“Finding a Road Less Traveled!”

BEE There… When!

by Gary McWilliams (aka Festival Nomad)

In this Summer edition of the Ontario Visited INSIDER newsletter, we thought you would be interested in how we have coped with the COVID-19 challenges. The emphasis has always been and will continue to be our safety and the safety of others.

In the beginning, we decided on a theme, “BEE There… When You Can’t Be There!”. However, Ontario is slowly opening up, so we have updated our theme to “BEE There… When!

We feel that there are two realities. First, the virus exists and is still dangerous and second, that people still want to go out into the fresh air and be entertained.

The question is, how do we accomplish both?

We will try to explore both this newsletter.

To BEE or not the BEE!

Right now, there are places and activities we’d all like to do, but in some areas, it’s not allowed, yet or is not safe to do. Each of us need to make our own decisions, but please keep in mind that your actions, good and bad, effect those around you. Please be careful and safe as you go about “BEEing There!”.

Finding a Road Less Traveled

One of the video series that we have developed, is called “Country Routes ~ Finding a Road Less Traveled!” We thought that that might be a good starting point for exploring our “BEE There… When!” theme.

Finding a Road Less Traveled” doesn’t have to mean a physical road. It could mean finding a way to enjoy this extraordinary time by discovering opportunities that you weren’t aware of before.

City vs. Country

The reality is, that people living in a city have a different reality to those living in rural areas. In the city, there are more attractions available. In the country, there are more safe outdoor activities.


Camping ~ Not in a campground, but in your own backyard. We know that living in an apartment is more difficult, but setting up a makeshift tent in the living room would be a lot of fun for the whole family, special treats, games, ghost stories… you get the picture.

Old Fashion Games (Indoors) ~ Bring out the cards and board games and let the fun begin!

Old Fashion Games (Outdoors) ~ Bring out the skipping ropes, baseballs, skateboards, water hoses, etc. Let your imagination run wild!

In the Park ~ If you’ve got a small park near you, it might not have too many people. If so, you can take advantage of the “safe space”. While you are relaxing there, perhaps you can read or do some crafting. We did it all the time at our local park (not on the weekends, too busy). However, there are other, less visited, that are great for weekends. You just have to been persistent in your search! To really make the experience more inviting, pack a picnic meal and enjoy dining “el fresco”!

Museums and Pioneer Villages ~ Museums and pioneer villages are now slowly opening up. Tours are normally time slotted, so you have to make reservations. These tours are available for both country and city folks and are great for the whole family!

Short Car Trips ~ These are easier for people who live in rural areas. Like we say in our Country Routes video series, “Find a Road Less Traveled!” In our area, there are so many unique roads to discover and then to explore. In most rural areas you don’t need to travel too far to find these roads. Make sure you bring your camera so that you can “capture” your amazing finds!

Longer Day Trips and Picnics ~ We love taking longer (safe) day trips, there is so much to discover in Ontario! However, longer day trips take more planning and, of course, you will want to have an idea of where you want to go.

So below are some of the tips you should consider ~

  • Rest areas ~ if it’s a drive that you already know, you might be aware of places you can stop, rest and stretch your leg. If it’s not a route you known, you might want to check the Internet and Google maps for information.

  • Before Leaving ~ check to make sure you have enough gas in the for the whole trip. Also, you should make sure that you have your Coronavirus travel kits (see below for ideas).
  • Scenic ~ to make the trip more enjoyable, plan a route that will take you along scenic roads. Like with the short trips, take your camera plus extra batteries! You never know what you will discover. I can’t tell you how many wonderful and exciting animals and scenery that we have seen on our travels!

  • Take Your Time ~ day trips are supposed to be fun and relaxing. That why we don’t put any time pressures on ourselves. Our motto is, “when we get there, we get there!” Just sit back and enjoy the day.
  • Food ~ when we travel on long day trips, we always pack plenty of food. This is especially true if you are traveling with kids! Not only do we pack yummy picnics, but make we have plenty of snacks to much on. Remember, during these times, there are not many restaurants open, plus you want to stay as safe as possible.

  • Kids ~ if you are traveling with kids, you want to make the trip “kid friendly”. This means planning a trip that will keep them interested. Having lots of snack for them to munch on. And, like we use to do when I was a kid, play plenty of “car traveling games”. Games, such as, “I spy with my little eye!”; “I packed my bag and in it I put” or “20 Questions”. Another favourite pastime was making up funny songs! Finally, as we mentioned above, having a number of “planned” rest stops.
  • Washrooms ~ this could have been mentioned anywhere. Unfortunately, most of us need washroom breaks during a long trip. This is especially true for seniors! Finding an appropriate washroom, these days, is definitely a challenge. There drive thru restaurant, that do have washrooms available. These can be a problem for some (safety). Another possibility are portable washrooms in picnic areas. These, in little used areas can be quite clean. However, whichever you choose, there will always up and down sides.

Scoops “Secrets” of the Road “Less Traveled”

by Judi “Scoop” McWilliams

We have found out the hard way what NOT to do on while traveling the “Road Less Traveled”.

There are lots of lists out there of “what to bring”, “what to do while out” … from staying in your own backyard, to avoiding crowds and more … but I thought you may like to have some “inside scoop” tips!

DO … pack extra plastic bag for all the “used” hand sanitizer wipes, paper towels and such…

DO … bring your Garbage Home … don’t leave it for others to pick up!

Don’t … accidentally pack the insulated cooler and ice packs upside down in the car … they “may” leak!

Don’t … count on “restrooms” to be available … PLAN your route in advance

DO … picnic “off peak hours” … like sunset, or sunrise (breakfast picnic fun)

DO … bring a sweater or extra layer … while HOT during day, the evenings cool down quickly … no need to rush home, stay for that sunset!

DOfreeze a washcloth the night before your day out … pack it in the cooler (in a plastic bag, it melts over time) … use to wash your face and COOL DOWN during the hot days … it’s REFRESHING!!!

DO … make sure you have extra gloves … and extra paper towels …

SECRET … the best “restrooms” we have experienced are “port-o-potties”… You might think “yuck” … BUT, the ones we have found on the “Road Less Traveled” are tucked away in small parks and picnic rest stops.

Just use that extra paper towel we mentioned you bring to help “keep clean” … use the extra gloves to open doors … use the extra “wipes” or sanitizer …

AND use that extra plastic garbage bag we mentioned to clean up for others!

DO … pack extra clothing, just in case you discover a place to swim (like a pond, or little lake, or river stream, or sprinkler on a yard) …

You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity just because you did not pack extra clothing.

DO … pack those extra batteries … even today, we still find ourselves starting out for a short trip, discovering amazing NEWRoad Less Traveled” and run out of batteries in the cameras … You don’t want to Miss the Shot of the Day.

DO … bring maps or a GPS … you may “take a road less traveled” and get lost … navigational tools will help! (we’ve been there, done that!)

Virtual Tours

We know that not everyone wants to take long day trips, or even short ones. That’s why “virtual tours” are so enjoyable. They let you enjoy a trip or a facility, “without being there!” There are plenty of “virtual tours” to be found on Google through the Internet. All you need to do is to type in “virtual tours” and you’ll see plenty of results. Most are a lot of fun, and many are very educational!

Stay safe!

“Finding a Road Less Traveled!”