Saturday, November 30

Deer Tracks

Lunch interrupted!
 One thing I love about snow is the way it records—though briefly—the comings and goings of furred and feathered friends around the property. This means I can tell when our local deer have been here, even if I don't get to see them directly.

Some mornings, their tracks snake all around and across the lawns, weaving around flower beds and garden benches. When the snow is a bit wet and the visit quite recent, their hoof prints are most clearly defined.

A double set of hoof prints.
Tracks aren't the only traces left in the snow. We knew the deer had been grazing in the middle lawn between the Coach House and the Coop because there were numerous little clearings where the deer had scraped the snow away to get to the tasty grass and clover underneath.

Deer clearings: the northern version of crop circles?
We always love watching the deer when they happen to come around during daylight hours while we happen to be outside or looking out the right window. Sometimes we'll see them every day for a week! Then we'll go days or even weeks without catching a glimpse and we're glad to at least see the signs of their activity and know they still share a home with us.

Wednesday, November 20

Iron Skillet Restaurant

Pig tails, fries and slaw

Fresh food, made from scratch with local ingredients, nicely presented in a warm atmosphere with genuine care. That's how we roll around here so I was delighted to discover a new (to me) restaurant in the nearby town of Kearney that utterly embraces the same principles.

The Iron Skillet Restaurant and Custom Catering has been around for a couple of years now, but it's just recently settled into a new location and word of their new digs and incredible menu has been spreading.

They source their meat from the same local abattoir we love to buy from (Sprucedale Meats). They often braise some of that meat in locally-crafted ale (Highland Brewery) and brew coffee from beans roasted in Muskoka (Diesel House Roasters). The food is prepared fresh; it's flavourful and generous, and the price is lower than you'd expect.

The first time I was there was just to meet a friend for coffee, not for a meal. I should have brought my appetite! While I sipped my coffee I watched beautifully laden plates en route from kitchen to hungry diners and I felt a deep pang of food envy. I told Jim about it and a couple of days later he took me there for my birthday lunch.

Jim had the pig tails. Before you you wrinkle your nose at the thought of this particular part of the animal, let me say this: if you love pork ribs, you owe--yes owe--it to yourself to try the pig tails. They are that good. I had the highlander chicken sandwich made with pulled chicken braised in Highlander ale and served with the house-made slaw and smoked mozzarella. YUM! We both had the fries (a treat for my birthday) but soup or salad were options as well. The fries were worth the splurge--more like bistro style 'frites'-- but I have to try the made-from-scratch soups next time, they smelled so good!

Highlander chicken sandwich
For now the restaurant is open from breakfast until 4pm. They plan to be open for dinner over the winter and will likely have a liquor license by then, too. If you want to follow along with the Martin and Justin, the fine fellas behind the skillet, find their facebook page here. Just be prepared to wipe the drool off your screen from time to time as they post some mightily enticing photos of their craft.

The Iron Skillet
1734 Highway 518 East
Kearney, ON

Monday, November 4

Quiet Season Discount

The Quiet Season is here. It's the time between the fall foliage and winter wonderland when the forest is stark and there's no snow (or at least not 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 unrushed.

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 November 1 and December 15, 2015, and save $10/night. That makes a two-night getaway for two people just $220 + tax.

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.