A few weeks ago, Jeff and I got to visit the town of Port Hope. Being from Alberta, I haven’t had a chance to venture outside of Toronto much. I was ecstatic for this opportunity to see what a small town in Ontario would look like!
The drive up to Port Hope was quick and easy – thankfully the weather was also absolutely perfect. It took about 90 minutes to get from the downtown core to our Airbnb, Haute Goat. Being a car enthusiast, Jeff had a great time driving through the country roads.
We stayed on a 200 acre goat farm called Haute Goat complete with hiking trails, farm dogs and even an outdoor pool. Our hosts, Debbie and Shain, are not only amazing hosts but also really great people – when we arrive, the first thing Shain said to us was “Feel free to come and go and explore. Our guests are part of the family.” We took a quick tour of the amenities and found out that Debbie actually rescues horses as well! After dropping off our luggage, we headed to Ganaraska Forest for a morning of Treetop Trekking.
For those adventurous and athletic souls out there, you MUST try Tree Trekking! Essentially treetop trekking is an aerial obstacle course created with ropes, zip-lines and wooden platforms between trees. Because this was our first time doing the course, we started out on the intermediate course. Some of the obstacles were pretty challenging and required some creative problem solving in addition to athleticism but it made finishing the course feel very accomplishing! I would highly recommend this for anyone that is into rock climbing.
Following a morning of treetop trekking, we were famished and headed into the town for lunch. We decided to get chicken wraps from a local bakery along the river called Queenie’s and enjoy them outside since it was such a beautiful day. Jeff says this meal was his favourite meal of the weekend!
After lunch to we took a stroll throughout the town – it was very pleasant and people were extremely friendly. We found our way to the port and just enjoyed being outside. It was very refreshing to be out of the city and away from all the rush. Being in a small town completely changes up your pace – I felt free to breathe and enjoy my surroundings. I took my time to enjoy meals, window shop and we even stood outside the real estate office and day dreamed about what living in Port Hope would be like. We then had dinner at the iconic Hotel Carlyle. The recently renovated hotel and restaurant was very modern with a zen-chic interior. In the corner of the dining room/patio was a coffee table with games. I ordered the crab cakes while Jeff got the poutine. Though these were appetizers, they were extremely filling! As my entree, I got their daily special which was a surf and turf (steak and lobster) with asparagus.
We left dinner with 15 minutes to spare before Fiddler on the Roof began at Capitol Theatre. One thing I absolutely love about the theatre is the hand-painted ceiling – you’ll have to check it out one day! We arrived back to Haute Goat at midnight and the stars were so bright that night we decided to pull out a blanket and hang out with the farm dogs under the stars.
The following day, we woke up to a homemade farm breakfast by Shain complete with farm eggs and goat cheese! This was my favourite meal of the trip by far. Debbie told us about how they left the Toronto entertainment industry and moved north. Originally they had just wanted to have a hobby farm with a few chickens but fell in love with goats and horses and alpacas.
We spent the morning exploring the property and hanging out with all the farm animals. Jeff got to feed horses for the first time. He was very surprised at how friendly and small Icelandic horses were. They would eat grass right out of your hands!
At noon, we took a goat yoga class. At first this seemed really random but I definitely see the appeal. Though there was very little yoga being done (check out the photos of Jeff below doing “yoga”), it was very fun to play with all the goats. While we were there, the baby goats had just turned 3 weeks old and were ready for their first yoga class. I made friends with the most precious little goat named Honey. I didn’t know this before but goats are very much like puppies – they are very playful and curious and will do anything for treats! Some of the baby goats even feel asleep in your arms during the yoga class.
Just before we left the farm, we took a tour of the alpaca pen. The Haute Goat alpacas are named after Star Wars characters– obviously the best one was Chewy!
Overall, our weekend in Port Hope was very relaxing and enjoyable – it’s hard to believe that there is a little piece of heaven only 90 minutes outside of Toronto! Port Hope was everything I wanted from a small town, from the friendly locals to the long walks on the beach – I loved it all and will definitely be back to visit Honey the goat!