NATURAL TOURS

Dare 2 Dream Farm, Bickle Valley Hops Farm, and the Haute Goat Farm:  A Fabulous Farm Tour     

      

At the Dare to Dream Farm, hear from the owner what motivated him to produce healthy alternatives to refined sugars. Tour his farm seeing beef cattle, alpacas and taste various types of honey. Also, see a working bee hive from the safety of a screened room. There is time to purchase their innovative maple and honey products. At the Bickle Valley Hops Farm, hear the farmer explain the ins and outs of growing this new crop- a prime ingredient of beer production. At the Haute Goat Farm, tour the farm with the owner to see alpacas, Icelandic Horses, Shitake Lodge, the Kitchen and Apothecary Gardens and especially the cuddly Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Time to purchase their various skin creams and edible products. Enjoy a locally sourced, three course lunch at the Haute Goat Farm. Best time: May to September

Meadow View Gardens & Plant Sales at Donna Brimacombe’s Gardens

Our first stop is for perennial sales at Donna Brimacombe’s Gardens, ‘From My Garden to Yours’. Our second stop is Meadow View Gardens, located just north of Cobourg and nestled in 37 acres of rolling countryside. Beautiful and elegant is how these seven acres of gardens have been described by visitors.  Here you can explore the English Cottage Garden that includes the stunning Delphinium Walk; stroll through the Clematis Arbor in the Courtyard Garden, step back in time in the Victorian Kitchen Garden, stand under the beautiful Golden Weeping Willows and watch the water cascade down the 15’ waterfall into the tranquil koi pond below. Perhaps a more natural setting is preferred; look no farther than the 200’ Walnut Walk or the 100 year old orchard. This is the perfect outdoor venue for photography or just for enjoying the serene landscapes and colourful flowers. The day concludes with an authentic Devon cream tea with home-made scones, clotted cream and English jam. Enjoy lunch at the Woodlawn Inn, Cobourg.

Following the Ganaraska Hiking Trail

 

Enjoy walking along the Ganaraska Hiking Trail through Port Hope and along an abandoned rail line through a wooded terrain. Traverse ‘the Best Preserved 19th Century Streetscape in  Ontario’,  Port Hope’s Walton St, observe the stone-walled Molson Mill, and marvel at salmon climbing the fish ladder at Corbett’s Dam. Learn how disastrous flooding of the Ganaraska River in the past has been avoided.  Re-live history by exploring the historic, abandoned rail line of the Port Hope, Lindsay and Beaverton Railway (c 1857).  Discover why this railway was originally built and why it was eventually abandoned. Either bring your own picnic lunch to eat on the banks of the Ganaraska River or dine at the Railside Restaurant in Port Hope. Wear good walking shoes and pants. Best time: summer or fall.

Natural Wonders of Prince Edward County

With local guide Peter Brotherhood, experience the remarkable beauty of the County. See the largest fresh water sand dunes in the world at the Sandbanks Provincial Park. Admire the panoramic view of the Glenora Ferry and the mystical Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park. At Little Bluff Conservation Area, marvel at more panoramic scenes of Lake Ontario from the 18 metre high limestone cliffs and stroll the Barrier Beach looking for driftwood and sea glass. At Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Conservation Area, be awed by the limestone strewn shoreline, the crashing surf and discover fossils in the limestone or see migrating shorebirds.  We will stop at the nearby Black River Cheese Factory to sample their cheese as well as purchase the same. Enjoy either a buffet lunch at Tubb’s Restaurant ‘On the Knoll’, a plated chicken breast meal at the Waring House or dine on your own in Picton. Bring your camera, binoculars and good walking shoes!

Popham Lane Black Currant Farm, Casteel’s Greenhouses and Hoselton Sculptures or Ontario AgriFood Venture Centre: A Fabulous Farm Tour

 

At the Popham Lane Black Currant Farm, tour the farm with the owner to see the various varieties of black currants, how they are grown and harvested. Taste the innovative black currant products and have time to purchase them. At Casteel’s Greenhouses, hear the owner explain how his tomatoes are grown hydroponically, producing ‘the Perfect Tomato’. There is time to purchase the various types of tomatoes produced here. Learn how the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) supports fresh fruit and vegetable value-adding opportunities to increase farm revenue. The facility also helps "foodies" with recipe development while staff work with food-processing start-up companies and expansions ….. OR ….. At Hoselton Sculptures, tour the showroom of beautiful, handcrafted aluminum sculptures with time to purchase them at reduced prices. Enjoy lunch at the scenic Timber Ridge Golf and Country Club. Best time: May to October. Production at Hoselton Studios is unavailable Friday and Saturdays, but the showroom is always open.

Nature Walks in Northumberland County

 

With local guide Peter Brotherhood, enjoy three different nature walks in the heart of Northumberland County. Stroll through the Nawautin Nature Sanctuary, observing a wide variety of wild life, a small covered bridge, several ponds and a natural, waterfront park with a pebbly-beach on Lake Ontario.  Understand the crucial role that this sanctuary plays in the environment. At Peter’s Woods, we walk a circuitous route through the sole surviving ‘old growth’ climax forest in Ontario, identifying many tree species. There are frequent stops as we learn about the interaction of various species in this forest environment. At the Carstair’s Universal Trail, we hike the gently graded paths, again stopping at some of the 40 interpretative signs that describe rare trees in Ontario. (There are plenty of benches to rest upon here.) Wear good walking shoes and bring your cameras. Lunch is at either the Grafton Village Inn (buffet style) or at the new Northumberland Heights Spa, with its panoramic views overlooking Lake Ontario. Best time: June to October

A Garden Tour: 'Down a Country Lane'

 

The first garden we visit surrounds a reproduction Ontario cottage whose backyard garden offers a riot of colour attracting many birds, butterflies and bees. It contains unusual species of perennials and trees, a bridge over a dry river bed and a pond. Our second colourful garden includes a four corner formal garden, a hosta bed, an old apple orchard, a new fish pond and a whimsical garden shed. Our last garden has as its most prominent feature a sunken garden with a narrow stream, waterfalls and tranquil pond. Here you can pause and enjoy the diverse selection of 5,000 plants, a fine collection of day lilies and echinacea. 

A Garden Tour in Trent Hills

 

The award-winning Schoolhouse Gardens near Warkworth surround an old schoolhouse, circa 1847. Surrounded by natural forests, the four acres of gardens are planted with 200 varieties of award-winning peonies. Just as showy on their own are roses, herbs, magnolias, lilacs, day lilies, clematis and cacti. The owners produce their own vegetables in raised beds. At The Mille Fleurs Gardens the owner has designed the acreage into "garden rooms" where we will see such species as boxwood, hydrangeas, yews and day lilies, a Kobus magnolia, Roses of Sharon shrubs and hostas. Their perennial beds have English roses, zebra and other grasses with drifts of Russian sage, a large Black-lace elderberry, Japanese weeping crab tree and more hydrangeas.  Canna lilies add drama with cedar trees and New Dawn climbing roses create height and vertical interest. Korean Spice bushes, Bridal Wreath spirea and pink and white crab apple trees line one side of their home. Bring your cameras!

A Garden Tour:  Three Unique Gardens

 

Here we explore three personal gardens in Northumberland County. Near Lake Ontario in Cobourg, our first garden shows what can be grown on a small lot with a minimum of grass and a maximum number of flowers. Our second garden is known for its 1300 varieties of hostas, of which 300-400 are for sale!  While here, see numerous varieties of shrubs and trees, from dogwoods to magnolias, variegated oaks to a metasequoias.  Our aptly named third garden surrounds the Woodland Gardens B&B. This two acre property has enchanting paths through the woods and plenty of benches where one can sit in order to appreciate the gardens and whimsical ornaments. To conclude, we will be served traditional Finnish Specialty refreshments: cakes, cookies, sweet breads and pancakes. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Best time:  end of June, Wed. to Sat. 

Fabulous Farm Tour: Rainbow Trout, Lavender and a Sheep/Beef Farm

 

This is a unique farm experience in the rolling hills of Northumberland County. At the Linwood Acres Trout Farm, you will be able to hand-feed the trout, see thousands of them in their natural artesian pools and purchase rainbow trout fillets. At the Laveanne Lavender Farm, stimulate your senses with acres of English and French lavender. Hear about lavender cultivation and purchase lavender products. At the Osland Sheep and Beef Farm, observe a spinning demo, see and hear about the raising of Cheviot sheep and Charolais beef cattle. Visit the Osland Farm Market to buy their products.  Spring, summer, fall.  Best time for lavender: late June to July

A Rural Ramble: Herma’s Fine Foods, the Linwood Acres Trout Farm                          and Grow Tasty with Lavender

 

The western end of Northumberland County offers some unusual attractions for visitors.  Just north of Port Hope, on Hwy 28, is Herma’s Fine Foods where we can browse a gorgeous selection of products in a gourmet emporium with artisanal cheeses, delectable chocolates and an unrivalled selection of decorative and personal gifts.  Our next stop is the Linwood Acres Trout Farm, where we see how speckled and rainbow trout are raised indoors. Here, we learn how the practice of aquaculture mimics the ideal growing conditions for the trout in the wild and the role that the aquifer of the Oak Ridges Moraine plays in their growth. In the outdoor spring-fed ponds we will have an opportunity to hand-feed the trout which are voracious eaters. Another unusual attraction in this part of this County is Grow Tasty, a certified organic plant nursery. Here, there are 400 varieties of edible plants for sale: herbs, edible flowers, vegetable starts, vines, berries and fruit. Many of these plants are grown under optimal conditions in greenhouses and can be taken home for planting in window boxes and gardens. Also on the Laveanne Lavender Farm are several acres of 40  different varieties of English and French lavender which blossom throughout the summer.  Time: Spring to the end of July.

The Annual Warkworth Lilac Festival

 

Spend a delightful day visiting this unique town known for its arts and crafts as well as its annual Lilac Festival. En route to Warkworth, experience the fragrance of the wild mauve and white lilacs that grace the county lanes of Northumberland County. The actual festival will be held during the last weekend of May. Main St. is only 1½ blocks long but has a lilac focus as well as its usual arts and crafts, clothing, glassware and candles for sale.  South on Main Street is the Millennium Trail which winds along bubbling Cold Creek. Crossing over a little wooden bridge, one finds oneself in a natural fern garden. Further along the trail, there are plantings of fifty different types of lilacs in raised beds; some syringas are quite fragrant but all are colourful.  In 2012, French lilacs were the focus, in 2013, the Jubilee Lilac was featured in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. This extremely fragrant lilac, with single ruby florets, was created and named Jubilee to recognize the Warkworth Lilac Festival, the only festival to receive this designation. The best time to see the lilacs is from mid to late May to early June.  Other options for this day are visiting the 10-acre School House Gardens nearby or the Glover Family Market on County Rd 29.  Yet another suggestion would be to visit the World’s Finest Chocolate Factory in Campbellford where there is always a sale on chocolates!

Oak Hills Prairie Farm

 

This 101 acre farm demonstrates the range of native trees, shrubs and grasses which can be grown in Southern Ontario. It has a commanding view of Rice Lake and consists of a variety of habitats. Almost three acres are devoted to growing a tallgrass prairie, notably big bluestem grass, Indian grass, switch grass, Canadian wild rye, bergamot, black-eyed Susan and thimble weed. This area was once famous for its extensive prairie vegetation but it now exists only in small pockets. Many unusual North American tree species can be found such as butternut, hickory, witch hazel and rock elm.  A few Carolinian species which are normally found only in southwestern Ontario, such as cucumber magnolia and blue ash, can be identified as well.  Extensive trails lead one through the prairie grassland, a former apple orchard and an open field where a plantation of young white pine, white and burr oak, walnut, white spruce and tamarack can be seen.  While here, learn about the problem of invasive species such as the European buckthorn. The owner, Dr. John Joyston, was Vice President of the North American Plant Society in 2013. We will learn about the writings of the Literary Pioneer, Catharine Parr Traill, who wrote extensively about the pioneer grasses, shrubs and trees in this region during the 19th Century. 

Alderville Black Oak Savanna Ecology Experience

 

Come to the Alderville Black Oak Savanna and walk in the tallgrass prairie where Big Blue Stem grass will tower over your head. Located on Alderville First Nation land, this 50 hectare site supports two types of endangered grassland habitats: tall grass prairie and oak savanna.  Less than one percent of these habitats survive today. This is the largest intact tract of native grassland habitat left on the Rice Lake Plains. The Anishnawbe people knew this region as ‘Pemadashcoutayang’ or ‘Lake of the Burning Plains’.  This name reflects the important role fire played on these lands.  Tours of the Alderville Black Oak Savanna are led by knowledgeable staff who are expert naturalists and ecologists. You will be introduced to the wonders of the site and the plants, insects, birds and animals found here.  Traditional uses of the plants as medicines and foods will also be shared as well as insights to the origins of culture and community in caring for the land.  Shop at  Alderville Handicraft Store and enjoy lunch at the Golden Beach Resort. Time: the first two weeks of October.

Northumberland County Apple Tour

 

Join me in exploring the Apple Route along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. At Moore Orchards you will hear the orchardist describe the production of apples and other fruit on this family farm; take the opportunity to pick your own apple and purchase various apple products ranging from apple cider to apple pies and a variety of fresh, juicy apples.  Hear how apple production has changed over the last century and the problems associated with this industry.  Visit either Pieter’s Appleyard Orchard or Knights Appledon where more apple products can be purchased. Another option is to visit the Cricklewood Family Farm near Brighton where various new varieties of apples are created.  We may conclude the day by visiting the Burnham Family Market west of Cobourg.  Best time: mid-September to late October.

Old Mill Alpaca Farm and ‘Pick your own Apples’ at Pieter’s Appleyard

 

Along the Apple Route, near Colborne, visit the Old Mill Alpaca Farm. Learn about the care of these gentle creatures, their habits, their selective breeding program and talk to their herders. Have an opportunity to purchase articles of clothing made with their incredibly soft fibre. For an additional fee you can walk an alpaca! Nearby is Pieter’s Appleyard Orchard owned and operated by the Madamba Family. Hear the owner talk about her seasonal duties as an orchardist.  Participate in an optional old fashioned hay-wagon wagon ride through the orchard (steps are provided) and pick your own apples to take home. The best time to visit to pick your apples is mid-September to mid-October; other fruit is available on this farm but it is pre-picked by the owners.  A variety of peaches is available from late July to early August. Several types of pears are available from the first week of September along with the early apples such as Paula Reds and Ginger Gold.  An additional option would be to visit Hoselton Studios in Colborne, famous for their aluminum sculptures. 

Natural Treasures of Northumberland: Monarch Butterflies

                                           and Juicy Apples

 

Join me and renowned naturalist, Audrey E. Wilson, as we explore two treasures of Northumberland County. In the morning, we visit award-winning Moore’s Orchard on the Apple Route. Here you can pick your own apple, enjoy fresh apple juice and have the opportunity to purchase apples and apple products. Learn from the owners about growing apples today and discover what it was like to grow them a century ago. In the afternoon, we visit Presqu’ile Provincial Park where we learn all about monarch butterflies - their life cycles, their migration and the early research that identified the over-wintering destination of the monarchs in 1975 and the extra-transfer experiments.  Also, we will learn how to attract monarchs to your garden. (Audrey Wilson was a pioneer in the research about monarch migration and spent her early years living on an apple farm.) 

Natural Attractions of Northumberland County

 

The following communities within Northumberland County offer some amazing natural attractions:

 

Alderville:  wild rice demonstrations, tall grass prairie, Primrose Donkey Sanctuary, Peter’s Woods

Brighton:  Presqu’ile Provincial Park (new boardwalk, bird blinds, tagging monarchs, bird migration, store, lighthouse),                                Crinklewood Orchards (apples and fruit-vegetable store), Popham Lane Black Currant Farm

Cobourg: Burnham Family Market, Moore’s Orchard (pick your own seasonal fruit), Ecology Garden, boardwalk along the                         Lake Ontario Shoreline

Campbellcroft:  Linwood Acres Trout Farm, Tree Top Trekking, Laveanne Lavender Farm, Garden Hill Conservation Area,                                 Garden Tours

Roseneath: Meadow View Gardens

Colborne:  Old Mill Alpaca Farm, the Big Apple, Pieter’s Appleyard (pick your own fruit in season)

Gore’s Landing:  Oak Hills Tall Grass Prairie and Arboretum

Grafton:  Nawautin Sanctuary, Cuttle Cottage Lavender Farm

Harwood:  Harwood Fish Hatchery

Port Hope:  Waterfront Trail, Garden Tours, the Ganaraska Trail, Port Hope & Lindsay Railway Line, Bickle Family Hops                               Farm, Dare 2 Dream Farm, Haute Goat Farm

Campbellford: Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge, Trans Canada Trail, True North Day Lilies, Garden Tours, Fall Colour Tours

Warkworth:  Warkworth Lilac Festival, Schoolhouse Gardens, Fall Colour Tours

 

The natural attractions listed above are group-friendly and have been visited by my groups for many years. I would be happy to combine several of the above attractions to create a unique tour for you. 

 Fall Colours of the Northumberland Hills

 

See the spectacular fall colours and panoramic views of the Northumberland Hills and Lake Ontario. Stop for lunch at St. Paul’s United Church in Warkworth and have time for shopping at the artist colony in the town. Stop at the World’s Finest Chocolate Retail Outlet and the Empire Cheese Factory in Campbellford to sample their chocolates and cheeses. Shop for gourmet chocolates at the Centre & Main Chocolate Factory in Warkworth. Time: Late September to mid-October.

Fresh Water Marsh Tour at Presqu’ile Provincial Park

 

Explore the biodiversity of wildlife with the experienced, award-winning naturalist, Audrey Wilson in and around Presqu’ile Provincial Park. View the mating spring birds at the Constructed Wetland Lookout in Brighton. At Presqu’ile, tour the newly renovated Marsh Boardwalk with all of its teeming life. Bird species likely to be seen are red winged blackbirds, marsh wrens, wood ducks and teals, great blue herons, egrets, warblers, song sparrows, American bitterns, and more.  Fresh Water Studies at the Audrey Wilson Teaching Pod reveal frogs, fish and the larvae of dragonflies, damselflies, water boatmen, beetles, caddis flies and mayflies.  Time: Early May

Northumberland Eco-tour: Forest Walk, Donkey Sanctuary

                             and Fish Hatchery

 

Explore some unique forest environments on foot. Peter’s Woods is a rare, old growth maple-beech, climax forest. Here, discover plants, animals, and birds along the .8 km trail that winds through open fields and forests. Visit the Primrose Donkey Sanctuary with its donkeys, sheep and potbellied pigs. Visit the Harwood Fish Culture Station where lake and brown trout yearlings are raised for restocking lakes and rivers. Bring your binoculars and good walking shoes.  Time: Weekdays from May to October

Brighton’s Applefest: A Country Fair Experience

 

Spend a day in small town Ontario enjoying Applefest with all of its sights, sounds and smells. Wander down Main Street, now a pedestrian mall, with its many stalls that sell clothing, food and crafts. Enjoy the free music in the band shell, the strolling barbershop quartet, parades, antiques, and a Bavarian-style beer garden. Visit the Cricklewood Apple Orchard to pick your own apples, discover how apples are cultivated, and buy fresh pastries, locally grown vegetables, and fruits.                                             Time: Last Saturday in September

 

Ganaraska Conservation Eco-tour

 

Each season provides different views of species at the Ganaraska Millennium Conservation Area north of Port Hope. In the spring, marsh marigolds cast a golden glow on the forest floor and rainbow trout are making their way up the Ganaraska River to their spawning grounds. The shade from the willows, ash and maples provides relief from the lazy days of summer. Orange and yellow jewel weed and moneywort along the trail provide cover for the cicadas that sing their buzzing trill. Fall provides a beautiful pallet of colours from the various warblers and the glint of red from the spawning Coho and Chinook salmon in the river. Further upstream, wander along the path of Garden Hill Conservation area and its mixed forest. Finally, in Cobourg, we visit Cobourg Creek to observe the changing life cycle of this stream, its water management efforts and trout and salmon habitat enhancement. Afternoon tea/coffee is provided at Meet at 66 King Street East in Cobourg. Time: May to mid- October

Spring Wildflowers, Birding Hike and Fresh Water Studies

 

Explore the beauty of the 100 acre Laurie Lawson Centre (North of Cobourg) with experienced naturalist, Audrey Wilson. See an abundance of spring flowers such as trilliums, hepaticas, bloodroot and violets. Take a stroll through the mixed coniferous-deciduous forest where you may see such colourful birds as indigo bunting, scarlet tanagers and rose-breasted grosbeaks. Discover the Frog Pond and several seasonal ponds to examine the teeming aquatic life in the spring.  With a microscope, see fairy shrimp and various insect larvae such as the damselfly and dragonfly up close. Time: late April, early May

 

Fabulous Farm Tour: Sustainable Farming Practices at Headwater Farms

 

Discover positive answers to the depletion of our finite agricultural resources. At this scenic farm overlooking Lake Ontario, learn about Permaculture farming practices such as companion planting, Hügelkultur, mandala gardens and vertical agriculture. Learn how productive different methods of responsible agriculture can be where there is respect for sun, water, wind and micro-climates. See inside a straw bale home and hear about the latest in sustainable home construction techniques. Lunch is prepared on-site with farm-fresh ingredients.  Summer & fall

A Lilac Tour Along the Highways and Byways

 

Drive the rural roads of Northumberland County which will reveal scenic panoramic vistas overlooking Lake Ontario and county roads lined with sweet-scented mauve and white lilacs . Learn how lilacs came to Canada, their cultural significance, the problems of growing lilacs and how they are reproduced. This tour may be supplemented by shopping at Herma's Fine Foods or Primitive Designs. Time: Last two weeks of May, early June.

Water Buffalo Farm and Unique Farmtown Park: A Fabulous Farm Tour

With local guide Peter Brotherhood, see two unusual attractions near Stirling.  Visit the Ontario Water Buffalo Farm, see the cows, bulls and calves and watch the the cows being milked.  Take the opportunity to taste and purchase their Mozzarella di Bufalo, smoked scarmorza, cheddar, smoked cheddar and Gouda cheeses.  Experience Farmtown Park which displays rural life from the past, from cheese and butter-making to farm equipment. Learn about agricultural practices of the past by walking through Heritage Village, a unique country town from the 1930’s. Enjoy a buffet lunch at Chubby’s Restaurant. Time: mid-April to mid-October.

Forces of Nature: the Geomorphology of Northumberland County

With local guide, Peter Brotherhood, examine the various natural forces that have created Northumberland County: plate tectonics, glaciation, sedimentation and erosion, wind and wave action.  Discover how the landscape has influenced the development of the area and how humans have influenced the land usage. Visits will be made to two streams, a wetland, a gravel pit, artesian springs, the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Northumberland Forest and the Lake Ontario shoreline.  Enjoy a buffet lunch at the Woodlawn Inn, Cobourg. Time:  mid-April to mid-October

New Haute Goat and Dancing Bee Apiaries: A Fabulous Farm Tour

At the Haute Goat Farm, tour the adorable Dwarf Nigerian Baby Goats’ enclosure then purchase some of the goats’ creamy products such as chocolates, salted caramels, soaps, balms and creams.  See shiitake mushrooms in production as well as the new International and Kitchen Gardens in raised beds and the Apothecary and Tactile Gardens. See, also, their Icelandic horses and water buffalo. At the Dancing Bee Apiaries, we learn about the production of honey from the beekeepers themselves. Here, we have the opportunity to purchase various types of honey and beeswax candles and discover the equipment that the beekeepers use.  Enjoy lunch at the Carlyle Inn or the Railside Inn in Port Hope. Time: May to mid-October, except Friday or Saturday

Medicinal Plants

Take a guided tour of flower, herb and medicinal gardens. Identify weeds that have medicinal benefits and how they can be used to improve our health. (Companies may offer one of the following two workshops.) Create either an organic skin-care product from calendula flowers or make five different teas from common herbs/weeds.  Discover how self-made dehydrators are used to preserve various herbs, berries and flowers grown on the farm.  Examine the house made with sacred geometric principles featuring internal earth-block walls and floors, and an exterior made with straw bales. Under a marquis, enjoy a three-course lunch on the premises, overlooking the scenic hills.

Healing with Common Herbal Remedies at Fifthwind Farm

Take a walk on the wild side and take control of your life! At the Fifthwind Farm, learn about the many common, renewable, edible and medicinal wild plants and herbs grown locally. (Herbs and wild plants contain many healing compounds which make them valuable as remedies.) Take an educational stroll through their herb garden and fields and learn to identify these common plants and discover their healing and nutritive qualities. Find out how to identify, harvest and preserve these plants as food and medicine and gain an understanding of the differences between teas, tinctures, decoctions and healing oils. As plants become seasonally available , prepare your own nutritive and healing teas from such plants as stinging nettle, dandelion, lemon balm and peppermint. Many of these plants are found in health food stores and your pharmacies. Look to nature to improve your health! Lunch under the marquee at Fifthwind Farms.

Exotic Clarington

 

In Orono, take a unique opportunity to see and experience wild species up close. See some of the 64 species such as lions, pumas, jaguars, lynx and Siberian tigers being fed and hear about their breeding programs. Step back in time and enjoy the unique experience of an 1846 water-powered mill at Tyrone which is known for its homemade jams and preserves, specialty honey, local maple syrup, gluten-free baking and breads as well as its famed cider doughnuts. At the Archibald Orchards and Estate Winery enjoy wine tasting and shopping for Empire Cheese, shortbread cookies and jams. In the fall, pick your own apples or purchase apple products. For lunch, dine at the upscale Tetra Kitchen and Vines or Bobby C’s at the Port Darlington Marina.

Schoolhouse Gardens, Casteel’s Greenhouse and the New Ontario              Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC)

With local guide, Peter Brotherhood, tour three unique features of Northumberland County. Under ideal conditions at the Casteel Greenhouse, learn how 9,000 tomato plants produce over 300,000 pounds of delicious, hydroponically-grown fruit per year. Mr. Casteel will show you how he manages to grow tomato plants 25 feet long! The award-winning Schoolhouse Gardens has four acres of gardens where the owners grow 200 varieties of award-winning peonies and a wide variety of perennials and annuals, cactus, herbs and vegetables.  

Visit the new Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre where local fruits and vegetables are processed and packaged and where new recipes are developed for their products. Designed with farmers in mind, this operation creates value-added opportunities to increase farm revenue. 

Lunch at the Golden Beach Resort on Rice Lake: choice of salad, chicken & veggie stir fry or meatballs with fresh linguini & baguette slices, fudge brownie or pound cake, tea/coffee, all inclusive:  TBA.

Lunch at St Paul’s United Church, Warkworth: choice of juice, garden salad, buffet: one meat, potatoes, veggies, sauce, breads, home-made pies for dessert, tea/coffee, all-inclusive price:  TBA

‘In a Garden’ Tour: Three Unique Gardens

With local guide, Peter Brotherhood, explore three unique gardens in the Cobourg/Port Hope area.  Our first garden on the shore of Lake Ontario offers a riot of colourful flowers surrounding the bungalow, with rare dwarf evergreens, many indigenous plants and a small rock garden.  Another garden in a spacious rural setting offers many dry stone features in a park-like environment.  Some dry stone structures include an arched bridge, a hut, walls and lampposts.  Here, the flower gardens feature several perennial beds with four-season statues, two garden ponds and a waterfall.  Our third garden has evolved over the past 80 years but the magnificent trees remain as an anchor to the wonderful vistas.  The original planting design was completed by Edwin Kay, one of the founding members of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. The 4 acres include an abundance of perennial beds with over 300 heritage peonies and magnificent European Beech, Linden and Lilac hedges.  Enjoy a buffet lunch at either the Woodlawn Inn or Arthur’s Restaurant at the Best Western Plus in Cobourg. 

The Branch Ranch with Madame Twig 1 & 2, Villa Conti Oak Heights          Estate Winery and the Arts & Crafts of Warkworth

Join local guide Peter Brotherhood as we observe the intricate artistry of basket weaving using thirty different varieties of willow and dogwood; see products created before your eyes. With Madame Twig 1 & 2, tour the fields to see the living willows then take the opportunity to buy willow items, from bowls to baskets, from table centre pieces to birdhouses. At the Villa Conti Estate Winery, enjoy an Italian experience with hosts Tommaso and Bambina: homemade food and wine in  Northumberland County. There is time for shopping for arts and crafts in the picturesque village of Warkworth.

Secret Gardens of Northumberland County

Join local guide, Peter Brotherhood, and experience three unique gardens in Northumberland County. Our first Master Gardener will be delighted to share her gardens which are divided into four distinct ‘rooms’, each with  its own colour scheme. Species include ligularias, Korean dogwood, hardy peonies, iris, a waterfall Japanese maple, paperbark maples, rodgersia, cimicifuga and the perennial geranium, ‘Biokovo’. At St Mark’s Anglican Church in Port Hope, we will view the Long Garden, shaped like a stained glass, and have the opportunity to walk the Labyrinth. At the Schoolhouse Garden, we find a four acre oasis of gardens in a forest setting. Our second Master Gardener will gladly guide the tour of his award-winning peonies, hostas, day lilies, herb and vegetable gardens, including whimsical garden features. Enjoy lunch at St Paul’s United Church in Warkworth or at the Carlyle Inn in Port Hope. Best Time: mid to late June.

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