Oh, how I love mini city adventures. If you’re like me and subscribe to a million different newsletters, city guides and blogs, you will have undoubtedly come across articles appropriately titled “10 most beautiful secluded spots just outside Toronto” or “This Ontario town is perfect to escape to”. So being the girl who sometimes suffers from major FOMO, a few girlfriends and I packed up a car and drove out to explore one these lovely spots “just outside” the city.
Elora is located in the county of Wellington, which if you’re like me and are directionally challenged, is just Northwest of Guelph. The city is famous for the Elora Gorge and picturesque cliffs that descend down into the Grand and Irvine rivers. They also pride themselves on having preserved much of the original architecture from the 1800s and maintaining that precious old-world charm.
Elora is only about a 2-hour drive from downtown Toronto so you can opt for a day trip like we did, or take the opportunity to plan a weekend and stay in one of their delightful B&Bs and experience the dining and entertainment of the downtown area. What brought us out specifically for this day trip was the Gorge and the Quarry which we quickly discovered are two different things.
Our first stop was at the quarry which on this beautiful Saturday had a lineup of cars that had us waiting for a solid 45 minutes. There is plenty of parking after which the quarry is a short walk away. Small traveling tip, bring your own toilet paper and try to pee before you leave the house.
The quarry is 2 acres and surrounded by cliffs that run up to 40 feet high with trees covering the entire perimeter. You can picnic up in the cliffs near the trees (where it is a lot cooler) or you can park yourself near the water where it was SUPER crowded. People were partaking in all kinds of activities from cliff diving to just floating in the water on inflatable birds/rafts. We had ourselves a little picnic on the beach and then walked the trail in the cliffs of the quarry which is super short.
The gorge is another 10-15 minutes away from the quarry. You can actually access the gorge for free with your wristband from the quarry and I would believe vice versa. Again, plenty of parking and a much bigger area for picnicking, hiking, camping and even what looked like a newly built splash pad for the little ones.
We did a super short hike of along the edge of the gorge where we checked out a few of the main look out points and then decided we were hungry again and also mentally ready to head back to the city.
If I were to do Elora again I think I would for sure stop into the quarry but perhaps spend more time hiking/walking near the Gorge and then grab a pint and a bite in town. Oh, and the Terre Bleu Lavender farms are also really close by so that one is still a to-do on the bucket list.
For More information on Elora and what you can do visit http://elora.info