Local County Staycation: November Edition
Wet, snowy days are soon to overtake those glowing moments of fall; but don’t despair. A local County Staycation is in order.
What’s a local Staycation? It’s a chance to explore close to home. And when you explore close to home, the pace is slower, the experiences are richer and the connections are deeper. Take the time to make, read, cook, mix, dine and do to fill your November with County Staycation vibes.
Locals know it: November is a cozy and quiet time to explore the farms, shops, makers, tastes and activities that we’re known for. Here’s a list of things to do with your bubble to make the most of late Fall in The County.
Be like a local maker and make something local! Knitting with local wool provides the ultimate cozy chill vibes.
Pick up yarn from local organic wool dyers such as Honey Pie Hives & Herbals or alpaca yarn producers like SHED Chetwyn Farms. Let these locally-made fibres inspire your winter project. Pick up all your accessories at Rosehaven Yarn Shop (or sign up for one of their Friday night knitting classes). In need of some inspiration? Visit Boho Knits online for some locally-designed knitting patterns, including wraps, cowls and cozy slouch hats.
If fibre arts aren’t your thing, check out the creative programs at The Baxter Arts Centre. Express yourself through dance, paint or pencil in a covid-considerate class led by local painter Stewart Jones, or choreographer Arwyn Carpenter.
Don’t have a creative bone in your body? Shop creatively instead. The County has some amazing makers. Usually this time of year they would be gearing up to show off their wares at holiday shows and markets. In lieu of bustling holiday markets, check out Busy Hands‘ online craft sale featuring 30+ local makers, or visit The Local Store‘s 12 Days of Christmas market with 120 County makers.
A local staycation demands a local reading list, and Books & Company is the place to find your new favourite author. Local authors are well represented in their extensive selection, and their knowledgeable staff can help you find the perfect book. You can shop Books & Company online too, for delivery or curbside pickup.
The bookstore also features the catalogue of local publishing house Invisible Publishing. If you’re still feeling the Halloween spirit, pick up a copy of Be Scared of Everything by Peter Counter. If you want to read about County lore, there’s Don’t Honk Twice, an anthology of local stories. One of our favourites is Glory, by Gillian Wigmore, which was also a selected book for County Reads 2018.
The County is home to some incredible chefs. There’s even a book about it: County Heirlooms, which features their stories and recipes. We’re so lucky that many of them share their recipes to help keep us creative in the kitchen.
Looking for comfort food on a rainy day? Then try cooking your way through Enid Grace’s Recipes. On both her Instagram and website, you’ll find some of her favourites, including Pappa al Pomodoro and Cantucci. Take a shortcut on some of the recipes by heading to Piccolina in Wellington. Pick up specialty pastas and Enid’s fresh made sauces and baked goods.
Want to challenge your culinary creativity? Take our Cook The County Challenge: pick a recipe and source as many ingredients as possible from Farm Stands and producers. It’s November, so the challenge is real. Focus on what’s in season: squash, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, beets and apples.
With butchers, markets, cheese shops and even a mustard stand, you can find all your ingredients by shopping small. For local meats, cheese and sauces, check out Ralph’s Meat Market, Prinsville Dairy Farms, Prinzen Farms poultry, Aman’s Abbatoir, The Agrarian, Bloomfield Public House Market, Fifth Town, Lighthall and Black River Cheese Company.
We spoke to Chef Cynthia Peters of From The Farm Cooking School about what she loves to cook this time of year. She graciously provided us with one of her personal recipes for inspiration, so get cookin’.
Why not try a County inspired cocktail on you local staycation? There are so many great ingredients you can buy locally. Find your cordials at Zest, bitters and spirits at Kinsip, and vermouth at Traynor. Pick up some maple syrup from one of our local producers and apple cider at Campbell’s. Combine these in fun ways to create a number of warming delights.
Need some inspiration? Just before it closed, The Back Room in Picton created a cocktail in honour of one of our favourite traditions: Maple in the County. To make their Maple Manhattan, take two ounces of Kinsip Whisky, add half an ounce of Traynor’s Haberdasher Red Vermouth, a bar spoon of County maple syrup and a few dashes each of Kinsip‘s chili espresso bitters and whisky smoke bitters. If you want a little kick, mix some cayenne pepper, cloves, all-spice and instant coffee with some turbinado sugar to rim the glass. If that doesn’t warm you, nothing will!
If that’s a tad too fancy, take those cloves, add some cinnamon sticks and oranges to create a delicious mulled drink with locally crafted beverages. Try Crimson’s Mulled Hard Cider recipe, Campbell’s Orchards Mulled Apple Cider recipe, warm The Grange’s Spiced White for an easy mulled wine, or try something different with a mulled ale starting with Midtown Brewing’s Seasonal Ale.
As we adjust to cooler weather, you’ll find fire pits, heated patios, comfy dining rooms and hearty soups on every menu. Check out the new restaurant menus online and make sure to dress warmly for patios, call in to order take away, or pack your coziest mask for a safe dine-in experience.
November brings Countylicious: a celebration of County culinary with $20 lunch and $40 dinner menus. With traditional prix fixe dinners, expanded lunch offerings and new take-away offerings, you’ll be able to sample so many items including warming soups, stews and curries. Check out this useful chart to see where you can dine in or order take away. Taste the flavours of the world and farm-to-table food on this ultimate local culinary staycation.
Along with a new menu that features a belly-hugging ramen, Parsons has Oysters & Stout Sundays all month long. Grab a pint and bundle up to their outdoor fire pit. Their merch line includes jackets and sweaters that can help keep you warm during your visit.
Many breweries and wineries are keeping the outside accessible and embracing the cooler weather. Cuddle up next to a fire or in newly installed heated pergolas at Gillingham Brewing Company. Breweries Parsons and Slake offer outdoor fire pits. Find a speakeasy vibe at the new Wine Lounge at Karlo Estates. Sherry Karlo has activated the cozy space with live music and activities such as scrapbooking and crafting with corks.
You can still commune with nature in November, taking advantage of The County’s natural spaces, farms, flora and fauna.
With sweeping landscapes, there are plenty of lookouts and conservation areas in The County. At this time of year, with thinning leaves, you can see more and further. Hiking Macaulay Mountain is perfect in November, followed by a coffee at one of Picton’s great cafes.
For some stellar views, check out the Millennium Lookout over Picton and Slake Brewery whose brew pub fire-pits overlook Hallowell, Bloomfield and Athol. On the short drive between these two spots you’ll pass a spectacular WW2 British Air Force Gunnery School. Its history is quite amazing and worth learning in this time of remembrance.
Want to bring the outside in? We have some lovely green thumbs in The County who offer gorgeous orchids and houseplants that can keep you company over the winter. Pick one up from Jonathan Kaiser’s Shop, Flowers by Marvin, Parlour Studio or Coriander Girl. Or head to Carson’s Garden + Market on Wilson Road,. You can warm up in the balmy greenhouse, find the perfect succulent, visit the adorable goats and shop an epic holiday decor selection.
Commune with more cute animals by heading to SHED Chetwyn Farms. During the fall and winter months watch alpacas from along the fence lines as they frolic in the snow! Alpaca are mountainous animals so love the colder weather. Head inside the shop to check out the throws, blankets and wearables that will help you take that warm-as-an-alpaca feeling home.
There are so many ideas to keep you cozy, well-fed, active and engaged. Enjoy your local County Staycation: staying close to home has never been so fun!