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Fall Staycation in Brighton Ontario


With the leaves changing colour, fall makes the perfect time for a road trip. If you're looking for small-town charm, Brighton, Ontario just a quick jaunt of highway 401, is your relaxing getaway waiting to happen! From locally-owned shops, historical landmarks, trails, and other natural beauties, this charming harbour town sits along the scenic shores of Lake Ontario. It is only an hour and a bit from Kingston and home to the picturesque nearby Presqu'ile Provincial Park as well as the town’s annual Applefest event that draws quite the crowd of thousands of visitors. Just so you know, Brighton has some of the finest apple orchards in Canada!

Last month I had the pleasure of exploring this quaint area in the Bay of Quinte located just on the other side of the ever so popular Prince Edward County and boy was I surprised by the drive into town. Brighton has become the escape of choice for some city folks looking for a slow-paced charming experience and I was about to see why.

Keep reading to find out why!

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

 Here are a few of my favourite spots that I discovered during my visit:

AIR BNB STAY

Only a few blocks from the downtown Main Street of Brighton tucked away on a quiet street was where I found my Air BnB and a lovely host by the name of Sandra. Extremely welcoming, we immediately bonded over our love of dogs as her adorable black dog Tia greeted me when I first arrived. Warm and attentive, her home was beautiful. The room I stayed in was spacious, comfy and very cozy just a home. Sandra provided lots of great insight into the area and was helpful in recommending sights I should visit.

Bonus: The neighbourhood was quite lovely to walk around as well! Definitely a big thumbs up on this stay!

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

LOLA'S CAFE

Why You Need To Go: If you're craving that laid-back, community-focused and carefree vibe, then Lola's Cafe is it. This neighbourhood hangout spot was like an episode of Gilmore Girls at Luke's but of course, this wasn’t a diner and the owner wasn't grumpy. Everyone who walked into the cafe simply smiled and just knew one another from couples, mums and kids to the friendly staff. I found a cozy spot in the corner to sip my chai latte over ice, which was perfectly sweetened and of course, I couldn't help myself and get a croissant and peanut butter bar. All treats decadent and savoury, are baked in house and seriously, if I lived in Brighton I'd be there every morning.

Scroll down to see some delicious looking pumpkin cinnamon buns that were made for AppleFest! I was drooling just looking at them.

Bonus: If you're looking for another cool breakfast spot, try out Kailey’s Kafe.

Where: 74 Main St, Brighton, ON

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

PROCTOR HOUSE

Why You Need To Go: Built in the late 1800s, Proctor House, a grand Victorian mansion is a beautiful monument to Brighton's past generations. Part of the grounds of Proctor Park Conservation Area, right next door to the property sits the Brighton Barn Theatre, where a number of special events and theatre performances are hosted. Visitors can walk through the beautiful surrounding conservation area while also taking in the history of the area. A must visit even if you're into the fall colours!

Where: 96 Young St, Brighton, ON

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

PRESQU'IL PROVINCIAL PARK

Why You Need To Go: If you're looking to escape the big city, it might just be time to check out the quaint side of things. Presqu'il Provincial Park is a hidden gem of Brighton that has grown with popularity with tourists as a summer destination for adventurers, bird lovers and beachgoers. But let me tell you, fall is probably the best time to visit as the changing colours are simply beautiful. As you drive along the parkway or walk the trails, make sure to have your camera ready. If you can, be sure to catch a sunset with cotton candy skies and visit the second oldest operating lighthouse in Ontario.

Bonus: It's open for day use all way until the end of December!

Where: 328 Presqu'Ile Pkwy, Brighton, ON

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

How stunning is that sunset? Best enjoyed sitting on the beach with dessert from Lola's Cafe.

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Ontario's second oldest operating lighthouse in Ontario which was just restored recently!

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

The trails on Presqu'il Provincial Park are stunning during the fall season. Pack some water, snacks, lunch and away you go!

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

HELICOPTER RIDE OVER BRIGHTON

Probably the highlight of this trip was getting an aerial view of Brighton with the Mayor, his wife and the wonderful Deputy Mayor who were all so kind. The helicopter ride offered the most intimate and stunning way to view the area. It was truly amazing to see the grandeur of Lake Ontario compared to the land and the beauty of the surrounding area.

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

MRS. B'S COUNTY CANDY

Why You Need To Go: Looking to sweeten up your day? No matter if there's an occasion worthy of celebration or not, this goodie shop is stocked with a tempting selection of chocolate made the good old fashion way aka hand-made on-site one batch. Mrs. B's knows what's up when making chocolate and she is the pro in town. The store is the literal definition of being a kid in a candy shop because there's so much to choose from!

Where: 7 Prince Edward, Brighton, ON

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

THE WHISTLING DUCK

Along the shores of Prequ'il Bay, you'll find The Whistling Duck, a dining waterfront experience that is is hands down a must-try when you're in Brighton. With stellar views and great food, I was slightly obsessed with this restaurant that I came back twice in a day.

Of course as a mac n cheese lover, I had to indulge in their lobster mac n cheese that I requested be made with gluten-free (extra brownie points!) that was extra cheesy with a side of hibiscus cranberry-apple Number E sparkling tea. It's definitely worth the drive off the 401 for a bite to eat and relax. If you have the chance to stop by, please try the Dusty Bender Burger for me made with Enright Cattle beef - gotta love the local support.

 Bonus: They have several gluten-free options from buns to pasta - winner winner chicken dinner!

Where: 75 Harbour St, Brighton, ON

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

If you're looking for a non-alcoholic beverage, look no further! Really do hope Number E  can get into the Kingston market because it's so darn good.

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

END OF THE THREAD ANTIQUE EMPORIUM

This one of a kind shop is not your traditional antique shop as there's more than meets the eye. A mix of vintage and new pieces but also unusual unique items. From cute modern farmhouse decor that immediately caught my eye to pieces with character and charm, this store is perfect for those willing to go on an adventure, or as antique shoppers say, ‘go on a hunt’ to find that hidden gem.

Also, you wouldn't believe if I said it but there's also a cafe shop tucked into this location. And if you're craving some ice cream then it's as simple as heading around back to the Tin Roof Dairy Bar where you'll find the best cones in town.

Where: 13 Main St, Brighton, ON

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

CHEER FARMS

Fall just wouldn't be the same without visiting Cheer Farms in Brighton, a family-owned and operated farm market. As soon as you step outside your car, you are immediately hit with the smell of sweet maple along with apples and fresh baking. They have a variety of sweet treats from loaves drizzled in icing, pies galore to classic donuts. If you weren't aware, apples are a big deal in the community of Brighton as they are surrounded by an abundance of apple orchards. Stop by their roadside farmers' market or during AppleFest at the height of the harvesting season to try their bountiful goodness of apples, seasonal produce and finger-lickin' sweet treats!

Where: 365 Main St, Brighton, ON

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

CRICKLEWOOD FARMS

If you're looking for the perfect day adventure with the family, Cricklewood Farms is the place. This fifth-generation farm means business as it features six acres of intricate corn mazes and orchards for apple picking with over forty varieties.

Their market also provides baked goods, local cheese, honey, jams, fresh-pressed cider in season and gift items. But heck, this is the perfect combination for a picnic on site. You could spend a few good hours just taking in all the surroundings and building new memories. You're welcome!

Where: 14953 County 2 Rd, Brighton, ON

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

BRIGHTON APPLEFEST

I saved the best for last! An annual event that draws thousands of visitors locally and nearby, Brighton AppleFest festivities take over Main Street Brighton and is a true testament to showing appreciation for the many apple orchards and rich agriculture that surrounds the area. You can delight yourself in some sweet apple treats while taking in the fall colours. AppleFest takes place over the last full weekend of September with a pancake breakfast, vintage car show, children’s activities, arts and crafts vendors, foodie vendors, a parade and of course, plenty of apple-related food items to eat and bring home.

So to wrap it up, add Brighton, Ontario to your fall bucket list because you won't regret it!

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Fall Staycation in Brighton, Ontario - Bay of Quinte - Rosalyn Gambhir

Thank you to the folks at Bay of Quinte for organizing this amazing trip!
Rosalyn Gambhir
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Life Update: Burnout, Mental Health & Side Hustles


Life Update: Burnout, Blogging & Side Hustles

With World Mental Health Day this past week and I'll be honest, I've been feeling burnt out, a tad stressed and after a conversation with friends, I realized I might need a break. On top of it all, it doesn't help that I am sick with a cold or perhaps the flu which has been out like a light. With a full-time job, a side hustle, balancing both, making plans with friends, finding the time to visit parents in another province and spending quality time with my partner (and dog!) gets pretty overwhelming.

Personally, I struggle to speak up about my mental health and sometimes blame being tired on a bad night of sleep or a long week. Whether that's because of my upbringing, my South Asian roots and the community viewing mental health as a taboo or personal weakness, I can't say but it's something I want to bring up.

Lately, I've been fatigued most of the time to the point where I don't have energy or motivation some days meaning creativity goes out the window. I know it's partly my own fault (maybe? an excuse again? urgh I don't know), I haven't been eating properly, exercising or getting enough hours of sleep. Let's just say self-care has been put on the back burner.

MY 9 TO 5

Could this be due to my day job? Partly. If you weren't aware, along with having a blog and being a freelance content creator, I manage multiple social media accounts and digital platforms for various tourist attractions in South Eastern Ontario. Well, social media never sleeps (it's always on) and when you work with various people in different locations and properties that deal with customers first, let's just say my schedule has been a hot mess even though I'm supposed to work a certain amount of hours a day. Thankfully I'm able to be flexible with my schedule but trying to take even a day off, use a lieu day or a vacation day has proven to be difficult (unless I go to a remote island or off the grid).

When your job requires you to be online, all the time, it can be hard to simply unplug. The job might seem easy with the perception of scrolling on Facebook and posting pretty photos but it takes planning, research, strategizing, analyzing data, getting content along with attending meetings, keeping on top of emails and dealing with requests from colleagues. But it's also not fairies and pixie dust, there are days where you have to also manage bad reviews, respond to upset customers and deal with trolls.

Let's just say being a marketer, social media manager or creator is not all hunky-dory.

"We're expected to be marketers, creators, analysts and customer service people. We're stressed out." - Thea Neal

While being called a 'unicorn' from those in your industry is a compliment, it's also a sign that one person can't do it all. I'm passionate about the work I do and the stories I share that create engaged communities, it keeps me going on a daily basis. But it's hard to complain to people who don't work in social.

"Social media managers, entrepreneurs, and influencers have a unique set of mental health challenges because they spend their days in the trenches of the internet. Self-care is an important part of mental health, and sometimes that means taking a break from social media, our phones, and technology." - Taylor Loren

Positivity has played a huge role and having support from my partner at home has been crucial to staying afloat along with a supportive team at work backing me up. So remember that next time you comment on a brand page, there's an actual person behind it.

STEPPING AWAY?

So have I thought of taking a social media hiatus? Of course, I have. Giving your mind a break from screen time is important and the truth is, stepping away from social media when your side hustle and full-time job both focus on it, is hard taking a complete hiatus. But I have found things that have helped me a LOT to stay sane:

TIP 1
This one has been my saving grace! Remove all notifications on your phone and put social media apps into folders where they're hard to reach.

TIP 2
Set boundaries with colleagues. Let them know it isn't appropriate to message you on your personal channels about work. Make it clear how you would like to be contacted. I say this because there are some who forget to communicate via proper work channels. No thanks, I don't want to do work while I'm having dinner on a Friday night that I'm not scheduled.

TIP 3
Use a social media management tool at work if you manage multiple accounts. You don't want your phone dinging every five seconds. My absolute favourite is Sprout Social!

SIDE HUSTLES AKA BLOGGING

 This blog started out as a creative outlet to deal with the stress of my post-secondary studies when I was studying Computer Engineering (shocking right?!). Though my love for the city I lived in - Kingston, Ontario while attending Queen's University slowly grew on me and eventually, I escaped the campus bubble. I married my hobby of writing and my foodie knowledge to share my favourite local eats, weekend adventures as well as go-to events. Fast forward today and I am fully committed to my passion.

WHY? Because it is my voice when I feel like I don't have one.

Being a blogger definitely challenged me to learn new skills from social media, photo editing, networking, the ability to market myself and simply getting outside my comfort zone. (All key things that have contributed to where I am today!) I've been thankful to have been exposed to different types of knowledge and ways of thinking which have helped me become unique in my main 9 to 5 career.

But there's a downside...with blogging comes negativity as well where people will find a reason to project their insecurities and their fears onto you, your life and your creative work, and you’ll have to deal with it. I've learned the art of not caring as I can't do anything other than changing my own perspective. You should never have to second guess the content you put out to the world. Rather use it to fuel your passion and go that extra mile. I am so proud of what I have achieved, the connections I've made and how my creativity has blossomed. Though this has come with struggles of burnouts, criticism and negativity on a local level.

The other downside to being a blogger is if your day job already uses some of the same skills, it’s too easy to get drained. And that's me right now!

Lastly, the one thing I want to make clear about blogging is that it isn't all fun and games or the next hot trending thing to do. There's a business side to it, there's research, content to be planned, negotiation, taxes, and the list is never-ending. It's full time in itself if you take it seriously. When I'm asked if someone should be a content creator, travel writer or blogger, I ask them, why do you want to do this? In my mind, I'm thinking to myself, please have the right intentions. The glamorization of the side-hustle economy seemingly glows with possibility. There's definitely an allure to being a blogger where you get the opportunity to go to cool places and meet interesting people. But what people don't realize is that a lot of hard work goes into building and fostering relationships and a lot of behind the scenes tasks that take time and energy.

Remember, while I may seem like I have it all together, yeah I don't. I'm slowly figuring things out one day at a time. But my one piece of wisdom is when I'm struggling internally, getting outside whether it's watching a sunset or strolling along a waterfront, definitely is at the top of my list for improving my morale.

Life Update: Burnout, Blogging & Side Hustles

Life Update: Burnout, Blogging & Side Hustles

Life Update: Burnout, Blogging & Side Hustles

Life Update: Burnout, Blogging & Side Hustles
Rosalyn Gambhir
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[name=Rosalyn Gambhir] [img=https://i.imgur.com/9rNiMGU.jpg] [description=Rosalyn Gambhir is the gal behind the blog The Staycationer. Whether its exploring the local food scene with her foodie partner-in-crime or taking in the view from her favourite cafe, Rosalyn is always a tourist, looking for the next exciting adventure. The Staycationer allows you to rediscover hidden gems in your very own backyard.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/thestaycationer) (twitter=https://twitter.com/rosalyngambhir) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/rosalyngambhir/)

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