Wednesday, March 20

Spring Fuel & Fun

It's back! The signature promotion for our regional tourism organization, Explorers' Edge, has quickly become an anticipated event. So what's it all about?

Just book your Spring getaway by April 19th for a 2-night stay between April 20th and May 31st and you can be 1 of 500 travelers* to receive a $50 gas card and $50 worth of vouchers to use-as-cash at participating restaurants, shops and attractions!

Jim and I love Fuel & Fun because it lets us give a great gift to our guests -- who doesn't like to get free gas and spending vouchers? -- but also because it lets us showcase the understated beauty of the fresh season. Whether you're looking for a quiet retreat to recharge your batteries or a few days of hiking and exploring, we hope to see you here this Spring!

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

The Details...

When do you stay?
Any two consecutive nights between April 20 and May 31, 2013

When do you book?
Make your reservation and register for your vouchers (we'll tell you how) by April 19, 2013

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 can use the spending vouchers on sale items, with other special offers, for the whole bill including tax. 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 Spring Getaway at Fern Glen Inn

Your getaway includes:

  • 2 nights accommodation for two people in one room
  • fresh and delicious breakfast each morning
  • $50 gas card
  • $50 in Experience Vouchers to use-as-cash at participating attractions, restaurants and shops during your stay
Fuel & Fun Spring Getaway Price: starting from $216**

**Most dates are $216/package; the Victoria Day long weekend rate is $236/package.
Lower rates available for solo travelers. 13% HST is extra.

Call, email or book online. Visit Fall Fuel & Fun at Fern Glen Inn for details.
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* 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 April 19, 2013
• register your confirmation number directly at Explorers' Edge
• stay between April 20 and May 31, 2013
• stay for 2 consecutive nights or longer
Experience Vouchers may only be used between April 20 and May 31, 2013.

In partnership with

Sunday, March 17

Coffee Cheesecake Souffles

At this time of year, on the cusp of spring but definitely still winter, souffles are the perfect dessert. Served hot from the oven, they are rich and decadent and definitely comfort food. But the light and airy texture sings of fresh spring breezes.

I developed this recipe for a contest, and although I didn't win, eating one of these souffles is prize enough for me. I hope you enjoy them, too.

Coffee Cheesecake Souffles

Makes 4 servings
  • butter and granulated sugar for ramekins 
  • 2 tablespoons of your favourite irish cream or coffee liqueur (or milk)  
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant coffee granules 
  • 250 grams (1 brick) cream cheese, softened to room temperature 
  • 2 large eggs, separated, room temperature 
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • pinch of cream of tartar 
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 
  • icing sugar and ground cinnamon for dusting 
  • chocolate sauce to finish (optional) 
Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 4 six-ounce ramekins or oven-safe coffee cups. Coat the insides with sugar and tap out excess.

Place the liqueur or milk in a small bowl and heat in a microwave until steaming but not boiling (about 7 seconds, depending on your microwave). Stir in coffee granules to dissolve.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat cream cheese and light brown sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, vanilla extract, and the coffee/liqueur mixture. Beat until light and fluffy.

With an electric mixer and perfectly clean beaters, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Slowly add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and continue beating until the whites are glossy and hold firm peaks.

Fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture in two additions, keeping as much volume as possible. Divide the batter evenly between the ramekins or coffee cups.

Bake until puffed and nearly set. The top will be dry and a deep, toasty colour. Let rest on a wire rack for 2 minutes.

Dust the top of each souffle with icing sugar and ground cinnamon. Drizzle with a zigzag of chocolate sauce if desired.


Tuesday, March 5

Winter Beaver Field

One of the many things I love about snowshoeing is its ability to take me places in winter I can't get to at any other time of year.

There are swaths in the forest littered with fallen tree trunks, up-ended root plates and dense new growth. Picture a giant's game of 'pick up sticks'. In the summer, it's impossible to traverse over or through these tangled woods. In the winter, though, it's a different story. Snow levels it all out. It fills in the deep spaces, drifts around and over obstacles, smoothes the ragged jangle into graceful rolls and mounds. With snowshoes on to disperse your weight, you can walk right over top of fallen timber and small trees.

The other benefit of winter has to do with water obstacles, not wood ones. When lakes, ponds and marshes freeze over, we can, in a sense, walk on water and explore areas otherwise inaccessible. And that's exactly what we did this week.

If you've read my post about the beaver activity in our forest, you know those hard-working rodents have created exactly the kind of environment I've just described: layers of debris from felled trees plus a murky pond of unknown depth. Impassable -- but only until the snow accumulates. That's when we strap on the snowshoes, grab the camera, and head out to explore. This week we tromped over to the beaver pond and discovered it was now a beaver field.

As we were snowshoeing along a slight ridge in a fairly open area, we realized we were actually walking on a beaver damn. Our suspicions were confirmed when we came across an air or access hole in the damn. As we wound our way over the field/pond, we also found the beaver lodge, a mound the size of a pup tent, and again with an air or access hole in the top.

We saw other signs of beaver activity in the area, including a small felled tree with some of the bark chewed off and a number of other recently-gnawed trees.

The ridge is a beaver dam.
Air or access hole on the beaver dam.
A peek down the hole.
Beaver lodge.
Gnawed tree.
Lunch time!