PLAN AHEAD FOR YOUR FALL VISIT

Plan Your Play, Plan Your Stay

This is the best advice that everyone is offering travelers this year, no matter where the destination.  The same advice applies for rural tourism that takes place in non-urbanized areas such as national parks, nature reserves, camping, glamping and hiking trails.

Know Before You Go

Visit government or municipality websites for up-to-date information.  Leave yourself extra time when planning, and be prepared for a Plan B.  Things may be different than you expected.  Expect reduced capacity, social distancing markers and barriers, mask wearing to be enforced, and be prepared to book attractions, activities and accommodations in advance.  Ideally the best time to book, is when you’re in the planning stage.

Minimize Stops, Maximize Time

A road trip is an ideal way to ease back into travel, if you’re not comfortable with flying.   Aim for a more contactless journey, and stay at fewer places along the way.  Instead make day trips, or excursions within a few hours from home, where you can stay at one accommodation.  Relax with fewer activities, and enjoy bigger spaces within your days.  Before you hit the road, ensure that your vehicle is road ready.  Check out these tips from Canadian Automobile Association.

Book A Clean, Near-Contactless Stay

Whether you book a hotel, B&B or chalet rental, you can be confident that the new industry protocols for cleaning and disinfecting are in place.  Particular attention is paid to high-touch surfaces like tv remote controls, door handles and light switches.  Some hotels offer minimal-contact check-in and no-contact delivery room service.

Know Your Comfort Level, Reduce Your Risk

Everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to travel.  Please be friendly and respectful with your fellow visitors.  Give each other space while standing in a line waiting, or passing on a hiking trail.  Follow the safety protocols in each place/attraction you are visiting.

Respect Nature

This year more than any, travelers are wanting to discover nature, experience its natural wonders and diverse ecosystems.  We must all be aware that we have an environmental responsibility to preserve the natural spaces that inspire us.  When tourism is not sustainable, it can be devastating on the ecosystem.  Leave nothing behind but your footprints.

Embrace Soft Tourism

Soft tourism is small-scale, locally owned businesses that emphasize what makes the destination unique. It employs local people, respects the local way of life, and is in harmony with local traditions.  It may highlight local experiences and encourage longer time spent in individual areas.  Soft adventure experiences can include hiking, kayaking, fishing and wine tasting.  The best way to experience some signature attractions in BruceGreySimcoe is with a local guide.  Blue Mountain & Collingwood Adventure Toursguides are keen to share their knowledge of the area at its attractions.

Buy Local, Support Local

Show your support for the hard-hit local businesses by purchasing their goods, using their services and telling your friends about them.  Take the time to write a positive review.  And remember to be patient and kind. Many businesses globally are experiencing staffing shortages.

Travel Tip

Traveling during a destination’s shoulder season, the period between peak and low seasons, typically combines lower prices for accommodations and fewer crowds everywhere.  This allows better opportunities to immerse yourself in a new place without contributing to over-tourism, but also provides the local economy with income during a normally slow season.  Regardless of the season, plan ahead and book your adventure now.

Wine Tasting 101

Wine tasting has been the most popular activity, since we began operating all-inclusive local tours in the Collingwood and Blue Mountain area.  Perhaps because it appeals mainly to women, who tend to get together with their gal pals for mini-getaways.  Or that it’s a fun and relaxing way to spend time with friends.

We’re fortunate to have three wineries (The Roost Wine Company, Georgian Hills Vineyards and Coffin Ridge Vineyard & Winery), and one local cidery (Thornbury Village Cider and Brew House) that is part of a winery family, all within 60 km of Collingwood.  Known as a cool climate wine region, these local vineyards produce award-winning wines.

If you’re planning your first-ever wine tasting trip, or are an experienced sampler, you may have a few questions:

How does wine tasting work?

The server typically gives some background on the vineyard, their grapes, and will guide you through each wine you’ll be tasting.  Often a charcuterie, or something similar, accompanies the wine.

What are the benefits of wine tasting tours?

Besides being fun, it’s the perfect opportunity to experience new wines.  After all, you’re tasting, not committing to buying a bottle of everything that you sip.  However, if you really enjoy a particular wine, you can purchase a bottle right at the vineyard.

Is it true that you shouldn’t wear perfume, while taking a wine tasting tour?

There is no rule, but a big part of the experience is the aromas.  Strong perfume, aftershave or deodorant can compete with this.

Is there a proper method for sampling wine?

Wine tasting is supposed to be fun, and it’s not necessary to follow a particular method.  However, if you follow these steps, it can enhance your experience:

Look: Take a close look at the color, clarity, and overall appearance of the wine.

Swirl: Focus on the viscosity; more droplets sticking to the side means higher alcohol content.

Smell: Bring the glass to your nose and take in the aromas; think about what you smell and don’t smell, and anticipate what the wine will taste like.

Sip: Finally, take a sip, let it roll around in your mouth for a moment, and savor the taste.

In what order should you taste wine?

You should always start with sparkling wine, then a light crisp white wine.  Whites don’t have the same level of tannins as reds.  As a result, this leaves your palette primed for red wine.  Dessert wine would follow last.

Are there any private wine tasting tours in the Blue Mountain area?

Yes, you can Create Your Own Experience, and customize where you’d like to go with Blue Mountain & Collingwood Adventure Tours.

How much does a wine tasting cost?

Most wineries charge between $5 and $10 per person.  A wine tasting tour involves multiple wineries, usually food and transportation.  Costs range from approx. $149 to $216 per person in Canada.

Can you go wine tasting in winter?

Perhaps not in some regions, but you can in the South Georgian Bay area.  A popular winter activity is a Vineyard Snowshoe & Wine tour.

Is there a wine tasting etiquette?

Holding the glass by the stem is a must.  Holding it by the bowl increases the temperature, which hinders your ability to taste the wine, plus it obstructs your view.

If you’re planning a bachelorette party, or in need of a getaway not too far from home, the Collingwood area is an ideal destination.  Discover and taste local wines, when you book with Blue Mountain & Collingwood Adventure Tours.

 

 

Waterfalls & Wine Tour – What to Expect

Two Instagram worthy waterfalls, local wine and cider combined with warm hospitality, nuggets of local history and picturesque country scenery make for a memorable Waterfalls & Wine Tour.

Your day begins by being picked up in Collingwood or a Blue Mountain Resort area location (or as prearranged) by our professional driver.  Guests are greeted by a friendly tour guide, prior to boarding a mini-coach bus, with comfy seats.

Eugenia Falls

After a 30-minute picturesque drive, you’ll be able to stretch your legs at Eugenia Falls, the tallest waterfalls in the area.  It’s just a brief walk from the bus to the all-season trail that winds along the edge of the “Cuckoo Valley”, where magnificent views of the 98-foot falls are waiting to be captured.   Needless to say, Eugenia Falls is stunning in any season.

Hoggs Falls

A short drive away is Hoggs Falls, classified as a plunge waterfall.  This 23-foot falls  can be seen from above on the trail, or if you’re adventurous, scale your way down to the bottom by using a secured rope.  As a result of a hot day, you might even enjoy a refreshing dip in the cool water.

On the drive to the vineyard, we often stop in at the Ravenna Country Market where guests can buy a sandwich, and one of their delicious butter tarts.  Trust us, they’re so good you’ll likely end up buying more than one.

Wine Tasting

At Georgian Hills Vineyard, you’ll be met by their hostess who will share the trials and tribulations of growing grapes in this cool climate region of Georgian Bay.  In addition, you’ll be expertly guided through sampling four of their award-winning wines, and taste cheese perfectly paired with them.  As a result of the relaxing atmosphere on the patio, overlooking the vineyard, you’ll want to stay all day.

Orchard-To-Glass Apple Cider

Here in apple country, we’re fortunate to have a handful of terrific cideries as partner venues.  You’ll visit one and enjoy a flight of their hard cider, and a tasty goodie.  Each one has a charming country setting and sights to behold.

Back on the bus heading back, our guests often ooh and ahh over the picture-perfect day of rolling hills dotted with hay bales, stunning views of Georgian Bay, food and drinks that made their day memorable.

If  you’re needing a getaway, you can book  a Waterfalls & Wine Tour here.  Planning a team-building event?  Or perhaps a special girls’ day out?  Let Blue Mountain & Collingwood Adventure Tours make it a day to remember with one of our signature tours, or a private tour customized for you and your guests.  Click here to get started, and then we’ll look after all the details.

Stage One Reopening Excitement

Yahoo!

It’s been a long time coming and we’re all excited to be able to do basic things like getting a haircut and instore shopping.  Even better, we can now go out, reconnect with our friends and be social.

This summer will be a busy one everywhere, as people are beyond anxious to get away from home.  The South Georgian Bay area has already seen a recent surge of visitors, even before lockdown was officially over.  It’s no wonder people want to escape the city and visit our beautiful area for a daycation, or longer stay.

Outdoor gatherings can now be for groups of 10 however, the rule of outdoor dining of tables of up to 4 people applies to our craft beer, cider and wine tours.  So, if you’re organizing a get together with a bunch of your friends, or family, please keep this in mind when making plans to do things.

All of our partner venues have outdoor patios, or some type of covered structure, where you can sit back and relax, take in the picturesque country scenery, indulge in their locally made adult beverages and enjoy a charcuterie or trout platter, tacos and other delicious choices.

Although it’s kind of disappointing that group sizes can’t be more, it beats being stuck at home.  Hopefully if all goes well, stage two will happen in 21 days and perhaps you’ll be able to bring more friends.  If you’re looking for something fun to do, our tours provide not only that, but a great escape from the everyday routine.

Cheers!

Crazy For Craft Beverages

When you hear someone say they are going to Collingwood or Blue Mountain, you tend to associate that with skiing, renting a chalet, or perhaps years ago attending the Elvis Festival.  Collingwood is the gateway to surrounding communities and is truly a four-season playground.  But did you know that the Southern Georgian Bay region is home to numerous breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries?  Perhaps they have all located here because of the lifestyle, but whatever their reasons, they certainly add value to the communities in which they operate and the overall area.  If you enjoy a good drink, then read on.


We love our beer!  The craft brewery business is growing leaps and bounds.  Big name brands are fading in popularity as these local breweries are continually finding innovative ways to add flavours, hops and more to their brews.  People like to be part of something that is exclusive and made locally, and that is what these breweries offer their customers.

Creemore Springs Brewery is the premiere craft brewery in the area, dating back to 1987, and influenced the growth of the village.

Side Launch Brewing Company was named to honour Collingwood history.  Years ago, the town’s major industry was building lake freighters.  These massive ships could not be launched the traditional way, instead they were launched sideways or “side launched”.  Each side launch brought the entire town out to watch, as it was quite the splash.

The Collingwood Brewery was founded in 2014 and brews beers for all occasions.  They are known for their small batch Freestyle Series.

Northwinds Brewhouse & Kitchen has two locations where you can enjoy a cold beer along with a meal, or shop in the retail store.

Thornbury Village Cider House & Brewery is committed to crafting small-batch European style Pilsners and Lagers that are true to traditional style while producing quality craft, ultra-premium beer with the added freshness of a local product.

Black Bellows Brewing Company is the latest addition, located in a former blacksmith and carriage-making shop.


Many of Ontario’s apples are grown right here, along the shores of Georgian Bay.  It’s no wonder that local cideries are emerging throughout the picturesque landscapes. Cider is crisp, clear and typically gluten free and sulphate free. For all things apple, visit https://www.applepietrail.ca/ 

Thornbury Village Cider House & Brewery was formerly a wooden apple storage building many years ago.  They have premium, easy drinking, crisp, and refreshing ciders that tantalize the palette.

Grey & Gold Cider Company uses heritage apples and allow their ciders to ferment slowly over months, not days or weeks, resulting in a cider that develops greater varietal character and complexity.

Spy Cider House And Distillery has a goal to create unique and flavourful ciders and spirits that pay homage to the region.

Ardiel Cider House practices the age-old tradition of winemakers called “back blending”.  This is accomplished by adding unfermented fresh apple juice and a small amount of ice cider which balances out the acidity and alcohol and enhances the flavour.

Duntroon Cyder House is known for hand craft traditional English and French style cyders using premium hand-picked Ontario apples.

Reinhart’s Cider began in apples over a 100 years ago.  Today they are back to their roots making pure and natural cider that is always enjoyable.


We tend to think of the Niagara region, when we refer to local Ontario wine.  However, our region has a unique micro climate that allows grapes to be grown, resulting in many award-winning cold climate wines.

Georgian Hills Vineyards is immersed in developing a wine portfolio that offers consumers two unique styles of Ontario wines.

The Roost is a family owned and run winery in the Blue Mountains. They grow, make and serve seriously good cold climate wine for unserious occasions.

Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery specialize in artisanal wines that are made from varietals suited to our northern geography such as Geisenheim, Maréchel Foch, L’Acadie Blanc, Baco Noir and Marquette.


With the crisp and clean water of Georgian Bay as an ingredient, it’s no wonder that spirits are produced here.

Canadian Mist, a well-known name, has been making ice happy since 1967.

Heretic Spirits is the premiere craft distillery in Collingwood producing gin and vodka.  After Covid-19 hit, they stepped up and produced hand sanitizer.

Spy Cider House And Distillery produce gin, vodka, brandy and their unique Eau-De-Vie, which warms you up from the inside out.

Georgian Bay Spirit Co. produce gin, vodka and a wide range of craft cocktails in a can.

Freshwater Distillery Inc. is the newest to join the distillery family in Collingwood with their gin products.

Perhaps we should be known as the Craft Beverage Capitol of Ontario!


More information on some of these producers and others can be found at https://brucegreysimcoe.com/activities/local-fare/beverages  If you have a passion for craft beverages, then be sure to plan a daytrip or weekend away to visit some of the finest in the region.  Or better yet, book a custom tour with us when it’s safe to do so.  We’ll do all the planning and driving, so you can relax and enjoy.  In the meantime, you can pick up beverages from many of these producers at your local LCBO, or order online directly from them.

Cheers!

Must-Visit Locations in Grey, Bruce and Simcoe County

Do not let the global pandemic put a damper on your future travel plans. We recognize that the stay-at-home orders has made it difficult to get out there and explore with your friends. To help lift your spirits, may we suggest a few unique and fun things to do near Collingwood that you could do in the near future as a custom tour with Blue Mountain & Collingwood Adventure Tours, or modify to suit your individual taste.

Collingwood, ON

Collingwood is a place to “Live, Work and Play”, and play you shall with our tours. Start off by testing your skill at Bare Axe Throwing where your group will have its own axe throwing coach.  The big fireman axe comes out for the finals!

Next, we drive to downtown Collingwood for a stop at the Collingwood Olive Oil Co.  At their tasting bar, sample the highest quality extra virgin olive oils harvested from the most current crops around the globe.  Their boxed sets and condiments make terrific gifts, or treats for you.

The Chipper is one of our favourite places to stop for an outdoor lunch (from mid April to mid September) in a park setting on the shore of Georgian Bay.  The view is spectacular and so are the fresh-cut fries!

Then we’re off to the harbour where you’ll board The Huronic (named after the first steel hull launched in Collingwood harbour), operated by Collingwood Charters, where you enjoy a Wine or Beer & Cheese Sampling Cruise.  Your guide will give you a tour around Nottawasaga Bay and tell you about Collingwood’s shipbuilding history. At the same time, you sip on local wine or beer paired with artisanal cheeses.  Once back on land, we’ll drop you back to your hotel, chalet or lodging.

Staying longer than a day – here’s some notable suggestions:

1) Every Saturday, visit Collingwood Downtown Farmers Market for fresh produce and treats.

2) Don’t miss the culinary adventure trail known as the Apple Pie Trail. South Georgian Bay’s apple-growing history inspires it.

3) Take a workshop and make your own candles at The Serendipity Candle Factory.


Grey County and the Town of Thornbury 

Grey County is home to ten serene, picturesque, and natural waterfalls scattered across the landscape, and there is no doubt each unique waterfall will take your breath away. Your day starts with a morning pick up by your driver in a comfortable mini-coach or luxury executive coach bus.

Hoggs Falls, our first stop, is a plunge waterfall that is just over 7 metres tall and surrounded by lush wilderness. If you’re adventurous, you’ll want to take the rope down to the base of the falls. The second falls on the tour is Eugenia Falls; the tallest and was home to the first “Fools Gold” rush in the region. This area later housed five mills and a small private electric plant.

Then we’ll head to Grey & Gold Cider, a sustainable, farm based cidery in the heart of Grey County apple country.  Enjoy a glass of refreshing, award winning cider such as “Modern Girl”, an off-dry modern cider back-sweetened with honey from their farm property.

The Grill at Lora Bay is a great place to stop for lunch on their patio, overlooking the golf course.  After you’ve finished your meal and taken in the relaxing views of the greens, you’ll be dropped off in downtown Thornbury.  Here you can enjoy some free time to wander and shop the boutiques, art galleries and quaint shops this beautiful rural town has to offer.

We head back along Highway 26, which offers a fantastic view of the Georgian Bay shoreline. See you next time!

Staying longer than a day – here’s some notable suggestions:

1) Visit the Frauxmagerie for plant-based cheese that uses Cashews and a Vegan probiotic in the fermentation process.

2) Ted’s Range Road Diner is a little place that someone like Guy Fieri himself would have on Diner’s, Drive-ins, and Dives. Cannot miss it!

3) Explore the 1,350-km Georgian Bay Coastal Route with scenic stops marked along the way (Manitoulin Island, Killarney, Wasaga Beach, Bruce Peninsula etc.).


Blue Mountain, ON

There is only one place in the entire Bruce, Grey and Simcoe area in Ontario that is known for its recreational activities, and that is Blue Mountain. For those from out of town, it is well known as a winter destination, but when the snow is gone, and the heat is on, it is a place you do not want to miss out on.

Start your day with a hike through the Bruce Trail, part of the Niagara Escarpment, with a local guide, as you marvel at the Caribbean blue waters of the Georgian Bay. At noon, we head to Copper Blues Bar & Grill, the pioneer restaurant in the Blue Mountain Village, for lunch.  Do not forget to pair it up with some local craft beer or cider.  After lunch, enjoy an open-air gondola ride with a 360-degree view as you approach the top of Blue Mountain.  This is a photographer’s dream.  As our time ends in Blue Mountain, we take you back, right where our friendship started. Our Blue Mountain adventure ends here, but the memories will last a lifetime.

Staying longer than a day – here’s some notable suggestions:

1) Enjoy an adrenaline-filled ride with Hummer Tours operated by Extreme Adventures

2) Swim and soak up some sun at the Blue Mountain Beach, free to overnight guests.

3) Explore the Scenic Caves at Blue Mountain dating back 450 million years. Ontario’s largest suspension bridge, 15 km of trails and 200-year-old forests are just some of the attractions worthy of your time.


Yours to Discover

No matter what type of tourist you are, each one of these stops provides something unique for everyone. We at Blue Mountain & Collingwood Adventure Tours assure you and your party will have a great time as you discover all that this region has to offer.

For our signature tours and adventures, check out our tour page.  Or Contact us for more information on these suggestions, or to customize your next adventure.

For now, stay close to home, support local businesses, and help fight the spread of Covid-19. Together we will come out stronger. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Cheers!

 

 

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