Thursday, November 26

Holiday Season at Fern Glen Inn

The sun sets over the meadow in front of the guest lounge cabin.
What can be more magical than spending the holidays in a winter wonderland? Imagine fresh snow sparkling like diamond dust in the moonlight, a mug of hot chocolate in front of a toasty fire, the crunch of snowshoes on a forest trail, a cheeky little chickadee pecking a seed from the palm of your hand, a glimpse of a deer in a snow-clad meadow.

Fern Glen Inn is open throughout the Christmas / New Year's holiday season. Guests are welcome to arrive on any day, even Christmas, and stay for short getaway or the whole week.

'Winter in the Country' is the theme of a getaway here. If you're not into a commercial Christmas or big parties, this is the right place for you. While we do put out a few winter-themed decorations, we let mother nature deck the landscape outside and keep things low-key inside.

The Coach House with four guest suites.

Do as much or as little as you like. You can stay on the property, enjoying our snowshoes and trails, toboggans and hill, or just unwinding in the Coop guest lounge or in your room. Snowshoes and toboggans are FREE for guests to use on our 120 acre property!

For more excitement, venture out to Arrowhead Park or Algonquin Park and enjoy their trails by boot, snowshoe or cross-country ski. Arrowhead Park's ice skating trail and tubing hill are popular ways to enjoy a winter day outside. Don't worry about the weather, you can warm up at the warming hut or outdoor fire. For a special treat, spend a Saturday evening skating by starlight and tiki torches during a "Fire and Ice" night!

For a faster pace, go down-hill skiing or snowboarding at Hidden Valley Ski Area in Huntsville, or book a guided dog sledding excursion at a local ranch. See the 2015/16 Dog Sledding Schedule and Rates here (coming soon).

Holiday Rates are in effect from December 24 through January 3. See our 2015/16 Holiday Rates here.

Breakfast is included with every stay. Dinners at the inn are available with advance notice. Find out more about dinners at the inn here.

Visit the Fern Glen Inn website for more information.

Check available dates or book online here.

Snowshoe angels in front of the Coop guest lounge.

Holiday Rates, Dinners and Packages

Fern Glen Inn is open throughout the Christmas / New Year's holiday season. Guests are welcome to arrive on any day, even Christmas, and stay for short getaway or the whole week.


Holiday Rates are in effect from December 24, 2015, to January 3, 2016. For most other dates, see our Standard Rates listed on our website rooms or packages pages, or by entering your dates in our online date-picker.

2015/16 Holiday Rates, Dec 24 - Jan 3:

  • B&B 2-night Getaway: $260/couple
  • Country Winter Getaway Package: $339/couple
  • Snowshoe in Arrowhead or Algonquin Park Package: $305/couple
  • Chili-Dog Dog Sledding Package: $325/person
  • Add a third night for just $120/couple

Every stay at Fern Glen Inn during the winter includes:

  • Delicious, full served breakfast each morning
  • Free use of snowshoes on our 120 acre property
  • Use of rustic cabin guest lounge with wood-burning stove
  • Directions and suggestions for enjoying the region
  • Every room has a queen bed and private ensuite bathroom and is suitable for one or two people per room

Private snowshoe trails at Fern Glen Inn.
Learn more about winter getaway packages here.
Learn more about Fern Glen Inn here.
Book online here.

Holiday Dinner Schedule/Rates

Breakfast is included with every stay and dinners are available at the inn with advance notice. While meals are "cook's choice" and not selected from a menu, there are a few options for types of meals: Country Dinner (homemade bread, main course, dessert, tea/coffee); Chili Dinner (cornbread, chili and all the fixings, dessert, tea/coffee); Soup in the Coop (packed for self-serving homemade soup, crackers/bread, simple dessert).
  • December 24: Chili Dinner, $25/person
  • December 25: Country Dinner, $35/person
  • December 31: Country Dinner, $35/person
  • January 1: Chili Dinner, $25/person
  • All other dates: open (first to book, first to choose)
  • Any dates: Soup in the Coop, $15/person
Add 13% sales tax to all prices.

Visit the Fern Glen Inn website for more information.
Check available dates or book online here.
Guests heading out from the Coop lounge for a snowshoe hike on private trails.

Monday, October 26

Golden Encore on the Pond

Every year I marvel at the Golden Encore—that spectacular turning of the tamaracks from green to gold after the maple reds have faded—and this year is no different.

Jim and I took a stroll over to the pond late yesterday afternoon and were wowed by the glow of the trees and marsh grasses under the late-day sun. It's hard to believe we're nearing the end of October already, but this is perhaps my favourite time for hiking. The air is cool enough to keep you moving briskly but warm enough to leave the heavy boots at home. The landscape, as you can see, is still a stunning backdrop to the trails but the crowds have emptied out of the parks and towns. I don't know about you, but I'll take as many more days like this as we can get.

If you've never seen the Golden Encore for yourself, you still have time to get outside and enjoy it before all those lovely yellow needles drop. And if not, I hope you enjoy the photos we snapped at the pond yesterday.


Plan a peaceful late-autumn getaway for some trail hiking, gentle walks in the woods, or just getting cozy by the fire as the sun goes down. Call, email or book online

Tuesday, September 8

The Best Seasons of Fall

No doubt, autumn is a beautiful time for a getaway, but it encompasses a broad stretch of time that includes many micro-seasons. So when should you come for a getaway? Well that depends on what you want to see and do. Here's our breakdown...

Mid September: Great hiking weather, sometimes even swimming weather; no bugs; no crowds; fall colours are starting.

Late September: Fall colours are really going good and working up to peak (or hitting peak in the higher elevations); great time to hike the hardwood forests; hit the trails that take you to viewpoints looking out over the tops of trees; take lots of photos; stay up late and watch the stars.

Early to mid October: Colours peak (sooner in Algonquin Park, later in the rest of the region); hear the leaves swish around your feet as you walk the trails and look up as the colour moves lower in the understory; slow country drives to take it all in; Thanksgiving long weekend lets you get a longer break to really shake the city off.

Mid to late October: Maples have finished their show and the tamaracks are putting on the Golden Encore; invigorating walks; toasty fires.

November: discover the subtle beauty of the November forest; save more with Quiet Season rates in effect; no crowds; time to relax, catch up on reading, get away from it all; Girlfriends' Getaway weekend in Huntsville.


Most Dates in September and October:
$240 for a 2-night stay

Thanksgiving Long Weekend:
$280 for a 2-night stay OR $375 for a 3-night stay

$220 for a 2-night stay

Prices include breakfast and accommodation for two people in a Coach House Room. Add $10/night for the Homestead Room. Add 13% HST. 


Find available rooms in the Coach House here. If you don't find an available room for your dates, email us to find out if the Homestead Room is available.

What's available during prime colours?
Many weekends are already filling up, but if you can come midweek, or take a Friday or Monday off work, or have no commitments for the Thanksgiving Long Weekend, you've got more options. Here are some...

Sept 22 & 23: Carriage & Granary Rooms
Sept 23 thru 25: Granary Room
Sept 25 thru 27: Homestead Room (book by email/phone)
Sept 29 & 30: Green & Loft Rooms
Sept 30 & Oct 1: Granary Room
Oct 3 & 4*: Green, Carriage & Loft Rooms
Oct 5 thru 8: selection of rooms available
Thanksgiving Weekend Oct 9 thru 11: Homestead Room (book by email/phone)
Oct 12 thru 15: selection of rooms available 
Oct 18 and beyond: selection of rooms available
*Saturday & Sunday nights: great choice if you can take Monday off work!

If you book your Fall Getaway by September 17, you can also get FREE $50 Gas Card and $50 in Spending Vouchers with your 2-night stay!
Call, email or book online. Visit Fall Fuel & Fun at Fern Glen Inn for details.

Tuesday, September 1

Fall Fuel & Fun 2015

Read about our hike on the Centennial Ridges Trail

As if a getaway in the beautiful season of autumn wasn't spectacular enough, it gets even better with the Fuel & Fun promo from Explorers' Edge. Book your Fall Getaway now and get $100 in free gas and goodies!

Just book your getaway by September 17 for a 2-night stay between September 18 and November 30 to receive a $50 gas card and $50 worth of vouchers to use-as-cash at participating restaurants, shops and attractions!

You can combine the Fuel & Fun promo with any of our packages or with any standard two-night stay. Our famous breakfasts are always included, along with use of our property, fire bowl, hot tub, private hiking trails and rustic cabin guest lounge.

Quantities are limited -- first come, first served -- so act quickly to avoid disappointment.

When do you stay?
Any two consecutive nights between September 18 and November 30, 2015

When do you book?
Make your reservation then register for your vouchers (we'll tell you how) by September 17, 2015

What do you get?
$50 gas card plus $50 in spending vouchers to use at participating shops, eateries and attractions during your stay. Of course, you also get two comfortable nights and two delicious breakfasts at Fern Glen Inn.

What's the catch?
There is none! You don't have to "buy one" to "get one" nor spend a minimum amount of money. Consider the free gas and vouchers as an invitation to come explore this beautiful region, courtesy of Explorers' Edge.

The Fuel & Fun Fall Getaway at Fern Glen Inn

Your getaway includes:

Fuel & Fun Fall Getaway Price: starting from $240**

**Most dates are $240/couple; the Thanksgiving long weekend rate is $280/couple for two nights or $375/couple for three nights. Lower rates available for solo travelers. 13% HST is extra.

Callemail or book online. Visit Fuel & Fun at Fern Glen Inn for details.
: :   : :   : :   : :

* Quantities are limited. Only the first 500 "Qualified Bookings" within the entire Explorers' Edge region will receive the Gas Cards and Experience Vouchers. To be a "Qualified Booking", you must:
• book by September 17, 2015
• register your confirmation number directly at Explorers' Edge
• stay between September 18 and November 30, 2015
• stay for 2 consecutive nights or longer
Experience Vouchers may only be used between
September 18 and November 30, 2015

In partnership with

Tuesday, June 30

Lemon Buttermilk Shortcake with Red Fruit and Cream

Early summer days, fresh local strawberries, and Canada's 148th birthday all had me hankering for an old-fashioned, fresh-flavoured dessert. I wanted something not too sweet or fussy but with enough "wow" to serve to company.

For inspiration, I found myself leafing through one of my favourite cookbooks, Food That Really Schmecks by Edna Staebler. First printed in 1968—just a few years after the iconic Canadian maple leaf flag was inaugurated—it's full of recipes and notes of Mennonite country cooking. A recipe for a simple shortcake caught my eye. Notice I said shortcake, singular, which is baked in a cake pan, not shortcakes, which are generally baked as individual biscuits. Nor is this shortbread, which is yet another similar but different concoction. Rather it's a cross between cake, biscuit and shortbread and it hit a nostalgic note that appealed.

With the shortcake as a starting point, I made a few tweaks, including fresh lemon to brighten it up, and decided to pair it with red fruit and white cream in honour of the upcoming Canada Day. The result is just what I was aiming for.

You have some options in how to serve this. Because the cake is tender with an even profile, you can spoon some fruit right on top and alongside a piece, adding a dollop of whipped cream. Alternatively, you can slice each piece in half horizontally like you would a biscuit and then layer the whipped cream and fruit between the halves. I'm showing you both ways (they were equally delicous!).

Whether you make this recipe for Canada Day or just because it's summer, I hope you enjoy an old-fashioned day of sunshine and fresh air!

Lemon Buttermilk Shortcake with Red Fruit and Cream

Serves 6-8 
The texture is a cross between a cake and a biscuit. The flavour is subtle and complements all sorts of fresh fruit or compotes. Try it with grilled peaches in late summer.
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger (optional)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • zest from 1 lemon, grated
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut in cubes, plus more for the pan
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 cup buttermilk (approximately)

For Serving:
  • 4-6 cups mixed fruit, such as pitted cherry halves, sliced red plums, sliced strawberries
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • squeeze of lemon juice (or a splash of red wine)
  • 1 cup whipping cream, well chilled
    2 tablespoons sugar
  • lemon zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 9" square baking pan. Line with parchment paper and butter paper.

In a small bowl, set aside 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Stir in ground ginger, if using.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine remaining 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, flour, icing sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Add the butter and mix with the paddle attachment until incorporated and mixture looks crumbly.

Pour the juice of half a lemon into a measuring glass. Add enough buttermilk to make 1 cup liquid. With the mixer on low, slowly add the lemon-buttermilk, stopping the machine as soon as the wet and dry are almost combined. Finish mixing by hand with a spatula until no more dry bits remain. Don't overmix.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading as evenly as possible (it's sticky and thick, just do your best). Sprinkle the reserved sugar-ginger mixture over top. Bake until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for at least 10 minutes.

Slice into 6 or 8 pieces. Serve warm.

While cake is baking, mix fruit with sugar and lemon juice and set aside, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and release the juices. Whip cream and sugar to stiff peaks just before serving.

To serve, you can simply tumble some fruit and whipped cream on the top and alongside, or split horizontally and fill it in the classic shortcake style. Garnish with a sprinkling of lemon zest, if desired. Enjoy!

Vanilla Variation:
Omit the ground ginger, lemon zest and juice. Add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract to the buttermilk. Sprinkle the batter with vanilla sugar before baking. 

Thursday, June 11

Jim and Jackie go to Peru

Jackie in the doorway of Inti Punku (Sun Gate) with Mount Veronica in the background.

We are often inspired by the tales of travel, adventure and daily life we hear from our guests, whether they hail from around the world or closer to home. It's one of the great side effects of life in a B&B. The flip side, though, is that in 10 years of running this business and living in this beautiful region, we've never been able to tear ourselves away for a big trip of our own. Until now.

Last month, Jim and I closed up shop, hopped on a plane, and crossed a big destination off my bucket list with a two-week trip to Peru, including the iconic Machu Picchu. And it was amazing!

Since conversation around the breakfast table often turns to dream destinations, I thought I'd share some of our experience with you...

After arriving in the city of Cusco in the heart of the Inca empire, we started with a few days of sightseeing and day-hikes.

The fortress in Ollantaytambo was impressive.

We based our first few days out of the living Inca town of Ollantaytambo.

We explored pre-Inca ruins at Pikillacta in the south valley.

We included a modern-style adrenaline rush with an afternoon of zip lining.

A 400m climb up to the first zipline. This is the closest I'll get to mountain climbing.

One of seven ziplines, including a 700m single span.

After acclimatizing for a few days, we embarked on a three-day trek taking us 4,400 metres above the Sacred Valley.

The Perolnioc waterfalls below ruins.

Our trek took us up above the tree line into the puna.

Camping at night, hiking all day, feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Climb every mountain!

After our first trek, we spent an easy day in the city of Cusco before embarking on our second trek, the Salkantay route to Machu Picchu.

Jim doesn't just live on the edge, he naps on the edge!

Cold nights at high altitude make for frosty mornings.

On top of the world!

We were part of a small group for this trek. Here we're celebrating reaching our highest point at 4,630 metres!

Getting warmer as we descend. Passing waterfalls and bridges as we enter the high jungle.

At Llactapata ruins, we can see Machu Picchu off in the distance.

 After four days hiking approximately 70km, we arrived in the town of Aguas Calientes, our launching point for two days in Machu Picchu.

The classic view -- totally worth the effort.


The craftsmanship and sheer work involved boggles the mind.

Hiking an Inca trail up Machu Picchu Mountain.

Tired but happy!

Awe and inspiration everywhere.

Your intrepid innkeepers cross a biggie off the bucket list!