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Namaste, Ladies!

27 Jun
Jennifer Reaburn

Jenn starting off the session.

by Diva Calista Powell This past month Bayfield hosted their annual Girl’s Getaway Weekend and I was lucky enough to participate in a yoga session with a beautiful backdrop of Lake Huron. Hosted by Kirsten Harrett, owner of Deer Park Lodge, the ladies and I headed on down to the beach and the weather could not have been better. We were taught by Jennifer Reaburn, yogi extraordinaire and she lead us through some relaxing sun salutations and a guided meditation. Although this was the only event I was able to participate in during this weekend, from what I heard the cocktail party was a blast and everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves. What a great way to kick back and have some much needed girl time. I don’t know about the rest of you out there but I will most definitely keep my eyes peeled for next year’s Bayfield Getaway!

To check out the beautiful accommodations that Deer Park Lodge has to offer visit their website at:http://deerparklodge.com/
Hands to heart

Hands to heart centre and ‘omm’ everybody!

Girl’s Getaway

Hanging out with the ladies who participated in the Girl’s Getaway Weekend.

Bayfield Girls Getaway

 

Be a Tourist in your own Backyard

18 Jun

by Diva Claire Carter
As a recent transplant, I still feel like a tourist in the town of Goderich in many ways.  Although I’ve lived here for over a year, I still spend my weekends following the crowds; attending concerts, outdoor events and visiting the beach.  Here are some of my favourite ways to relax in Goderich:

Shop the Square, and explore the Farmer’s and Flea Markets

Farmers Market on the Square, Saturday's

Farmers Market on the Square, Saturday’s

The Square in Goderich is a beautiful shopping destination.  Shops have something for everyone, including clothing, home and kitchen items, jewelry and books.  If shopping isn’t your thing, or you’re hungry from too much of it, enjoy one of the great restaurants.  Whether you are in the mood for a snack, full meal or fast-casual, you will be delighted by all of the food choices.

The Farmer’s Market takes place each Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., starting in May and ending in October.  The Market is a fantastic place to buy locally grown items.  As a tourist, I would suggest picking up some items to be enjoyed right away, and some non-perishables to bring home.  The Flea Market takes place on Sundays during the same months, but starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m.  In addition to many delicious food items, unique vendors selling antiques, collectables and handmade items are also at the Flea Market.

As a tourist, I would pick up a snack or meal from one of the wonderful restaurants on the Square, or vendor from the Flea or Farmer’s Market, pick up a book, and have a picnic in the Square, or at one of many beautiful local parks.  Depending on what day it is, I might find a concert or festival in one of these settings.

Gates to Harbour Park

Gates to Harbour Park

Lions’ Harbour Park

Located right before the hill to the beach on West Street, Lions’ Harbour Park is also home to many great events throughout the year.  Weekly summer events include Circle City Cruize Nights (every second Wednesday from May 21-September 10) and Sunday Concerts (June 22- August 31).  Annual events include the Festival of Arts and Crafts and Celtic Roots Festival.  The stage makes this park great for watching concerts, while the covered gazebo ensures an enjoyable atmosphere, regardless of the weather.

On Gloucester Terrace, across from the Huron Historic Gaol, there is a lovely place to sit on the swings.  This area also happens to be a scenic lookout point, as it overlooks the harbour.  There is a cairn with a giant piece of salt nearby, and plaques that tell the story of salt in Goderich.  After enjoying a bite to eat, cross the road and visit the Huron Historic Gaol, which also happens to be a National Historic Site.  If you’re lucky enough to be in Goderich on a Tuesday or Thursday night between July 10 and August 28, consider visiting in the evening (7-9 p.m.) to enjoy a special tour called Behind the Bars.

Huron County Gaol hosts "Behind the Bars" all summer long … it's a great way to learn about local history.

Huron County Gaol hosts “Behind the Bars” all summer long … it’s a great way to learn about local history.

Once you are feeling well fueled, I would suggest visiting one of the great local trails.  Two of my favourites are the Maitland Woods Trail, and the Tiger Dunlop Trail.  Both trails are cyclist, walker, runner and dog friendly.  In the winter, bring cross-country skiis or snowshoes.

The Maitland Woods Trail is located at the south end of the Knights of Columbus Centre parking lot (390 Parsons Court).  The trails are beautiful all year long, and depending on what you are in the mood for, you can choose a number of different distances.

The Menesetung Bridge is a really beautiful walk, as it features some of the best views in Goderich.  Another walk that is different each season, this one takes you across the historic wooden Menesetung Bridge that spans the Maitland River.

Sunsets are spectacular at Rotary Cove

Sunsets are spectacular at Rotary Cove

After a long, action packed day, my final move would be to head to the beach and enjoy the sunset.   Lake Huron is known for beautiful sunsets, and I happen to think the view from Rotary Cove is pretty spectacular!  If you’re visiting on a Friday (early July – late August), come an hour before sunset, get an ice cream cone, and listen to the Celtic Blue Highlanders pipe the sun down.

(Photo Credit:  Pat Carter)

The view from Menesetung Bridge - great place for a hike

The view from Menesetung Bridge – great place for a hike

Winter trails ...

Winter trails …

Maitland Trail … another great place to explore flora and fauna

Maitland Trail … another great place to explore flora and fauna

 

 

 

 

 

The Sun Shone and Shines on 14/19

4 Jun the crowd pauses to enjoy entertainment along the trail during "Follow the Light"
the crowd pauses to enjoy entertainment along the trail during "Follow the Light"

the crowd pauses to enjoy entertainment along the trail during “Follow the Light”

by Diva Gwen Let me be clear; I love theatre, I love local talent, I love supporting grassroots initiatives, but more than that; I love being outside & moving! (as in not sitting, not as in packing boxes and saying goodbyes). So attending Follow the Light on Friday May 30th was golden in every way, including the warm evening sunshine. 14/19 Inc. presented a creative way to showcase local talent, and to broaden our perspective about what “art” truly is. Set along a lovely trail in Blyth, groups were guided on a walk that rambled over hills, fields and streams, with frequent stops along the way. We enjoyed theatrical performances and wonderful musical offerings as would be expected, but the organizers also had the wisdom to include weavers, painters, kayak, canoe and furniture builders, and even a fly fisherman. It was such a pleasant evening to be active and outdoors, and to be reminded that art is everywhere if we choose to see it, and that changing a venue can let us see the familiar in a fresh way. 14/19 Inc. is a promising and energetic initiative that will support the renovation of the Blyth Memorial Community Hall – home of the Blyth Festival –  and will develop and revitalize the charming and artistic community of Blyth through arts and culture. They have more great ideas ready to roll out, so be sure to follow them on twitter or mark them as a favourite website. Blyth Arts & Cultural Initiative 14/19 Inc 197 Dinsley Street Blyth, Ontario  N0M 1H0 email:  info@blyth1419.ca

Visual Artist Ron Walker chats with the children while painting the landscape

Visual Artist Ron Walker chats with the children while painting the landscape

twelve or so harpists from the Huron Strings Harp School delighted the participants …

twelve or so harpists from the Huron Strings Harp School delighted the participants …

Hot Apple Cider and Apple Fritters on a Sunday Afternoon

2 Oct
Hot apple cider and fresh apple fritters...mmmm!

Hot apple cider and fresh apple fritters…mmmm!

by Diva Trista Russell

This past Sunday was the annual Ciderfest in Egmondville. Held the last Sunday of September, Ciderfest is located on the grounds of the Van Egmond House at the corner of Kippen Road and Bayfield Road).

While there was a bit of rain during the afternoon, it didn’t stop people from coming out and touring the vendors market, rope making, rug braiding, and heritage demonstrations. I enjoyed some hot apple cider that was warmed in an old-fashioned cauldron. I also treated myself to some freshly-made warm apple fritters (3 for $1). The apple fritters at Ciderfest are thinly sliced apple rings coated in batter and deep-fried crispy brown. Yum! There was also hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks for sale.

I toured the Van Egmond House while I was there, which is one of the oldest homes in Huron County! During Ciderfest they also allow visitors to tour the manor for free. The house was built in 1846 by the son of Colonel Van Egmond, a leader of rebel military forces in the 1837 Rebellion.

One of the bedrooms in the Van Egmond House

One of the bedrooms in the Van Egmond House

Outside the House they had a mini straw baling demonstration, which was neat to watch. There was also lots of homemade baking, apples, and cider for sale.

Miniature farm display at Ciderfest

Miniature farm display at Ciderfest

Ciderfest is held the last Sunday of September, from 10am to 4pm, at 80 Kippen Road. Admission by donation.

Some of the vendors lined along the grounds of the Van Egmond House

Some of the vendors lined along the grounds of the Van Egmond House

Audrey’s Feast

30 Sep

IMG_4008by Diva Trista Russell

I have to admit that when I heard about this event, I had no idea who Audrey was. But after attending Audrey’s Feast, it appears that Audrey was wonderful inspiration to our community, and especially the Farmers’ Market in my hometown of Exeter. Unfortunately, she recently passed away, but it was evident from the kind words spoken throughout the night that her inspiration still lives on.

Audrey’s Feast was a long-table style dinner that was held in a tent right beside Main Street in Exeter. Audrey’s Feast was inspired by Audrey McFalls, who saw similar events celebrating local food held in neighbouring regions and wanted to bring it to Exeter. The proceeds from the Feast went to the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre and the Exeter Farmers’ Market. The servers throughout the night were all vendors from the Farmers’ Market. Dinner was catered by Devin Tabor of Bon Vivant Personal Chef Service, and live music by Devon Martene and Jon Gill.

The delicious dinner started off with an amuse-bouche (bite size appetizer) of smoked Lake Huron fish, mixed greens with roasted beets, and roasted sweet potato soup. For the main course, there was roast beef with gravy and horseradish cream sauce, and honey dijon roast chicken. This was accompanied with a medley of veggies, smashed potato with roasted garlic, and fresh rolls with seasoned butter. The dessert was an an apple crumble with fresh raspberries, chantilly cream and mint. Yum!

IMG_4009The dinner featured items from Barrking Hill FarmBayfield Berry FarmCedar Villa Angus FarmsFirmly Rooted FarmGood Luck GardensMcClymont Century OrchardSheldon Berries, The Home Farm, and Cudmore Farm.

Guest speaker for the evening was Andrew Fleet, who is Director of Growing Chefs! Ontario, a non-profit organization based in London that unites chefs, growers, educators and community members to help get kids excited about how to grow and prepare healthy food. One of the programs Growing Chefs! Ontario offers is called “Fresh Food Frenzy” which takes school kids to a local farmers’ market and then prepare a meal using market ingredients.

He also spoke about how we need to change how the way we look at food, as often we look at eating as an inconvenience in our busy day. He said that Europeans, especially Italians, have it right: they look at food and eating as a priority, and fit the other things in life around food.

I hope this event happens again next year!

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Each diner got to take home a package from Egg Farmers Ontario, including a handy microwave egg cooker.

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I was one of the lucky winners who got to take home a beautiful centrepiece of fresh cut flowers from Cudmore Farms!

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Some wonderful ladies from London that I met at Audrey’s Feast. Hope you enjoyed the evening!

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A sample of the items you can purchase at the Exeter Farmers’ Market.

Prairie Nurse

26 Aug
The Hunt

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

by Diva Nicole Olson

On Tuesday this week, I had a lovely evening out at the Blyth Festival theatre. I went to see Prairie Nurse, by Marie Beath Badian and directed by Sue Miner. As described by the playwright, it was a “fictional play based on real-life folks.” It was set in 1969 in a small town hospital in Saskatchewan, where two nurses from the Philippines came to work. The lab technician falls in love with one of them, but can’t tell them apart and thus, comedy ensues.

The show has a tough-as-nails head nurse, a hunting and fishing crazed doctor, a sweet but meddling candy striper, a caring and fatherly custodian, hockey star goalie/goofy lab technician, along with the two sweet, but home sick Filipino nurses. Combine all of these quirky characters and you get an enjoyable show full of laughs. I definitely enjoyed the fun, light hearted nature of the performance. They found ways to incorporate common stereotypes and make it tastefully funny.

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

There was hardly a spare seat in the theatre, and lots of chuckles could be heard from the audience! To see this show, or other fantastic productions at the Blyth Festival Theatre, check out their website http://www.blythfestival.com/ or call the Box Office.

Blyth Festival
423 Queen Street
Blyth ON N0M 1H0
Toll Free: 1-877-862-5984
Local: (519) 523-9300
Fax: (519) 523-9804
Email: info@blythfestival.com

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

Clinton’s Trial Farmer’s Market Deemed a Success

15 Aug

P1020268by Diva Karen Stewart
Clinton & Central Huron BIA has a trial Summer Market operating Wednesdays until September 4 from 8am to 2pm at the Library Park.   “Originally planned to close on August 14th, the market was extended a couple of weeks as this season’s unique weather sees produce maturing later than is typical here,” says Co-ordinator Sandy Garnet. “Downtown businesses report increased traffic and there’s a strong desire from our merchants to expand the season in 2014.”

There are vendors who sell fresh meats, fresh baked goods (including gluten free), cheese, maple syrup and honey, farm fresh eggs, as well as home made crafts and one of a kind items. The main feature, however, is the farmers and their fresh picked fruits and vegetables.   Averaging ten vendors each week, the market can easily accommodate up to 20 and hopes to encourage more vendors from Central Huron.

Check out some of the local flavour featured at the Farmers’ Market.  And, if you’re gluten free check out the Almond White Chocolate Coconut Squares from Humble Roots Bakery – I can vouch for them … they are quite tasty.

Location:

The Market is located 27 Albert Street, Clinton, Ontario N0M 1L0
Wednesday 8am – 2pm, until September 4th

Contacts:

Sandy Garnet, Made in Huron, 519-525-0671 (Made in Huron on Facebook)
Nina,  ReLook Nook, 519-606-4001  (Re-Look Nook on Facebook)

4 year old Landin Carter

4 year old Landin Carter

Gluten Free, Lactose Free and reduced sugar baking from Humble Roots Bakery in Milverton.

Gluten Free, Lactose Free and reduced sugar baking from Humble Roots Bakery in Milverton.

P1020271

Ross Dobie of Auburn sold frozen meats and fresh vegetables for a Hurno County-based Mennonite friend. Ross Dobie of Auburn sold frozen meats and fresh vegetables for a Hurno County-based Mennonite friend.

Pauleen Kerkhof, a local Epicure consultant is a regular vendor at the Market.

Pauleen Kerkhof, a local Epicure consultant is a regular vendor at the Market.

Behind the Bars

15 Aug
Huron County's Gaol is a National Historic site.

Huron County’s Gaol is a National Historic site.

By Diva Trista Russell

I think this one of the coolest (and relatively unknown) summer events in Huron County! “Behind the Bars” is an interactive tour of the Huron Historic Gaol in Goderich. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings from July to August, you can explore the gaol and interact with volunteers who step into the role of late-1800s prisoners. I have to confess that I’m not much of a museum fanatic, but I really enjoyed this as it was interactive and entertaining!

The Huron Historic Gaol served as the County Jail from 1842 to 1972 and now is a designated National Historic Site. One thing I didn’t realize before is that the building housed the County Courts and Council Chambers on the top floor. The gaol also held prisoners not only from Huron County, but also from neighbouring Perth and Bruce Counties as well.

Meeting characters from the past

Meeting characters from the past

Upon entering the gaol, there is an opportunity to sign the guestbook and state your “crime”. After paying the $10 admission fee, I was greeted by a museum attendant who explained some of the faces of the gaol I might meet. There are three floors to explore, as well as the Governor’s House. The cell blocks, kitchen, laundry room, Gaoler’s apartment, surgeon room, courtroom, and holding rooms/cells are all open for viewing. In almost every room there were opportunities to meet and question those who were representing the men, women and children who lived and worked behind the bars. There were also little excerpts on the walls that detailed the background of some of the prisoners. I quickly learned that some prisoners committed serious crimes, and other some very minor offences. I got to meet a young boy, around 13 years old, who was incarcerated for not having a job!

IMG_3764Each one of the prisoners did a wonderful job of representing and staying in character. I had a nice chat with the Governor’s daughter about life in the 1800s, and when I explained why I was visiting, she was was quite perplexed about what a “blog” was. Imagine explaining technology to someone growing up in the early 1900s!

IMG_3774What is truly amazing is that everything in the building is original to that time period and still works. One of the tour guides in the Governor’s House told me that the radiator in the bedroom still works to this day exactly as it did over 100 years ago!

As an extra treat, refreshments were served outside on the court yard.  It’s recommended that you allow at least 45 minutes for the tour. I easily spent over an hour exploring the building.

I had never been to the Historic Gaol before so this was a first-time experience for me. The chance to interact with these characters definitely makes this a truly unique attraction, and in my opinion is a great way to spend a summer evening learning about history. Plus, how often can you tell people that you went to jail for a night?

Behind the Bars Gaol Tours
Tuesday & Thursday evenings until August 29, 2013, 7 PM to 9 PM (last entry 8:30PM)
Admission: Adults: $10, Children: $5; Families: $25; Ages 5 & under: Free; Members: FreeLocation: Huron Historic Gaol, 181 Victoria St. North, Goderich

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One Cell Block

One Cell Block

IMG_3780 IMG_3781 IMG_3783 IMG_3785Contact: museum@huroncounty.ca

A Great Week of Music in Exeter

25 Jul

july-16

by Diva Trista Russell

 

The Bach Music Festival of Canada held great concerts all last week in Exeter. It featured a classical music concert each night, as well as free noon-hour concerts. I went to the Tuesday night concert where “Capella Intima” performed and presented their programme “Celestial Sirens: Music of the Benedictine Nuns of Milan”. The evening featured sopranos Emily Klassen and Erin Bardua, alto Jennifer Enns Modolo, tenor Bud Roach, and portative organist Erika Reiman.

 

The concert featured vocal chamber music of the 17th century and included readings that detailed the controversial music during this time period. The Benedictine nuns were a major source of music in Italy in the 17th century as forty percent of young girls were sent into convents in the country. The nuns attracted many fans to their music and the church leaders struggled with their fame and the necessity of living a reclusive life. This type of music has only come to light in recent years, as more people are gaining interest in historically informed performances.

 

It was definitely a unique opportunity to hear this rarely heard music. I can tell you that these four singers are very talented and it was amazing to hear how they can reach such high notes and create beautiful harmonies. One of my favourite pieces of the night was “Regina Caeli” which starts out with two singers singing in echo but then join together to change into a harmony.

 

IMG_3363Each evening concert featured a reception in “Johann’s Pub” under the big white tent next to the Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, where the majority of concerts were held.

 

To hear some of Capella Intima, visit the audio page of their website. I wasn’t able to take photos during the performance, but you can view these photos by Karen Brown.

 

All of this years concerts are over, but the Bach Festival of Canada will be “bach” in July 2014!

 


							

It’s Festival Season in Huron County

12 Jul

by Diva Karen Stewart

Huron County is alive with Festivals and events all summer long.  There is simply no shortage of activities for residents and visitors of all ages to enjoy.  Ranging from world-class music festivals to arts and crafts, live theatre, car shows, motor sports, birding, and fishing festivals, there really is something for everyone.  Many are offered outdoors in the streets, on the beach or in wonderful park venues.  And, while many activities and events are free, these gatherings are all quite accessible and offer a sense of belonging to a community with other like-minded people.

This weekend (July 10-13) the Kinsmen Club of Goderich is hosting Summerfest – a popular family Festival that includes a midway on Kingston Street and lots of fun activities on the Beach in Goderich including a Youth Talent Contest and a Youth Dance, a volley ball tournament, free live music, food and refreshments    A neat event offered today (Friday July 12) is an Employee Appreciation Lunch at the Kinsmen Food Booth (go ahead, ask your boss to treat you to lunch today).  For more information visit www.goderichkinsmen.ca.  You can follow Goderich Kinsmen on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the minute event updates.

Artistic Director of the Bach Music Festival, Gerald Fagan

Artistic Director of the Bach Music Festival, Gerald Fagan

This weekend also kicks off the biennial Bach Music Festival in South Huron.  The inaugural Festival sold out two years ago, so don’t miss your chance to enjoy world-class music at one of the evening concerts offered nightly from July 14-20 or during the free lunch hour concerts series.   Pack your lunch or visit one of the local restaurants which are supporting the Brown Bag Lunch Series by offering Bach-elicious lunch specials all week long.  This is music at its finest being offered right here in Huron County!

Coming up on July 20 is the Birding Festival hosted by the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority (and they just hosted a Fishing Festival a week or so ago!).  This day is “devoted to our feathered friends.”  Learn tips and tricks to identify birds by sight and sound; enjoy a Birds of Prey Flying Demonstration, Special Activities and Games, and take part in the FRCA Bird Olympics.

Festival of Arts and CraftsLast weekend the Huron Women’s Shelter and Second Stage Housing hosted the annual Festival of Arts & Crafts.  This annual event has typically been housed on the Square but after the tornado a new home needed to be found.  This year, the Festival was held at Harbour Park on the banks of beautiful Lake Huron.  Eighty-eight artisans, crafters, painters, photographers and sculptors displayed and sold their creations during the free, outdoor, three-day festival.  Attending this Festival has become an annual tradition for me as I hunt for the perfect gifts for summer wedding or birthday gifts.  This year I treated myself to a fun pair of drop earrings hand-crafted by Jen McKee of jeelee joolery and purchased two gifts – whimsical one-of-a-kind clocks featuring watercolours filled with bright, unique hand-drawn images from Malu Comboye who’s business name “Skip to Malu Designs” struck my fancy.  I know my friends will enjoy these too.

SkiptoMalu.com

SkiptoMalu.com

Jelee Joolery - www.jeelee.ca

Jelee Joolery – http://www.jeelee.ca

For the full schedule of Festivals and events on Ontario’s West Coast visit the website at www.ontarioswestcoast.ca.

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