Friday, November 20

Screaming Heads

The Almaguin Highlands is rich with artists and artisans—potters, sculptors, wood-crafters, glass-workers, and painters of every medium and style. All are interesting individuals, but one in particular stands out when it comes to sheer scale of size.

Artist Peter Camani has created an immense, surreal artscape of huge cast-concrete sculptures throughout his 310-acre property. Locally referred to as Screaming Heads, the property serves as the artist's home as well as his canvas.
Visitors are welcome to wander the trails that wind through meadows, past woods and ponds, to get up close to—or even walk through—his artwork.

When there, don't forget to take a closer look at Mr. Camani's house, surrounded by thick walls and adorned by a two-headed dragon and a warrior princess. The giant head on the back of the building houses the artist's studio. At least one of the wall towers is a shelter for the many resident peacocks.

Some people find a visit to Screaming Heads eerie, others find it intriguing. I, for one, relish the chance to put myself inside another's artistic vision and step away from the everyday. If nothing else, everyone can agree that it's a unique and impressive piece of work

If you go: You'll find Screaming Heads on Midlothian Road, near the town of Burk's Falls. It's an easy outing from here at Fern Glen Inn, and
popular with many of our guests. There is a parking lot beside the house, and a donation box in case you feel the art is worth supporting. Since it is a private home as well as an art exhibit, if the gate to the parking lot is closed, please just enjoy the view from the road.

Click here to see more photos of the Screaming Heads at the peak of the fall colours.

Monday, November 9

Self-Indulgent Season

Some call it the slow season. Others refer to the low season, shoulder season, or quiet season. But I like to think of it as the Self-Indulgent Season. And I mean that in a good way.

The season I'm talking about is this un-season between fall and winter. At first glance there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of "indulgence" going on. The colourful leaves have fallen from the trees but the snow hasn't come yet (at least not enough to play in) and—thank goodness—it's too soon for the "happy holidays" mayhem to start. It's too late for swimming and paddling but too early for dog sledding and snowshoeing. The crowds that converge on Muskoka in the summer and fall have emptied out of the restaurants, shops and parks.

A getaway now is a getaway "just because". It's a chance to indulge yourself in a slower pace away from the hectic demands of your daily routine. For some, that means indulging in a few days of much-needed solitude with a solo retreat; for others it means nurturing important friendships and relationships overdue for attention (think romantic hideaway or girlfriends' getaway).

Many of us are sooo used to a go-go-go pace—always doing something, always trying to cross something off our list—that we don't know what to do with ourselves when we actually stop moving. Sure, there are plenty of activities to fill your time during a November/December visit to the inn... trail hiking, horseback riding, sightseeing, exploring Algonquin Park among others. But if you let it, it can be as simple as lying low and not planning to do anything at all.

So how might you pass your time on a quiet getaway, whether you're on your own or with a companion? Lose yourself in a book (bring your own, peruse our eclectic collection, or ask us about our favourite lazy-day bookstore). Treat yourself to an afternoon nap and recover from the sleep deficit most of us carry. Take a long, slow amble through the woods or sit by a waterfall with a sketch pad or journal.

If you feel like splurging on some extra indulgences, we can book a massage for you with a registered massage therapist, or even arrange for a tarot card reading.

We certainly hope to see you here at the inn this un-season for our special blend of R&R, but whereever you are, don't forget to slow down and indulge in whatever it is that replenishes your self.

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There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you.... In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself. ~Ruth Stout