Wednesday, June 22

What's New Under the Sun?

Finished projects -- crossed off the list!

Ever a work-in-progress, we're continually adding projects to our "how can we make it better?" list and, as time and resources allow, crossing them off with a flourish and sense of accomplishment.

Our main project this spring was a new gazebo to replace the old one which was starting to look weathered. At 14'x14', the new gazebo is larger, plus it's a sturdier design and has a hard-top semi-transparent roof. Rather than set it up on plain lawn, we decided to install a pea stone pad for stability, drainage, and to keep the grass from coming up. I have to say, if you're going to dig up a bunch of sod and move a few tons of pea stone gravel, it's reaaalllly nice to have a good neighbour with a tractor and bucket!

Our neighbour, Bob, lent a hand (and a bucket!) with the pea stone pad.
Then it was time to put together the giant jigsaw puzzle that was the gazebo kit.
With the base laid, it was time to assemble the gazebo. The instructions on the kit said it should take about three hours for the task. Ha! Nine hours later we were surveying our handiwork, patting ourselves on our backs for mission accomplished, and contemplating applying for "Amazing Race Canada"(hey, if we could do this, we could tackle any challenge).

We still had a pile of pea stone and a self-congratulatory swagger so we decided to keep going and update our fire pit. This meant shifting the location by a few feet to be further from the trees, levelling out and moving some sod, and installing a 15' diameter gravel pad for the fire bowl and seating, adding a few more Muskoka chairs while were at it.

Not ones to be wasteful, we kept the old gazebo and "walked" it to a little clearing by the trailhead and added a couple of comfy loungers. Now you can zip yourself in and stretch out for a nap feeling like you're in the middle of the woods.

We're so pleased with the results and based on the feedback we've had from guests so far, the upgrades definitely tick the "make it better" box!

Jim test-driving the new fire pit setup.

Saturday, April 16

Spring Quiet Season Discount

Save $10/night when you stay two nights or more by June 15, 2016. Book online here.

The Quiet Season is here. It's the time between snowy adventures and summer fun, when the natural world is still waking up. The snow is gone (or nearly gone) and the lakes haven't warmed up enough to play in. The upside? No crowds on the hiking trails, no long waits at the popular restaurants, and more peace and tranquility for those who do come to enjoy it.

It's a great time to relax on a solo retreat, catch up on reading, put thoughts to paper or just quiet the mind. For couples, it's the opportunity to reconnect without distractions or busy-ness, to wander the quiet woods or linger at a favourite restaurant uncrushed.

It's a time when buildings and gardens are not at their prettiest as we have to wait for the risk of frost to pass before tackling planting and outdoor painting projects. Instead, look for beauty in forest wildflowers, budding trees, and majestic moose which are often spotted along roadside marshes.

Wondering what to do? Check out our list of 20 Things to Do on a Spring Getaway. If that's not reason enough for a Quiet Season getaway, it gets even better with our seasonal discount:

Stay two nights or more between April 1 and June 15, 2016, and save $10/night. That makes a two-night getaway for two people just $220 + tax for most dates.

Like every stay at Fern Glen Inn, the price includes delicious served breakfast each morning, use of the rustic cabin guest lounge with wood-burning stove, private forest trails to hike at your own pace, and suggestions for things to see and do around the region.

Call, email or book online and choose "Quiet Season Discount" from the package selections on the second screen.

Wednesday, March 30

Banana Nut Energy Bars

Spring brings an increase in outdoor activity for all kinds of animals—even the two-legged variety. Of course, a lot of us love getting outside all winter long for snowshoeing and skiing, but the clear roads, warmer temperatures and longer days of the new season make it even easier to get outside and to stay out for longer stretches.

For many sports enthusiasts, it also marks the start of the training season to get ready for early-summer races and events. Road running, trail running, cycling, swimming and paddling are all popular around here in terms of both casual sports and competitive sporting events. Band on the Run, Spin the Lakes, the Limberlost Challenge, Muskoka River X, and Muskoka Ironman 70.3 are just some of the organized sports events in the area. Between races, the region has become a training destination thanks to our fresh air, challenging hills and variety of terrain.

Since the snow has started to clear out, Jim and I have swopped our snowshoes for running shoes and have been hitting the roads and parks in preparation for some running races (and in Jim's case a triathlon) in the coming months.

A big part of training includes fuelling for the increased activity level. There are all sorts of commercial energy bars out there for portable, accessible fuel but one look at the ingredient list can make them lose some appeal. If you'd rather know what you're putting in your body, it's easy to make your own energy bars at home. We like these Banana Nut Energy Bars for a quick boost before a run or to replenish our reserves afterwards.

Banana Nut Energy Bars

These bars are moist, dense and hold together well. Feel free to replace the almonds and walnuts with other nuts or seeds, or to swop out the dried cherries for dried cranberries, raisins or other dried fruit.
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup pitted dried dates
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 medium-size very ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9” square pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang.

In a food processor, whirl 1/2 cup oats until fine. Add remaining oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, apricots and dates. Pulse until apricots and dates are diced into pieces no larger than a chickpea.

Transfer mixture from food processor into a large mixing bowl. To mixture, add almonds, walnuts, dried cherries, salt and cinnamon. Stir to combine.

In the same food processor, whirl banana, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Pour over mixture in bowl and stir to combine thoroughly.

Press into prepared pan. Bake until firm and lightly golden, about 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan then slice into bars or squares. Makes 18 bars, more or less, depending on how you slice it.

Fuel up and get active!

Monday, February 22

Arrowhead Park Skating Trail - Fire & Ice Night

Imagine gliding through a frosted forest, under a starry sky, on a ribbon of ice lit by flames reflecting on snow. You don't have to imagine it! You can experience it yourself on the ice skating trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park, just north of Huntsville, Muskoka. Now in its fifth year, the trail has become a must-do attraction for winter getaways.

Photo courtesy of Arrowhead Provincial Park

The skating trail is a 1.3 km loop through the forest at Arrowhead Park, and it's maintained by the park's own zamboni-like grooming machine. Cross-country ski trails, snowshoe trails and fat-biking trails also traverse the park grounds. Don't have your own skates, skis, snowshoes or fat bikes? Rent them at the park for reasonable rates. The park also provides inner tubes to use for free on their tubing hill. And, wow, it's a hill!

Perhaps the coolest thing about the ice skating trail at Arrowhead Park are the special Fire & Ice nights, scheduled on occasion throughout the winter. The last one scheduled for the 2016 season is set for Saturday, February 27 from 6-9pm for night time skating under the stars.

Arrowhead Provincial Park is located an easy drive from the inn. Looking for a winter getaway package to include accommodations and a day in Arrowhead Park? Try our Snowshoe in the Park package. It includes: 

Snowshoe in the Park Winter Getaway Package

  • Two nights accommodations
  • Breakfast both mornings
  • Handmade biscotti and gourmet hot chocolate
  • Use of snowshoes for the day
  • One-day Ontario Parks Pass for admission into Arrowhead and/or Algonquin Park

Rate: from $285/couple + tax (higher during Christmas/NewYears holidays and Family Day long weekend)

Visit the Fern Glen Inn website for more information, or call, email or book online.

See you at the park!

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.