A weekend getaway guide to Collingwood
When Torontonians think of Collingwood - the hilly part of Georgian Bay that is home to Blue Mountain - they tend to think of snowboarding, not wake-boarding. Yet, this quaint area, widely loved for its alpine appeal, is just as good in its green guise. An all-seasons playground, Collingwood packs a big punch in the summer months, and at a mere two hours from Toronto, it's definitely a destination to add to your weekend to-do list.
Weenie Roast 2.0
Cooking hot dogs on the campfire is a cottage country classic, but for carnivores who want to stray from convention there's Blue Ridge Meats, the all natural butcher that brings quality back to the backyard barbecue. With a selection that includes all-local beef, lamb, duck and pheasant, Chris Rich's Blue Ridge brings Collingwood cottagers first class fresh meat.
A Greener Shade of Blue
Tighten your harnesses and pick your wedgies - it's time to conquer Blue Mountain's canopies and caverns. In the very same place you shredded pow (read: manmade snow) mere months ago, you can zip-line through treetops and trek through grottos.
Collingwood's can't-miss caffeine comes from the Espresso Post, a historical building turned coffee bar. Employing top notch baristas, the Post roasts and blends its beans in one of North America's most ecologically-advanced facilities, making for clean flavors (and a clean conscience). And, while I'm usually a purist when it comes to percolated potations, I must say the 'Luna' (espresso served over vanilla ice cream) is an easy exception to the rule.
Ever wondered what would happen if a former Fairmont executive chef set up shop in cottage country? Me neither, but Patrick Bourachot's Café Chartreuse brings this hypothesis to life and, well, breakfast in Collingwood has never been the same. Hint: get the pancakes.
The Big Cheese
A gourmet grocer whose flagship product is fine cheese...need I say more? Dags and Willow is the brainchild of Toronto-expats Kelly Siskind and Steven Epstein, an enterprising duo whose cheese emporium adheres to a liberal try-before-you-buy policy (amen). With over 150 kinds of cheese at any given time, the selection at Dags and Willow is a dream come true.
Live La Vita Local
The 9th season is underway for the famous Collingwood Farmers' Market, and it's bigger and better than ever. The market, which sells produce that is grown within 100-miles of its Pine Street post, runs every Saturday (rain or shine) and is one of the area's key social and economic hubs.
Ted's Range Road Diner
Located in the middle of nowhere, Ted's is a Quonset hut with a menu full of misfitting fare. The spread, which ranges from rack of lamb and rösti to scallops and schnitzel, is nonsensical in every respect. Also amid the miscellany: ostrich burgers and an alligator-caribou surf n' turf. 40 min from Collingwood.
Osprey Bluffs Honey House
Latter-day media is full of references to 'locavores', but when it comes to eating local, it's your friendly neighborhood honey bees that should be making headlines. The diet of these little guys consists of pollen, nectar and water within 3 kilometres of Osprey's apiaries - a feeding frenzy you can follow @ospreybeekeeper. From the Blue Mountains to your mug, Osprey Bluffs' hand-harvested honey is as local as it gets and can be purchased directly from the family farmstead in the Feversham. 40 min from Collingwood.
Brewer: Creemore Springs
Brew: Premium Lager
Need a soundtrack for the ride up? Check out mine at the bottom of this post.
Mara Sofferin spends her days helping people find cottages. Canada Day is coming right up...want to rent a cottage in Collingwood? You can do it at CottageCountry.com.
Photo of Blue Mountain trails by RoughSuga in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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