A weekend getaway guide to Muskoka
It's time to getaway for the weekend. Muskoka anyone? The countdown to cottage season is quickly coming to a close, and when the clock strikes Victoria Day there may as well be a federal mandate to trade in martini glasses for mason jars. The summer season is here and that can only mean one thing: for the coming months we'll settle for nothing less than all-navajo-everything.
Cottage country is quite simply our Zion: a piece of paradise in our backyard (and the birthplace of Canadian craft beer). From May 2-4 forward the line that separates city from country will be a bit blurry, and as the Wu-Tang Clan once said, C.R.E.A.M...cottages rule everything around me, and that's the hard truth. So kids, it's time to start your engines, hit the open road, and head to the back of beyond where the produce is local and the living is easy.
Here's my guide to how to do Muskoka right.
As you're cruising North on Highway 11, you can't miss Weber's. No, really, you can't: its iconic bright orange bridge ensures no road warrior can drive by without grabbing some grub. So pump your breaks and bite into a barbecued burger (and fries with extra Lawry's seasoned salt) inside Weber's signature CN railway car turned dining room.
Handcrafted caffeine is a must for mornings in cottage country, and when in Muskoka it'd be sacrilegious to drink anything other than 100% Canadian owned and operated Muskoka Roastery java. Pick up a pack at any Independent Grocer in the Bracebridge/Gravenhurst area.
Cherished for its fresh-from-scratch goodies, Don's Bakery is best known for its whole wheat scones (which local patrons recommend using as sandwich buns). A landmark in Bala Falls, Don's is a favorite port of call for an en route pastry pick-up.
Get to know the low-pro hole-in-the-wall that is Griffin Gastropub, which will win you over with its locally sourced food and impressive lineup of craft beers. With a comfortable crowd and friendly service, Griffin is a go-to spot for the epicurious beer buff.
Get The Scoop
If you're craving a cone on a sunny afternoon, stop by Ice Dreams Soda Shop, a retrofitted creamery where you can soothe your sweet tooth with none other than a creme brûlée milkshake. Lactose isn't your thing? Then sip on their signature sweet green tea.
From moccasins to Muskoka chairs, the Indian River Trading Co. can only be described as a "one-stop shop" for the Muskoka cottager. Stop in and sweep up some cottage country essentials.
Need a soundtrack for the ride up? Check out mine at the bottom of this post.
Writing by Mara Sofferin who spends her days helping people find cottages via CottageCountry.com. Weber's photo by Sean Orr from the blogTO Flickr pool. All other photos by the author.