Toronto is crowned by the vast expanse of York Durham Headwaters’ undulating hills, woods, and farmland. It is bejeweled with apple orchards and sugar shacks. It is ribboned with bike trails, hiking and romantic getaways that entice us. Here is an awesome itinerary for family adventure in the Headwaters Region just north of Toronto (check each one for schedule and hours of operation).
There are six to eight varieties of apples at Spirit Tree Estate Cidery from which to pick our own and fill either 5lb or 20lb-bags. After apple picking, we relax in the Ciderhouse Bistro with salt-cured maple leaves fried in cider tempura batter and drizzled with maple syrup. Add to that apple cinnamon bun, crisp pizza, local Limousin beef burgers, a Croque Monsieur of toasted apple bread, apple smoked cheddar, smoked ham, and shredded apple in cider Mornay sauce, and a wood-oven baked Normandy apple bread made with cider, chopped apples, and honey to go.
It’s all so delicious and begs for pairings with apple cider (blended and single varietals,) and pear and pumpkin ciders. A few minutes away, the newly constructed Badlands Trail leaves us awestruck with wonderment at the unique geological phenomenon of the rusty red Cheltenham Badlands. Inspired, we head to the Alton Mill Arts Centre. There are twenty- five studio artists, galleries and a heritage museum to explore at leisure, as well as classes and workshops in pottery, watercolours and encaustic painting for us to express our creativity.
A luxury stay at Hockley Valley Resort promises panoramic views, invigorating hiking, and exceptional farm-to-table dining. (80% of the ingredients on the menu come from the onsite fruit and vegetable farm.) The resort is renowned for its spa services, range of amenities and activities, and the Adamo Estate Winery. In winter, snow covers the rolling hills for skiing and snowboarding. In summer, the golf course beckons.
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.