How to Enjoy Spring Just a Short Drive From Toronto
From spa getaways to artistic and culinary pursuits, we've got most every yen covered in our seasonal "get out of town" list.
Like most northern climate countries, seeing a young guy sporting shorts in Toronto when it's 57 degrees at the beginning of spring is not uncommon. For these hearty northern folks, it's positively patio season. With the temperatures only going up from here, it's time to get out of town. These warm weather getaways are close enough to Toronto to make it a day trip, but far enough that if you stay overnight, you'll really feel like you got away.
The Apple Pie Trail
The winding country roads of the Blue Mountains in the Meaford, Collingwood, area are a pleasant way to take in the sweet scent of the blossoms on the Apple Pie Trail. You can start by taking a "how to make a perfect pie" baking class with chef Tarlo at the Collingwood Cooking Academy (you'll make and take home three pies), swing past the Collingwood brewery to sip a pint, or stop at the Georgian Hills Vineyard to savor their Ida Red "Frozen to the Core" dessert wine. Maybe wrap up the day with dinner at Bruce Wine Bar Kitchen, where local and regional ingredients are showcased throughout the menu—apples included.
Arts Trail Prince Edward County
For those who desire a little cultural exploration, the Arts Trail is the perfect creative getaway from Toronto. Head east to Prince Edward County, and dive into its art galleries and studios on the self-guided Arts Trail tour. Almost thirty galleries, from modern spaces to rustic barn studios, feature wood-turned-accessories, silk works, water color paintings, pottery, glass pieces, and more. If you're the curious sort, you'll get to meet the artists behind the magic, too, if you like.
Le Scandinave Spa
Using the fresh water of Georgian Bay, Le Scandinave is an award-winning spa offering a Scandinavian baths experience. Tucked in among the tall pines and trees of a natural forest, the spa offers an outdoor escape from the everyday. A Finnish sauna, steam room, thermal and Nordic waterfalls, hot baths, and icy cold plunges are all on the menu, as well as massages. And when it's time to rest your eyes for a moment, hammocks nestled in the nearby forest await.
Cooking in Wine Country
You might find the variety of hands-on classes at the Wine Country Cooking School at the Strewn Winery a perfect match. Inspired by the culinary centers they saw in Napa, California, owners Jane Langdon and husband Joe Will decided they would open a cooking school for those who appreciate good food and good wine. From weekend day classes to evening classes and more intensive culinary vacations lasting a few days, the school is for recreational cooks who like to sink their teeth into terrific recipes, using local, terroir-based ingredients—including Strewn wines, of course.
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
If you drive to the pretty town of Kleinburg, you'll get to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, housing an impressive array of works from the Group of Seven. The gallery is built on what used to be a country retreat for collectors Signe and Robert McMichael. Today, it now houses a spacious gallery, and they've created "an extraordinary place to visit and explore Canadian culture and identity, and the connections between art and nature." Check the website to see what's on, and be sure to visit Don Yeomans' carved totem pole in the Grand Hall, as well as the outdoor works in the new Sculpture Garden.