So you thought you’d make this March Break a staycation hanging out at home with the family, maybe taking in a few local attractions. But now, you’re starting to get the itch to hit the road. No worries, last-minute travel often turns out to be among the best of vacations – with no concrete plans it’s liberating to just go with the flow and see where the road will take you.
Happily, if you jump on Hwy 404 north, in just over an hour the road will pretty much take you to Georgina. Nestled on the southern shore of Lake Simcoe, this is a pretty little town with mom-and-pop shops and eateries offering understated but genuine near-north hospitality. On this my first visit, I was struck by the area’s authenticity – as tourist towns go it shines, but with the modest glow of an undiscovered gem.
Amid the handful of motels and B&Bs dotting the area stands The Briars, an iconic resort that has been owned and operated by the Sibbald family since the late 1800s. Although much has been added or taken away, preserved or modernized, overall the décor is rustic chic, with plenty of nooks and crannies tucked into different rooms and corridors, each with antiques, pillows, and throws. Curl up and read a book here every single one of them beckons.
Downstairs, a fitness room awaits exercise buffs; a games room offers ping-pong, billiards, and darts; and a beautiful 40-foot indoor pool encased in a solarium makes you feel like your swimming outdoors. A whirlpool, sauna and a separate spa facility ensure plenty of pampering if you’re so inclined.
Which, trust me, you will be if you spend your days taking advantage of all the area has to offer in terms of things to do. A four-season hotspot, the region offers a slew of outdoor activities. At this time of year, the weather is a bit tricky, but if the cold holds you may have a chance to snowshoe or toboggan as well as snow tube or snowboard at the nearby ROC, York Region’s massive recreational centre. Check out their March Break line-up — hill conditions are updated daily.
Whatever you get up to, know that back at The Briars, a comfy bed awaits you. Don’t be surprised, however, if you and the family join fellow guests at the nightly bonfire to devour s’mores beneath the stars.
For those who can only manage a day trip, Georgina is a fun spot to visit and perhaps do some recognizance for your upcoming summer holiday. The area is rich with trails, fishing, swimming and water sport opportunities, parks and plenty of sunshine as well as soon-to-open attractions such as Georgina Pioneer Village, and ClearWater Farm (Reed location), a labour-of-love-in-progress committed to farming in ways that support people, earth, water and the community.
Rebecca Field Jager is a cookbook author, columnist and lifestyle writer specializing in food and travel. Her work has appeared in Zoomer, National Post, Best Health, Chatelaine, Globe & Mail, Hamilton Spectator and Huffington Post. For more stories and Girls Flight Out travel videos go to www.becjager.com. Follow Rebecca on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.
Special thanks to Briars Resort and York Durham Headwaters Central Counties Ontario for their support.