Looking back at 2020, I’m honestly surprised by how much I could do between all the lockdowns. While I wasn’t able to travel internationally, I focused on exploring local and online experiences to keep me busy. It certainly has been a wild ride as a travel journalist, but I’ve been able to adapt.
Thank you to everyone who has commented on my posts, joined me for road trips or virtual adventures. Every day we are getting closer for it to be safe to meet again in person.
Below are my top 10 travel-related experiences throughout the year. Enjoy!
10. Defeating Escape Rooms Across The Globe
This year, I did tons of virtual escape rooms from companies worldwide to help stay connected with friends. Click here to see them all. My two favourites couldn’t be more different; The Bruce Project was a game filled with puns and robots, the other (CodeBreakers: Hunting A Killer) a chilling serial killer game that is highly immersive.
If you’ve never played an online escape room, pick Bruce Project. It is easy to navigate and not too challenging. Meanwhile, Hunting A Killer will provide a challenge even to escape room experts like myself.
9. Celebrating Apple Season
Would you believe 2020, was the first time I went apple picking? But I didn’t stop at just one orchard. I went to Orleans Fruit Farm in Ottawa and the massive Waddell Apples In Kingston, and then saw the apple trees and tasted the delicious apple cider at Busl Cider. All three stops were fantastic, and without question, I’ll be going apple picking again in 2021.
8. Driving Thru Holiday Light Displays
Exploring a magical road covered in twinkling lights while staying warm in my car? Yes, please. Despite being Canadian, I’m not too fond of the cold, so I was thrilled to celebrate the holidays this year while practicing social distancing at three different events. I hit up Magic Of Lights, A Country Christmas, and Enchantment Holiday Drive in Ottawa.
Each event offered a unique experience, but my top pick is Magic Of Lights; despite the wait to get inside, it had the most dazzling displays.
7. Going Horseback Riding
It has been a few years since I’ve gone horseback riding, so I was thrilled to jump back on the saddle. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited to spend the day in nature with a gorgeous horse?
Together with a friend, I went for a trail ride at Fort Garry Stables in Landsdowne, Ontario. The experience was my favourite horseback riding experience to date. Not only was it affordable, but I could see how well cared for the animals were by the knowledgeable and friendly staff.
My autumn ride took me across a diverse range of landscapes, and it is an experience I’m eager to repeat.
6. Snuggling Friendly Donkeys
For an activity sure to put a smile on your face, Berry Homestead Farm is worth the drive from Ottawa. Here they have super friendly therapy donkeys that you can brush and snuggle.
This was my first time getting up close to a donkey, and I quickly discovered they are not only very intelligent but way gentler than horses.
5. Going To An Ice Bar During The Ice Wine Festival
I was eager to scratch the Peller Estates 10 Below Ice Bar off my bucket list. I timed my visit with the Ice Wine Festival, and the experience was extraordinary. The highlight for me was entering the bar made entirely out of ice and learning more about this type of sweet ice wine.
4. Wine Tasting At Niagara On The Lake
For a fun girls’ weekend getaway, I went on a road trip to Ontario’s famous wine region – Niagara On The Lake. I explore multiple locations, including Stratus Vineyard, the Instagrammable Trius Winery, and my favourite Wayne Gretzky Estates.
Despite not being into hockey, the laid back Wayne Gretzky Estates was my favourite. I could have easily spent the entire day there, taking classes to learn more about wines and spirits. For my visit, I did the blind tasting, and I highly recommend the fun experience.
3. Soaring Over The 1000 Islands In A Helicopter
My first time in a helicopter was for my birthday a few years ago, and I loved the adventure. So I was eager to repeat the experience, but this time soar over the picturesque 1000 Islands with 1000 Island Helicopter Tours. Despite visiting this area more times than I can count, I saw it in a way I never have before. From the sky, you can see how bright turquoise the water is in areas. The entire journey was perfection.
2. Flying With Santa Claus In A Cessna
While I slightly prefer helicopters to small planes, my Biplane Adventures flight in a Cessna is something I’ll never forget. It isn’t every day Santa Claus is your pilot and will take you on a private flight to see the best landmarks in Ottawa.
1. Sleeping With Wolves At Parc Omega
Parc Omega wolf cabins are worth the splurge. They are luxurious log cabins with a large glass wall in the back where you can safely see a pack of wolves roam. For my one night stay, I sat right next to the window and watched as the curious wolves came right up to the glass to say hello.