Discover The Restorative Effects Of Triple C Farm & West Avenue Cider House

Country day trips nourish the soul. Natural landscapes lift anyone’s spirits, and the therapeutic benefits of petting a bunny or frolicking in a meadow are hardly surprising. For city slickers craving a rustic getaway or a taste of nature’s bounty, the following two rural destinations are unique, local, and not to be missed.


Triple C started as a small hobby farm and horse boarding facility. Tricia Simons set up the farm to make her eldest son Geoffrey’s farming dreams come true. They started by rescuing four goats, a sheep, and two horses. The farm eventually opened its doors to the public for goat yoga.

If you’ve never heard of this, instead of the usual ultra-serious kind of zen experience, this yoga involves adorable goats checking you out, jumping on you, or chewing on your hair – making it impossible to have a bad day.

As word spread about these animal rescuers, their hobby farm evolved into a fully functional animal sanctuary. “Admittedly it is a bit addictive outbidding a meat buyer, walking out with an animal that was bound to be killed, and bringing it home and seeing it blossom and love and just be happy,” says owner Tricia Simons.

By appointment only, visitors can enjoy the property at their leisure. The interactive petting farm has more than 160 animals (goats, sheep, alpacas, mini horses, pigs). Visitors can take an alpaca, donkey, mini horse or goat for a walk; snuggle with goats, bunnies or mini pigs; groom a horse or donkey; partake in goat yoga; or even bring their favourite DVD and watch a movie with their new furry friends. Beyond the petting area there are horse and donkey paddocks, and freeroaming chickens and ducks.

The farm is a source of income for Simons and her family but, more importantly, it gives brothers Geoffrey, Michael and Richard, all of whom have autism, a wonderful life. “The farm’s most unique feature is that over 80% of the work is done by individuals with special needs,”

Simons says. “It gives them a sense of purpose and a ‘job’, and a place where they can be themselves — not to mention reducing the amount of screen time in their lives.”


The 75-acre property owned by Amy Robson and Chris Haworth is a popular destination for its breathtaking scenery and award-winning artisanal cider. The idea for West Avenue Cider House started to form when the couple lived in England. “There were so many amazing unique ciders and cider houses, but when we came back to Canada in 2005 there was nothing like that here,” Robson says. It took Amy and Chris – then a TV producer and a chef, respectively – a few years to get a business plan together and develop recipes.

What started as just a taproom has evolved into a thriving family-friendly agro-tourism experience. On a sunny day it’s abuzz with first dates, friends and families. “In England it was perfectly acceptable for you to bring your children to the pub,” Robson says. “We wanted a place where kids can roam and dogs can hang out.”

The property includes two kilometres of hiking trails where visitors can see the honey bees and apple trees, a lookout, a pond with a beaver dam, and even the resident chickens and roosters. The Cider House itself is cozy and rustic but, in nice weather, patrons prefer to sit outside in the beautiful Meadow Lounge to socialize and enjoy cider, wood-oven pizza and other delights in the soft summer breeze.

The scenery is so tranquil and pretty that West Avenue has become a popular spot for weddings, landscape painting, spa retreats, and more.

West Avenue Cider House’s summer hours are Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m.

By Michelle Morra

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