A woman sitting on a cozy bed looking at the forest through a large window.

Cabinscape, Lanark County | Photo by Sarah Salomone

Cozy, hygge inspired winter getaways in Ontario

A woman sitting on a cozy bed looking at the forest through a large window.

Cabinscape, Lanark County | Photo by Sarah Salomone

Unplug and spend uninterrupted time enjoying simple pleasures in life such as exploring a quaint small town, snowshoeing in a forest, savoring delicious food, discovering a good book, warming up by a fire and sharing moments and memories with the ones you love.

What is “hygge”

Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) is a Scandinavian concept that encourages coziness, comfort and well-being. This simple pursuit of happiness is a Nordic way of life, especially in Denmark, one of the happiest places in the world.

Hygge can be experienced every season, but especially in winter with the soft glow of candlelight, the heat from a crackling fireplace and comfort of a throw blanket.

Here are a few cozy Ontario winter destinations and activities inspired by hygge.

 

Lanark County

Some of Ontario’s prettiest towns and countryside lie just an hour drive west of Ottawa in Lanark County. Known as the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario, Lanark County is home to charming communities like Almonte, Pakenham, Perth and Smith Falls.

Places to stay

The Monte Retreat is a micro-hotel and landmark heritage estates in the heart of Almonte. Take advantage of the outdoor salt-water Arctic Spa hot tub and soothing, cedar-scented barrel sauna.

The restored historical Nevis Estate Boutique Hotel offers the best in country comfort and elegance.

Cabinscape is a collection of ecologically sound, tiny, off-grid cabins in several southeastern Ontario locations, including Lanark County. Each compact unit is equipped with a mini kitchenette, solar and propane power and large windows designed to take full advantage of lake and forest views. Check the ‘remoteness grade’ to find a cabin that best suits you.

Just north of Lanark County, Somewhere Inn Calabogie provides a nature-inspired getaway with cabin-like guest rooms featuring fireplaces and big soaker tubs.

Locations:
The Monte Retreat, 1 Queen Street, Almonte
Nevis Estate Hotel, 61 Drummond Street West, Perth
Cabinscape, various locations throughout Lanark County
Somewhere Inn Calabogie, 5254 Calabogie Road, Calabogie

Where to eat and drink

In Almonte, enjoy the flavour of southern Italy at Café Postino, sample dishes and cocktails that celebrate local makers at The Sterling and taste an award-winning chocolate bar at Hummingbird Chocolate.

Over 40 selections of cheese at Perth’s 1827 Wine & Cheese Lounge make for exciting charcuteries and fundue.

Locations:
Café Postino, 73 Mill Street, Almonte
The Sterling, 28 Mill Street, Almonte
1827 Wine & Cheese Lounge, 100 Gore Street East, Perth

Things to do

Explore historic main streets, boutique shops, interesting museums and nature trails.

Visit the Mill of Kintail, an1830’s grist mill and museum surrounded by hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails.

Wheelers Maple Heritage Museum is another unique attraction, located on Wheelers Maple Syrup Farm. View the world’s largest collection of artifacts and then pick up premium maple syrup.

Locations:
Mill of Kintail, 2854 Ramsay Concession 8, Almonte
Wheelers Maple Farm, 1001 Highland Line, MacDonalds Corners

Bay of Quinte and Prince Edward County  

Well-loved spots to visit during the summer, Prince Edward County and the Bay of Quinte during the winter have their own charm.  

Places to stay

Angeline’s Inn provides a wide variety of accommodation options in Bloomfield. Stay at one of the inn suites, unique cottages and retro motel rooms that embrace a Swiss heritage or book the beautifully restored House of Falconer in Picton.

Winter packages at The Eddie Hotel and Farm include fondue dinners, campfires with smores and hot chocolate and classic snow activities like snowshoeing and ice skating.

Runaway Rooster B&B has four unique overnight spaces, including the retro Boho-chic cottage brimming with light and colour.

A stay at The Wilfrid includes exclusive access to the outdoor Scandinavian spa experience with relaxation room, cooling and hot pools and a barrel cedar sauna.

Locations:
Angeline’s Inn, 433 Bloomfield Main Street, Bloomfield
The Eddie Hotel and Farm, 15786 Loyalist Parkway, Bloomfield
Runaway Rooster B&B, 76 Bloomfield Main Street, Bloomfield
The Wilfrid, 1375 Royal Road, Milford

Where to eat and drink

Enjoy a variety of sweet or savory crepes, including vegan options at Crepe Escape in Picton.

The open-fire cooking method at Flame + Smith in Bloomfield adds to its rustic charm. Open seven days a week, The County Canteen serves an elevated menu of comfort food, desserts to die for like sticky toffee pudding and chocolate peanut butter cheesecake and an assortment of local craft beer, wine and cider.

In Bellville, you’ll want to linger at The Lark, a local favourite restaurant and cocktail bar.

Locations:
Crepe Escape, 206 Main Street East #2A, Picton
Flame + Smith, 106 Bloomfield Main Street, Bloomfield
The County Canteen, 279 Main Street West, Picton
The Lark, 199 Front Street #104, Belleville

Things to do

Indie bookstore Books & Company in Picton has a balance of obscure and popular book titles to keep bibliophiles perusing its shelves. Lily’s Café shares space with the bookstore and offers desserts and specialty coffees.

Guests are invited to snowshoe or hike the two kilometre trail at Sugarbush Vineyards in Hillier.

Over 15 kilometres of trails that cross shorelines, meadows and forest offer great winter bird watching and snowshoeing in Presqu’ile Provinical Park.

Location:
Books & Company and Lily’s Café, 289 Main Street West, Picton
Sugarbush Vineyards, 1286 Wilson Road, Hillier
Presqu’ile Provinical Park, 328 Presqu’ile Parkway, Brighton

Stratford

From picture-perfect winter cityscapes to retreats that will keep you snug and warm, visiting Stratford is always a treat.

Places to stay

Check in at the quaint Stamp House, a restored historical B&B that offers weekend customizable cooking classes.

Bask in the warm natural light, ingenious architecture and meticulous design of the spacious guest suites at seven&nine.

Locations:
Stamp House, 136 Hibernia Street, Stratford
seven&nine, 9 Cobourg Street, Stratford

Where to eat and drink

Take a self-guided tour to visit Stratford’s top confectioners and bakers on the Chocolate Trail or follow the Bacon and Ale Trail, depending on your palate.

Sip the finest coffee or tea from Buzz Stop and pick up homemade organic bread made with wholesome ingredients at Vann’s Fine Bakery.

Locations:
Buzz Stop, 17 York Street, Stratford
Vann’s Fine Bakery, 215 Douro Street, Unit B, Stratford

Things to do

From CN railway equipment, agricultural artifacts and military objects to heritage quilts, dive into the history of the region at Stratford Perth Museum. You can also rent snowshoes to explore the trails near the museum.

Find the ultimate coziness with a one-of-a-kind, handmade quilt. The Quilt Place in Shakespeare, just a few minutes east of Stratford is a quilt supplies shop that sells ready-made items and welcomes custom orders.

Locations:
Stratford Perth Museum, 4275 Huron Road, Stratford
The Quilt Place, 3991 Perth Road #107, Shakespeare

South Georgian Bay

Discover serene and picturesque woodland trails, soul warming food and inviting accommodations in and around the communities of Collingwood, Thornburg and Clarksburg.

Places to stay

Wake up to a magical winter landscape from the comforts of bed at Craigleith Manor Boutique Bed & Breakfast. Located near the Georgian Trail, accommodation packages include snowshoeing, wine-tasting, Nordic cross-county skiing and delicious homemade meals.

Location:
Craigleith Manor Boutique Bed & Breakfast, 9 Craigleith Court, Collingwood

Where to eat and drink

Serving brunch and dinner, Tremont Café is located in the heart of historic downtown Collingwood.

The Alphorn is a local landmark Swiss-style restaurant that boasts Canada’s best schnitzel.

Locations:
Tremont Café, 100 Pine Street, Collingwood
The Alphorn, 209881 ON-26, The Blue Mountains

Things to do

Learn to make breads, bagels, puff pastries and flaky pies at Red Hen Artisanale in Princeville. The baking workshops cater to various culinary skill levels.

Foodies will love shopping The Cheese Gallery in Thornbury, Dags & Willow Fine Cheese and Gourmet Shop and Collingwood Olive Oil Company, purveyors of high quality fresh harvest olive oil and balsamic vinegars.

In Collingwood, Serendipity Candles offers candle making workshops and sells candle making kits with simple instructions to take home. And Beaver Valley Gold Honey supplies pure beeswax candles and healing balms.

Locations:
Red Hen Artisanale, 384265 Concession Road 4, Priceville
The Cheese Gallery, 11 Bruce Street South, Thornbury
Dags & Willow, 25 Second Street, Collingwood
Collingwood Olive Oil, 42 Ste Marie Street, Collingwood
Serendipity Candles, 453 Hume Street, Collingwood
Beaver Valley Gold Honey, 204 Marsh Street, Clarksburg

Haliburton Highlands

Viewing forest and lakeside landscapes blanked in snow and shimmering under the moonlight from inside a cozy, remote cabin is pure hygge bliss.

Places to stay

Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve offer holiday units available year-round. In addition, Cabinscape also operates over a dozen cabins within Haliburton Forest.

Location: 1095 Redkenn Drive, Dysart

Where to eat and drink

A short drive north of the village of Haliburton, Abbey Gardens is a community food and nature based attraction. Stock up on locally grown and produced food, coffee and even craft beer. Snowshoe the hiking trails and meet resident Ojibwe Horses.

Treat yourself to a hardy meal at the Boshkung Smokehouse, located within the Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve.

Locations:
Abbey Gardens, 1012 Garden Gate Drive, Algonquin Highlands
Boshkung Smokehouse, 1095 Redkenn Drive, Dysart

Things to do

Guests at Cabinscape have access to the extensive wilderness trails throughout Haliburton Forest. Inquire about snowmobile or snowshoe rentals.

Add some culture and adventure to your getaway with one of the curated Yours Outdoors activities that include ice climbing, glass blowing and snowga (a combination of snowshoeing and yoga).

Visit the Wolf Centre to learn about wolf conservation and ecology, and for a chance sighting of the Haliburton Forest wolf pack.

Location: Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve, 1095 Redkenn Drive, Dysart

Northumberland County

Nature walks, spa treatments, wellness and meditation programs, relaxing fireside and exciting cuisine are all part of your well-deserved, self care retreat just east of Toronto.

Places to stay

Check out the overnight wellness and spa packages at Northumberland Heights Retreat in Cobourg.

Another accommodation option surrounded by nature, Fells Meadows focuses on healing and rejuvenation. Accommodation options range from a large farmhouse for groups to intimate cabins and even a yurt. Relax fireside, enjoy homemade meals and engaging workshops.

Locations:
Northumberland Heights Retreat, 795 Northumberland Heights Road, Cobourg
Fells Meadows, 2429 County Road 25, Castleton

Where to eat and drink

Satisfy your sweet tooth along the famous Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour. Visit one or more of over a dozen participating bakeries and discover your favourite butter tart flavour.

Things to do

Hygge and forest bathing go hand-in-hand. Explore over 45 kilometres of hiking trails throughout Northumberland County Forest and take in the awesome panoramic view from the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge in Campbellford.

Location: Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge, 15 Trent Drive, Campbellford

Huron County

Located on the shores of Lake Huron, the idyllic beach town of Goderich transforms into a snowy wonderland in the winter months.

Places to stay

Formerly a mill, Benmiller Inn & Spa is a upscale retreat with unique and comfortable guest rooms, spa services, an indoor pool, hot tub and sauna and onsite dining. Located near the Goderich-to-Guelph (G2G) Rail Trail, there are also lots of opportunities to enjoy hiking and skiing.

Location: Benmiller Inn & Spa, 81175 Benmiller Line RR#4, Goderich

Where to eat and drink

Cait's Café is an inviting spot to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and baked goods. And you won’t want to miss the famous Culbert Cream Puff from Culbert’s Bakery.

Enjoy a breakfast and lunch menu of all the favourite comfort foods at Steve and Mary's On the Square or West Street Willy's Eatery. Find vegetarian and plant-based options at Yoga Garden.

Locations:
Cait's Café, 168 Courthouse Square, Goderich
Culbert’s Bakery, 49 West Street, Goderich
Steve and Mary's On the Square, 58 Courthouse Square, Goderich
West Street Willy's Eatery, 42 West Street, Goderich
Yoga Garden, 6 Courthouse Square, Goderich

Things to do

Pop into The Book Peddler on West Street or Fincher’s in Courthouse Square to find a good book, puzzle or craft to enjoy by the fire.

Connect with local artisans and makers and enjoy a tasty Chili Cook-off and Candlelit Winter Walks in Maitland Woods during the Goderich Winterfest in early February.  

Locations:
The Book Peddler, 34 West Street, Goderich
Fincher’s, 16 Courthouse Square, Goderich

Last updated: January 2, 2024

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