We just got back from a 2-night off-grid cabin stay less than 1 hour from Toronto and what a wonderful getaway it was! This was our first time travelling after more than 3-months in lockdown and Sam and I were super excited to be back on the road…even if we were venturing less than 1 hour from home.
Our goal this summer is to travel near not far, so we’re going to be focusing on exploring our own backyard. Specifically, we’ll be going in search of tiny houses and unique stays, and let me tell you, there are lots to choose from!
I found this off-grid cabin listed on AirBnB and it’s located in Jecara Farms in the town of Schomberg, Ontario. We stayed in the Bear Cabin with its own private pond, but they have three different cabins to choose from depending on the size of your group.
Because the cabins are off-grid, that means there is no WiFi (nor did I have phone signal). There is no kitchen, so all the cooking is done on the barbecue, and all the washing up is done using a 5-gallon water container. There is a compost toilet in the cabin (I promise it does not smell!). And while there is no sink or shower, there is a place to set up a camp shower bag behind the cabin. Some may say it’s roughing it, but sometimes it’s nice to go back to basics!
Off-Grid Cabin Stay Near Toronto
2:00 p.m. Arrive at the off-grid AirBnB
We drove up to Schomberg in the early afternoon and met the owner at the farm. She hopped on her quad and we followed her through the beautiful property over to our off-grid cabin for two. She gave us a little tour of the place and explained how everything works and then it was time to relax for a bit. Doesn’t the place look cosy?
5:00 p.m. Cook a camp dinner on the BBQ
We kept our meals very simple on this trip. For dinner, we opted for chili dogs. I packed some hot dog buns, knackwurst, a can of maple bacon beans, and salsa. We cooked the sausages on the barbecue and then assembled our chilli dogs in under 15 minutes. Super easy and delicious!
7:30 p.m. Make ‘smores around the campfire
Of course, no city getaway would have been complete without roasting some marshmallows by the fire. I picked up a family-sized smores kit at the supermarket (Graham crackers, marshmallows and Hershey chocolate) and we gobbled up half of it on the first evening.
9:30 p.m. Get a good night’s rest.
We’d had a few busy days leading up to this trip, so once the rain started, we called it a night and went to bed early. I did see some fireflies from our window as I was crawling into bed. That was pretty cool!
8:00 a.m. Enjoy breakfast on the porch
For breakfast, we prepared maple syrup oatmeal (I bought the instant packs!) with banana, grapes and cherries. The cabin has no kitchen per se, however, the barbecue had a side element where we were able to boil water.
10:30 Go for a mid-morning hike at Mono Cliffs
The day was looking a bit overcast, so we thought it might be nice to go on a bit of a longer hike. We drove to Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, which is located about a half-hour northwest of Schomberg. However, we had to turn back about 30 minutes into the hike because the mosquitoes were really bad. The scenery was beautiful and any other time of year we would’ve been happy to spend the whole day there, but that’s just summer in Ontario for you!
1:00 Grab lunch in Schomberg
For lunch, we stopped in town and grabbed two chicken shawarmas from Joseph’s Shawarma. They were loaded and oh-so-good!
2:30 Enjoy an afternoon nap
Then it was time for a siesta! Because when you book an off-grid cabin during a heatwave, all you can do is sleep away the hottest hours of the day. Whewww!
3:30 Read and snack all afternoon long
One thing I really liked about this off-grid AirBnB is that it had a nice collection of coffee table books. Sam and I read through Life’s Little Instruction Book and discussed which pieces of advice we agreed and disagreed with. I liked ‘be the first to say hello’ and ‘compliment 3 people every day’ – some little reminders to be kind in this world.
We also dove into Plato and Platypus Walk into a Bar, but then all that philosophy made us hungry so we stopped for an afternoon snack. If you haven’t yet tried West Coast muffins, do! They have carrot, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pecans. They are delicious!
4:30 Go for a walk on the farm
Since our walk at Mono Cliffs had been a bit of a fail, we went for a little mid-afternoon stroll on the farm. They have lots of different walking trails to choose from, including some through the woods where we had a bit of a reprieve from the sun, and this time we weren’t attacked by mosquitoes.
5:00 Make nachos for dinner
Like the previous night’s dinner, we kept things simple. We emptied half a bag of whole-grain nachos into a frying pan, added some shredded mozzarella and cheddar, put it on low heat until the cheese melted, and then topped it off with medium-spice salsa.
6:30 Enjoy craft beers on the porch
It was such a hot afternoon that we actually drove back into town to pick up a few craft beers to cool down. We kept them chilled in the pond and then enjoyed them out on the porch.
7:00 Escape the rain indoors
We actually got rained out halfway through our evening campfire. Dark, ominous clouds had been rolling in fast, but we managed to roast a few marshmallows and make some smores before the downpour began. We quickly retreated indoors where I found a copy of Humans of New York Stories and spent the next few hours reading little snippets of people’s lives.
11:00 Call it a night
With lightning flashing and rain beating down on the tin roof, I finally put down my book and called it a night. I had very strange dreams that night…maybe all the nachos?!
7:30 a.m. Attempt an early morning canoe excursion
We were really excited to go canoeing and got up bright and early to do so, but the previous night’s winds still hadn’t subsided. Sam actually hopped in the canoe to give a go, but it was more of a battle against the wind than a leisurely ride, so we opted for a morning walk around the farm instead.
8:30 a.m. Have a leisurely breakfast on the porch
We kept things light with our breakfast that morning. We had lots of fruit leftover, so we feasted on bowls full of grapes and cherries. But that was only our first breakfast…we did stop for some Timmie’s on the way out of town!
11:00 a.m. Farewell off-grid cabin!
And just like that, it was time to say goodbye to our charming off-grid cabin! This was such an easy weekend escape from Toronto and we left feeling so relaxed. We could definitely see ourselves coming back in autumn to enjoy the colours.
Now time for a little video of our weekend away: