Countryside Adventures north of Cornwall, Ont. offers family outdoor fun this winter
With the cold weather here to stick around, there's a new spot north of Cornwall, Ont. to enjoy multiple winter sports, offering outdoor activities for all ages.
At Countryside Adventures near Moose Creek, a three-kilometre long skating trail through the woods awaits.
"I love how kind of secluded it is," said Melissa Cleroux. "It's a nice trail and the ice is really nice today."
Cleroux and Ryan Topping made the trip from Ottawa on a cold winter's day with the wind chill making it feel like in the minus 20s.
"It's literally perfect today," Topping said. "The sun shines through and when you're moving around it's not even cold anymore. When you get going you heat up a little bit it's really nice."
Nicolas Seguin opened the trail in 2018 on his property, and it has been growing in popularity since.
"People love it." Seguin said. "When they go to leave they just tell us how they loved it and how the experience was amazing."
While he says it's sometimes tough to keep the ice in good condition, the cold temperatures have really helped.
"Ice, it stays nice for a long time when it's cold like this," Seguin said. "It doesn't get rutted out and even if we get quite a bit of people it stays in great condition."
For those not into skating, a tubing park is also available with three runs.
"People from all ages just love it," Seguin said. "Little kids, big kids, adults. They can go at the same time and we allow two tubes to be attached at the same time going down the hill."
Snowshoeing is also available, and thanks to the storm on Monday, those trails will open on Saturday.
A bonfire and food truck are on site as well, offering poutine and a little something else.
"A pastry that we call it a Moose Ear. It's kind of like a Beavertail," Seguin smiled.
The weekdays are not as busy, which is perfect for Lucy Shaver and Scott Anderson, taking the trip from the Cornwall area.
"The sun is shining today so we're just anxious to get going," Anderson said. "They maintain the ice very well here and you're sheltered out of the wind. Like it's a cold day here but we're not really that cold."
With them was Conner Hines, visiting from Vancouver. His first time on skates in 10 years.
"I've never skated through the woods like this before," Hines said. "It didn't even occur to me you could do that. Definitely can't have anything like this in Vancouver, it never stays cold long enough."
The trail is also lit up at night, something Seguin says is worth the trip.
"A lot of people come after school during the week because it's not as busy and you can experience the daylight experience and the nighttime skating as well," Seguin said.
"It's not too bright, it's a warm white and it makes it really romantic," he added.
Skates and snowshoes are also available to rent on site.
"We have quite a bit of rentals. We've quadrupled our inventory since COVID because a lot of people wanted to do stuff outside," added Seguin.
"During the holidays, we get a lot of international visitors from all over the world. They don't have their skates with them," he said. "This holiday we had a lady from New Zealand, she came I think four times during the holidays with her daughters."
COVID restrictions are in place, with masks worn inside. The change rooms are also closed to the public, with people only allowed to lace up outside on benches.
According to Seguin, Countryside Adventures is about a 45-minute drive from downtown Ottawa, and a 30-minute drive north from Cornwall.
Tickets can be purchased online or in person, with rates and package information available on their website.
"With COVID, it's an outdoor activity everyone can enjoy," added Anderson, heading out for another loop. "As long as you're dressed up properly, you are good to go!"