Brrrrr, it’s getting cold. All I want to do is be a couch potato. Well, is that even possible when you are a mom and your kid thinks otherwise? Kids always makes you look at life through their eyes and that is when even winters look fun.
Here are fun things to do to beat the winter blues with your tiny humans:
- Snow Tubing: The idea of sitting on just a tube and sliding from the high slope might sound bizarre but its so much fun, especially when the entire family can be seated in one tube.
Where did we go: Snow Valley Ski Resort (www.skisnowvalley.com)
- Dog Sledding: Ok, I have to admit that I felt terrible for the dogs, but I was told huskies love snow and don’t mind running in the snow. For me, it was just one time experience but my daughter thinks otherwise. Everything needs to be experienced in life, including this one.
You can check out www.torontoadventures.com
- Ice Skating: This is the best winter activity for anybody. There are many free skating rinks in Toronto but mostly outdoor ones are free. We love visiting the rinks in Shops at Don Mills and Nathan Philip Square. You can also rent the skating shoes and helmet if you just want to try how it feels to be on the ice.
- Ice Sculpture Festival: One of the free activity to do in winter is visiting the Ice Sculpture festival in Yorkville Village. One will be amazed to see the artist carving the ice so beautifully into different sculpture. There are chances where your tiny humans might ask you to carve a princess or a super hero for them.
- Christmas Market: What is winter without visiting a Christmas market and binging on hot cocoa, mulled wine, cobb corn, turkey leg and Tornado Potatoes. Distillery District Christmas Market offers all of that and fun carnival rides for kids.
- Toboggan Ride and Snowball fights: When parents think of plowing the snow, kids think of all the fun things that they can do when it snows. One that tops the list is for sure is toboggan ride and snowball fights. Toronto has many parks which has high hills for parents to drag their kids down the slopes and burn all that extra calories that gets added during winter.
Orange, Yellow, Red and Purple are gods miracles colors. While we associate green to leaves, it all changes around the Fall season. As the leaves change colors and these miracle colors takes over the green, we are left with an awe.
Everywhere you see the tress painting the town with their changing colors and makes even Monday’s beautiful during the fall season. Only good thing about summer ending is to see the colors everywhere. Before we start dreading about “Winter is Coming”, here are a few places you can visit during fall:
Mount Tremblant: The only long weekend that we get during fall should be well spent and what can be better than a long drive to Mount Tremblant to make your soul happy, even if it’s a little far away. 6hours drive from Toronto is nothing but visual treat with such distinctive color.
Mount Tremblant being one of the National Parks, there are many activities for families to do. Mount Tremblant village has a Gondola ride for a panoramic view, Aqua club, climbing tower, national park has many hiking trails with beautiful view, which kids can do and you can go kayaking/canoeing too.
Where to Stay?
We stayed in Marriott as it is in middle of the village and very accessible for everything.
Algonquin Provincial Park: Beautiful park closest to Toronto is Algonquin provincial park. Along with beautiful fall colors, the park also offers easy hiking trails for families with kids, fishing and canoeing. If you just want to just experience the beauty, then rent a water facing cottage or go camping or rent a cabin in the park and get lost in the wilderness. Even if you don’t have a booking and decide on going at the last minute, there are many motels in and around the park which are available even without prior booking.
Visit http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/visit/general_park_info/fall-colour-report.php for color report.
Muskoka: Muskoka is just about 2 hours’ drive from Toronto makes for a best one-day trip. There are many hiking trails and lookout point around the Muskoka lake. If you are feeling lazy for hikes, there are Fall boat cruises as well. All the more reason to visit Muskoka his fall.
Check www.discovermuskoka.ca if you are looking for accommodation
Edward Garden: We visit the Edward gardens every year without a miss. Cycling during the fall is completely different experience, you can either go biking or take a stroll around the park, you will surely not be disappointed.
If you wish to track the Colors progression report, here is the link: www.400eleven.com.
Make your life more colorful this fall season!
Northern lights which is also called as Aurora Borealis or dancing lights are caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun when it enters the earth atmosphere. The lights are mostly visible above the northern or southernmost hemispheres and closer to the magnetic poles.
I have always been fascinated by Astrophysics since my college days and I was very close to pursuing my career in Astrophysics when I was invited for an interview with MP Birla Institute, even though I did not study what fascinated me the most, I never let the passion for astronomy die down. It’s that passion which took me to Iceland in chase of those Green Lights but unfortunately, I was unlucky. When one is adamant, you never let go of it easily. When I learnt that Northern Lights can be seen from Canada as well, I did so much research to know the best places to see the lights and have visited most of dark night preserves only to come disappointed mostly because of overcast or the lights were very weak.
Finally, when we were in Victoria, BC, there was an alert on my phone that Northern Lights will be visible from most parts of Canada and off we went looking for less light polluted area and after a long wait lights finally made her way into the dark sky but very weak. For the naked eye, we could only see dancing grey lights which is very hard to even know its northern lights, but I knew instantly what we were seeing was what we have been chancing for so long. Even though it was not what I always anticipated it to be, I am extremely happy to have captured under the lens and to have lived that experience. My hunt for stronger lights will continue, until then here are some pictures:
Kanyakumari is the Southernmost tip of India in the state of Tamil Nadu. At this very place, we get to see the union of three oceans Indian Ocean, Arabian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. It is mostly famous for religious purpose as most of the tourist come here to visit the famous and most ancient temple of Goddess Kanyakumari who prayed to Lord Shiva to be accepted as his wife.
How to get here?
Kanyakumari makes it for a very good road trip as you can visit many tourist locations on the way or in and around Kanyakumari. There is other mode of transports as well and its very well connected to Thiruvananthapuram International Airport by flight or by Train.
Where to Stay?
Kanyakumari is crowded any time of the year, so try making an early booking or else you will have to settle in for not so popular hotels. Some hotels with good reviews are Sparsa Resort, The Seashore Hotel and Hotel Temple Citi.
Places to Visit
- Swami Vivekananda Memorial: Its a belief that Swami Vivekananda swam to this rock and meditated in quest for enlightenment. For me this is one of the finest piece of architecture in India.
- Thiruvalluvar Statue: Thiruvalluvar was a very well known poet in Tamil Nadu and this 133 feet tall stone sculpture was constructed in his memory.
- Kumari Amman Temple: This is the most gorgeous looking goddess and everything about this goddess is so surreal but photography is not allowed in the temple.
- Sunset Point: Its really worth taking that extra effort to get here early for a good view of Sunset, its simple the best sunset I have ever seen.
- Thirparappu Falls: We did not get time to visit the falls but don’t miss it and make the same mistake as us.
Beauty of the world is what makes one a traveler!
As a kid did you ever draw a cute little house surrounded by trees, a stream flowing by the house, a garden in front, birds flying in the clear blue sky and you standing on the bridge admiring the beauty? Well, if you did and ever dreamed of picture coming into reality, visit Manitoulin island.
One word for this place is DREAMY, you can just keep driving around the Island without the urge to return back and you will easily get lost in the beauty. Calm, rejuvenating, peaceful, friendly and so different from rest of Ontario. No wonder the Ontario’s prettiest village Kagawong is located on this Island.
How to Get there?
You can either reach the place by land or water. Our suggestion is take the sea and return by land. We took the Chi-Cheemaun from Tobermory to South Baymouth and drove back. Driving back from Manitoulin to Toronto would give you lot of opportunity to visit so many Provincial Parks on the way.
www.ontarioferries.com/Chi-cheemaun make early reservations.
Where to Stay?
If you ask me, don’t look beyond Gordon’s Park. We visited Manitoulin as we wanted to visit Gordon Park’s dark night preserve to see the Milky Way and Northern Lights. This is just one of the places in Ontario which has dark night preserve and offers accommodation ranging from Star Gazing Cabins, Tipi Tenting, Milky Way Bunkie and B&B’s. Make sure to book in advance.
Visit www.gordonspark.com for more information.
What is in stored for you?
- Bridal Veil Falls
- Kagawong Village: Museum, Lighthouse and the don’t miss to visit the Chocolate Factory.
- Cup and Saucer Trail: Make sure the trail is open and plan accordingly as these trails are closed at times.
- Gordon’s Park, if you are not staying here make sure to attend their Astronomy Session.
- Providence Bay Beach
- If you are visiting in summer, make sure you visit during the First Nations Pow-wow dance contest. It’s also an opportunity to learn about their culture, language and history.
PS: Google Maps are no good here, so ask the friendly locals for direction.
It’s worth every minute spent on this Island rich in Culture, heritage and history. You will be amused how much knowledge you gain learning about Ontario and the locals who shared their land with each one of us.
You blink, its gone. That’s exactly how Summer is in Canada. There are some conventional things we all do every summer, like visiting Central Island, Scarborough Bluff, Zoo, African Lion Safari and beaches, though we very religiously visit these places every summer, there are other things that we have enjoyed doing out of ordinary, sharing a few experiences here:
Cheltenham Badlands: About an hour from Toronto, Badlands makes a very good day outing for adults and kids, especially if you haven’t seen anything like this before. Badlands are dry terrain where sedimentary rocks and clay rich soils have been eroded. (it was closed for public last year so check before you go).
Address: 1501 0 1901 Olde Base Line Road, Caledon, ON
Lavender Farm: Though, there are a lot of lavender farms in and around Toronto, we visited “Terre Bleu Lavender Farm”. It simply takes you to a fairy land with the fresh lavender smell. They also have picnic tables, who wouldn’t like to eat overlooking beautiful flowers. Don’t miss their lavender Ice cream.
Address: 2501, 25 Side Road, Campbellville, ON
Thousand Islands, Kingston: National Park which is closest to Toronto is Thousand Island National park which is just about 2.5 hours drive. If you fancy seeing a castle, tons of Islands, lighthouse, beautiful waterfront houses then take the cruise, relax and enjoy cruising through the island.
Harbourfront Boat Tour: We visit Toronto Harbourfront every year during summer as it has such a lively atmosphere and there is something going on during summertime every single day. We had also seen a lot of sail boats, though we have been on cruise, ships and boats, we had never been on a sail boat. It was such an amazing experience sailing on Kajama and the view of Toronto Skyline was mesmerizing.
Blue Jays Game: If you are living in Toronto, you definitely know how crazy people are about Baseball season. You will not understand until you actually attend a game to witness yourself. Though, I had no clue about the rules or how the game is played, we still went to watch a match. Sitting in Roger center with the dome open filled with people was reason enough to get into the vibe and feel the craze but by end of the match, I had become a fan myself and yes, I understand the game now!
Enjoy the little things in life, they give you immense happiness!