A Wintertime Visit to Amherst Island

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Every summer, my family and I make regular visits to explore Amherst Island. There’s lots to see and do there and the unique novelty of being on an island doesn’t wear off, especially for my kids. That said, we’ve never been during the winter months.

With tolerable temperatures, bright blue skies and lots of freshly fallen snow, we made our long overdue winter visit over the weekend. The conditions were perfect to hop aboard the ferry and head over to Topsy Farms to snowshoe their new groomed trails found on their wonderful property. Plus, I needed a refill of their delicious raw honey. It’s so good.

As we made our way over on the Frontenac II we could hear the crunching of the ice and occasional loud bangs, even with the windows rolled up and the radio on. After a few Titanic references (“Iceberg right ahead!”) we reached the dock, no worse for wear.

After turning right onto Front Road, it’s easy to see why why people love the island… the views are stunning.

Before long we reached our destination. Topsy Farms is such a welcoming place and even under a blanket of snow you can tell that the land is well cared for.

First things first, I needed my raw honey from The Wool Shed. I was thankful that they still had some left, as I use it regularly on toast and to sweeten my tea. My breakfasts going forward would be very boring if they were out of stock.

For those that have never been to the Wool Shed, you’ll find a large assortment of wool products and a variety of Topsy Farm promotional items. It’s a bright and colourful space with lots of items to choose from, including blankets, mittens, toques and wool that you can use to knit your very own creations. There’s something new every time we go. Colette was very friendly and knowledgeable when we asked questions about the products and the farm in general.

After we were done shopping, we took some time to visit with the livestock. The sheep were a bit too far away to snap some good photos, however Willow, one of two Highland Cows on the farm, was more than happy to smile for the camera.

From there, we strapped on our snowshoes and headed out on the trail. It follows the fence line for about a kilometre before weaving through the trees further back on the property.

As we approached a sign stating “David’s Grave Yard” was ahead we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Much to the kids’ relief it was just a couple old vintage vehicles resting peacefully among the trees. Much less creepy than what we initially thought about.

We didn’t spot any of the owls that Amherst Island is so well known for, however we did catch a glimpse of some birds overhead. Find out more about birding on the island here.

After trekking along the trail for an hour or so, we decided to call it an afternoon and head back to the ferry. The day’s only regret was not bringing a spoon along with me to sample my jar of honey while waiting for the boat. I guess that’s something for me to consider the next time I need to restock my supply.

Like our summertime trips, our winter visit to the island was a very enjoyable one. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun adventure on a sunny afternoon.

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