The Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour might just be the most adorable, most Canadian road trip idea I’ve ever come across. I had the opportunity to go on this adventure in the 2019 Ford Edge, driving from Ottawa to Kawarthas Northumberland in search of the most delicious butter tarts (spoiler alert: every butter tart was delicious). This was my first time visiting Kawarthas Northumberland. I visited several of the small towns in the area on my road trip, stopping for butter tarts in each one!
Butter tarts are a classic Canadian dessert – My great grandmother made incredible butter tarts! Now, if you’re Canadian then it’s possible that you’re wondering what a butter tart is. They’re essentially a tart shell with a filling made of eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, and – you guessed it – melted butter. There’s an ongoing hot debate as to whether or not they should contain raisins. I actually like them best with pecan chunks! On our road trip, we encountered several delicious variations on the classic butter tart.
If you’re looking for a cute way to spend a weekend away and you live in Ontario, the Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour is worth considering! I did with a friend, and think it would also be great for couples. I’ve put together a detailed post of all the stops we made along the way, and a few suggestions on what we would do differently next time.
The Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour
The Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour is a self-guided adventure that you can do any time of year. There are over 50 locations included on the Butter Tart Tour, so all you have to do is consult the map on their website and pick a few spots. The locations included everything from chic cafés to farms, small town diners, bakeries, and restaurants.
We got started by selecting a place that was close to Ottawa, and would take us along a backroads North of Highway 7. Getting started on the route was easy, because the Ford Edge includes a Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation System. The system recognized The Swiss Bear as a location and told us exactly where to go.
Where to Stay in Kawartha Lakes
Our road trip was 2 days, with one overnight in Kawartha Lakes. There are two resorts that are officially part of the Kawartha Butter Tart Tour. The Eganridge Resort, which is where we stayed, and the Beachwood Resort. We really enjoyed staying at Eganridge. The rooms have a beautiful lake view, there’s onsite dining, a spa, a pool, and tennis and golf are available. It was also well-situated with respect to the towns that we were visiting, so we didn’t have to double back.
Beachwood Resort, per my research, is also on a lake and has on site dining and a swimming pool as well. Both options are similar in price, and great for a couple adults travelling together. There are a few more standard hotels options in the area too, which you can find here.
The Swiss Bear
This was our first stop of the Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour, and we were really happy that we stopped here! These turned out to be the only butter tarts on our tour that were plated. The combination of whipped cream, fresh fruit, and swirls of caramel and chocolate drizzle on the plate along with the butter tart was delicious!
Swiss Bear serves a great lunch (I had the Vegetarian Aspen Rösti) that is very filling. Most amazingly, if it’s your first visit then your butter tart is free with your lunch.
The Little Pie Shack
Our next destination was Fenelon Falls, because I was eager to visit The Little Pie Shack. Mainly because the building is adorable, and of course for more butter tarts! On our way, it started raining and I discovered that the Ford Edge has rain-sensing windshield wipers! The wipers turned on all by themselves when it started raining, sped up when it rained heavily, and turned off again when the rain stopped.
I’m told the butter tarts at the Little Pie Shack are award-winning. They certainly tasted worthy of a title to me! I got my favourite, a pecan butter tart. The Little Pie Shack also offers homemade pies, milkshakes, sundaes, and other treats.
Just down the street from the Little Pie Shack we found another bakery on the Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour called Dolce Bakery. This bakery offered a unique spin on butter tarts, with a skors flavour! It has flakes of toffee and chocolate baked in to the butter tart filling and it was such a delicious combination.
The Fenelon Falls
Fenelon Falls gets it’s name from, you guessed it, a waterfall that is right in town! Park near Lock 34, and walk down along the locks to the falls. There was a great blue heron standing at the top of the waterfall when we were there. I love birds, so I have as many photos of this bird as I do butter tarts.
Garnet Graham Beach Park
There are some really nice waterfront spots in Fenelon Falls, including Garnet Graham Beach Park. People were playing sports, barbecuing, and swimming. There are remnants of an old turn bridge just off Garnet Graham Beach Park, and some of the locals were using the bridge as a diving board.
Cycling the Railroad Trail
We rented bikes to explore Fenelon Falls. There’s a beautiful trail called the Victoria Rail Trail, and a bike rental station by the Trent-Severn Waterway, Lock 34.
The great thing about the bikes is that you can rent them any time, because it’s done using an app called Movatic. The app is free to download. Bike rentals cost a $5 + $2.50/ hour or $25 for the day (8 hours). There’s also a bike rental station in Bobcaygeon, a nearby small town. We did this activity on Saturday and discovered that a lot of things are closed in the area on Sundays. On your visit, consider renting bikes on the Sunday instead because it will definitely be available that day but other things might not be!
Overnight at the Eganridge Resort
We had a lovely stay at the Eganridge Resort. Our stay included the dinner package so we were able to eat right at the resort, then go back down to our room and flop out on the bed. A full day of butter tart touring can make you pretty tired!
Overnight, we took advantage of another feature of the Ford Edge and left some of our belongs in the trunk. There’s a secret compartment, so from the outside you can’t tell that there is anything in the vehicle. The trunk is very spacious so loading up in the morning was fast, there was lots of space to set everything down.
Our morning started with Bobcaygeon Café, a very cute spot in a beautiful small town. The café recently got a paint job, so it’s a really fun shade of purple on the outside. Butter tarts and an assortment of other baked goods are sold at Bobcaygeon Café, including one of my new favourites – maple butter tarts! The tarts even had a little maple leaf cookie on top, and tasted so good that I went back inside to buy more to bring home.
Bigley’s Shoe Store
The locals recommended a place called Bigley’s Shoe Store. If you love to shop and love high-quality brands then you definitely want to stop here on your visit to Bobcaygeon. The selection includes brands like L*SPACE, Ted Baker, BB Dakota, and shoes from all kinds of great companies like Clarks, Keds, Birkenstocks, Vionic, Steve Madden, and many more.
The Kawartha Settler’s Village
We visited the Kawartha Settler’s Village, a collection of more than 20 historic buildings where you can experience life in the 1830’s – early 1900’s. It was really neat to see the artefacts, and there were a few animals living on the farm too. We spent about half an hour walking through the Kawartha Settler’s Village. It’s a nice place, and an interesting way to learn a little bit of the area’s history.
Entry is $7 per adult, and by donation on Sunday. There are a lot of events hosted in the village, and there was actually a festival on while we were there.
Buttertarts ‘N More
Following the recommendation of a local in Bobcaygeon, we made a detour to Buttertarts N’ More restaurant. This is a very traditional, small town diner that serves sandwiches, salads, and soups, so we stopped here for lunch. We took these butter tarts for the road.
One of the things that I love about the Ford Edge was that I could charge my phone while driving from one place to another, without using a cable. There is a wireless charing pad in the console, so my phone was fully charged whenever I arrived at a new destination.
Ken Reid Conservation Area
Our visit to Ken Reid Conservation Area was admittedly something of a mosquito disaster, and we weren’t there for long. It looked like a lovely place, so here’s what you need to know for a more successful visit: Bring bug spray.
There are several trail options in the Ken Reid Conservation area, so you can walk for as long as you like. This includes a couple of marsh boardwalks, and a look out point. Parking is $2 per day.
Olde Gaol Museum
The Olde Gaol Museum in Lindsay is the main reason that I recommend reversing your days on this trip. Visit Lindsay on a Saturday, and Fenelon Falls on a Sunday. The Olde Gaol Museum is open from 10AM-4PM Tuesday – Saturday, and entry is $5 per person.
The gaol was built in 1863, and was operational until the early 2000’s. The tour takes you throughout the gaol, allows you inside the cells, courtyards once used by the inmates, and other interesting places. Unfortunately we missed this stop ourselves because we went to Lindsay on a Sunday, but the reviews for the Old Gaol Museum are excellent!
Kent Street West
The beautiful Main Street of Lindsay is a beautiful place to explore and shop. I love any street that is lined with flower baskets! We parked at Lock 33, part of the water way that course through Lindsay, and walked up to Kent Street. There are some really lovely shops, and – more butter tarts!
Boiling Over’s Coffee Vault
Located on the corner of Kent Street West and Cambridge North, Boiling Over’s Coffee Vault is a beautiful café with lots of seating, refreshing drinks, and butter tarts. It was really hot on this day, so I was relieved to find some air conditioning! I opted for an iced lemonade with butter tart. Boiling Over’s Coffee Vault also serves beer and ciders.
There is actually another butter tart tour location right across the street called Corner Bites Eatery too, but this spot is closed on Sunday so we didn’t have a chance to visit.
The Nutty Bean
The final stops on our Kawartha Northumberland Butter Tart Tour were in a beautiful town called Lakefield. We made it to Nutty Bean not long before closing. They were out of butter tarts for the day, but assured us that normally they do have them and they are very good. Nutty Bean has a beautiful patio and lots of warm and cold drink options.
Stuff’d Ice Cream, Bakery, and Café
Just around the corner from the Nutty Bean is Stuff’d Ice Cream, Bakery, and Café. Just as the name suggests, this place had a little bit of everything. Kawartha is known for great ice cream, so we decided to change it up and try some. We took butter tarts for the road. This was the only place where we found chocolate butter tarts! Honestly, I didn’t know there was such a thing. I tried one when I got home and it was delicious.
The 2019 Ford Edge
I had such a wonderful time exploring Kawartha Northumberland, eating butter tarts, and driving the Ford Edge. You need a car for this road trip, or for visiting the Kawartha Northumberland area on any trip. The small towns are close enough together that it’s an easy drive from one to the other, if you have a great vehicle.
When I first picked up the Ford Edge, I was a little bit nervous about driving an SUV (I normally drive a smaller car). However, the Ford made it easy for me to get comfortable! Thanks to the rear camera, the front camera, lane detection, blind spot blinkers, and sensors on the exterior of the vehicle that alert you when things are nearby, I quickly felt confident driving. Automated features like auto high-beam, automatic windshield wipers, and pre-cllossion assist with automatic emergency breaking made driving a breeze and provided peace of mind.
I also loved the integration with my personal phone. I was able to set up my phone as a bluetooth connection, and then view my music right from the display in the vehicle with my phone safely tucked in the console. The wireless charging pad kept it powered up and playing music the whole drive. Learn more about the Ford Edge.
A big thank you to Ford Canada this wonderful opportunity! The Ford Edge let me explore a part of Ontario that I couldn’t visit otherwise. Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve been to Kawartha, or are from the area! On my trip, I received many Instagram messages from some of you who are. Where will the Ford Edge take you next?
This blog post is sponsored by Ford Canada. All opinions are my own – I miss this vehicle already.