Sunday, November 27

Dog Sledding in Muskoka

2012/2013 Schedule, Rates and Packages

Winter is just around the corner and this means our local dog sledding ranch will soon be running guided dog sledding excursions near Huntsville, Muskoka, on the edge of Algonquin Park. It's a popular adventure for our guests and you'll love it too. There's nothing like mushing through the woods, driving a sled behind a team of eager dogs.

Dog sledding is available throughout the winter season, usually starting mid-late December and going through until the end of March or whenever the snow melts. This year our guide says he has a good feeling about this season (and he was born and raised around here) and is expecting early snow. In fact, he's already taken bookings for December 18, 2012.

The Christmas / New Year's holiday is a particularly busy time for dog sledding, so reserve your spot early. For more information about what to expect, read about dog sledding in Muskoka here.

Dog Sledding Schedule

December 2012 thru March 2013
Start Date:
To be determined. Sometimes the season begins a few days before Christmas, depending on amount of snow base and trail conditions. I'll post an announcement on our facebook page once the trails are open. You can Like us on facebook here to watch for updates.

Christmas Day:
The inn is open and rooms are available on December 25th but there are no dog sledding tours running. Stay overnight on the 25th and go dog sledding on the 26th. 

Dec 26 thru Jan 2, daily:
10:00 am -- 1-Hour guided dog sledding
1:00 pm --  Half-Day guided dog sledding

Jan 3 thru March (or whenever the snow melts), daily:
9am -- Half-Day guided dog sledding most days (Enquire about 1-Hour, 2-Hour or Full-Day options)
1:30pm -- Half-Day guided dog sledding most days (Enquire about 1-Hour, 2-Hour or Full-Day options)

Dog Sledding Rates

Add-on a guided dog sledding excursion to any stay at Fern Glen Inn

1-Hour: $90/person
Half-Day*: $150/person
Full-Day*: $250/person

*Half-Day (3 hours) guided dog sledding includes break with hot chocolate and granola bars. Full-Day (6 hours) guided dog sledding includes trail lunch.

Taxes are extra. Rates are for dog sledding only and do not include accommodations. Dog sledding is only available with an overnight stay at Fern Glen Inn. Check room rates here (room rates are per room, not per person).

Every overnight stay includes:
• accommodation (queen bed and private ensuite bathroom)
• delicious served breakfast
• use of the property and guest facilities including
   • snowshoes to use on our 10km of private trails
   • toboggans to use on our hill (conditions permitting)
   • guest lounge with real wood burning stove

Dog Sledding Packages
Chili-Dog Getaway
Enjoy a dog sledding excursion, a hearty chili dinner and comfortable accommodations in a winter wonderland setting.

Spend two nights in cozy comfort and start each morning with an abundant breakfast. Mush through a beautiful wilderness landscape behind your team of dogs on a guided dog sled excursion at a local ranch. If you're still game for some outdoor activity, borrow snowshoes and explore our private wooded trails. After working up an appetite out on the trails, head back to the inn for a dinner of hearty beef or vegetarian chili and homemade cornbread served hot from the skillet. Unwind with a hot chocolate in front of the fire before turning in for a good night's sleep.

• 2 nights accommodations
• breakfast both mornings
• chili dinner on one evening
• use of property, private trails, snowshoes and toboggans on site
• Half-Day guided dog sledding at a local ranch

Starts at $285 per person, based on double occupancy
Taxes are extra. Rates are higher during long weekends and Christmas-New Year's holidays.

Group Getaway
Round up your favourite friends, family or co-workers and organize a winter weekend getaway.

Book at least four rooms for two nights and get a discount off the regular rate. You and your friends will enjoy exclusive accommodations and delicious breakfasts. Visit a local ranch for your guided dog sledding excursion through the Muskoka woods on the edge of Algonquin Park. Snowshoe private forest trails, toboggan down the hill, make a snowman, play games in front of the fire and enjoy good times in good company.
• 2 nights accommodations
• breakfast both mornings
• exclusive use of property, private trails, snowshoes and toboggans on site
• Half-Day guided dog sledding at a local ranch

Starts at $255 per person, based on 8 people in 4 rooms
Ask about adding Chili Dinner or other meals to your Group Getaway!
Taxes are extra. Rates are higher during long weekends and Christmas-New Year's holidays.

How to Reserve Your Dog Sledding Getaway

Call toll free 1-866-311-8519
Email for more information
Check availability online
Fill out our secure online reservation form

Want to see what a dog sledding adventure looks like? Check out this video!

Thursday, November 24

November Forest

The forest in November is a trove of subtle treasures. With the flash of foliage fading, textures and patterns are revealed -- at least to those of us who stop to look.

There is unexpected artfulness in colonies of fungi growing on fallen logs. Just a few months ago these were obscured by leafy underbrush.

Leafless branches (in this case on my favourite tree, Bertha) reflect an unseen root system. Elsewhere, a spire of an old trunk, whittled by time, reaches for the sky.

In November, we can see the varieties of bark which sheath the trees. Beeches in tight-fitting smooth grey, ironwoods in shaggy scales, maples in deeply creviced armor. The ropy bark of cedar trees draws the eye upward and inward.

Of course, the forest is not all brown and drab. There are brilliant shots of green running throughout the woods. Our "Mossy Trail" is, as one might expect, verdant even now with a patchwork of different mosses. 

But even in the deciduous hardwood section of the forest, pockets of green thrive. Rocks, roots, stumps and living trees are covered in green velvet. Tender ground cover and ferns brighten creek beds and marshy areas.

If one takes the time to look (and really, in November we have the time) the forest is anything but stark or barren. It is, as ever, a dynamic work of art and design.

All photos were taken on the private hiking trails here at Fern Glen Inn with a standard point-and-shoot camera. You're invited to come experience them for yourself. Bring a macro lens and wide angle lens if you have them to do an even better job of capturing the landscapes -- the big and the miniscule -- that make up this forest.

Friday, November 4

Season for Readers and Writers

The quiet season is upon us and things are, well, quiet. Oh sure, there are still trails to hike and sights to see, if you're so inclined. And most of the parks, galleries, shops and restaurants are still open, though perhaps with shortened hours to match the shortened days. But if you're looking for non-stop excitement amidst a high-energy crowd of adventurers, you won't find it here (at least not until the snow comes!). 

On the other hand, if a low-key interlude of ambling walks in the woods and toasty, fireside nightcaps are your thing, then you've found the right place and time. The quiet season at Fern Glen Inn offers crisp air, stark landscapes, and the pace and space to breathe and be.

It's the perfect time for those of us who revel in the written word. Be you a writer, an aspiring writer, an avid reader, or one who wishes you had more time in your daily life to lose yourself in a good book, this is the season for you. 

To help you celebrate books and other quiet pleasures, we're offering two special packages and more...

Solo Writer's Retreat
A popular quiet season package, the Mini Sabbatical is perfect for writers. Whether you're working on your memoirs, a collection of poetry, your great Canadian novel, or simply catching up on a personal journal, this getaway will free you to focus.

The Solo Writer's Retreat Package includes:
  • 2 nights accommodation for 1 person
  • breakfast both mornings
  • lunch and dinner on your full day
  • writing journal for you to keep
$239 + tax
Available until December 15, 2011.

Book Lovers' Romantic Getaway
Perfect for partners who need a bit of quiet time to just be together. Read, walk in the woods, play scrabble while taking turns choosing pretty chocolates from a box of truffles.  

The Book Lovers' Romantic Getaway includes:
  • 2 nights accommodation for 2 people
  • breakfast both mornings
  • box of 8 gourmet chocolate truffles
  • sturdy Fern Glen Inn book bag for trips to the library and book store
$239 per couple + tax
Available until December 15, 2011.

20% Discount at The Bookcase
The Bookcase independent bookstore in downtown Huntsville is a great place to spend a lazy afternoon. Louise Parkinson, owner of the store and founder of the NorthWords Literary Festival, has written a guest post on Books for Writers. Read her post and mention it in the store to receive a 20% discount off all regular priced books in store for the month of November.

Book Swap
Bring a book to add to our eclectic collection and take one of ours home with you. We have all sorts of genres and authors; there's sure to be something for everyone.

NaNoWriMo Support
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this month? What do you need to achieve your word count? Extra coffee packs, a thesaurus, a self-serve lunch so you don't have to interrupt your creative flow, moral support or a figurative kick in the pants? Let us know and we'll do our best to help you reach your goal.
Learn more about National Novel Writing Month at 

Call or email us at Fern Glen Inn, or book online for your quiet season getaway.

: :   : :   : :   : :

For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it. ~Jean-Paul Sartre

Thursday, November 3

Books For Writers

This month, as we revel in the written word, I've invited a local bibliophile to write a guest post on Books for Writers. Louise Parkinson is the owner of the Bookcase independent bookstore in Huntsville. She's also the driving force behind the NorthWords Literary Festival which brought a number of stellar authors—including Margaret Atwood, Terry Fallis and more—to town this fall.
Louise has provided an excellent list of resources along with some sage advice for writers and aspiring writers. And to top it off, she is generously offering a discount on books at her store this month. See details below. 
I hope you enjoy Louise's guest post as much as I do. If so, please take a minute to let her know—either in the comments here or in person at The Bookcase.
Happy reading everyone,

Hey there
I’m Louise Parkinson and I own the Bookcase in beautiful downtown Huntsville.  Jackie has asked me to be a guest blogger to talk about what I feel are the best books out there for writers.  I am a writer myself so I have personally seen and read many books on writing.  I have also spoken to many authors about the tools and books they use for reference.  And yes, surprisingly, there is a lot of consistency in it.  Let me share some of the titles that keep popping up.

The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B.White
Everybody’s bible on writing.  Small but very powerful.  An absolutely must have for all writers – no question!  If you haven’t got it, you need to go out and get this invaluable resource right now.

On Writing by Stephen King
Don’t be put off by the author here.  I am in no way a Stephen King fan, but this is one of the best writing books out there.  It is part memoir, part inspiration and part instruction booklet.  After reading this you will have no choice but to sit down and create your own masterpiece! 

Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose
If anyone has had the pleasure of reading anything by Francine Prose, you will know that she is one of the greatest writers of our time.  Her work is stunningly beautiful.  It makes sense that what she has to say on writing is worth hearing.  She insists that we need to know what good writing looks like before we are able to do it ourselves and in this book she teaches us how to do exactly that.  A valuable resource.

Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.”  Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott is another author that if you are not familiar with, you should seek her out.  I know a lot of people who just adore this woman’s work and for good reason.  One of the main messages of the book is start small and don’t let the bumps along the way derail your attempts.  Told with humour and grace.

How to Write a Sentence by Stanley Fish
Fish obviously loves the written word and you will too after reading this. His insights into crafting the perfect sentence every time are invaluable to any writer.  He uses examples from the great masters of fiction to ensure you are able to recognize and create sentences that will inspire and move you.  Outstanding book.

There are many books out there on developing characters and plot and other matters of form, to help you develop your skills.  One that I seem to go back to time and again is The Writer’s Notebook Craft Essays from Tin House, Various Authors.  Tin House runs a well established writer’s school in the States which offers writer’s craft courses each summer.  This book is a compilation of the best classes and essays from the program presented by some of the best in business.  A great resource to have on hand.

Finally, I would like to add the most important tool of all for would-be writers and one that is surprisingly often overlooked, and that is reading.  To be a good writer you need to be exposed to good writing.  Read everything you can from your genre and everything you can from outside your genre.  If you are writing picture books for kids, read every picture book you can find, study them and find out what makes them work.  If you are writing fiction, read fiction voraciously, looking at different styles and techniques.  It takes time and effort but it is the only way to learn.  Unfortunately most people don’t bother to do it.

Good luck with your writing.  If you are in Huntsville, come by and say hello.  Come in the month of November and mention this blog and I will give you 20% off all books.

Kind regards,

Louise Parkinson
The Bookcase
93 Main St. E
Huntsville  ON  P1H 2B9
705 789 9111