If you are looking for a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life, why not check out the Kawarthas? The Kawartha Lakes are a chain of small lakes that makes up a picturesque cottage country near the small city of Peterborough, only a couple hours drive from Toronto. It is also the name of a municipality in the same area that is made up of several small towns. There is so much to see and do and it is a great place to relax and re-connect, while taking in the sights and the feel of country life.
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A fun way to start a trip to the Kawarthas is to take the Butter Tart Tour. Celebrating the delicious Canadian treat, the butter-tart tour features some of the best butter tarts that you will ever taste. The tour covers Northumberland, Peterborough and the Kawarthas with 50 different locations, several of which are located in the Kawarthas and make for fun stops along the way to your next destination.
Beautiful Bobcaygeon, is a great choice for the first day of your trip to the Kawarthas. The name is derived from the Native word “Bobcaygewanunk” meaning “shallow rapids” or “swirling rivers around islands” and be sure to visit Kawartha Settlers Village to learn more about the history of Kawarthas. What was once a thriving family farm, Kawartha Settlers’ Village is now home to a fascinating collection of over 20 historic homes and buildings. Experience what life was like for pioneers in the Kawarthas as you stroll leisurely through the Village and discover artifacts from 1830 – 1935.
If you are visiting on a Saturday, check out the Bobcaygeon Farmers’ Market. The Farmer’s Market is open from 8 a.m to 1 p.m every Saturday from Victoria Day Weekend to Thanksgiving and features a variety of vendors offering homemade goods as well as fresh produce. The farmer’s market is a great place to wander around and admire local talent. It is also a great place to pick up items for a picnic lunch for later in the day. The market is located on Bobcaygeon Fairgrounds on 47 Mansfield Street. Be sure to stop at Lock 32 of Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site on your way to the Farmers’ Market.A nice place to enjoy that picnic is Bobcaygeon Beach Park, which is located on Sturgeon Lake.This beach offers a playground, picnic facilities, BBQ pits, and boat docking. You can have a nice picnic and then take a swim or just relax on the beach and if you have small children, it is a great place to let them play and run off steam.
If you want something more physical than a picnic, you can check out Paddle Creek Adventures, which offers a beginner’s kayaking course or stand-up paddle boating lessons. This is a great way to check out Bobcaygeon, while getting some physical activity at the same time. However, if you would prefer to stay dry while being active you can play a round of golf at Eganridge Resort Country Club & Spa which offers the option of either nine or eighteen holes. The club also offers a well-stocked Pro-Shop and a licensed patio where you can enjoy a cool beverage after you are done golfing.
A nice way to end your evening in Bobcaygeon is to check out the entertainment offered at the Lakeview Arts Barn. Starting in late June, the Globus Theatre Company puts on shows several nights a week. The 2017 summer schedule will showcase 5 unique performances celebrating Canadian culture and local talent.
There are several places in Bobcaygeon to stay the night. The Bobcaygeon Inn offers hotel rooms, a full-service restaurant and a waterfront patio, which is the perfect place to enjoy the nice weather and the beautiful view. If you are looking for something smaller, you can check out Frederico B&Bwhich offers 3 guest bedrooms, a cozy home feel and a nice hot breakfast. If you are looking for privacy, or for a longer stay, you can rent a cottage from Ambleside Cottage Resort. There are eleven cottages for rent and they can sleep from 2-6 people depending on the cottage. The cottages can be booked at both daily and weekly rates. For more places to stay, see here.
No matter where you choose to lay your head, once you wake up, it is time to get a move on and check out more of what the Kawarthas has to offer. On your way back to the city, you will be able to stop and check several more of the sights.The commercial hub of the Kawarthas is the town of Lindsay, which boasts a population of around 20,000 people and has many stores and restaurants to appeal to all tastes. Located roughly half an hour away from Bobcaygeon, it makes the perfect place to start the second day of your weekend get away.
Start by checking out the Old Gael Museum, which is open from Wed-Sun through the summer months and on Thursdays and Sundays in the Winter. The museum focuses on the history of Kawartha Lakes in particular and Canada in general and currently includes exhibits about World War I, Neil Young and handcrafts, amongst others. It is a nice way to get out of the sun, or the rain, and learn more about the history of our incredible country, especially since this year is Canada’s 150th birthday.
Another option for some culture is to check out the Kawartha Arts Network, which is a co-operative arts space run by several local artists in Lindsay. KAN has a variety of exhibits planned for the summer, showcasing Canadian art and artists. You might find a piece of art that you can’t live without or a new favourite artist.
If you would rather spend your time outdoors, there are many options around Lindsay. You can walk around downtown Lindsay and check out the shops or play a round of golf at the Lindsay Golf & Country Club, which has been in operation since 1909, making it one of the area’s oldest golf courses, though it was updated to a championship course in 2003. It is a beautiful and challenging course, perfect for avid golfers.
Or for nature lovers, you can check out the Gamiing Nature Centre which is located on 30 acres of wetlands, 7km of forest trails, and a native nursery featuring only local plants, which is open seasonally from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. It’s the perfect destination for nature lovers and you can check out the plants, bird watch, or hike, whatever suits your mood and interests. Another great place to connect with nature is the Ken Reid Conservation Area which is part of the Kawartha watershed conversation areas and offers well-maintained trails, picnic shelters and a children’s playground.
As you head back to the city after a day of nature, small-town shopping and local art and history, make sure to stop and continue checking out the butter-tart tour! The Kawarthas has so much to offer and is truly an ideal choice for a weekend getaway whether from Toronto/GTA or Ottawa.
How to get to Kawarthas?
Have more days to stay, add Peterborough to your itinerary!