Sitting two hours north of Toronto lies the peaceful and relaxed Grey County. After just a quick drive from the city, you’ll find yourself surrounded by beautiful landscapes, friendly locals, and festive holiday cheer. However, don’t let this retreat from the city fool you that you can only ski or snowboard here – there are plenty of things to do and places to see in Gray County, chief among them the Blumination Dream Trail at the Blue Mountain Village.
If you’re looking for the ultimate winter getaway, you won’t want to miss this year’s annual Blumination Dream Trail. The Blumination Dream Trail is truly a winter wonderland that’s lit up with millions of lights, features a charming village full of shops and activities, and is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season.[easy-image-collage id=5197]
Prepare for your next trip to Grey County with our ultimate guide of where to stay, what to do, and where to eat!
Where to Stay
There’s no shortage of charming BnBs and beautiful lodges in Grey County. These are a few of our favorite places to stay.
The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain Resort
The Westin Blue Mountain Resort is your home away from home in Grey County. A haven for wellness and rejuvenation, the Westin Trillium House is surrounded by natural beauty. It also features a pedestrian-only village where you can browse local goods and crafts. Winter guests can take advantage of the indoor heated pool and hot tub.
The Falls Inn and Spa
The Falls Inn and Spa is a country-style hotel overlooking Walters Falls. It is the perfect place to stay for your getaway to Grey County. Check out Walter’s Waterfall, a 45-foot double plunge waterfall, and dine at the mouthwatering on-site restaurant, The Falls-view Dining Room. Unwind at the spa, take a leisurely hike on Bruce Trail, and check out other winter attractions nearby.[easy-image-collage id=5198]
Come for the scenery, stay for the breakfast at the Danby House. The Danby House is a charming bed-and-breakfast that’s located near attractions such as the Grey Museum and Hogg’s Falls. The best part is that you can book your Scandinave Spa experience right with them, as well!
Things to Do
What’s your main goal for when you visit Grey County? Is it to soak up as much holiday cheer as possible? Check out the food scene? Are you looking for a taste of adventure and want to learn about local history? You can do all this and more. There is an endless number of activities and experiences in Grey County. To help you narrow down your itinerary, check out our favorite things to do.
The Blumination Dream Trail of Blue Mountain Village is every holiday lover’s dream. It’s been lauded as the Ontario Tourism Event of the Year and runs from November 30, 2019 – March 28, 2020, so there’s still plenty of time to get your fill of this winter wonderland.
The Blumination Dream Trail showcases multiple stops along the trail and visitors can feel free to start and stop at any point, although we highly recommend visiting as many of them as possible if not all of them! Between an enchanted forest that syncs up with lights and music and a frozen garden, you’ll want to have your camera ready to capture every bit of holiday magic.[easy-image-collage id=5208]
One of the 8 waterfalls located in Grey County, Inglis Falls is an impressive 55-foot waterfall that is worth the visit. Set along the Bruce Trail, Inglis Falls is an accessible attraction and also has a parking lot at the top of the falls.
Ever thought about what it’s like to be a lumberjack? Test out your lumberjack skills by throwing some axes at Axed Thornbury! Not only is it great for dates, but this is also a great group (or after work/team building activity). We love the Axed also have a trailer that they take to different events in the area so all the fun of ax throwing can come to you if needed!
Address: 2-16 Bruce St N, Thornbury, ON N0H 2P0
Feeling adventurous? Head over to Scenic Caves Nature Adventures where you can choose your own adventure. Located within one of Canada’s 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves and dating back to over 450 million years, you’ll soak up some rich history all while taking in some amazing views of the Niagara Escarpment. Don’t miss out on the amazing views from the suspension bridge![easy-image-collage id=5207]
Address: 260 Scenic Caves Rd, The Blue Mountains
There are plenty of trails you can hike, even in the winter! For a more guided and informative experience, consider booking a tour with a company like Free Spirit Tours. They have options for caving, paddling, rock climbing, and kid-friendly activities.
Relax at Scandinave Spa
Sitting on 25 acres, this is where you go to fully enjoy an immersive and relaxing experience.
Chances are that you’re not going to run out of things to do with the many types of activities available. The best part is that they are a device-free spa which means that you get to enjoy your experience without worrying about cell service.
Address: 152 Grey County Rd 21, The Blue Mountains
Places to Eat
Grey County is home to a thriving food and drinks scene. Between local Canadian fare, locally produced ciders and beers, and a plethora of other types of cuisine to choose from, there’s something for every foodie here.
New on the food scene of Grey County, The Grey opened in May of 2019. However, it’s quickly established itself as a hot spot eatery in Grey County, no doubt due to the waterfront property and patio overlooking the Thornbury Harbour and Georgian Bay. Dinner and a view? Count us in.[easy-image-collage id=5210]
Address: 15 Harbour St, Thornbury, ON
Oliver and Bonacini Cafe Grill at the Westin
Westin’s in-house restaurant, Oliver and Bonacini, has amazing Italian food to satisfy all your pasta cravings. If you’re not in the mood for pasta, O&B also has various seafood and meat dishes on the menu.
The Mill Cafe
Check out local Canadian dining and cuisine at the Mill Cafe. The Mill has everything from fabulous brunch options to Creemore battered haddock and smoked duck fusilli.
Address: 12 Bridge St, Thornbury, ON
The Cheese Gallery
We love a good cheese plate (and they have cheeses from all over the world!), but the Cheese Gallery is a lot more than a cheese shop. They have products from over 100 artisans, and have everything from cookies, desserts to some of the coolest cutting boards we’ve seen. Stop by here for lunch, dinner or drinks and dessert![easy-image-collage id=5211]
Address: 11 Bruce St S, Thornbury, ON
The Pottery Restaurant
Serving a mix of local cuisine and American fare, the Pottery Restaurant also has vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options to satisfy every dining guest’s tastes. Be sure to try the eggs benny!
Address: 110 Jozo Weider Blvd, The Blue Mountains
Good Grief Coffee Roasters
We fell in love with the esthetic the instant that we walked in. The minimalist design combined with an environment set up for not only getting work done, but also catching up with friends is an instant favorite of ours. Good Grief Coffee Roasters is famous not only for the coffee but their chocolate chip caramel cookies – need we say more?[easy-image-collage id=5212]
Address: 28 Bruce St S, Thornbury, ON
Ravenna Country Market
Save room for dessert at Ravenna’s as you won’t want to miss their award-winning butter tart at this charming market-style restaurant. Locals highly recommend the hearty soups and sandwiches – they even offer frozen meals to take home! We HIGHLY recommend trying a tart by the way!
Address: 495972 Grey County Rd 2, Ravenna, ON
Thonburi Thai Food AKA The Siamese Gecko
The Siamese Gecko is a local favorite for its low-key vibe, friendly service, great prices, and Thai curries.
Address: At North Creek Resort At Blue, 796468 Grey Road 19, The Blue Mountains, ON
CHECK OUT THE CIDER SCENE:
Grey County is the second-largest producer of apples in Ontario- which, luckily for cider lovers like us, means that there are a lot of reasons to be really excited about the innovation in the space.
Thornbury Craft Cider and Brew House
Outdoor igloos, beer, wine, and cider – need we say more? The Thornbury Craft Cider and Brew House was originally an apple storage building that has evolved into a thriving and popular cider house filled with good craft drinks, games, and outdoor seating even in the winter thanks to the patio igloos!
Address: 90 King St E, Thornbury, ON
Northwinds Brewpub & Craft Beer Store
Settle in, grab a beer, and order off of the delicious menu at Northwinds Brewpub. You’ll love the laidback vibe and excellent customer service.
Address: 180 Jozo Weider Blvd, The Blue Mountains, ON
Spy Cider House and Distillery
At Grey County’s newest cider house and distillery, you’ll find fresh ciders and delicious gin made from local organic apple farms and a cozy setting to sip on your drink while you enjoy the holiday atmosphere. You can find a few of their products at the LCBO.
Address: 808108, Side Rd 24, Clarksburg, ON
Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery
Make your way through a beautiful winery stocked plenty of cider and wine options. We’ve never seen branding like this before, and we can’t lie- we’re loving everything about it.
Pair your wine with a tasty cheese plate and you’re good to go. They have multiple varieties in the LCBO, but the biggest reason to visit is to what delicious cider is on tap! We fell in love with the cranberry and spiced chai cider (esp brewed for the holiday season!).
Address: 599448 Concession Rd 2 N, Annan, ON
WHAT TO PACK FOR BLUE MOUNTAIN
Let’s be real, winter in Canada can be extremely cold. But, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your time outdoors! And as long as you have the right gear, you should be good to go. Here is what we use to make sure that our time outdoors is not only fun, but also really warm!
Cougar Boots: We’ve been loyal to Cougar for years because not only do they make warm boots, but they last forever, and look great too. Our current favorites are perfect for outdoor hikes- they have a great grip, and are so so warm! These ones are amazing, and really warm! We also love these.
Proper Gloves: Gloves can be a matter of personal opinion, but we recommend going for athletic gloves and leaving the cute leather ones at home when spending extended time outdoors!
Hot Hands: This is our secret weapon for going outside in the cold. Pop these babies in your gloves or boots and you’ll be warm and toasty all day!
A proper jacket: You can’t live in Canada and not own a proper jacket! However, if you’re not used to the cold, then we recommend investing a properly lined jacket to keep you warm. We love this one from North Face.
There’s no doubt that Grey County is a great place to visit year-round. However, we must confess that winter is one of our favorite times of the year to visit. It’s truly a winter wonderland with the way the locals go all-out for the holiday season. Feeling the winter blues?
A visit to Blumination and Grey County is exactly what the doctor ordered to keep away seasonal blues. Sip on hot cider, stroll through the markets to browse locally-made goods and make your way down the Blumination Dream Trail to get a taste of a positively magical winter wonderland. You won’t regret carving out a visit where you can relax, adventure, and soak up the culture all in one place.