Unexpected ways to experience Ontario’s fall colour Jacqueline Parker If you’re thinking that another summer has passed you by and you’re already anticipating the cold chill of winter, it’s time to think again. Squeezed between the dog days of summer and the blistering cold of Old Man Winter is the best season of all – Fall! Full of its glorious colours and fabulous smells- you’re sure to miss the best of the season if you stay hunkered down in the city. So login to The Fall Colour Progression Report (https://www.ontariotravel.net/publications/fallcolourreport.pdf ) to see where the colours are at their best and set your sails for adventure with these great fall colour getaway ideas. Muskoka & The Great North You can’t go wrong when you head up to Muskoka during this chilly but vibrant time of year. Whether you choose to witness the colourful display from the car on a scenic drive or you decide to put on your hiking boots –there’s no shortage of opportunity to see fall in all its glory up north. Port Carling’s Huckleberry Rock overlooks Muskoka Lake and provides breathless vistas of the pink granite rock and bursts of orange and red colours that make the area one of the top destinations for fall. It’s also time for Muskoka’s famous Cranberry festival and you might consider can pairing with some wine tasting for the ultimate culinary excursion. If you really want to immerse yourself in the majestic Muskoka landscape, take a tour on North America’s oldest running steamship- The Royal Mail Ship Segwun or her larger sister, The Wenonah II. These floating museums will give you a totally different perspective of the colours as they surround the historic cottages of the region. Or hop on a horse, saddle up and ride the local trails for some spectacular views and fall smells. http://www.discovermuskoka.ca/ A birds eye view For the not so faint of heart, the best seat in the house happens to through the tree top canopy. Take a high-riding glide through the Carolinian forest for a 2.5 hour zip line tour. Buckle up and prepare to be thrilled by the views overlooking Long Point Bay and Turkey Point. Test your nerves even further with a walk across one of two suspension bridges. The view from above is comparable to none! Long Point Eco Adventures – http://www.lpfun.ca/ Glamping in the leaves If you happen to be torn between a tent or a hotel room we have the perfect solution. Long Point Eco-Adventures provides luxury glamping accommodations with Wilderness Suits that provide the creature comforts of home plus the additional bonus of stunning views. Suites come with King and Queen sized beds, hardwood floors, private flush toilets, electricity and hot and cold running water. Who needs to rough it after a tough week at the office? Stay inside and enjoy the view or venture out into the heart of the wilderness in Norfolk County. You can do as little or as much as you feel like from hiking and biking along the fall coloured trails to taking it easy, pouring a glass of wine and just enjoying some unparalleled star-gazing. Yurt Camping in Port Elgin Camouflage yourself amongst the brilliant spectrum of leaves by camping out in a Yurt in scenic MacGregor Point – one of the most ecologically diverse natural places along the Lake Huron shoreline. Camping in a Yurt is a bit different than a tent, so don’t be turned off by the chillier temperatures of Fall. These semi-permanent canvas-covered structures are 16 feet in diameter, mounted on a wooden deck about two feet off the ground. You can fit about 6 people and enjoy a few creature comforts such as bunk beds, a table and chairs, plywood floors, electric heat and lighting and a propane barbecue. Did we mention heat? Explore this complex ecosystem as it unfolds across a seven-kilometer stretch of coast. You’re bound to see some of the regions notorious migrating birds including the Black-crowned Night Heron and the American Egret. If you happen to visit later in October, Witches in the Woods will be celebrating Halloween by trick or treating through the eerily decorated campsites. http://www.ontarioparks.com/english/macgregoryurts.html Rent a century old farmhouse If you really want an authentic fall country adventure, immerse yourself amongst the smells and colours of fall by staying at the Dwyer’s Farmhouse. Rent the whole farmhouse and use it as a home base to explore the area. The farmhouse, built in 1910, sleeps 6 comfortably and is surrounded by plenty of activity. Start your day by feeding the hens and gather fresh brown eggs for your breakfast. A true farm meal! Bundle up and take your adventure outdoors for a sleigh ride pulled by a team of Perchron work horses. At night, put on some extra woollies and roast some marshmallows by the bonfire. Dwyer’s is located close to the Ottawa Valley which makes for a fun-filled day trip. There’s plenty of attractions to check out not far from your door step such as country fairs, museums and art studios. What better way to enjoy the fall season? http://www.dwyersfarmhouse.com/ Go Green – literally! The Treetop Getaway in Perth is literally a bird’s eye view of fall. Located on the shores of Ontario’s Mississippi, this eco-treehouse sleeps 8 but has been known to hold 20. Made from entirely recycled materials, the tree house has the amenities of a hotel with the view and surroundings of the great outdoors. You can’t miss the fabulous colours of fall when you’re up amongst them. Bring your camera to get some great shots from the treehouse’s vantage point – the top balcony that sits 20 feet off the ground and overlooks the water. The best part is that you can be as loud as you want. The treehouse is secluded so what happens in the treehouse…. Well, you get it. http://sheridanrapids.webs.com/ Rise above it Board a Hot Air Balloon that will take you high into the sky for the best view possible of the fall colours as they spill over fields, rivers and forests. Your adventure starts in a farmers field and takes you up into the skies of Elora and Fergus for a serene tour across the landscape. If you look carefully, you’re likely to see some local wildlife below. http://adventureseekertours.com/hot_air_ballooning.htm Taste the season Fall has a definitive smell – fallen leaves, fresh cut wood for the fire, burning leaves and brush but did you know you can also taste it too? One bite of Laura Snider’s pumpkin pie and all of a sudden Fall is your favourite flavor. The Williamsford Pie Company is considered one of the best in Bruce/Grey County and is located close to scenic areas to explore such as Owen Sound, Sauble Beach, Tobermory and Wiarton. As you approach, roll down your window and take in the smells of handmade fruit and meat pies and Free Trade coffee. Once you get there, place your order, grab a coffee and plan your excursion while your pie is made right in front of you. The Williamsford Pie Company – www.williamsfordpiecompany.ca When it comes to witnessing Mother Nature’s spectacular tapestry of colour, there is no shortage of unique and breath-taking places to go. All you need is a sense of adventure and an appetite for fall.