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Laithwaite Apple Park, a fun family outing

14 Nov applesfrompark_1

by Diva Rachel Lynn
A couple of weekends ago our family visited Laithwaite Apple Park.  The park is located 1km east of Goderich on hwy 8.   It’s not just an apple park.  It’s also a farm that has many sculptures from cement, metal, fieldstone and found materials by George Laithwaite (1873-1956).  Some of the figures were created as satirical or political commentary on world events, while others were based on comic strip characters.  Most of his statues were created as a hobby during slow economic times.

statueapplepark_1

The Apple Park also features a farm store selling seasonal products.  Some products include apples, fruit in season, potatoes, honey, jam, apple butter, apple cider, squash and many more.  It is open year round.

Products available at Apple Park

Products available at Apple Park

On our visit we had pumpkins in mind as well as apples.  There are so many kinds of apples so I asked which one I should use for apple pie.  Pauline (one of the owners) mentioned she likes Courtland.  These apples were huge!  And delicious too.  Thanks to Pauline’s suggestion, I made a mean apple pie.

applesfrompark_1

Bea choosing her pumpkin

Bea choosing her pumpkin

pumpkins found a happy home.

pumpkins found a happy home.

Although our main purpose was pumpkins and apples we also picked up Robinson’s Maple syrup, spaghetti squash and a rutabaga.  I love good food and supporting local.

Laithwaite Apple Park
35563 Huron Rd,
Goderich
519-524-7763.

DUCK Dinner at Samuels enjoyed by this Travel Diva

12 Nov Finish - Fresh Concord Grape Mousse

by Diva Rachel Lynn

I think the name of this dinner should be renamed to “mmmmmmm”.  Seriously.  I recently had the pleasure of attending my first Food for Thought dinner at Samuels Hotel, just north of Goderich.  It was my girlfriend Caroline who suggested that we go.  I made reservations right away because any event I’ve ever attended at Samuels sells out fast! The food prepared had many local suppliers: Bayfield Berry Farm, Weth Mushrooms, Firmly Rooted, Shanahan’s Meats and Everspring Farms. As we waited for our starter, the owner of Everspring Farms, Dale Donaldson, told us a bit about Muscovy duck: they have a distinct flavor (like beef), Males are larger than females, lower in fat. starterddm_1Our started was Duck and Shiitake Dumplings:  fried dumplings with duck, shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts. Salad (sorry no picture, It was too good and ¾ gone by the time I remembered). Baby kale, sweet potato, curried quinoa and cranberries.

Main

Main

Muscovy Duck Breast, white bean puree, brussel sprouts . The duck was seared with black currant cassis sauce, white bean puree, bacon and lemon brussels sprouts.

Finish

Finish

Concord Grape Mousse, fresh off the vine grapes whipped into a light creamy mousse. I thought at many points throughout my meal that I may need to smack hands away from my duck and mousse.  To say it was delicious is a serious understatement.

Kim Burgsma, chef and owner of Samuels Hotel came by our table at the end of our meal to say hello.  I couldn’t say enough good things about the meal and about Kim.

To find out more about Samuels Hotel, please visit www.samuelshotel.ca  This is a must see place in Huron County.

Samuels Hotel Inc.
34031 Saltford Rd
Goderich, ON N7A 4C6
(519) 524-1371
www.samuelshotel.ca

 

Huron County Suppliers: Bayfield Berry Farm, Weth Mushrooms, Firmly RootedShanahan’s Meats  and Everspring Farms.

Seaforth welcomes return of the Centenaires

9 Oct

by Diva Melody Hodgson

Seaforth is a hockey town, as are most towns in rural Ontario and Canada for that matter.  What Seaforth has been lacking however, is a hockey team to bring you to the arena on a Saturday night, with your friends or family (or both).  Until now.  On Saturday, Seaforth welcomed with wide open arms the return of the Centenaires which had been absent since 2003 when the team folded from the Junior ‘D’ development league.  Renamed the Huron East Centenaires, the SR AA hockey team took the ice for the first time to a near capacity arena, amidst cheers, whistles, loud enthusiastic clapping and fists banging on the glass.

A little action shot (photo courtesy of Dave Scott)

A little action shot (photo courtesy of Dave Scott)

What began as the vision of a few, turned into something that the whole community could experience and enjoy.  People of all ages piled into the arena and filled the stands as well as the newly renovated Blue Line Club to watch the game.  They reminisced over their memories of the team from years ago, and looked forward to cheering for their new boys this season and beyond.

The new team may have a new logo, but it carries with it the tradition of the Centenaires past.  See you next Saturday, Seaforth.

Joyce and Marg McClure along with Ben Lobb drop the first puck with Centenaires captain Brendon Merritt and Drives captain Dan Rhames (photo courtesy of Dave Scott)

Joyce and Marg McClure along with Ben Lobb drop the first puck with Centenaires captain Brendon Merritt and Drives captain Dan Rhames (photo courtesy of Dave Scott)

Mary Paige St. Onge sang O’Canada with the two teams, alumni, officials and the packed stands.

Mary Paige St. Onge sang O’Canada with the two teams, alumni, officials and the packed stands.

The Cents Memorabilia wall in the newly renovated Blue Line Club

The Cents Memorabilia wall in the newly renovated Blue Line Club

Some of the most memorable moments in Cents history

Some of the most memorable moments in Cents history

 

Fall Colour Tour made for a nice family outing

8 Oct
Harper and I in front of the Belgrave Creek

Harper and I in front of the Belgrave Creek

by Diva Melody Hodgson
Years ago we used to promote motocross races a few kilometers up from the Wawanosh Nature Centre, passing the signs early each morning and long after the sun had set in the evening, but we never ventured over.  Erin Dolmage, the Community Education Technician at Maitland Valley Conservation Authority (which includes the centre), has also come out to our Outdoor Sports Camp at the farm* for the past two years, and yet still we have never ventured over.  So this morning, when Twitter and Ontario’s West Coast informed me of the Fall Colour Tour taking place at the Wawanosh Nature Centre, we made plans to load up and finally venture over to the facility for the first time.

Erin Dolmage of the MVCA giving us a brief history on the facilty.

Erin Dolmage of the MVCA giving us a brief history on the facilty.

The Wawanosh Nature Centre is located approximately 7KM northwest of Blyth on what used to be a farmer’s field.  The result of a tree planting expedition forty years ago is a heavily forested area split by the Maitland River and Belgrave Creek, home to many species of critter and plant alike.  The leafy trails, mossy trees and hidden nooks and crannies had the dreamer in me working in overdrive, expecting to find my favourite childhood storybook characters around each corner.

WawanoshNatureHike

The Fall Colour Tour welcomed visitors (we were actually blown away by the number of people who came to the centre) of all ages, from newborns to grandmas and grandpas.  The Huron Stewardship Council was on site with live reptiles (snakes and turtles!), there were wagon rides, guided walking tours, hot dogs and fresh apple cider, all of which was free to the public (however donations were accepted in support of the centre).  It was a wonderful day, at a beautiful facility and, as always, made me glad that we ventured out.

Wawanosh Nature Centre
38854 Nature Centre Road | west off Hwy #4, between Blyth & Belgrave
@maitlandvalley
or Visit Wawanosh Nature Centre on Facebook

*Farm being Walton Raceway…it used to be a dairy farm many years ago, and is still called “the farm” out of habit.

MVCAlearningCentre

From leeches to crayfish, the creek and river have it all! The MVCA had a learning centre set up for visitors to see the residents of the local water ecosystems.

 

 

The Huron Stewardship Council had many eager visitors.

The Huron Stewardship Council had many eager visitors.

The Huron Stewardship Council were also on site to educate visitors about local reptile species, including snakes and turtles.  The council members were totally at ease handling the snakes and turtles, which helped the visitors to get over their fears and do the same.  Here I am learning how to properly handle a snapping turtle if I happen to find one on the road!

The Huron Stewardship Council were also on site to educate visitors about local reptile species, including snakes and turtles. The council members were totally at ease handling the snakes and turtles, which helped the visitors to get over their fears and do the same. Here I am learning how to properly handle a snapping turtle if I happen to find one on the road!

“Flying” down the trails at Wawanosh.

“Flying” down the trails at Wawanosh.

A Friday Night Fireside Cafe Visit

6 Oct
The Fireside Cafe offers a warm and comfortable dining experience

The Fireside Cafe offers a warm and comfortable dining experience

by Diva Calista Powell

As a loyal Huron-Countian and supporter of local business, I thought I had discovered all of the neighbourhood gems. This past Friday, however, I got the chance to take a break from the books and go out for dinner at The Fireside Cafe on Highway #4, just outside of Wingham. Growing up, I did not visit North Huron much (other than for soccer games), so I feel as if I have a lot of catching up to do in this area. When I heard a lot of talk around town about The Fireside Cafe, I decided it’d be a great way to spend my Friday visit back home.

As I pulled up, I was intrigued to see what was inside this little building on the side of the road. We were greeted with a smile into this trendy little establishment, and it embodied a welcoming and warm atmosphere that made the Fireside Cafe true to its name. It got even better when I saw that they offered a salad bar with the stuffed chicken special, so before I even sat down I knew what I was having for dinner. My Grandma, Polly, decided that she would indulge in the other special, and chose the fish; A lightly battered roughy with a dill cream sauce. This time, she seemed very reluctant to share a morsel of her fish with me, but thankfully for the sake of writing this article for Ontario Travel Diva’s, I can vouch for the fact that the Fireside Cafe can whip up a mean roughy. Thanks, Grandma and thank you Fireside Cafe for a wonderful night out!

 

My stuffed chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

My stuffed chicken with garlic mashed   potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Grandma Polly’s lightly-battered roughy with a hot potato salad and veggies.

Grandma Polly’s lightly-battered roughy with a hot potato salad and veggies.

The Fireside Cafe offers an all-you-can-eat buffet on Saturday and Sunday evenings which includes soup, salad and the dessert bar.

Must Try: Homemade tortilla chips and salsa from the salad bar.

Must Try: Homemade tortilla chips and salsa from the salad bar.

They also feature a wonderful Sunday brunch from 11:30am-2:00pm on Sundays.

They even have a menu for gluten-conscious diners!

To view the Fireside Cafe’s menu visit their website at: www.thefiresidecafe.com/

Follow their culinary journey on Facebook at:
www.facebook.com/winghamfiresidecafe

FIRESIDE CAFE
86348 London Road (Hwy #4) about 2 minutes south of
Wingham, ON.

 

Photo 4 Caption: 

Polly looking pleased about her pecan flan.

Polly looking pleased about her pecan flan.

The smorgasbord of desserts that The Fireside Cafe offers. Decisions, decisions!

The smorgasbord of desserts that The Fireside Cafe offers. Decisions, decisions!

Bea Loves Books

1 Oct

by Diva Rachel Lynn

What do you do with a 1 year old on a rainy fall day?  Head to the Huron County Library.  Bea loves books.  We have been reading her books since she was a wee baby.  Her book shelves are full; some of her favourites are Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr and I Love My Daddy Because by Laurel Porter-Gaylord.

I bundle her up and off we go to the Goderich Branch.  There is a children’s section of the library which is great!  We head down the steps once we enter the library to a sea of books.  The place is all to ourselves as no other children are there.

I found this book on the shelf and it seemed appropriate for a day like today: Rain Rain Go Away, by Caroline Jayne Church

library book photo

She is trying to tell me she wants that one on the third shelf….reach!!!

image

A little side note. I love the fact that there is a washroom on the same level as the children’s books.  You don’t have to walk your children up to the 3rd level.  A minor detail to some, but very important to parents.

It was a wonderful 1st mother-daughter experience at the Huron County Library.  We last about 30 minutes before it was time to head home.  It is a place where your children can explore different worlds, people and things through pictures and stories.  I hope she continues to love books.  This is a place that will become a ritual for us…rainy day or not.

A few facts about the Huron County Libraries:

-There are 12 local branches for you to choose from
-As long as you have a library card, you can rent movies for FREE!
-Wondering what to read next? Sign up for NextReads, their free e-newsletters, and get great book suggestions by email.

To visit a Huron County Library, please visit their website www.huroncounty.ca/library/ for hours and locations.

Until next time!

Rachel

New Book Illustrates Huron County

17 Aug

The landscapes, communities and lifestyles of Huron County are featured in 167 colour photos inside a fabulous 128 page photo book entitled “The Beauty and Bounty of Huron County”. This volume is the third  hard cover photo book published by T. Wegg Photography, a regional publisher who specializes in books which expand the understanding and appreciation of rural Ontario.

Beauty-and-Bounty-of-Huron-CountySections in the book highlight aerial photos, wildlife images and views relating to Huron’s productive and varied agricultural foundation. In addition, an extensive segment is devoted to the rural landscapes, historic towns and quiet villages that are a particular attraction of Huron County. The volume thus becomes a comprehensive visual survey that will serve as a treasured keepsake and a valuable resource for both residents and visitors.

The photo collection is a collaboration of three photographers. Telfer Wegg is known from previous books and publications featuring his images of rural Ontario. Contributors David Bishop and Bonnie Sitter are Huron County photographers whose systematic explorations of back roads and byways with their cameras have enabled them to capture dramatic visions of Huron County seldom seen by casual observers.

THE BEAUTY AND BOUNTY OF HURON COUNTY
Photographs by Telfer Wegg, David Bishop, Bonnie Sitter
Hardcover – 8.75 x 12 inches – 128 pages – full colour – $40
ISBN 978-0-9698207-6-5
For further information, please contact:
Bonnie Sitter
Bonnie.Sitter@gmail.com
tel: 519 235 1909

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