Fall for fun in Peterborough & the Kawarthas! The fun Ontario explorations need not stop with the arrival of cooler weather. On a recent visit to the area, my friends and I discovered activities and experiences that would make for a great day trip or weekend getaway. Some of us had our kids with us, so the places mentioned below are family-friendly.
If you’re looking for a getaway filled with good eats, drinks, and fun times, here’s how you can spend a fall day in Peterborough and the Kawarthas.
Embrace the fresh air and sample local wines at Rolling Grape Winery
While they have an indoor tasting room and an outdoor patio, it’s the rest of their farm that caught my attention. The winery is located on their family farm and the rolling hills of Bailieboro can be seen and enjoyed whilst sitting on lawn chairs and at picnic tables peppered around the patio. Order a flight of wines to sample and pair it with some of their famous wood fired pizzas or a hearty charcuterie board. On Sundays they often have live music and, in the fall, they host harvest parties, so keep an eye out on their Instagram page for the latest events. If you have kids and a designated driver, be sure to ask for a special non-alcoholic drink because they have that too! There are some Instagram worthy swings on the lawn and obviously kids will enjoy them, along with the lawn games.
Get Your Shopping On at Whetung Ojibwa Centre
Curve Lake, Ontario
I thought I was popping in for a quick 15-minute walk-through but then ended up spending an hour and buying all sorts of birthday and Christmas gifts for the family. This seventh-generation family run business focuses on Indigenous arts and crafts. Everybody who works at Whetung’s is a member of Curve Lake First Nation and I was lucky to be served by Michael Whetung himself during my visit. He graciously helped me pick out some Moccasins as a gift for my mother and humoured me while I tried a variety of footwear. My friend was enamoured by the soulful art gallery that’s also part of the 10,000 sq ft building and the staff are so knowledgeable, filling us in on the stories behind the paintings and informing us that select artists can be found at the Centre on certain weekends if we wanted to see them paint live. There’s also a small museum in the basement of the Whetung Gallery if time permits. If you’re looking for unique gifts, this should certainly be a stop on your route.
Grab Something Sweet at Mclean’s Berry Farm
Pop by this family run farm to pick up some fresh in-season fruits and veggies but don’t forget to also pick up some butter tarts and maple syrup. You’re in butter tart county after all! The family has another farm nearby and that’s where they host their pumpkinfest in the fall. You can take a wagon ride out to the pumpkin patch, pick your own pumpkin, go through haunted forests and explore corn mazes, if you visit them on October weekends.
Hold Hands with your Lover at Adam and Eve Rocks
A quick stop here to follow folklore stating that if you and your partner hold hands and touch one of the two large glacial rocks, your lives will be eternally blessed. Obviously we HAD to do that but the kids preferred to run beyond the rocks and explore the land filled with interesting rocks and minerals. If you have a rockhound, they’ll certainly be amazed by the terrain in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.
Sample Fruit Wines and Nosh on Pizza at Kawartha Country Winery
Visiting this family run winery is a great decision. In addition to being pet and family friendly, their wine making facilities, tasting room and gift shop are housed in an 1866 authentic pioneer log cabin and 1889 board house which will amuse history buffs. On weekends they serve wood-fired pizzas and have separate ovens for gluten-free options as well. All that said, the highlight of a visit here will be their free tasting samples. With over 30 fruit wine varietals and a couple ciders, you’ll find it tough deciding which ones to buy by the glass to enjoy on-site at the picnic tables and which ones to take home by the bottle!
Go to Petroglyphs Provincial Park for the Indigenous Rock Carvings but also see the Meromictic Lake
It’s time to enjoy some hikes and learn about Indigenous traditions at this Ontario Park! There are a variety of hikes one can embark on but the highlight for us was seeing and learning about the largest known concentration of First Nation Petroglyphs. This is a sacred site and no photography and videography is allowed and I highly recommend chatting with the staff on-site to hear about the stories and meaning behind the rock carvings. You can also visit the Learning Place Visitor Centre to learn about the traditions of the Ojibway people and if you have kids, be sure to pick up one of the free kids activity books. Even if time is tight, you should drive to the parking lot near the McGinnis Lake and go for the short walk to the lake. There’s only a handful of meromictic lakes in Canada and it’s fascinating to see the mix of colours here. As you can see, there’s plenty to do at this Provincial Park and the colours in the fall are quite stunning.
Wanderlight Alpaca is a working farm where owner Katie will greet you with a bag of Alpaca treats so you can befriend these cute animals from the very moment you arrive. If you’re planning to do this activity, you must pre-book your experience as they only do a few guided walks a week. The Alpacas are free to roam on their own for most of the day. This family friendly experience was definitely a highlight for the kids who loved guiding their own Alpaca around the walking trails and watching them roll around in the hills.
Solve Riddles at Escape Maze
Otonabee-South Monaghan, Ontario
If you enjoy a good escape maze, you’ll want to try your hand (and brain) at their outdoor adventures. Our group of friends had a great time here and even the kids joined in the fun. Most of their trails are for those 13 and above but younger kids can partake as long as there’s an adult. Armed with an old-timey map we ran around their farm looking for different stations along the route. At each stop on the Gold Rush Trail, there was a challenge to complete and we were on a mission to beat the clock. There are different trails for various skill levels but next time I want to go back for the Halloween themed Zombie attack! It takes place in October, is for those 14 and above and requires 4 people at a minimum per group. What a fun spooky season activity!
Bite into Muddy’s Pit BBQ
Definitely stop in at this street side BBQ hut where you’ll enjoy some great smoked meats. My kids loved the ribs and I was a huge fan of the Pork Tacos. From pulled pork and briskets to baked beans and salads, they have enough options to make a carnivorous belly very happy. You won’t regret stopping in for some authentic maple log wood BBQ, that’s for sure!
Fall for Fun in Peterborough & the Kawarthas with more fall inspired ideas