Submitted by Aysha Tayab
A few years ago, I had the chance to be away from Canada for an entire winter. The idea of it made me slightly sad. Even though I was leaving Canada to go to a warmer place, I felt as though I would be missing out on the special warmth of winter, and that somehow the withdrawal would disrupt my usual rhythm. I know that sounds a little over the top, but it is true.
I love the winter because there are so many creative ways to appreciate the warmth and share warmth with my family and friends. It’s wonderful to create memories while also reliving old ones. As I think about the memories I made over the summer in Hastings County, I have come up with many ways to create wonderful winter experiences and memories.
Places to share a cup of tea and more
There may not be many opportunities to people watch outside your window but will have opportunities to squirrel watch. Delight in watching squirrels fearlessly wander through a snowy labyrinth of trees. As you indulge your conversation, treats, and warm drinks you will also enjoy the snowy view of trees outside your window and the gentle quiet that winter can bring.
Old Ormsby School House and Tea Room
This lovely tea room is just the place to go when you’re looking to stay indoors and enjoy afternoon tea. If you happen to want something a little heartier than afternoon tea, then go with the owner’s recommendation: shepherd’s pie. It’s the perfect comfort food to have as you enjoy great conversation with your family and friends.
There are some excellent breakfast options here and amazing hot beverages to choose from. My husband and I loved having breakfast here during our trip to Maynooth. The sign on the side of the building really caught my attention and I’m sure you can see why.
Given my weakness for puns, I had to give this place a try. I was definitely not disappointed and instead, I was pleasantly surprised (and full).
The name just draws you in. There are so many sweet little tea cups to choose from in this family-owned café. I was happy as a clam when I was asked choose my own cup to drink from.
After you’re done your tea and treats, you can also shop for antiques upstairs. When I was there over the summer, I managed to find this beautiful spoon for only $2. It was my memory to keep, among others.
Staying cozy at home
When the weather outside is frightful, the idea of hibernating sounds oh so delightful! At least in my mind. I figure, I am a mammal so why not? Although that option isn’t realistic, I try to enjoy the great indoors at home during these cold winter months. I love looking outside the window as the world becomes an enchanting snow globe. There’s nothing like bringing in some added warmth when there are hot drinks and to share.
Cheese plates can be sumptuous items to share and they can help fuel a conversation. The cheeses featured in this photo are just a small preview of the wide selection that’s inside the store.
Grill’s Orchards, Cooney Farms, Russett Farms
There’s nothing like a delicious and sweet apple to accompany a sharp cheddar on your cheese plate. If pairing cheddar with apple is not your preference, then an apple crisp or a cup of warm apple cider may be just the warmth you’re looking for.
Ontario Water Buffalo Company
So you may not be shopping for water buffalo per se. But have you tried their buffalo mozzarella? It’s fabulous way to add even more adventure on your cheese plate! If you’re feeling even more adventurous then their cured meat selections are also an option. After you’re done shopping for your cheeses and other lovely products, you can also visit the friendly buffalos themselves!
The winter months may be long but they don’t always have to be cold. I hope I’ve inspired you to wander through Hastings county and create warmth and share warmth with your family and friends.
Story and photographs by Aysha Tayab
As one of our six Local Wanderers exploring Hastings County, Aysha enjoys Arts and Culture, Agri-Tourism and Paddling adventures.
She grew up in a rural community, suffers from an incurable travel bug, and is an ambassador for the road less travelled.
Learn more about Aysha and her adventures as well as the other five Local Wanderers and the excursions they've experienced across the County here.
Our Local Wanderer Initiative is funded and supported in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport and Regional Tourism Organization 11 - Ontario's Highlands.