Photo Courtesy Ogopogo Resort
Contributor Chris Occhiuzzi shares his list of favourite things to do in Minden Ontario
It may be a small village, but Minden, Ontario stacks up with just about any other cottage country community when it comes to fun. Whether you’re into outdoor activities, arts and culture, food and beverages, or good old fashioned cottaging, Minden has something for you to enjoy.
Escape for a romantic weekend with your significant other complete with fine dining, art exhibits and nature walks; or make it a family trip and rent a cottage. Whatever you decide, here are few things to help you plan your getaway.
The Top Things To Do in Minden Ontario
Stay and Play in Minden
Getting away with your special someone for a romantic week – or even a week – is easy to do at Heather Lodge, an adults-only resort and one of the loveliest hotels in Minden. Their studio accommodations have a rustic charm which matches the outdoor surroundings on Twelve Mile Lake. Dinner and breakfast packages allow you to focus on connecting with your partner and planning adventures rather than thinking about what and where to eat.
Ogopogo Resort on Mountain Lake is a brilliant property in Minden, nestled in the heart of the Haliburton Highlands. Enjoy the property itself with paddling adventures – Mountain Lake joins with Horseshoe Lake and the Minden White Water Preserve – or visit nearby destinations like the Lestlie Frost Centre, Haliburton Forest, and Algonquin Park.
The Bonnie View Inn has been a favourite place for families to gather year-round as it offers both hotel rooms and chalet rentals. Featured among the Haliburton hotels in 10 Fun Things to Do In Haliburton, this brilliant waterfront location on Lake Kashagawigamog features plenty of amenities for the young and young-at-heart.
Savour Great Food
The village may be small, but the taste is big at plenty of Minden restaurants. In fact, some are even considered among the best Haliburton restaurants around, such as Rhubarb Restaurant Haliburton. Rhubarb has been getting rave reviews from foodies far and wide. A charming cottage atmosphere is only surpassed by the eclectic menu of freshly made delicacies. Rhubarb is also home to the Boshkung Brewing Co., which means diners can pair great food with their craft brew selections.
A properly done steak is the centrepiece of many a wonderful meal (well, at least for those who eat meat). The Pepper Mill Steak & Pasta House has just what steak-lovers need to satisfy their tastebuds, while providing a family-friendly atmosphere for all. Other menu items include pastas with made-to-order sauces, pub fare and more.
Sweet tooths and butter tart lovers are sure to delight in Molly’s Bistro Bakery on Bobcaygeon Road in Minden. With homemade treats as well as a full menu for breakfast and lunch, Molly’s is the place to go for locals and visitors alike. Many believe they make the “best butter tarts in the world,” but of course, you’ll have to find out for yourself.
Enjoy A Brew (or Two!)
Minden is also home to the Boshkung Brewing Company, the craft brewery which shares a home with Rhubarb. Try one of the seven year-round brews or have a taste of a seasonal creation – or better yet, try one of each (just make sure you’re not driving). Their Canadian Brewing Awards gold medal-winning North Country Kellerbier and Cream Ale are the stuff of legends, while the Black Rock Dark Ale is no slouch either, taking silver at the Ontario Brewing Awards.
Meanwhile, Boshkung Social by Boshkung Brewing Co. is the place to go when you want to enjoy chatting with friends and family (who are of drinking age) while having a beer from the tap or the fridge. Located in Minden, the pub hosts Bingo on Tuesdays and Trivia night on Thursdays.
You can read more about these and other great local places to enjoy a beer in our list of the top Haliburton Breweries.
Take a Hike
Now that your food and drink cravings have been satisfied, it’s time to walk off all those calories. And Minden has plenty of hiking trails to get the job done.
Harrington Park on Horseshoe Lake Road provides hikers a wonderful glimpse of the Minden Wild Water Preserve and rapids. A footpath travels along the rapids where amazing photo opportunities exist, while at certain times you can also watch kayakers skillfully navigate the water.
Minden Hills has many other trails to enjoy a nice walk among great scenery. The Minden Boardwalk is one of those spots and it’s an easy walk of less than half a kilometre in length. Start at the Minden Hills Cultural Centre and travel over a natural grass marsh all the way to the town ball diamonds, or cut across and meet up with the Minden Riverwalk and loop through the village’s downtown core. Both the Boardwalk and Riverwalk are accessible trails, so everyone can enjoy the lovely feeling of a nice walk through Minden.
Snowden Park is an option for those wanting a little longer hike and options of shorter trails along the way. The approximately three-kilometre trail is relatively easy depending on fitness levels and sits on 460 acres of mixed woodland. The park also provides winter activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, while bird watchers enjoy the many species on hand.
Rent a Cottage in Minden
Minden isn’t only a great place for resorts and cottages. It also features some of the best Haliburton cottage rentals in the region.
One outstanding cottage to rent is the Grunden cottage on Minden Lake. Fully equipped and with space enough for two (maybe three) families, this 3,000 square foot cottage is fully furnished and located on seven acres of land. It sleeps 10, has three bathrooms and a private dock for swimming, fishing… or just laying by the water.
Meanwhile, the Minden Lake White Water Oasis is not too shabby a cottage rental for a single family looking to get away from it all. Three bedrooms, a private dock and plenty of space for the kids to enjoy provides all you need to make amazing memories.
Although Minden House and Ogopogo also provide cottage rentals on their resort properties, sometimes the privacy of a secluded area is what you’re looking for. These Haliburton Highlands rental companies have several Minden options: Cottage Care Rentals, All Season Cottage Rentals, and WRD Cottage Rental Agency.
Learn About Minden’s History
History buffs would do well to visit The Minden Hills Cultural Centre. The four-acre site in the village of Minden is home to the Agnes Jamieson Gallery, the Minden Hills Museum & Heritage Village, Nature’s Place, and the Minden Hills Branch of the Haliburton County Public Library. Park downtown and use the Riverwalk to get there to enhance your experience.
Although it’s located on the Cultural Centre site, the Minden Hills Museum & Heritage Village stands on its own as the place to be for historical artifacts and education. Open from Victoria Day through Thanksgiving, the Minden Hills Museum & Heritage Village is perfect for family or school trips and features historic buildings such as Bowron House, a log cabin from the 1860s with a working woodstove, the Stanhope Schoolhouse from 1898.
Arts and Culture
A boon for The Minden Hills Cultural Centre, the Agnes Jamieson Gallery is a must-stop spot for art lovers of all disciplines. Featuring a collection of over 100 works by one of Canada’s foremost artists, Andre Lapine (1866-1952), the gallery also provides the opportunity to view local artwork and other Canadian artists.
But, the bevy of artistic expression isn’t located in just one space; Tom Green’s Glass Eagle Studios is home to brilliant stained glass pieces of all sizes. Meanwhile, the Finn Artist Centre is home to many paintings by Carole Finn herself as well as her art students.
Get Back to Nature
Paddlers are sure to love the Minden Wild Water Preserve, which is owned and operated by Whitewater Ontario. With 100 acres, the park includes campsites with picnic tables and fire pits, Wi-Fi, and much, much more. When you’re not canoeing or kayaking, take advantage of the three-kilometre trail system on foot or on your bike.
Not into paddling but still love the environment? Then Nature’s Place is your place. Located on the Minden Hills Cultural Centre site, Nature’s Place features interactive experiences, digital displays, and exhibits which reflect the ecology of the region.
‘SUP’ is more than slang for slang – it’s not just short for What’s Up. It’s an acronym for Stand-up Paddleboard, and that’s exactly what Get Up Stand Up Paddle Co offers: SUP rentals, tours and lessons by certified Paddle Canada instructors. Not a bad way to spend a day on a Minden waterway.
No town or region worth its salt would be without a golf course (or in Minden’s case, two golf courses). Blairhampton Golf Club offers both memberships and pay as you play options for its premier 18-hole course. In both areas, the fees are very reasonable and the course is very playable for various levels of golfer – from the duffer to the pro. However, not everyone has time for a full 18, and that’s where Beaverbrook Golf Course is scoring birdies. The historic 9-hole course is over 70 years old with three holes by the waters’ edge of The Gull River and Beaver Creek.
Have Fun with the Family
It’s well documented that kids are happier when they spend time with their family – as are adults – and Minden has many opportunities to do just that. The Minden River Run is a perfectly lazy way to spend a hot summer’s day with loved ones as you each lay in a tube and float down the Gull River.
If you’re feeling a little more active, how about that age-old pastime of go karts? The Minden Experience provides the track and the karts, so all you need to do is drive and smile (or laugh when you don’t steer in the right direction).
And, of course, there is always a nice afternoon or evening of bowling to bring a family closer together. The Fast Lane has a wonderful bowling alley atmosphere complete with music and fun lighting.
Contributor Occhiuzzi is a staff writer at Dockside Publishing and founder of Muskoka Unlimited.