The word tour, derived from the Latin for “circle,” describes the shape tour groups create as they surround and attack their “guide,” which is French for “fact piñata.” Obtain candied information by any means necessary with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get a cranberry-wine adventure for two at Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and Muskoka Lakes Winery (a $44.75 value) in Bala. The adventure includes:
- A farm tour and tutored wine tasting for two ($6 each)
- A bag of fresh or frozen cranberries ($12.75)
- A $20 gift card to The Cranberry Emporium<p>
Farm tours run daily at 1 p.m.
The staff at Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and Muskoka Lakes Winery reaps quality cranberries and relies on native Muskoka fruit to stock its award-winning wine cellar. On farm tours, guests feast eyes on lush marshes and study the stages of cranberry growth and harvesting, such as planting and the fruit’s first date with vodka. Tourists sip an array of cranberry-based libations during tutored wine tastings. With a bag of fresh or frozen cranberries tucked under their arms, patrons conclude their cranberry crusade with a visit to The Cranberry Emporium. Bottles of dry wild-blueberry wine ($18.95) enliven chicken or lamb dinners, 4-ounce bags of cranberry tea ($4.95) relax tongues with hints of orange and lemon, and additional cranberry-related items such as candles, preserves, juice, and more can be found in the shop. Candles ($1.29+) flood houses with a warm cranberry scent that inspires flour and butter to spontaneously morph into pie dough.
Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh
Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh was founded in 1952 by Orville Johnston, and is currently helmed by his children. During tours of the farm, patrons traverse a landscape dotted with cranberries and Muskoka Lakes Winery. At the winery, guests sample fruit-based libations during a tutored wine tasting. Wilderness trails cut through the property and are open year-round. During the winter, visitors can hike them wearing cross-country skis, snowshoes, or old-timey tennis racquets on their feet. Youngsters can also enjoy the farm—though the winery is off limits to them—by joining in on scavenger hunts or wielding nets ideal for catching critters when the weather is nice.