Friday, January 22

Photo Contest

We're having a photo contest and there are two ways to win...

Enter a photo for your chance to win a Free Night at Fern Glen Inn plus a Digital Photo Keychain to show off your winning photo!
Vote for a photo and be entered in a draw to win a Free Night at Fern Glen Inn!

Contest Theme
At Fern Glen Inn: Photos from the inn, the property, or the nearby Seguin Trail

How to Enter

Read the Photo Contest Rules and Regulations (below). Email your photo to Enter up to three photos, one photo per email submission.

In your submission email, include the following (don't forget to attach your photo!):
Your name:
Email address:
Phone number:
Approximate date photo was taken:
Location photo was taken:
Name of attached file:
Title of photo (optional):
"I, (insert your name), certify I am the photographer of the attached photo; and I have read and agree to the Photo Contest Rules and Regulations."
Fern Glen Inn will post your photo(s) to the Photo Contest album on our facebook page within 24 hours of receiving a complete submission email. As soon as your photo is posted, it's available to start collecting votes—so enter soon!

How to Vote
Visit the Fern Glen Inn facebook page and Become a Fan if you're not one already. View the Photo Contest album. To vote for a photo, click to enlarge it; then click on the "Like" button.

Photo Contest Grand Prize
In addition to untold fame and glory, the winner of the photo contest receives a Gift Certificate for One Free Night plus a Digital Photo Keychain. Valid for one night accommodation and breakfast for two at Fern Glen Inn; approx. $110 value. Grand Prize also includes 1.5" digital photo keychain with built-in LED flashlight and car mount; displays up to 100 photos; Mac and PC compatible; approx. $30 value.
Some restrictions apply*.

Random Draw Prize
One randomly selected Fan/Voter will receive a Gift Certificate for One Free Night. Valid for one night accommodation and breakfast for two at Fern Glen Inn; approx. $110 value.
Some restrictions apply*.

Photo Contest Rules and Regulations

  1. Photos must fit the current theme of the contest (ie. taken at Fern Glen Inn anywhere on the property or on the section of the Seguin Trail between Fern Glen Rd. and the town of Sprucedale).
  2. The contest is open to past and current guests and visitors of Fern Glen Inn who are 18 years of age or older. The inn proprietors and their immediate families are not eligible to win.
  3. The contest runs until March 31, 2010. Submit photos by midnight EST March 28, 2010 to be eligible. The winner will be announced on or about April 1 on the Fern Glen Inn facebook page, and will be notified by email that week.
  4. Submit photos by email to Entries will be posted by Fern Glen Inn to the Photo Contest photo album.
  5. Only digital submissions will be accepted. Photos should be in JPG format and should not be any larger than 4mb each.
  6. The winner will be determined by popular vote. The photo with the most "Like's" as of 11:00 pm EST on March 31, 2010, will be deemed the Prize Winner, providing all other criteria as outlined in the Contest Rules and Regulations are met. In the event of a tie for most "Like's" between one or more photos, the winner will be determined by a random draw among those who are tied for the most "Like's".
  7. By submitting a photo to the contest, you certify that you are the photographer and sole copyright owner of the photo. You consent to and give Fern Glen Inn the right in perpetuity to publish, display, post and otherwise use the photo for advertising, trade, publicity and promotional purposes in any media now known or hereafter discovered, worldwide, including on the internet, without review, notification or approval, all without limitation or additional consideration, unless prohibited by law. You agree that the photo may be cropped, edited, electronically manipulated or otherwise altered, and that whether or how the photograph is used is entirely for Fern Glen Inn to decide. You certify that any identifiable persons represented in the entry have supplied express permission for their likeness to be used for advertising, trade or publicity without consideration, in perpetuity.
  8. This offer is void where prohibited by law.
  9. Fern Glen Inn is not responsible for lost or misdirected entries, or for technical difficulties which may interfere with submissions and/or voting.
  10. Fern Glen Inn reserves the right to post or remove all/any entries.

Voting and Random Draw Rules and Regulations

  1. Fans of the Fern Glen Inn facebook page may vote for a photo by clicking on the "Like" associated with the photo. Each "Like" counts as one vote. Fans are invited to comment on photos, but only a "Like" will count as a vote.
  2. Fans may vote for multiple photos. Each vote is counted towards a photo's tally. Each voting Fan is entered once into the random draw, regardless of the number of votes they cast.
  3. Fans may vote for their own photo submissions.
  4. One voting Fan will be randomly selected after the contest closes on March 31, 2010. The winner will be announced on or about April 1 on the Fern Glen Inn facebook page, and will be notified via facebook.
  5. The Grand Prize Winner is not eligible to win the Random Draw Prize, nor are the inn proprietors and their immediate families. Winner must be 18 years of age or older to claim their prize.
*Gift Certificate is valid for one night accommodation and breakfast for up to two people in one room of the Coach House at Fern Glen Inn B&B. Subject to availability. Minimum 2-night stays apply on High Season weekends. Not valid long weekends or holidays. Use by July 31, 2010. No cash value. Transferable with prior approval by issuer.

Tuesday, January 19

Kearney Dog Sled Race Weekend

One of the winter highlights around here is the annual Kearney Dog Sled Races, but don't think you have to be a racer to enjoy it. There's plenty of excitement for spectators, as well as entertainment, activities, demonstrations, and food.

The weekend starts Friday evening, Feb 5th, with a Lion's Park family skate and bonfire, including free hot dogs and hot chocolate.

The races take place both Saturday and Sunday (Feb 6th & 7th) and include a 4-mile, 6-mile, 40-mile and 120-mile course. The 120-mile is new this year and is a qualifier for some of the big races in north america. It's actually a 60-mile loop that is travelled twice, broken by a 4-hour layover. In this race, the mushers are unassisted and must perform all the dog-car duties themselves (and human-care duties too!).

There are also "Kid & Mutt" races (very cute), ski-joring races—where the racers omit the sled and instead harness themselves directly to their dogs!

The weekend is not just about the races. There's a snow sculpture contest, ice bike racing, outdoor bbq or indoor lunch, silent auction and entertainment. Don't worry, you can always warm up inside if it gets chilly.

The service groups in town offer dinner both nights; a down-home roast beef dinner on Saturday, a spaghetti dinner on Sunday night.

The Kearney Dog Sled Race weekend is a wonderful small-town-with-big-heart festival, and the perfect way to celebrate winter. We hope to see you there!

Feb 5-7, 2010
Accommodations still available here at the inn.

Saturday, January 9

Winter Road Trip - Driving Tips

As you may have guessed, I'm of the opinion that winter is a wonderful season for road trips and getaways. In fact, amid a dreary, slushy city winter, you need even more to escape for a few days and have some fun... to find a wonderland setting where you can play in the snow instead of struggle through it.

Winter driving conditions can be different than at other times of year, but that doesn't mean you should stay home. A little advance planning, smart packing, and basic information will go far to make your winter road trip easy and enjoyable. Here are a few of my favourite tips on what to bring and how to drive in the winter.

What to Bring In Your Car
The weather might be mild, sunny and calm when you start your trip, but don't assume it'll stay that way throughout your drive. And just because your car will heat up nice and toasty while you're driving, don't forget you will have to get out at some point. 

With this in mind, dress to be comfortable while en route, but keep your warm winter gear within easy reach for when it's time to get out. Have your hat, mitts or gloves, scarf or neck warmer handy to pull on before stepping out into the elements. You'll appreciate them even if you're just stopping for gas. Those few minutes it takes to fill your tank will feel like ages if your hands and face are bare and freezing.

Similarly, stow your winter boots and heavy coat in the back seat of your car and not in your trunk. You probably won't put them on for brief stops, but you want to have them on hand in case of trouble on the road. If you have to get out and push (yourself or someone else) out of a snowbank, you'll be glad for warm feet especially.

Road snacks! No road trip is complete without road snacks but this bears mentioning anyway. If road conditions are poor, you may have longer stretches of driving between breaks, or you may be less inclined to stop along the way. Make sure you have some (hopefully nutritious) munchies in the car so you won't be distracted by hunger as you concentrate on the road.

What to Pack In Your Trunk
Not just for road trips, there are some basic items to keep in your trunk all winter long for all your winter driving. Trouble can happen on city streets and expressways, and you may find yourself waiting some time for assistance if you can't help yourself. 

I learned from my mom years ago—long before I moved from the big city to the country—to be prepared. Here's what Mom and I put in our trunks at the start of every snow season:
  • cat litter (not the clumping kind!) or sand to use for traction
  • a folding shovel to clear deep snow
  • candles & matches for heat
  • a sleeping bag for warmth
  • booster cables and first aid kit (year round)
Winter Driving Tips
Drive for the road conditions. Common sense, but not always common practice. If the road is snowy or icy, reduce your speed and increase the space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Give yourself extra time to maneuver around obstacles, turn corners or brake.

Consider snow tires. Not just for country driving, snow tires increase your grip on any snowy road. They also extend the life of your regular tires. I won't say they're a necessity—I didn't have them for my first three winters here—but I like them now that I have them and consider them a good investment.

Know what to expect on the road. You can check road conditions for major Ontario roadways on the MTO website here.

Get your bearings before heading out. This means looking at a map (online or good ol' fashioned printed one) to get an overview of your route in advance. Many people today rely on GPS navigation systems to direct them where they're going. In urban area, GPS's are generally great. Once you get out into the smaller towns and rural communities, your GPS can lead you down the garden path. Or in this case, the snowmobile trail. 

Your GPS might not know the difference between a year-round residential road and an unmaintained winter recreation trail. Really. We've seen it happen. Whenever possible, get directions from the people who know your destination. If those directions don't jive with your GPS's instructions, don't automatically trust your GPS. Like I tell people, I really do know the quickest, most direct route to my home!

A note about country roads and high beams, applicable any time of year. Most country roads don't have street lights, so switch your headlights to high beams when driving after dark. Just don't forget to switch them back to regular low beams when approaching an oncoming car (or coming up on one heading the same way). You really do not want to blind the drivers you're sharing the road with.

What's it like driving to Fern Glen Inn?
For most of our guests, their route here is primarily on Highway 11. As a high-traffic, four-lane divided highway, the surface is usually clear and dry, except of course, while a snowfall is underway. Since our road (Fern Glen Rd.) is directly off of Highway 11, almost all your driving here is by highway. 

Like many country roads, ours is usually covered with a hard pack of snow. This actually makes for good traction. Plus, we're on a school bus route so the road is well maintained, regularly plowed and sanded.... Come see for yourself!

Your Road Trip Driving Tips
Do you have some tips and advice? What else do you keep in your trunk in the spirit of emergency preparedness? Please post a comment and share with us.