Fall in Canada means brightly-colored autumn foliage, cooler temperatures balanced with vineyard and cider house visits, and cozy weekend escapes to enjoy nature. Nowhere is that truer than in Ontario, which has a number of excellent places to visit in fall. A fall weekend getaway from Toronto is a great way to escape the city and explore all that Ontario has to offer and see the fall colours in Grey County. A fall Ontario weekend getaway chasing waterfalls in Grey County is the perfect way to enjoy all the fall colours.
This three-day itinerary includes chasing waterfalls in Ontario such as Inglis, Eugenia and Hogg’s waterfalls; hiking through Ontario’s green (and red and orange and yellow and gold) spaces, a stay at a charming inn that’s best described as a hug in house form; excellent food and drink options at family-run and farm-to-table establishments; as well as a number of activities that are perfect for autumn, such as paddling, forest bathing meditation, and even axe throwing!
Day One Fall Weekend Getaway From Toronto
Inglis Falls Waterfall
Start your weekend with a trip to Inglis Falls, one sibling of the triplet waterfalls which can be found outside the city of Owen Sound, Ontario.
Fueled by the waters of the Sydenham River at the point where the currents meet the Niagara Escarpment, the falls are particularly lovely in the fall when they’re framed with autumnal foliage.
The largest and most impressive of the trio, Inglis Falls is also the most visited, so be sure to get there early if you want to have the cascades all to yourself. Hike through the Inglis Falls Conservation Area to reach the base of the 18-meter torrents.
Next, head into Owen Sound proper and Harrison Park, a 40-hectare green space in the heart of the city.
Harrison Park is connected to Inglis Falls via the Bruce Trail, which has a full length of 900 kilometers, stretching from Niagara to Tobermory along the Niagara Escarpment. This makes the trail the longest and oldest footpath in the whole of Canada. (Bruce Trail Day takes place annually in the fall, so if you time your visit right, you may encounter guided hikes along the trail.
However, the Inglis Falls to Harrison Park section of the hike is only 14.3 kilometers (full loop), which takes around four and a half hours to complete, with some steeps hills.
Once in Harrison Park, enjoy the gardens and recreational facilities. There’s a bird sanctuary, mini-golf, basketball courts, boat rental, a pond full of hungry ducks and swans as well as an open-air rink in the winter.
Lunch at Mudtown Station Brewery & Restaurant
1198 1st Avenue East, Owen Sound
Stop in for lunch as you overlook Georgian Bay on the city’s harbor with lunch at Mudtown Station Brewery & Restaurant.
This former Canadian Pacific Railway station is an important part of Owen Sound’s cultural heritage. The station is a unique building, built in 1946, with elements of prairie, art deco, and art modern architectural styles.
The property was vacant for 10 years until it was purchased by the city and repurposed to house this unique brewery and restaurant.
The lunch menu includes vegetables and small plates (go for the selection of cured meats, cheese and antipasti assortments with Rising Sun Bakery bread), meat and fish options (hello pan-seared Manitoulin Island rainbow trout on leek and potato cassoulet with smoked mussels, as well as sweets (is there anything more autumn-like on a dessert menu than a sticky toffee pudding with cinnamon ice cream and warm toffee sauce? Didn’t think so).
Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery for Tour and Tasting
599448 Concession Road 2 North, Annan
Coffin Ridge is Grey County’s first winery, located in the shadow of the Niagara Escarpment and offering gorgeous views of Georgian Bay alongside boutique wines of various vintages.
The wines here are made in small batches from hand-planted and hand-picked grapes. The three signature wines produced at Coffin Ridge are aptly named The Light White, Back From The Dead Red, and Resurrection Rosé – perfect for a Halloween visit, no?
Stroll around the winery and learn about the cider and wine offerings, Coffin Ridge’s fall activities as well as upcoming winter activities. Then, sip and savor while you take in the views of the vineyard and valleys beyond. (If all that wine tasting makes you peckish, opt for the vintner’s plate of charcuterie, cheeses and artisanal bread, to complement your glass.)
While you’re tasting, grab a bottle of wine or some cider for tonight’s harvest dinner which is BYOB.
Check into Pretty River Valley Country Inn
529742 Osprey-The Blue Mountains Tline, Nottawa
After so much exploring, it’s time to check into your accommodation. Pretty River Valley Country Inn truly lives up to its name and is the perfect place to stay for a fall weekend trip around Ontario.
The property looks out to Pretty River Valley Provincial Park, surrounded by nature and hiking trails. Wasaga Beach is just a 30-minute drive away, while La Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain is just 15 minutes away by car (a visit here is scheduled into this itinerary on the third day).
At the end of a day filled with outdoor adventure, curl up by the wood-burning fireplace (there’s one in every guest room), take a dip in the saltwater pool (seasonal), or relax in the hot tub. If you would rather stay in then select a movie from the extensive DVD library – there’s free popcorn and drinks in your room too (and occasionally freshly baked cookies)!
Good Family Farms for Dinner
157366 7th Line, Meaford
Bring out your chic fall sweaters, grab a bottle of wine or some apple cider, and enjoy this curated dinner from Sumac + Salt. Chef Joel Gray and his partner Hannah Harradine host a series of dinners at the Good Family Farm in the town of Meaford throughout the fall. This forged and farmed dining experience is one you will remember for years to come featuring a farm, forest to table culinary experience that showcases all things delicious and local in the Grey County area. Dinner will be served inside but warm chic fall clothing is recommended for this experience.
This is a dining experience that you must add to your itinerary when visiting. You will be seated in a dining room with 10-12 other guests at a large dining room table. It feels like a family get together. Although this is the first time we met the folks who dined with us, we had some good laughs and conversations as we patiently waited to devour each of the well-crafted courses that were served.
Day Two Fall Weekend Getaway
Paddling and Guided Scenic Hike Beaver Valley with Free Spirit Tours
236720 Grey Rd 13 Heathcote
After a hearty breakfast at Pretty River Valley Country Inn, you’re ready for a hiking and paddling tour along the Beaver Rivers with Free Spirit Tours. There are a number of different routes to choose from, ranging from an hour’s paddle to a five-hour river adventure.
Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience out on the water, you’re sure to have fun. Choose your mode of transport – stand-up paddleboard, kayak, or canoe – then let the current take you downstream.
If you need an extra incentive, there are also options for a “Paddle and Wine” tour, which includes an hour’s paddling down the Beaver River, then a trip to Georgian Hills Vineyards for wine tastings and cheese pairings – the perfect fall activity in Ontario.
Eugenia Falls Waterfall
Beaver Valley Road/Grey County Road 13, Eugenia
Visit Eugenia Falls, the tallest of Grey County’s 9 waterfalls. Eugenia Falls is a super short walk from the parking lot and a true wilderness experience that will make for amazing fall colour photos.
Located in the small town of Eugenia, in Ontario’s Grey County, the 25-meter falls are fed by the Beaver River. Of all the waterfalls found along the Niagara Escarpment, Eugenia Falls is considered one of the most beautiful and impressive.
Hoggs Falls Waterfall
Lower Valley Road, Flesherton, N0C 1E0
Discover and snap a shot at Hogg’s Falls, one of Grey County’s 9 waterfalls. Take Grey Road 4 to East Back Line and then turn right onto Lower Valley Road. You will see the parking lot with the Hogg’s Falls signage. Follow the path/blazes to your right and Falls are a 2- 3 minute walk on your left hand side.
Hogg’s Falls also connects to the Bruce Trail and the 5.3-kilometer Hogg’s Falls Loop is an enjoyable and moderately challenging hike. The waterfall itself is around seven meters high, so it’s shorter than its neighbor, Eugenia Falls, but it’s easy to visit both together on one trip.
Lunch at The Flying Spatula Diner
125 Collingwood Street, Flesherton
Since 2011, the Flying Spatula has offered the Beaver Valley region traditional diner cuisine with an emphasis on quality & locally sourced ingredients served quickly and without fuss. The restaurant was featured on season two of You Gotta Eat Here and owner, Chef Greg Galoska, appeared on Chopped Canada. Sadly, The Flying Spatula Diner closed their doors as of October 27.
Axed Throwing Club
16 Bruce St N, Thornbury
Once only a mobile operation, Axed Throwing Club now has a permanent location in Thornbury. Try out this unique and exciting activity and get coached on axe throwing.
With roots in the lumberjack cultures of North America and the UK, the sport of axe throwing is much like archery or darts, where competitors aim at a bull’s eye on a target. The sport has gained popularity over the years and axe throwing venues can now be found all over the world. Honestly, I didn’t think I would enjoy axe throwing as much as I did. It was an exhilarating experience.
Thornbury Craft Cider and Brew House
90 King Street East, Thornbury
Sit and sip awhile as you explore the patio and tasting rooms of one of the Thornbury Craft Cider and Brew House. They offer tasty varieties of cider, beer, and wine.
Taking its name from the apple-growing and cider-making region of Thornbury in England, the Ontario Thornbury started its apple and cider legacy when immigrants discovered the soil and water provided the perfect conditions for the fruit, back in the 19th century.
Inspired by Thornbury’s rich apple-growing heritage, Thornbury Village Cider brews cider the old-fashioned way, using traditional techniques such as using locally-sourced and fresh-pressed apples, and only crafting ciders in small batches.
Spy Cider House and Distillery
808108, Side Rd 24, Clarksburg
Be one of the first to visit Grey County’s newest cider house and distillery, Spy Cider House and Distillery. Though the product itself has been available, the cider house only opened its doors this summer. Sample and tour the flavourful ciders and spirits made from their organic apple farm right here in Grey County.
Dinner at Justin’s Oven
235304 Grey Road 13, Kimberley
Meet husband and wife team, Justin and Stacey, as you indulge on a seasonal fall menu that incorporates local fare. At Justin’s Oven, the menu is all about local and organic whenever possible and everything on the menu is made in-house by Justin. Seasonal and fresh is a must.
If you’re making this trip over the weekend, then make sure you head to Justin’s Oven for Saturday Dining – casual fine dining with a menu that changes every week.
Previous dishes have including lake trout with orange zest or lemon butter and capers, duck breast with cranberry cassis, pork tenderloin medallions with marsala mushroom sauce and bison gorgonzola burgers!
Day Three Fall Weekend Getaway From Toronto
Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain Forest Bathing and Scandinavian Baths
152 Grey County Road 21, The Blue Mountains
After breakfast at Pretty River Valley Country Inn, check out of the hotel and head to Scandinave Spa, just a 15-minute drive away.
Experience forest bathing, a new offering from Scandinave Spa that was introduced last summer. You’ll receive your very own meditation guide that will help you walk through the forest bathing experience. 45 minutes is recommended for the forest bathing. Leave your swimsuits and change of clothes in the car for the walk.
After time spent meditating in the forest, grab your swimsuits and change of clothes from the car and head over to the reception to enjoy the Baths. Rejuvenate in the Scandinavian Baths, the three cycles of Hydrotherapy hot/cold/relax will not only detoxify but energize your mind and body. If you’re feeling a bit hungry, head to lunch in your robes at the Scandinave spa cafe. After lunch enjoy the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the baths.
Fall Ontario Weekend Getaway
What did you make of this weekend itinerary of places to visit in Ontario during the fall months? Do you have any restaurant, bed & breakfast, or activity recommendations to add? Were there any suggestions above that surprised you?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
This post is written in partnership with Grey County. As always, my opinions are my own. A huge thanks for a wonderful getaway. #Colourityourway
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