opted for and loved it.
Enjoy Lunch With a View
Head over to Fiddlehead’s Bar & Grill and request a table on the patio for lunch. Located in a stunning limestone building dating back to the 1880s, this popular restaurant overlooks Stewart Park. Best bets for lunch include one of their thin crust pizzas or one of the delicious daily specials. After lunch, wander over to the gift shop and find the perfect souvenir to remember your trip.
Get In Touch With Your Inner Child
Part of the reason you’re getting away is to make memories, so start by getting in touch with your inner kid at Perth Outfitters. The joy the owners at Perth Outfitters exude is contagious, so you’ll be giggling in no time. Rent a canoe or a stand-up paddleboard with your besties and get out on the water. Finish your time off there with a hard-core game of mini-golf. You may be feeling a little peckish after all your play, so stop in at The Sunflower Bake Shop for the best carrot cake you’ll ever have!
Get Ready For a Night On The Town
By now, you’re stress-free, fed, and feeling light as a feather. Time to check in at the Perth Manor Boutique Hotel and get cleaned up for a night out on the town. Perth Manor is the perfect girly respite with its leaded windows, high-ceilings, antique furniture and stunning décor. Before you head out for your dinner reservation, enjoy a Manor Martini in the prettiest bar you’ll ever visit.
Linger Awhile Over Dinner
Not only do you not have to cook on this little escape but you get to spend hours lingering over a meal served to you. Make reservations at The Stone Cellar, and then stroll through one of Canada’s prettiest little towns on the way over. Once there, savor every bite of your meal. Don’t forget dessert! Head back to the Perth Manor for a blissful sleep.
Breakfast on The Terrace
Breakfast is included with your booking at Perth Manor, and you’ll be oh so happy it is as you start your second day. Weather permitting, I recommend enjoying your meal on the terrace outside and soaking in every last minute of your stay here over their amazing Eggs Benedict.
Learn Some History By Living It
The Matheson House is a fully restored period house built in 1840 that allows you to stroll through four period rooms and see how ladies like you used to get through the day. In the summer months, you can join members of the Classic Theatre Festival for Perth Through the Ages. This walking tour starts at Matheson House and takes you through the streets of Perth sharing entertaining stories about the town’s history.
Wander Through Ontario’s Highlands to Almonte
Bid adieu to Perth (although I’m sure you’ll make plans to return) and take in the scenery of Ontario’s Highlands as you head to Almonte. Part of what makes this area so unique is that the entire region is rural, so your view will never be obscured by high rises.
Sustenance Before Shopping
Stop at the Mill Street Crepe Company to fuel up on sweet and/or savoury crepes before spending the afternoon strolling along the 19th century main street. Known as the “friendly town, Almonte more than lives up to the name with the people you meet as you explore. Don’t miss Hello Yellow, the Almonte Antique Market, and the Tin Barn Market.
Admire the Architecture
One of the most wonderful things about Almonte is its small town charm and old architecture. The Old Town Hall is the perfect place to admire both of those qualities. If you plan this trip in the fall, plan to be in Almonte on September 15th when The Festivals of Small Halls is in town. In fact, you could completely ignore this itinerary and plan your getaway around The Festivals of Small Halls which will be traveling from town to town this fall. This unique music festival will see some of Canada’s best musical acts move from the big stage to the intimate venues of town halls across Eastern Ontario.
Debrief and Plan Your Next Trip
You’ve done a lot in a short time in Ontario’s Highlands, so it’s time to throw your feet up and reflect a little. The Almonte Riverside Inn sits on the banks of the Mississippi River and is the ideal place to end your perfect weekend on a high note. This charming boutique inn is located in a heritage estate that will leave you swooning. Enjoy a drink on the rooftop patio as you plan your next trip to Ontario’s Highlands. I guarantee, you’ll want to come back.
Not sure this #MemoryMaker itinerary is for you? Maybe you’d like to head out with your family or spouse instead. Here’s a few alternative Memory Maker Experiences you can find in Ontario’s Highlands:
Train buffs will love the Trainfest Festival at the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario in Smiths Falls. For the ultimate experience with your kids, make plans to spend the night in one. Best parent status is practically guaranteed.
Did you know Wilberforce and Bancroft in Ontario are the Mineral Capital of Canada. If you fancy yourself a bit of a gemologist then make plans to spend some time looking for precious stones in this area. You can even plan to take part in the Rockhound Gemboree which happens August 3-6 in Bancroft.
Calling all Cowboys and Cowgirls! Horse lovers will have the time of their life at the Horse Country Campground in Forester’s Falls which offers a Life on the Ranch Program. Guests take care of their own horse for the whole weekend and experience what it’s like to live on a remote ranch.