Showing posts with label Ontario Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ontario Travel. Show all posts

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Country Christmas at the Waterloo Region Museum

Last weekend we had some grand plans to have our whole family join us to experience Country Christmas at the Waterloo Region Museum and Doon Heritage Village but thanks to a round of snow storms and a few colds, the group was scaled back to me, AMH and my fellow adventurer in blogging, White Cabana! While I feel bad that our family was digging out or nursing a cold, I didn't feel bad for long as we had an incredible morning celebrating a variety of Christmas traditions!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Balm Beach Resort Motel

Yesterday I talked about our visit to Discovery Harbour's Pumpkinferno in Penetanguishene, Ont. It was a three hour drive from my home so we thought it would be a good idea to stay the night and drive home in the morning. Turns out, a lot of other people had a similar idea and I ran into fully booked hotels, B&B's, cottages, and even Airbnbs! I expanded my search to a 30 minute drive radius and found a small town appropriately called Tiny, Ontario. In this little lake community I found the sweetest little beach motel called the Balm Beach Resort Motel and luckily, they had one room available. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pumpkinferno at Discovery Harbour

I had a little celebrating to do this weekend and decided that AMH and I needed a little getaway. I started a new job this week and could not be more excited! My family has decided to spend the next year trying to see as much as we can of our beautiful home province of Ontario and since the province is over a million square kilometres, there is a lot to see! After a quick search we settled on visiting Penetanguishene, a two and a half car ride away from Kitchener. Our destination - Pumpkinferno at Discovery Harbour which is multiple displays of pumpkins carvings and a terror zone.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Norfolk County Fair

Last Friday night AMH and I visited the Norfolk County Fair in Simcoe, Ontario. This annual agricultural fair takes place on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and ends on Thanksgiving Monday. This was the first time we had visited the 176 year old event. The big draw for us was the Dallas Smith concert later in the evening and we found lots of entertainment around the fair while we waited for the big act. Interested in a look at the Norfolk County Fair? Let's go! 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Tobermory Boat Cruise

Last weekend AMH, the boys, and I packed our car with a picnic lunch and headed out on a three hour journey to Tobermory, Ontario. I've heard many great things about Tobermory boat cruises and thought this would make a great summer activity for our family. After some googling (what did we ever do before Google?) we decided to book through Blue Heron Cruises. For our departure we selected a glass bottom boat tour over shipwrecks with a drop off on Flowerpot Island, and for our journey home we selected a speed boat. 

The Great Blue Heron has a small concession stand on board that serves drinks, snacks and you can purchase branded hats and shirts. There is also a small restroom on board. You can select to sit at the very top of the boat on bench seats, inside on bench seats, or stand outside, which is what we did.  We embarked at noon on an hour and a half cruise through Georgian Bay. We passed Big Tub Lighthouse, seen above, on our way to see the shipwrecks.  

There are two shipwrecks in Big Tub Harbour, Sweepstakes and City of Grand Rapids. With crystal clear water, shallow waters, it is quite easy to spot the shipwrecks.

We spent our journey on the bow of the boat but ran inside to view the shipwreck through the glass bottom. The Sweepstakes ran aground in the fall of 1885. It was towed to her present location and stripped of her equipment and cargo before eventually sinking. 

The City of Grand Rapids caught fire in 1907 while docked, and to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby boats and the town, they towed the ship out of the harbour and where it burned to the waterline and then sank. 

Outfit | Shorts: Old Navy | Shirt: Tommy Hilfiger | Sweater: Gap | Bag: L.L. Bean | Sunnies: From Camden Market (similar under $10!) |

The boat's Captain provided information on each site as we passed and I was really excited to dock on Flowerpot Island to see the actual flowerpot rock formations! The flowerpots are a type of sea stack. Wind, rain, and snow wore away at the once standing cliff. Strong rock remained and was shaped into something that looks like a flowerpot (or as I call it, a great photo op!).

For a bunch of city kids, my boys sure do enjoy the outdoors! The Youngest is quite the climber and there is not a rock formation on Beachy Cove that he did not scale. The Youngest also spent his day chasing seagulls and hunting for snakes #gross. 

While the water in Georgian Bay may look beautiful, it was freezing cold! The weather was cooler last Saturday, hovering around 22 degrees Celsius, which was nice but I think it made the water too cool for swimming in. That didn't seem to stop others on the island as they were swimming and splashing around. We did bring bathing suits and beach towels with us but we only put our feet in. 

We followed the hiking trail from Beachy Cove to the lightkeepers home. There is a museum with information about the island, a store to purchase cold drinks and snacks, and a front porch full of rocking chairs to sit a spell. They also have a checkerboard table between two rocking chairs that my boys spent a good amount of time sitting at.

After a few rounds of checkers we were off to see the cave. We walked through a forest of cedar, spruce and white pine. Flowerpot Island is home to some of the oldest living trees in the world! All over the island you can see cedars growing on top of the cliffs and rocks and some of these are over 1500 years old. The oldest tree found on the island is 1854 years old!

The entrance to the cave. I will warn you that there are a lot of stairs to make it up to the cave, it is not for the faint of heart. You are quite elevated so if you are afraid of heights, I suggest you do not look down!

There is a platform at the top of the stairs that allows you to look at the inside of the cave. The boys had their eyes peeled for bats but we didn't see any. The rock in this area, dolostone, formed as ancient coral reefs built up under a warm shallow tropical sea that covered this area some 425 million years ago. Glaciers reshaped this area over the last 25 million years and while looking at the walls of the cave you can see lines where the receding water levels have left their mark in the rock.

After hiking everywhere on the island and stopping for a picnic lunch, we were ready to head back to Tobermory on our second boat of the day, the Flowerpot Express! 

To say the express boat is fast would be an understatement! The Oldest and I were filming on our Snapchats and it came up as 59km! All the seating is open and we happened to board after they were full. The boat ride is not very long so we stood at the back of the boat which was a blessing in disguise. They make a few sharp turns and it was much better to be standing and handing onto the railing! Of course, that meant we got quite a bit of spray on us but we dried in the sun quickly. I also recommend bringing a hat on this ride to protect long hair.  

A few additional things I'd like to share about the boat rides and visiting the island:

Make sure to pre-book your boat. When we arrived to check in they had sold out the entire day and many people looking for a ride were turned away. 

The boats all depart on time. We were running late and had to run to catch the first boat. Leave yourself some time; 20-30 minutes to check in, park and walk/shuttle to the docks should be good. This will also help in securing a seat for those who do not want to stand.

There is no food, other than a few snacks on the island, so bring a packed lunch and very important, bring a garbage bag. You have the bring your refuse back to Tobermory with you as there are no garbage bags on the island. 

Cell phone reception is spotty on the island, which is to be expected in such a remote area.

Bring bug spray. They have biting flies on the island and they sure did love me.

Bring comfortable shoes or hiking boots. There is a lot to explore on the island and flip flops just don't cut it. 

And above all else, have yourself a great time! 

Many thanks to Blue Heron Cruises for such a lovely, adventure filled day! 

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Christmas at the Delhi Tobacco Museum

This Christmas season I am committing to visiting a few museums in my area and I encourage you to do the same. It's a great opportunity to learn about your hometown, or adopted town's, history and it's an activity the whole family can participate in. Many museums hold workshops or special events, like the Traditional Turkey Dinner night I recently attended at the Delhi Tobacco Museum.

After our delicious dinner set to live music, including a Christmas carol sing along, we toured some of the permanent exhibits in the museum.

Oh Canada!

I love old luggage, especially monogrammed ones!

Immigrants arriving in Halifax Harbour 1898

How many of you woke up early to watch Kate and Wills get married? I was up with tea in hand to see Kate's beautiful dress. Delhi is located in Norfolk County, settled in the 18th century by English, Scottish and Irish immigrants. I feel a great affinity for their history as the child of a Scottish immigrant. 

The museum also has a great collection of old photos, maps and town records!

I should probably mention that after dinner door prizes are given out and The Youngest, who also happened to be the youngest person in attendance, won the door prize!

This Christmas season support your local museum! Leave a comment on where you will be visiting so we can all learn a little about your hometown!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Guide to Galt

A while back my dear friend Jordana of the blog White Cabana and I spent some time shopping in downtown Galt, also known as Cambridge. The cities of Galt, Hespeler and Preston amalgamated in 1973 but the names of each area are so ingrained in the psyche of locals that I don't see the names disappearing anytime soon. 

Galt is quickly becoming the design destination in Southern Ontario. The area has some great antiques shops and home furnishings and design stores! Some of these shops I have visited many times (Art of Home anyone?) and some I visited for the first time on this trip! I wanted to share with y'all my Guide to Galt and since I finally got Photoshop back, I wanted to brush up on my skills! There is so much to see and do in Galt, this is just a quick shopping adventure for a morning or afternoon out. 

1. The Art of Home - I have posted a few times (here & here) about this wonderful little shop. It is a great place to start your visit for a variety of reasons, one of them being that the public parking lot is just behind their main entrance and they have a backdoor entrance from the parking lot. The perfect store to pick up a custom made monogrammed pillow, houseware items or a gift for yourself or a friend. The shop fills me with so many ideas, it's like Pinterest IRL! I've never left the store without buying a little something.

2. Cornerstone Home Interiors - To say this store is huge really doesn't accurately convey how truly large it is. Set in a former mall, Cornerstone has filled the two floors with everything you would need to furnish your home and not one of the 50,000 sq.ft. of the store is left empty. You could, and I have, spend the better part of an afternoon here looking for that one of a kind item. The decor selections cover a wide range of styles and they are always replenishing and changing with the season. I have purchased quite a few items from here, my absolute favorite item is the painting I bought for my dining room.

3. Antiques & More - A very deceiving shop at 71 Dickson St (just behind Main St.). The shop appears small from the outside but inside is another story! Floor to ceiling displays a variety of antiques and newer collectibles, but that's not it. There is an entire basement to explore! It was in the basement that I found a blue willow mixing bowl (for only $5, you read that right, $5!!! Start the car! Start the car!) which we use almost everyday. We spent a good amount of time here and I still feel like I didn't see it all. Come prepared to dig for your treasure and brush up on your bartering skills.

4. Monigram Coffee Roasters - A great little coffee shop tucked away from Main St (you can see it across the parking lot from the back entrance of Art of Home) that roasts their coffee beans on premises. While having breakfast at Langdon Hall I remarked that the coffee was so smooth I decided to drink it black (I usually add milk to my coffee) and they informed me it was from Monigram! Since I already had 3 cups on the morning of my visit I had their fruit infused iced tea served in a wine glass. It was lovely. They also have a lunch and dessert menu.

5. Willow House - Not only does this beautiful shop stock some amazing housewares (my mom bought a few things for her home last week!) but they offer one stop design services! You can work with the Willow House team on everything from window coverings to full renovations. Follow them on Instagram for daily inspiration and a peak into some of their spectacular work (the kitchens and dining room renos are my fav!).

6. Beauty Bank - While we didn't have any time to sit and enjoy a pedicure or manicure on the day of our visit, I will be making a special trip back just to visit this salon! Beauty Bank is housed in the historic Bank of Montreal building on Main St. Jordana and I wanted to view the architecture so we stopped in and looked around. The perimeter has spa chairs and all the original architectural details still remain. Everything is crisp, clean and sparkles like a spa should!

There are so many other places to see in Galt like the Southworks Antiques and Outlet Mall, Cambridge Farmer's Market and the many restaurants and stores just off of Main St. making Galt the perfect place to spend a fall afternoon exploring everything from the shopping to the architecture. Bring your camera, it's a very photogenic city within a city. 

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Grand Bend

(Instagram @Celebr8thislife)

We finally made it to the beach! After a few rainy weekends we finally got a nice hot sunny day so we packed up the car and headed to Ontario's West Coast. 

My little fish couldn't wait to jump in! Well I guess he's not so little anymore since he is celebrating becoming a teenager this week!

After leaving the hubs, AMH, and the oldest under a beach umbrella, the youngest and I went exploring. Mainly we wanted to get an up close look at the amazing boats coming out of the marina!

Grand Bend Pier

Just one of the incredible sail boats we saw making its way to the Grand Bend Yacht Club (something to add to the #SummerBucketList, the annual regatta on Labour Day weekend)

We have been coming to Grand Bend since the boys were little, it's an annual tradition to celebrate the end of the school year here. Ontario's West Coast has some of the bluest water and sandy beaches, it reminds me so much of little coastal beaches on the Atlantic. It must for the boys as well since we constantly have to remind the boys its not a saltwater beach!

Grand Bend is also a very popular beach! I climbed up to the look out platform to see just how many people were here and even I was surprised! It's a great place to spend a day relaxing on a beach blanket, swimming in the water, playing beach sports, walking into town or renting one of the water vehicles they have. You can go on a power boat ride, rent a sea-do, go parasailing or even rent a water jet pack!

A play area and the splash pad is sure to keep the little ones running around! It was always a hit with my boys, they are a little too big now for it {insert mama tear here}. 

A water selfie with my boys! 

The water was warm and refreshing had to get used to it first! It was amazing to watch everyone in the water turn around when the parasailors went by. I'm still on the fence as to whether I would try it out. 

After our day was over we headed back to the car and I couldn't believe how bright and lively this little beach hotel was, it's a Lilly Pulitzer fans dream come true! The pink and green chairs are adorable and the colour combo is carried throughout the Manor bedrooms, all pink and green! 

Little note to help make your beach day at Grand Bend a successful one. Parking is at a premium here. Try and arrive as early in the day as you can, anything after 1pm and the lots are all full. Bring change and small bills with you. There are metered parking lots and private lots. We opted for a private lot at $15 and luckily we found enough change to cover it. 

What are your favourite beaches? Share in the comments below!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Langdon Hall Garden Tour

Langdon Hall is a such a peaceful getaway but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to do! The hotel offers many activities for their guests, I suggest signing up for the Langdon Hall garden tour at 10:30am. 

After breakfast we met other guests and Mario, the enthusiastic and passionate head gardener at Langdon Hall, in the lobby where he gave Jordana of White Cabana some great tips on how to grow her white orchids. Hint! Don't do the ice cube trick, it stresses the plant! Mario took the group on a tour of the grounds and spoke to us about the different gardens and the plantings in each one. 

The rear of the main building. On the right hand side you can see the oldest tree on the property, the camperdown elm. 

The elm is 150 years old and has spread out so much it created a natural canopy. I noticed little white lights woven into the branches, I'm sure it looks spectacular at night!

A nice quite place to sit a spell and listen to the sound of the water feature. 

How adorable! We happened upon an outdoor wedding ceremony awaiting the arrival of guests and the bride and groom! 

I asked Mario about this climbing hydrangea vine. I have been looking to plant something at the front of my house to train over my garage but wanted something that grew at a slower pace and had white flowers. He asked a few details about soil and sun and said this vine will work perfectly for my garden.

Next we visited the croquet lawn. I have visions of men in linen and ladies in white dresses with gloves, sipping on sweet tea and playing croquet. Next time I visit I am getting a group together to play!

Fruits and vegetables that are grown in the garden are served in the restaurants at Langdon Hall. Growing in the foreground is garlic, I had no idea that this is what garlic looked like!

I loved the field of daisies and was surprised to learn of all the different ways they use them such as pickling the unopened blooms to add to charcuterie plates. Mario showed us how to look at all the plants a little differently. Every part of the plant is used, like using the flowers of the parsley plant because they impart a slightly different flavour. Chef Bangerter comes to the garden often to select items, you can see some of his amazing creations on his instagram page @langdonhallchef.

Our last stop was the greenhouse where Mario and his team germinate the seeds before planting in the vegetable gardens. On this long gardening table we were able to see all the herbs sprouting. 

The greenhouse also had an assortment of warm loving plants and ones that have not yet made their way into the garden like this beautiful passion flower. 

Many thanks to Kate for hosting and to Mario for the informative tour!