WHAT TO DO IN COBOURG ONTARIO
About eight years ago, I looked around my Toronto neighbourhood home, and realized that everything I did, everywhere I went – it all took place within a highly localized ten block radius. A ten block radius that was crowded, gritty, competitive, and really, really loud. So I did what so many well intentioned new parents do, and what many more dream of: I packed it in and moved to the country.
If you’re thinking of living out the dream of living in a small town that is close enough to get a hit of the city when you need it – and easily escape to the woods when you need that too – here’s my primer of what a perfect Saturday feels like in lovely little Cobourg, Ontario.
1. Start at Millstone Bread for a breakfast sandwich; the scone-wich with bacon – and a dark roast coffee alongside it – is guaranteed to put you in a great morning mood. Plus they open early, which is perfect for all the early risers with kids.
2. Next I’d head down to the Farmer’s Market on the wharf – if you’ve ever seen my Instastories you KNOW no Saturday is complete without a weekly visit to “The Donut Guy” for a couple of fresh out of the fryer donuts with cinnamon sugar. While you’re there, feed your hopeless romantic by placing your lock on the Love Locks wall, while looking out at the gorgeously peaceful marina.
3. Happy and full, now you’re ready for a trip to my local fave, Zap Records. These guys get it. It’s a perfect way to feel the analog vibe, and pretend that you are an extra in the remake of High Fidelity. Just saying.
4. Then I’d pop up to Spark, our fantastic little toy store. I’m not shy about being a total kid inside, and there’s nothing like a toy store to bring that out in everyone. I dare you to leave there empty handed.
5. With all this walking and shopping, it’s definitely time to eat again, so I’d head down to see my friends at Craft Food House, and sit on their courtyard patio to indulge in their oh so awesome crab BLT with a signature Vitamin K Kale salad on the side.
6. Now feeling ready for a little more action (and to enjoy more of our spectacular waterfront), I’d walk my kayak down to the secret beach – where the tourists have not yet discovered the true gem of Lake Ontario. I’ll tell you, but you have to promise not to share: it’s called Pebble Beach, or West Beach, and it will make you feel like you’re on the ocean. (PS – no kayak of your own? No problem. Talk to my friend Bart at Green Canoe Outfitters, and he can hook you up with a kayak or SUP rental for the day.)
7. After braving the sun and waves, and working on my tan, clearly, I’d reward myself with a cool down in two scoops or less at Harbourlight Delights – our iconic ice cream shop a stone’s throw from the beach.
8. On my way back home, where I’m definitely headed to have a nap, I’d stop in to see my friends at the Rustic Bean and grab a tasty coffee with a red take out lid to go. This would be the perfect start to my ideal “nap-u-cino,” in which you have your coffee, have a nap, then wake up feeling rested and refreshed, caffeinated and ready to go.
9. This would be a good time to freshen up, maybe take in some art at the gallery in our landmark Victoria Hall, then head over to sit at the bar of El Camino for dinner. Tacos, margaritas, and the great company of staff is a fantastic way to unwind – after a perfect day outside.
10. After dinner I’d scoot around the corner (this is the amazing thing about small town life – everything fits inside that same ten block radius – and is oh so walkable) and hang out with my friends at George & Orange, a tiny little cantina where you can always go on your own, and run into at least someone else you know. Plus it’s female owned and operated, which I love to support, and Jenna has THE BEST taste in music – so get your Shazam app open and ready to take home an audio souvenir.
11. As a bonus – which is THE MOST local – if you’re feeling like the night is still so young, you’ve GOT to head down to Kelly’s. This is a class, straight up dive bar, unapologetically itself, and if you play your cards right, you might just get chatted up by an authentic country boy while you’re tearing it up on the (carpeted and wood panelled) dance floor.
Thank you to Leisse Wilcox for walking us through her perfect day and giving us all an idea of what to do in Cobourg! There are so many amazing local shops to check out.