As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers but sometimes that rain can even come as early as March. While the blossoms are surely worth the dreary weather, it can put a damper on your plans. Never fear though as there are a number of ways to brighten those rainy days in York, Durham and Headwaters!
It goes without saying that the best way to start your day is with a solid cup of coffee and there is no shortage of it in YDH. Pickering’s Trebilcock Coffee Roasters is a great place to start as they source their beans directly from micro-lots in Nicaragua. You can even take a tour of their roasting facility! There’s also the Bean & Basket in the heart of Pickering Village where you can do a little shopping for locally-made goods and sustainable solutions while enjoying your cup of coffee. If you find yourself in Whitby, pay a visit to Jacked Up Coffee. You may recognize them from their iconic blue hippie van on King Street in Toronto but their headquarters are right here in YDH! Another is Velvet Sunrise Coffee Roasters in Stouffville where Mark, civil engineer turned coffee aficionado, shares his passion for all things java with wholesalers, folks looking to start their own coffee shops, and anyone who visits their cafe. Richmond Hill’s Social Coffee & Tea Company is passionate about not just great coffee but ensuring the support of the socially conscious supply chains that go into making it. It’s in their name, after all! Then there’s Mochaberry Coffee in Orangeville, an avid community supporter from uplifting local artists to being members of the Orangeville Jazz and Blues Festival. Here you’ll find over 30 coffee varieties as well as some incredible lattes, especially their seasonal offerings. If you’d like to enjoy your first coffee at home, grab a bag of beans from any of the above cafes. That way you’re ready when the next rainy day inevitably comes.
Now that you’re well stocked in the caffeine department, let’s pair that with a good book. Head to Uxbridge where you’ll find the two-time winner of The Libris Award (aka the best bookstore in Canada), Blue Heron Books. For over 30 years, their wood shelving and creaky floors have welcomed novel enthusiasts and literary dabblers. The historic characteristics of Blue Heron’s 200 year old building just adds to the atmosphere that will have you wandering their aisles for hours. An added bonus is that this area was often frequented by the famous Lucy Maud Montgomery! Another fantastic option in YDH is Orangeville’s BookLore. Nancy and her staff are well-known in town for having a wide range of literary options as well as a warm and inviting environment. As an author herself, it comes as no surprise that BookLore has a heavy focus on local authors and is happy to share her experiences with those looking to delve into the writing world. Lastly, Alfsen House Books in Marham boasts an inventory of over 40,000 hardcover and softcover books. However, they’re a little different in that all of their books are either used or out of print! You never know what unique find you’ll uncover when you visit. Of course, if you want to have your coffee and read your book too, Covernotes Coffee House in Richmond Hill offers the best of both worlds with this combined cafe and bookstore. Though you may want to ditch the coffee for their one of a kind tea collection with over 100 blends to choose from!
Want to save the reading for later? Let’s check out one of these fantastic indoor activities you can enjoy in the Central Counties! The McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg is the perfect way to spend an afternoon as you explore the thirteen exhibition galleries. There will be plenty to see as it’s the only fine art gallery in Canada that focuses on Canadian art and Indigenous art both historical and contemporary. Plus you can enjoy free admission on Tuesdays until May 31, 2022! Another superb indoor attraction in YDH is Mulmur’s Museum of Dufferin. While it may look like “just a barn”, this facade was specifically chosen to represent the rural and agricultural heritage deeply rooted in the Headwaters Region. Inside you’ll find incredible exhibits helping to educate visitors on the history of the area while tying it to present thoughts, issues and values. Rumour has it the museum is haunted so who knows what you could encounter during your visit! Then you have Durham Region’s largest public art gallery, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa. This is where you’ll find Canada’s largest collection of works by the Painters Eleven, Ontario’s first abstract painting group. If that’s not enough art for you, head an hour north to the Georgina Centre for Arts and Culture where you’ll find the Smith-Chiarandini collection featuring over 110 landscape, portrait and still life paintings by renowned painter, Albert Chiarandini. If art, food and adventure sounds like the perfect trifecta to you, head to the Williams Mill Creative Arts Studios where you’ll find over 20 artists throughout the complex of five buildings. After admiring their work and possibly witnessing them as they execute their craft, stop by the Glen Williams Tavern for seasonal, contemporary food in an elegant yet rustic setting. Another fantastic indoor destination is the Parkwood Estate where you can take a number of tours where you will learn more about the life of Canadian auto baron R. S. McLaughlin. Lastly, if you’d like to work on your swing or tackle a fun game of virtual mini putt, there’s always one of YDH’s top golf simulators. Even if you’re not an avid golfer, it can still make for a fantastic afternoon or evening with friends – and even the family!
Of course, if you’d rather stay home and dry during those spring showers, we have a number of incredible virtual experiences that you can enjoy. There are certainly hours of YDH-inspired entertainment to be – and you can stay in your PJs for it!
Story by Lindsay Davies
Lindsay Davies is a crazy Canuck who’s been bit by the travel bug. Proud to call Ontario home, she loves exploring the province and beyond. As a graphic designer and social media marketer by trade, she travels the world while sharing her adventures to inspire others on her blog, I’ve Been Bit! When not behind her computer screen, Lindsay is in her natural habitat when she’s chasing waterfalls, exploring new trails, frolicking on ice roads (don’t knock it until you try it!), and indulging in the odd glass of wine, beer, or cider. Chances are you’ll be able to spot her by some funky coloured hair or a wacky pair of tights she’s wearing! Follow her adventures on Facebook (@ivebeenbit), Twitter and Instagram (@IBBtravel).