Guest Blog: Ontario's Maple Syrup Trail
In honour of Canada's 150th anniversary on July 1, we're bringing you 150 Travelzoo Tips — one per day until July 1 — to help you explore and enjoy this great land. For Tip 45, travel writer and photographer Sharon Mendelaoui takes us on a road trip through Ontario's Maple Trail. Read more from Sharon at Dream Travel Magazine or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.
March is a month which many of us spend dreaming up the end of winter. But just an hour or so north of Toronto, March is the start of Maple Syrup season and my annual #TapintoMaple road trip on Ontario's Maple Syrup Trail. In Simcoe County at the heart of Georgian Bay, local businesses -- maple syrup farms, bakeries, restaurants and more -- team up every year for the annual Tap into Maple event (March - May). Here are my tips for a terrific road trip.
Road Trip Stop: Breakfast at Shaw's Catering and Maple Syrup Bush Conveniently located off Highway 11 at the start of the Maple Trail, Shaw's is a great way to get your first taste of maple syrup. They have many family-friendly events and activities planned, including tours demonstrating how they make maple syrup.
Road Trip Stop: Orillia Make your way up to Orillia, a beautiful small city located on the shores of Lake Simcoe, and enjoy the many boutiques and shops. Plan a stop at the Orillia Museum of Art & History, which features many local artists -- and check their schedule for family-friendly activities for the kids.
You can't go to Orillia and not stop into the Mariposa Market bakery and eatery, filled with yummy goodness all year round. There will be some unique maple-baked goodies on their menu for sure. Mariposa Market is a great spot for a casual lunch, but if you are in the mood for an exceptional dining experience, then stop by Era 67, one of my favourite restaurants in Ontario. The chef features an exclusive Tap into Maple menu each year, and it is delicious.
Road Trip Stop: Hewitts Farm Market and Bakery Drive north of Orillia to Hewitts and see their sugar shack at work. Here you can buy every maple product you have ever dreamed of, including syrup, barbecue sauces, cotton candy, fudge and more.
Road Trip Stop: Casino Rama Casino Rama is a great place to stay and extend your road trip into a mini-getaway. Check for their specialty packages -- which include a maple spa treatment, a stay in their luxury rooms and dinner credits at St. Germain's restaurant, which will be featuring a special menu until March 30.
Ready to go? Create your own maple syrup road trip! Check out Tap into Maple and plan your road trip through Ontario's Maple Trail with the help of their interactive map and event listings.