Embrace the Snow!
As a new year begins, and many of us long for warmer months, it’s easy to forget all that winter has to offer us! Although I am likewise guilty of praying for a little more sun, less wind, and some time off from shovelling snow, these are all (in my honest opinion) part of what makes winter in Canada such a wonderful time of year. Not only does it make us appreciate the warmer months all the more, but winter is also the prefect time to do some self-reflection and relaxation. The deciduous trees may have shed their leaves, but the evergreens remain to colour our landscape. And a great way to “get away from it all” is to spend time in cottage country!
Having grown up in cottage country and migrated south (just outside the GTA), winter was always one of those times I used to spend great lengths of time outdoors and have found that it just isn’t the same in the city. Sure there are some well-maintained trails in the city for walking or even biking in the winter, but you have to look extra hard for those patches of untouched snow and winter “oases.” Although cottage country can have its busy trails and crowded lookout points, there’s something peaceful about being surrounded by more nature than people. Even sipping hot cocoa or cider after a long winter hike just tastes better in the country. This is why, as I sit in my apartment in the city, I long to return to cottage country in order to stretch my legs (and lungs) once again in the wilderness.
Now we get to the fun part of wintering in cottage country, the great outdoors! Whether you’re looking for an exciting adventure or a peaceful hike, winter in cottage country has many great activities to keep you and the family entertained.
While it may just seem like going for a walk with better marketing, hiking in the winter offers numerous exciting opportunities. Something to experience while hiking is the countless footprints from birds, rodents, or larger mammals that are not hibernating or in hiding. The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust has a great event each year called Animal Tracks & Signs as one of their “My Backyard Virtual Discovery Days". In this way, hiking becomes not only a fun activity, but an educational experience for the whole family, learning about the animals that inhabit our beautiful country. To find a hiking trail near you, check out the Haliburton Highlands website!
A great way to go off-trail hiking! For those of us who like to blaze our own path and want to take the road less travelled, a pair of snowshoes can solve that predicament. Trek at a slow pace to experience the sounds and sights of a crisp winter day, without the distraction of others around you. Snowshoes are readily available at most outdoor stores, but you can also fashion some yourself! Check out this awesome blog for some DIY snowshoe alternatives.
For those looking for a fast-paced winter exercise, outdoor skating in the country is where it’s at! Whether it’s on a lake, pond, or a backyard ice rink, once you get into the swing of it there’s nothing quite like zipping around the ice. If you do not own your own pair of skates, check out your local arena or sporting goods store to see if they rent them. Also, if skating as a part of a group is more your style, Yours Outdoors has some great group activities.
Skiing adds a couple of fun options to your winter activity list. Cross-county allows you a slower-paced tour on level land, whereas downhill provides you the thrill of speeding down a steep hill, dodging obstacles and fellow skiers. Sir Sam's Ski Hill in Eagle Lake has a hill for skiing and snowboarding, and provides rentals for those who don't own their own equipment. For those looking for cross-country trails, browse the 188kms listed on My Haliburton Highlands.
Bring back the joy of childhood with a good old fashioned toboggan ride down a steep hill in the country! Feel the wind in your hair as you grip the toboggan and steer down the icy slope, with all the thrill of a roller coaster and without the admissions fee! If you don't have a toboggan hill near you, visit the one at Glebe Park!
6. Snow sculptures/figures:
Here’s where you can let your imagination and artistic side come out! Whether you want to make a classic snowperson or a whole snowfamily (snowdog included), there is rarely any shortage of snow at the cottage and you won’t have to compete with the dozens of other eager snow enthusiasts in the city for the best (or least muddy) patches of snow.
Although there are still many other winter outdoor activities for your enjoyment, these are some of the more environmentally friendly options you have while appreciating the great white north. And if the cold outdoors isn’t your thing, cottage country is also a great place to hang your hat by the fire and just relax for a time. It gives you a chance to catch up on those books you’ve been meaning to read, or engage your family in group-based activities. Whether it is board games, puzzles, a myriad of arts and crafts projects, or even just reconnecting and getting to talk about life, love, and the future while cozied up away from home. Winter is yours to make of it, folks! Whether you’re up for an outdoor adventure or indoor relaxation, we all need to get away from it all, and what better place than at the cottage?
For more inspiration about how to enjoy the winter, check out Your Guide to Being a Winter Opportunist!
As always, our team at Cottage Care Rentals is here to find you the perfect winter cottage rental. We're just a phone call away - 705-457-3306. CottageCareRentals.com.