Tuesday, July 31

A Word about the Weather

I just had an enquiry for a visit in September and one of the first questions the caller asked was whether we have air conditioning. It took me by surprise because it's generally a moot point in September. In fact, with all the trees, water and shade around here, artificial air conditioning is not typically used or needed out in the county "up north".

Still, it made me realize that people who are used to hot summer cities might not understand how different the weather can be here. More specifically -- how widely the temperature fluctuates between the daytime high and the overnight low.

At this time of year, in the heart of summer, the days are warm-to-hot with only occasional humidity (but far less than the oppressive mugginess that often settles over southern Ontario). It's the kind of weather perfect for a morning hike in the woods or an afternoon swim in a fresh lake. Daytime temperatures in July and August are often 26-29°C.

Evenings, though, are surprisingly cool. Even with hot, sunny days, the overnight temperature can drop down to 12-14°C. We had one morning two weeks ago when I woke up to 9°C; it had climbed to 16°C by 9am, and reached 28°C by mid-afternoon. These cool nights are perfect for sleeping and the fresh mornings make you want to get going and enjoy the day.

Sometimes when I show guests to their room they ask if we have air conditioning and I just point outside and say the trees take care of it for us! They really are nature's air conditioner, cycling cool ground water up to the leaves and absorbing sunlight. In a city -- even in a town the size of Huntsville -- all the concrete, asphalt and steel of buildings and roadways reflect the heat, intensifying it, and holding the heat so that the city doesn't cool down overnight.

It's one of the many small differences between urban dwelling and cottage country getaways, but it's one of the great pleasures. Just make sure to pack for it all (from swim suits to fleece pullovers) and enjoy the fresh air, warm sunshine and time away from it all.

Thursday, July 12

Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Fern Glen Inn • www.ferngleninn.blogspot.com

There are few true emergencies on a sunny Thursday afternoon, but when I posted a photo of these cookies on our facebook page, I created one. These chewy, crackled gems caught the attention of some friends and guests who deserve to indulge in this chocolatey goodness. Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies recipe needed stat! So here it is...

Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Makes about 18 cookies 

These moist, chewy cookies get their "double chocolate" moniker from the cocoa powder and the chocolate chips, but you could make these "triple" by replacing half the regular chocolate chips with white chocolate chips. You can omit the dried cherries or replace them with nuts, but they add a bright note and extra chewiness. 
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar 
  • 1/3 cup plain natural yogurt 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips 
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries 
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugars, yogurt and vanilla extract. Sift the cocoa powder over top and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir to just combine. Stir in the chocolate chips and cherries.

Drop the dough in mounds, a scant 2 tablespoons for each cookie, onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing 2" apart. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are dry and slightly cracked. Let the cookies cool the sheets for 10 minutes then transfer them to the rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Freeze for longer storage. If they last that long.

Monday, July 9

Waterfall Tour

 Fern Glen Inn • www.ferngleninn.com

We're making it easy for guests to discover waterfalls, cascades, rapids and hidden gems of Muskoka and Almaguin Highlands with a self-guided tour of Waterfalls from Arrowhead to Algonquin Park.

The two-night package is one of our featured Great Canadian Summer & Fall Getaways which are all about experiencing the best of the sunny season and fall foliage in cottage country and Algonquin Park. The waterfall tour includes a hearty picnic lunch plus map and directions to favourites such as:

Brook's Falls in Emsdale
Ragged Falls near Oxtongue Lake
Stubbs Falls in Arrowhead Park
Whiskey Rapids Trail in Algonquin Park
There are more scenic spots and sights of interest on the map, like the Magnetawan River rapids north of Burk's Falls, the Dyer Memorial, Screaming Heads, numerous beaches and more. The challenge will be fitting everything into one getaway!

Magnetawan River rapids

The Waterfalls from Arrowhead to Algonquin Park package includes: 
  • 2 nights accommodation for two people 
  • Fresh and delicious breakfast each morning 
  • Packed lunch on your full day 
  • Self drive day tour of waterfalls and natural highlights of the area 
  • One-day Ontario Parks Pass
The rate starts from $289/couple + tax

For more information or to book online, click here to visit our Great Canadian Summer Getaways package page.

Brook's Falls in Emsdale

Ragged Falls near Oxtongue Lake
Magnetawan River rapids