Whether you’re looking for a fun holiday shopping escape or a relaxing rural retreat to kick off 2023, Norfolk County offers picture-perfect views, cozy meals, and cold-weather activities that are sure to help you warm up your winter.This two-day itinerary will help you craft a perfect plan for a few days away with friends or that special someone in your life.
Pick Your Winter Wander Headquarters
Winter stays away beg for an inviting place to put your feet up, watch the snowflakes fly and enjoy the fact that there’s nowhere else you need to be. From quaint bed and breakfasts to cozy cabins and welcoming inns, Norfolk County is filled with unexpected options. Best bets include:
Set on 34 acres of woodlands in the countryside just outside of Tillsonburg, the three bedrooms here offer a perfect place for a romantic escape or group getaway. Be sure to call dibs on the Grand View Room to enjoy the best views in the house.
This rustic wood lodge that sleeps up to 11 has a brand-new heating system and two fireplaces to keep things extra warm and cozy. If you’re looking for something smaller, Long Point Eco-Adventures now also offers three winterized camping pods on the property that sleep two.
If you can tear yourself away from your luxurious suite at Clonmel Castle, common areas for guests to enjoy in this 12,000-square-foot historic mansion include a library with a roaring fire and a music room with two grand pianos that guests are welcome to play.
With four rooms that look like they jumped straight out of a home decor magazine, and gorgeous views of Long Point’s Inner Bay, Port Rowan’s The Prinn is an ideal spot to hunker down for a few days.
Plan Some Comfort Food-Filled Meals
Winter weather calls for delicious meals that stick to your ribs. While the fields of Ontario’s Garden may be snow-covered in the winter months, area chefs still know how to make local ingredients shine. Add these can’t-miss winter dishes to your agenda:
- The homemade lasagna at David’s Restaurant in Port Dover is referred to as spaghetti in cake form! The chef’s pillowy gnocchi is also incredible.
- The slow-roasted lamb shank served with pan drippings, mint jelly, vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes at Schofields Bistro is can’t-miss!
- The Blue Elephant’s tasty Pad Thai and curries are a delicious way to add a little heat to a cold winter’s night, and there’s a spectacular selection of house-made craft brews to cool your palate.
- The Country Fork rotates its menu frequently, so you’re always in for a surprise. Expect tried-and-true country comfort features like Chicken Fried Chicken, Tuscan Sausage Pasta, and Shepard’s Pie.
- Tacos N Tequila’s authentic dishes, like Bistek Ranchero, a stew of tender steak served with beans, rice, and corn tortillas, will make you feel like you’ve escaped to Mexico!
- The Urban Parisian’s warm, buttery croissants are the perfect on-the-go breakfast with a hot cup of coffee.
Dial In On Your Preferred Temperature of Winter Fun
Norfolk County is home to outdoor activities where you can embrace winter’s chill and cozy indoor options to enjoy as you tour the countryside. Consider some of these fabulous ideas for frosty fun:
- If you’re visiting in the colder months, bundle up in blankets and enjoy a glass of wine at Burning Kiln Winery. This winery is beautiful all year long.
- If you’re visiting in December, be sure to schedule in a stroll through Simcoe’s Panorama at Wellington Park. This incredible holiday light show has been welcoming winter wanderers for over 60 years, and this year will offer an outdoor Christmas Market on weekends.
- Elevation offers guided mountain bike tours through the Carolinian forest. Their bike rentals include fat tire options, so you can take on snow-covered trails too.
- Chartered ice fishing experiences hosted by Jimmy Riggin’ Fishing Charters, Bayside Ice Fishing and Woodward’s Ice Fishing are a fun way to spend an afternoon.
- Hiking, cross-country skiing, or fat biking at Turkey Point Provincial Park is sure to leave you with rosy cheeks!
- Snowshoeing is the perfect way to sneak in a winter walk on Norfolk County’s fantastic collection of trails.
There are also excellent options to warm up a winter day or evening by enjoying a little time indoors:
- Shop the day away at friendly local markets, like Cider Keg Farm Market and The Apple Place. If you’re visiting before December 18, be sure to include a shopping stop at The Barntique in your travels to browse the fabulous selection of goods crafted by local vendors. Raging Bowl Pottery is another must-stop shop, but it’s only open from May through December.
- Attend an evening performance at Port Dover’s Lighthouse Festival Theatre, where the lineup includes concerts, plays and other magical performances.
- Sip on something sensational while taking in the fabulous winter views at Meuse Brewing Company, Charlotteville Brewing Company, Blueberry Hill Estates, or Inasphere Wines and Farm Market.
Looking for even more new and exciting things to see, do, taste, and experience in Ontario's Southwest? Browse our collection of experiences and itineraries that have been specially curated for those who are endlessly curious and love to learn about the hidden gems others may overlook.