Muskoka is in it's "grow" season, not "slow" season!

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It is generally this time of year, that many of our summer seasonal tourists, and non winter loving community avoid the Muskoka region, seasonal businesses are shut down, and the winter and snow sport enthusiasts are the only ones left filling resorts and our streets. We see less city license plates, more locals, and from a local community point of view, this is the “slow season”.

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But from a small or large business stand point, these are some of the busiest months for GROWING. We are all behind the scenes putting together the seasonal events, projects, and fun that our seasonal clients look forward to every year. And although many Muskoka communities are now gearing their events to the winter sports enthusiasts, you can be sure that when they aren’t playing in the snow with their winter locals, that they are preparing themselves for the new season!

This is the time of year, we start marketing for a fastly approaching summer, resorts, campgrounds, and provincial parks are already starting to book their check outs, and are filling rooms and Muskoka vacations, wedding season is starting and event planners, caterers, campgrounds, resorts, parks, the cities, and the community are looking past this white nastiness and to a brighter, warmer time. The most loved time by businesses, and for some of the community, the worst time for locals to enjoy what we love most, for all of the tourism!

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When you are up to your ears in snow, have to spend hours and hours a week defrosting, clearing, shoveling, it’s easy to get depressed and feel overwhelmed by winter blues. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to withstand the winters in Muskoka.

And as a non-winter person myself, it took many years for me to see the benefit of the snow. I am not a winter sports lover. I am just too clumsy and awkward for such things, and as I get older, and more brittle, I think trying new things that will likely end in breaking bones, not so endearing. I don’t enjoy clearing snow, or having to tunnel my way around to see my dog use the bathroom. But if you have ever driven through Algonquin park right after a fresh, thick coat of snow, or looked out over Hunter’s Bay on a super cold, crisp morning with a frozen lake and tree hill sparkling with branches of icicles, you know that there are no words, and the beauty can literally take your breath away (okay, maybe that’s the -40 degree temps!!). If you’ve ever driven north on highway 11 and seen the amazing suspension of water turning to ice off the rock outcrops and the redness showing through, or the massive rock faces that look like glass with the ice, than you know what I am talking about.

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Aside from the physical beauty that is hard to capture anywhere else, Muskoka has a great many things to do in winter that you can do in summer (with a little more effort due to wading in deep snow), like trail hiking (or snowshoeing or cross country skiing), fishing (albeit a little more set up), and if you’re not careful, or don’t know the parameters of the lake you are on, you could be swimming! (however, the lakes are still arctic cold and you’d probably die…) .

There are also great festivals held by the different regional municipalities in Muskoka, my favorite so far, is the popular Fire & Ice Festival held in Bracebridge on Manitoba street. This event is fun for kids and adults, the stores and vendors have great sales and fun themed samples and treats, and for the kids, they turn one of their busiest hilly streets into a tubing slide!! They have magic shows, ice carving displays, and a blast from my past, pure maple over ice on a stick! Paint on snow and ice in the park, or go for a skate, or stop and watch a show in the street! Lots of fun for the whole family! This time of year we also see a spike in the wedding area, with spring and summer bridal shows starting in February. Arrowhead Provincial Park uses its perfect trails for good in the winter by turning some trails into the extremely popular ice skate trail, or snow shoe trail, or even offers tubing!

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But the most important part of the snow, is that it gives businesses and communities the opportunity to prepare for the busiest seasons, and although those not in business can have this down time to really enjoy and take advantage of the slower season, those who run, operate, or count on that summer spike, are in our most crucial time of year, what I like to call the do or die season. This is the time to book events and catering projects if you wish to book in Muskoka. This is the time to be booking your hotels, Air BnBs, campgrounds, and vendors. We go from very dead, to very busy, very quickly. And although the length and time of when the season starts varies on weather, Muskoka is known to have little availability for bookings by May, regardless of weather.

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So between consulting, booking, and planning out events, projects, and getaways for our seasonal clients, getting a couple months of mostly tourist free roaming, and shoveling our snow that weighs as much as we do, we keep pretty busy this time of year. And SmithFit House is no different! We started the year with one upcoming winter event, and skyrocketed to 4 events in a 3 month span all before April. In a WEEK. I am seeing a LOT of people planning their summer vacations north, brides are coming out of the woodwork booking into fall, winter, and NEXT spring, and early spring events are already seeing SOLD OUT signs!!

Our first major event of the year launches Thursday, March 16th, in Huntsville at 6pm to 9pm. Our Wildflower Garden Spring Sampler event is a way for those planning events in the spring and early summer to view, sample, and taste what SmithFit House has to offer! It has a wonderful garden tea party theme, and will include discounts for dressing the part, $2 Spin to Win Instant Swag and Coupons, Winning Squares for a chance to win $300 off your next Catering or Multi Service Package for over 40 guests, samples of 2 full 3 course buffet menus (brunch and dinner), with a beautiful cake, cookie, chocolate and donut (yesss, I said DONUT) display! It will showcase some of our rentals, favor options, and also each guest will be entered into a door prize! We have a hashtag photo contest and it’s a risk and commitment free way to see if our business is the right fit for your event! For our first event, we have only 30 seats available, and the seats are filling up FAST!!

So, in conclusion, if you are thinking about planning a trip to Muskoka this spring, summer, or even during the changing of the leaves in early fall, NOW is the time to start booking, because businesses all over are in their GROW stage! You see it at face value as the SLOW season, but we see it as a way to fill up for summer, so come up and join in the fun!!

Until next week! Adios Amigos!

xo Katie Smith

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