Kawarthas Northumberland contains some fantastically diverse landscapes. The three regions that make it up include Kawartha Lakes, with its laidback rural pace and wide-open spaces; Peterborough & the Kawarthas, forested and threaded with lakes and waterways; and Northumberland County, with its sunny rolling hills that stretch down to the shores of Lake Ontario. That same diversity is reflected in the richness of the food scene, packed with restaurants, bakeries, breweries, and cafés catering to discerning palates.
To help you get the most out of the natural and cultural options, we’ve prepared an itinerary that will give you a little sampling of everything.
Breakfast in Campbellford
This charming Trent-Severn Trail Town offers some of Northumberland County’s most exciting highlights. Fuel up for the day’s adventure at Antonia’s Bistro, with a breakfast menu that includes everything from classic eggs Benedict to sumptuous Belgian waffles to lighter options like smoothies. Fortified by a quality meal and small-town hospitality, head over to Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge. This unique bridge is 300’ long and 30’ high, with a view of the nearby rapids. If you’re inclined to keep walking, the bridge leads directly into Ferris Provincial Park.
If you’re feeling social, head over to Church-Key Brewing Company and pick up some local suds for later, or try Empire Cheese Co-op. Foodies take note: Empire won 1st place in the Old Cheddar category at the 2016 Royal Winter Fair. As you head towards your next stop in Peterborough, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for osprey nests on County Rd 2 between Hastings and Keene. There are so many along this route locals have jokingly suggested renaming it to Osprey Drive. Bonus points if you spot this beautiful bird of prey in flight.
Lunch in Peterborough
From Keene, turn north onto Heritage Line. Especially in fall, the hardwood-covered hills are a treat for the eyes. If history fascinates you, make time for a stop midway at Lang Pioneer Village Museum. This living museum captures life in the region from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century, and stands out as a remarkably rich and immersive time capsule.
Once you arrive in the region’s biggest city, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Vegans and the culinary-curious should make a beeline to The Food Forest, whose menu shows an impressively creative array of vegan and gluten-free options. Pad Thai with spiralized beets and raw zucchini pasta, a pulled jackfruit sandwich, and a ginger miso protein bowl are just a few of the fresh, healthy options. Omnivores might opt for Two Dishes Cookshop, a funky little place that serves a rotating menu of “diner classics” as well as more unusual fare like crispy fried catfish. Beer lovers hoping to take home some local brews can dine on wood-fired pizza at the Publican House Brew Pub’s historic, lived-in location and hit the bottle shop on the way out.
If you’d like to go for a ramble before hopping back in the car, check out downtown George and Hunter streets, stroll along beside the Otonabee River in Millennium Park, or visit the impressively secluded nature trails in Jackson Park.
Dinner in Lindsay
Highway 7, the quiet two-lane highway between Lindsay and Peterborough, will lead you through pastoral landscapes and past rambling old farmhouses. If you need to stretch your legs in between, take a short detour near Omemee to Windy Ridge at 998 Horeb Rd. The 1.8km walking loop here culminates in a panoramic view of the area, including the Oak Ridges Moraine, Hogsback Esker, and surrounding wetlands.
Like Campbellford, Lindsay is designated as a Trent-Severn Trail Town, so it’s worth heading down to Lock 33 and checking out Old Mill Park. The remains of the historic mill accent the landscape beautifully, and waterside trails make for great walking at sunset. When your appetite kicks in, Pane Vino offers some of the finest dining in the region. With a dedication to using locally sourced meat and produce and a trained in-house sommelier, this is the perfect way to cap your explorations. If your tastes run more towards beer or you’re looking to try a regional brewery trifecta, The Pie Eyed Monk is your spot. Situated in a handsome brick building that dates to 1868, the ‘Monk brews craft beer in house that pairs impeccably with its shareable menu.
Congratulations! You’ve now sampled a bit of everything from the Kawarthas Northumberland region. If anything piqued your interest, be sure to return to the area and explore further north or head south – there are many more culinary experiences to try, and soothing green spaces to explore.