5 Ontario retreats to pick up a new hobby or rediscover an old one

Take the time this spring to discover a new hobby! Check out these five Ontario retreats ideal for you to pursue a unique learning experience or improve a skill you’re passionate about.

Learn the art of cooking in a Regency-era maison 

Savour a French-inspired getaway right on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in Maitland. During your visit, hone your inner Julia Child with one of several culinary experiences such as full-day, private or group classes. Join acclaimed chef Cynthia Peters in the Maison Maitland kitchen and learn several international recipes to elevate your next dinner party. On the full-day adventure, start the morning on a guided excursion to collect fresh ingredients from nearby farms and shops. Upon return, enjoy a hands-on cooking class, lunch, wine tasting and more learning in Cynthia’s kitchen garden. Overnight at the historical Georgian-era manor in one of two reimagined carriage house villas. Each accommodation provides private chef’s kitchens, river-view patios and pampering goodies such as handmade soaps, fresh croissants and a welcome basket. maisonmaitland.com

Uncover the secrets of beekeeping in Grey County

Perhaps you’ve heard some buzz about beekeeping in recent years — from urban apiaries to hobby hives, promoting healthy bee populations is in everyone’s best interest. If you’ve ever been curious about how beekeeping works, you’ll want to take a road trip to Freija for an unforgettable experience. Located in the heart of Kinghurst Forest, a 100-acre nature sanctuary, Freija specializes in nature and science-based learning opportunities. Spend an afternoon learning about the fascinating life of bees, gain an introductory understanding of beekeeping, and enjoy honey tasting while there. To extend your visit, rent one of several unique accommodations on the grounds and enjoy a pristine night sky. Opt to camp amongst the Cedars, sleep in a fun-filled 1,6000 ft. forest loft, or spend a night in a charming meadow cabin. freija.ca/experiences/beekeeping/

Fine tune your outdoor photography skills

From coast to coast, Canada is known for having spectacular outdoor scenery — and for those interested in nature photography, there’s plenty of inspiration to spot through the lens. For shutterbugs looking to sharpen their skills, consider joining one of several multi-day excursions with Helen E Grose Photography. Offering immersive small-group experiences in places like Algonquin, Muskoka and further afoot, these guided adventures will give you a hands-on opportunity to learn and share outdoor photography tips and tricks. While some getaways include camping, other excursions invite you to book your own accommodations. www.helengrose.ca/workshops

Escape to the country for a writer’s retreat

For those with a zeal for literary life and who seek creative connection, quality writing time or gentle guidance from other wordsmiths, a writer’s retreat in Ontario might be the perfect antidote to fill your creative cup. Explore joining an intimate group getaway like the Spring Thaw Retreat hosted by Firefly Creative Writing. Spend three days in a rustic Northumberland Farmhouse with eight other guests of varying writing experience and two writing coaches. Connect over meal prepping, enjoy a balance of quiet reflection and writing time, and dive into group workshops where idea sharing and feedback are encouraged. Sleeping accommodations range from private farmhouse rooms to cabins and camping on the property. fireflycreativewriting.com/spring-thaw-retreat

Finesse your golf game with a PGA instructor

Those passionate about golf know that perfecting your game is a labour of love involving plenty of time on the course — and with spring on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to start planning your next golf getaway. Offering one of the best golf courses in Canada, consider visiting the iconic Deerhurst Resort. With 18-hole and 9-hole courses nestled amid the scenic Muskoka landscape, a few days here will satisfy any golf enthusiast. Practise your swing at the professional-grade driving range or book a private PGA-certified instructor to help improve your skills. Stay in one of the luxurious resort rooms, book a lodge or rent a resort home — whichever you choose, you’ll be within walking distance of Deerhurst’s many fabulous amenities. deerhurstresort.com/to-do/golf

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