By Ali Maldoff
1. Chill at Chudleigh’s Apple Farm
Start the season off right with a good, old-fashioned apple overload. Hop on the tractor ride through the orchards for a taste of your childhood and pick your way to happiness from among the different apple varieties grown on the farm. Stop by the petting zoo if you dare, take cheesy photos in the hay stacks, or grab a bbq’d husk of corn on the cob. Do not leave without sampling the delicious and iconic Chudleigh’s Apple Blossom – take 1 or 12 home for your freezer.
8501 Chudleigh Way, Milton, Ontario. Open every day 10am – 5pm. Adult admission $7.
2. Browse the Aberfoyle Antique Market
The antiques may have been around forever, but the market sure won’t be. Open on Sundays until October 31st, this market (just south-east of Guelph) has old-world trinkets to match the old-world charm. Wander the dizzying display of antiques and collectibles to the tune of country guitar songs, and chat up the merchants (most of whom have been at it for 20-plus years). Hipsters will delight in the stall of retro telephones. Don’t forget a weather check before heading out as the market is completely outdoors.
57 Brock Rd. S, Guelph, Ontario. Open Sundays 8am – 4pm. Nominal admission fee ($1-$2).
3. Sip at The Old Curiosity Tea Shop
Looking to be transported back in (tea) time to the Victorian era? Well look no further than The Old Curiosity Tea Shop in Markham. Round up your mom, your grandma, or your favourite ladies for an authentic tea party experience – this ain’t high tea at the Four Seasons, it’s more like visiting your eccentric British aunt in her floral motif flat. The charming staff will advise you on an extensive list of loose leaf teas, including suggestions on how to take it and how long it should steep. Enjoy your chosen blend in Royal Doulton fine china (what else?) and munch on traditional cucumber sandwiches and lovely sweets – all homemade in the little back kitchen.
91 Main St. N, Markham, Ontario. Closed Sunday and Monday.
4. Hold a Hot Chocolate Picnic at the Toronto Beaches
Grab a few friends and a few orders of scrumptious hot chocolate at Toronto’s top-rated Mercury Espresso Bar and head on over to either Ashbridge’s Bay Park or Beaches Park with a blanket, a Frisbee and plenty of cozy clothes. Take in the sandy surroundings and bask in the remaining few days of snow-free beaches. If you’re feeling frisky, head west on Lakeshore Blvd and hop a ferry to the Toronto Islands for a gorgeous view of our fair city’s skyline.
Mercury Espresso Bar, 915 Queen St. E
5. Hike the Escarpment
British Columbians aren’t the only ones who can hop out of town for an invigorating hike. West of the city (off the 401 near Milton) lies a beautiful slice of the extraordinary Bruce Trail. With several walking/hiking paths overlooking a glorious valley of trees, you are sure to feel far away from the downtown construction and traffic combo. Tip: wait until the leaves have changed for a really fantastic view!
Visit http://brucetrail.org for trail entrance points and parking info.