In the Area
Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat is located in the heart of Northumberland County, just 1.5 hours east of Toronto. Northumberland County is renowned for its beautiful pastoral countryside, rolling hills and stunning beaches along Lake Ontario. Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat is nestled between the quaint villages of Colborne and Grafton and is just 15 minutes from the shores of Lake Ontario. The historic towns of Cobourg and Port Hope are a short 20-minute drive away, where you can find charming downtown districts, boutiques, and fine restaurants. We are also just 40 minutes away from Prince Edward County, one of Ontario’s premier wine and culinary destinations.
The Big Apple: On your way to Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat, stop by The Big Apple, the world’s largest apple and one of Northumberland County‘s most popular roadside attractions. Treat yourself to an authentic apple pie and homemade food in the restaurant & bakery, then spend some time exploring The Big Apple and all it has to offer.
The Apple Route: Looking for a scenic country drive? The Apple Route celebrates the picturesque orchards, stunning views and bucolic beauty of Northumberland County. A leisurely drive along The Apple Route will take you through Northumberland County‘s acclaimed countryside as well as charming towns & villages, where you can stop at local orchards, antique markets & cafes.
Ste. Anne’s Country Inn and Spa: We are located just 10 minutes from Ste. Anne’s Country Inn and Spa, Canada’s premiere destination spa. Treat yourself to a day spa in this historic 19th-century fieldstone estate, before settling into your log-framed safari tent at Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat.
Barnum House Museum: Located in the hamlet of Grafton, Barnum House Museum is the earliest example of Neoclassical architecture in Canada. Built between 1817 and 1819 by Eliakim Barnum, Barnum House Museum is now a National Historic Site of Canada and offers a unique glimpse into the architecture and customs of the past.
Waterfront Trail: The Northumberland portion of the 650 km Waterfront Trail commences in Port Hope and continues east along Lake Ontario (mainly along quiet country roads). You’ll pass through the quaint rural towns of Port Hope, Cobourg, Grafton, Colborne, and Brighton and along the way you’ll experience the true Canadian countryside, passing beautiful beaches, small orchards, and charming villages.
Cafes & Restaurants
Villa Conti Winery: Along with stunning views of Northumberland County and breathtaking sunsets, you would be hard pressed to find a better Italian meal than at Villa Conti. Located just 15 mins north of Whispering Springs, this is our go-to restaurant for the incredible food and wonderful hospitality.
Ste. Anne’s Bakery: Located just minutes away from Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat, the Ste. Anne’s Bakery specialises in delicious and gluten-free baked goods and local farm products. The bakery also serves organic coffee, speciality tea, homemade quiche, fresh salads, wraps & sandwiches.
The Grafton Village Inn Cafe: Located in the historic hamlet of Grafton, The Grafton Village Inn has been welcoming guests since 1820. Enjoy a beverage and delicious baked good and experience the charm of small town living in this warm and hospitable cafe.
Vito’s Restaurant & Pizzeria: Serving the Colborne community for over 25 years, Vito’s Restaurant & Pizzeria is your one-stop destination for Greek and Italian cuisine in the Colborne area. A family owned company, they serve authentic food made with fresh ingredients.
The Whistling Duck Restaurant: Overlooking the beautiful and historic Presqu’ile Bay, Dougall’s on the Bay offers delicious food in a friendly and casual environment. They have an extensive menu including fresh seafood, burgers, steaks, salads & pasta and in the summer months, you can enjoy your meal on their tropical themed patio.
Oasis Bar & Grill: Oasis Bar & Grill is one of Cobourg‘s most lively restaurants, with a unique and creative menu, eclectic patio and live entertainment. Located in Cobourg‘s historic downtown district and just minutes from the Cobourg waterfront, it is the perfect place for a relaxing lunch and happy hour cocktails.
El Camino: If you’re looking for tapas to die for or the perfect margarita then look no further than El Camino, located on Cobourg’s historic King St. They also have a lovely patio in the summer months and are minutes away from the Cobourg Beach & Marina.
The Mill Restaurant & Pub: Built in 1830, The Mill Restaurant & Pub offers a unique golf and dining experience in a picturesque location. They proudly serve Ontario food and drink and have a delicious and thoughtfully crafted menu.
The Cat & the Fiddle: Cobourg’s original and most popular British pub and eatery, The Cat & the Fiddle offers an authentic pub experience with live music every Friday night, traditional British fare and a charming patio.
The Buttermilk Cafe: Located in Cobourg‘s historic downtown district, The Buttermilk Cafe serves up a traditional & delicious breakfast as well as comfort cuisine including homemade sandwiches, soups, bread and delectable desserts.
Farmers’ Markets & Groceries
Rutherford’s Farm & Roadside Market: At Rutherford’s Roadside Market you will find all you need to prepare the perfect barbeque meal. Open 7 days a week, they offer fresh & homegrown produce, baking, and local & homemade products at affordable prices. Rutherford’s Roadside Market is located 10 minutes from Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat.
Colborne Foodland: The village of Colborne has a small grocery store where you will find all the food essentials you’ll need. Located less than 10 minutes from Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat, Colborne Foodland is open from 7 AM until 11 PM seven days a week.
Cobourg Farmers’ Market: The Cobourg Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday (May until December) from 8 AM until 1 PM. Stop by the Farmers’ Market on your way to Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat and load up on fresh fruits & vegetables, baking, preserves and much more.
Over the past few years, a number of breweries and cideries have sprung up all around Northumberland County. From artisanal craft beer to delicious cider made from local apples, here are a few of our favourites:
- William St. Beer Co.
- Northumberland Hills Brewery
- Presqu’ile Craft Brewery
- Wild Card Brewing Company
- 401 Cider Brewery
- Empire Cider Co.
With 200 acres of nature and wilderness for you to explore and discover at Whispering Springs, there will be plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy and engaged. However, if you feel like venturing off the grounds, Northumberland County has numerous outdoor activities, beaches, parks & trails to explore and discover.
If you are an avid golfer then you’re in luck. Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat is minutes away from Shelter Valley Pines Golf Club, one of Ontario‘s finest mid-length 18 hole golf clubs. Other golf clubs in the area include:
- Cobourg Creek Golf Course
- Ashbrook Golf Club
- Dalewood Golf Club
- Port Hope Golf & Country Club
- Salt Creek Golf Links
- Warkworth Golf Club
At Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat we have numerous hiking trails winding through our old-growth forest, prairie-savannah ecosystem and spring-fed ponds. However, if you would like to discover more of what Northumberland County has to offer, a few of our favourite parks and hikes in the area include:
- Northumberland Forest
- Peter’s Woods Provincial Nature Reserve
- Presqu’ile Provincial Park
- Ganraska Forest
- Oak Ridges Trail
Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat is located less than 15 minutes from the shores of Lake Ontario and is 20 minutes east of Victoria Beach in Cobourg, which was recently named one of the top beaches in Canada. A few of our favourite beaches in the area include:
The rolling hills of Northumberland County have been attracting cyclists for many years. We encourage you to bring your bicycle and explore the trails throughout Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat, as well as the picturesque county roads that wind through the beautiful countryside and along the shores of Lake Ontario. Visit Northumberland Tourism to view their Top 5 Cycling Routes in Northumberland County.
Arts & Culture
Northumberland County has a talented and burgeoning arts & culture scene. From studio tours to original & engaging theatrical productions, art lovers will be in their element in Northumberland County. We suggest exploring:
- Hoselton Sculptures
- Colborne Art Gallery
- Art Gallery of Northumberland
- Coach House Clay Art
- The Blue House & Upstairs Gallery
- The Glass Garden
- Northumberland Hills Studio Tour
- Westben Arts Festival Theatre
- Capitol Theatre in Port Hope
- The Brighton Barn Theatre
- Northumberland Players