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If you like wine, country drives and supporting local business, check out Maelstrom Winery

25 Sep



By Diva Shari Parsons

CLINTON – Sunny days call for jumping in the car and exploring our area.

I had seen an article on the new Maestrom Winery located southeast of Clinton, the first commercial winery in Huron County, and since my hubby had worked in the wine and spirits industry for many years and was interested in checking it out, off we went.

IMG_2421Although the address for the winery is in Seaforth, we discovered that we had to input Clinton on our GPS in order to find it. The winery is on Sanctuary Line just off Hwy. 8. There were smallish home-made road signs on each side of the highway and another one at a large, tan brick farmhouse.

We went down the driveway and parked under some trees across from the garage. One of the garage doors was open and we could see that inside was a small office and a table with wine bottles upon it.

IMG_2415We were greeted by a tall, pleasant young man named Brian, son of vintners Jim and Catherine Landsborough. I asked Brian about the inspiration for the winery’s name and he told me that it came from Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “Descent Into the Maelstrom”. The following is an explanation from the winery’s website:

“The Name – A Maelstrom is a powerful tidal current or whirlpool. In literature a Maelstrom is almost always used metaphorically to depict adversity and the hidden opportunities presented by that hardship. We chose the name to reflect our belief that challenges give rise to opportunity and, as is the case in Edgar Allen Poe’s descent into the Maelstrom, sometimes opportunity comes in the form of a wine barrel.”

IMG_2419The Landsborough’s descent into the maelstrom began in 2009 with the planting of the first vines of a single variety of grape. Now in 2015, there are eight acres planted with eight different varieties of grapes and it has been their first year of wine production. Maestrom Winery produces two white wines, Frontenac Blanc and Chardonnay, and two red wines, Tempest and Pinot Noir.

Brian offered us a wine tasting which I deferred to my husband as he is the “expert” and I am sensitive to yeasts. My hubby’s favourite was Tempest but he said that all the wines were comparable in quality and taste with any of the similar VQA wines that he has dealt with.

Maestrom Winery is also branching out into hard cider. They would like to use local apples but last year’s crops were damaged by frost in this area so this first cider pressing is made using apples from Collingwood. Unfortunately we were unable to sample the cider as it was not quite ready.

IMG_2413Both the wine and the cider are bottled at the winery. The wines range in price from $21 – $25 a bottle and while you can buy less expensive wine in a store, one must remember that this is a new, small output facility. You can purchase using cash, debit or credit.

After a pleasant and informative chat and wine tasting, we asked if we could see the vineyards. The vines are located just down the road on cattle pasture land. We enjoyed a stroll down the road admiring the ripening fruit in the quiet sunshine – quiet except for the blasting of the bird cannons – large and loud “pop-guns” on stands amongst the rows that go off at regular intervals to discourage the birds from sampling the tasty grapes.

Brian Landsborough  of Maelstrom Winery was our gracious host for the visit.

Brian Landsborough of Maelstrom Winery was our gracious host for the visit.





An affordable family day in Bayfield

10 Sep

bayfield8By Diva Caroline Thuss

BAYFIELD – Even though the last long weekend of summer has passed, there is still lots of summertime fun to be had in Bayfield. I am always surprised with all that there is going on in Bayfield. I feel this little jewel is still a bit of a secret that locals keep for themselves. Even though there are lots of people around it never feels as crazy as some other communities along the lake do during the peak of the summer.

I packed up the family for the short drive down Hwy. 21 to enjoy all that this happening place has to offer before school starts. Our full day of fun cost me just over $35, which is very reasonable considering all that we did.

bayfield1We started our day at the Clan McGregor Square enjoying the play equipment and the splash pad, which is a recent addition. Many other local families and some visitors were enjoying the shade of the large maple trees while their little ones played on the swings, diggers, and play structure. After a quick picnic lunch, we got changed into our bathing suits and cooled down in the splash pad. The water was on the cool side, which was not a bad thing with the heat and humidity being as high as it was. The Square is also the location of the Farmer’s Market every Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. until October.

Once everything was cooled off, we headed down Main Street. There are always some new stores to discover and there were several that caught my eye but they would have to wait until I was childless as my kids were excited for our next stop, the new Huron County Library, to pick out some new books. The library is always a favourite stop for my kiddos (and me too). We are a family that loves to read so to enjoy a few minutes picking out a book in a different library is always a treat. The great thing about having a Huron County library card is that you can take books out from any of the locations and enjoy so much more that they have to offer.

Next stop was to check out KryArt Studio. It is the funky barn-style structure located right beside the Little Inn that looks like it has been splattered in paint…because it has! We were checking into some possible art classes for my children and we discovered they offer drop in for kids (ages 5 and up) from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Mondays to Saturdays at a cost of $30 with materials and a professional artist that will mentor the students. My husband and I made note of this for next summer along with their week long summer camps for kids. Information is available on its website.

bayfield7We crossed the street and headed back towards our van. One last stop before we left was at Elephant Juice. This cool little juice and smoothie shop is so much more than just that. They had soaps, health products and really cool looking yoga pants and tops. As the kids were still pretty full from lunch we grabbed a kid-sized smoothie for them to share while we walked back to the van. It was gone pretty quick so plan on buying more than you need as I know the juice will last a few days in your fridge at home. Check out its website or on Facebook.

Next stop, a round of mini-putt at Gold Coast Landscaping. I know…mini-putt at a landscaping and garden centre?! This newly renovated 18-hole course is perfect for families and we had oodles of fun. The cost was low as they have a family rate of $20 for up to five people. We had lots of laughs as we discovered our kids are the biggest cheaters! We will definitely have to keep an eye on the scorecard next time as I am sure they did not get that many holes-in-one! Check out its hours online.

Last stop before we headed home was a standard stop for locals and tourist alike. The Woodlands Drive-In located right by the water tower for some soft-serve cones. It was hard to only get some ice cream when the smell of deep fried anything wafted the air.  It was great to see that they serve local Metzger’s burgers now. Check out its Facebook page for specials.

The kids were tuckered out (and so were we) by the end of the day but we plan on hitting up Bayfield more often in the summer and spend some quality date time at many of the restaurants and pubs that Bayfield has.


Other Bayfield Sites:

Albion Hotel

ArtSee Cafe & Bistro

Ashwood Inn

Bayfield Berry Farm

Bayfield General Store

Bayfield Heritage Centre & Archives

Black Dog Village Pub & Bistro

Elements of Design

Little Inn of Bayfield

Rosie’s Ice Cream Shoppe

Shop Bike Coffee Roasters

Spa in Bayfield

Stonefield Garden Centre & Market

The Red Pump

Village Bookshop

High-speed excitement waits for you at the 24th TransCan in Walton

13 Aug

motocross1By Diva Caroline Thuss

Well, I have always said that I will never turn down the opportunity to try something new. Boy, this assignment was well out of my comfort zone.

As my family and I approached the Walton Raceway, signs were everywhere indicating the large scale draw that this event has. Once through the gate, we met people from all over Ontario, New Brunswick, British Columbia and Michigan who were here to participate either as competitors or as spectators; some of the friendliest bunch of motocross fans on the earth.

motocross9Motocross was new to me. I have heard about it and understood a little about what would happen but had no clue as to how an event of this scope would be. Thank goodness we were handed a program that provided some background information and a schedule for the weeklong event.  It was thrilling to watch riders as young as four and well into their 20s (and beyond) zooming down an almost three-km dirt track that included a bunch of sharp turns and jumps with the sounds of their cc engine echoing across the raceway. Dirt was flying as they cut the sharp turns on the track and, at times, ear protection was a good idea for my children. As we moved around the track area, we were greeting by so many helpful people (spectators, competitors, volunteers and paid employees) who could tell we were greenhorns and helped enlighten us to this intense sport.

40cc, MX2 Jr B, VET jr, Supermini and Hot Lap are just some of the events that are happening at the Trans Can. As the week’s events were just getting under way, there were about 5,000-plus people there enjoying the excitement with us. That will explode to over 20,000 motocross people by the weekend. They will set up trailers and tents and camp out while enjoying and participating in Canada’s largest motocross event. Food vendors will be set up at various locations selling typical a variety of treats from local non-GMO beef burgers, sausages, spiral potato on a stick, funnel cakes and deep fried Mars bars and Reese’s peanut butter cups.

motocross5I was lucky to have some inside tips about what to expect. I have been told that Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the best days to come as that is when the final events are starting and the pros are going to be there. Friday night is the party of the week with the Huron County Throwdown with Brett Kissel hitting the stage. Saturday is the amateur finals with the fan pit party and Sunday the pros are there. I already have my two-year-old asking for a dirt bike so he can go “fast, fast, faster!” We have some new motocross fans at our house.

Weekday passes are: Adults, $15;  and Children  6-11 yr old, $5. Friday: Adults, $20; Children, 6-11 yr old $10. Motocross and Concert: Adults, $40; Children, 6-11 yr old, $20. Saturday: Adults, $25; Children,  6-11 yr old, $10. Sunday: Adults, $30; Children 6-11 yr old, $15. Your best bet is to purchase a weekend pass for a deal at: Adults, $60;  Children, 6-11yr old, $30. For more information, please check out the website

Workshops explore working with fabric, textiles

16 Jul

blyth1419paintbrushesBy Diva Heather Boa

BLYTH -A blank canvas of burlap lay on the table. Surrounding it were small pots of coloured paint, a handful of brushes, bits of sponge and even a couple of toothbrushes.

Various painting techniques yield varying results.

Various painting techniques yield varying results.

“Do you do any fabric painting?” asked Jennifer Triemstra-Johnston, a university fashion and textile arts instructor who is leading two weeks of classes created for Blyth Arts & Cultural Initiative 14/19 Inc., an ambitious arts and culture endeavour taking root in this small community.

“No. I do absolutely nothing,” I replied, with a sense of déjà vu, recalling that just last month I stood in front of a canvas in an art shop, preparing to paint my first masterpiece.

And so we started at the very beginning, my painting companions and I. We each chose two colours of paint and began to experiment on a scrap of burlap. We dipped and dabbed, wetted and flicked, sponged and sponged again. We tried watery paint, viscous paint, and even spray paint. We took aim at our canvases with toothbrushes then ran our thumbs across the paint-laden bristles, drops of paint raining down on the fabric. We sprayed paint from bottles, sometimes finding a dud bottle that squirted paint to the left or right of where we aimed. We tinted and shades.

A trio of stencilled patterns  adorn a book bag.

A trio of stencilled patterns adorn a book bag.

While we played, Jennifer gently guided us through various fabric painting styles, sharing stories from her days as costume designer for the Blyth Festival and her experiences teaching. Conversation about careers, grandchildren, clothing and other topics in which strangers find common ground filled the moments when we weren’t engrossed in our projects.

When our burlap canvases were crowded with our experiments, we started again.

Lorraine Brophy, of Goderich, pulls back the stencil to reveal her handiwork.

Lorraine Brophy, of Goderich, pulls back the stencil to reveal her handiwork.

We played with store-bought stencils and patterned doilies, layering colours and experimenting with brushes, then carefully lifting the stencils, never knowing what the final results would be. We tried stamps in the shape of flowers and stars. We oohed and aahed at each other’s work, comparing styles and admiring techniques.

And for the finale, we each completed a project – a burlap book bag with a trio of red stencilled damask-like pattern for me and an apron adorned with stamps of pretty Dutch-blue flowers for my class companion.

I’m pretty proud of what we accomplished and plan to go back next week for a rug hooking class.

This diva tries her hand at stencilling.

This diva tries her hand at stencilling.

Other classes include fabric dyeing, pattern drafting, rug hooking, lace knitting, millinery and jewellery. There is also a sustainable fashion workshop that will involve a clothing swap and alteration and styling tips with sewing machines on hand for re-designing.

Prices range from $10 to $25 for a class or workshop, or $45 for a day pass or $100 for a weekly pass to unlimited classes. (Materials are extra).

There are also Open Artist Studios with experts on hand to answer questions and offer advice and demos. Open Artist Studios are free to anyone who wants to drop by and work on their own projects, continue working on projects started in class or just visit.

For a complete listing of classes, workshops and open studios and signup details, visit online.



How to celebrate Canada Day in Huron County

30 Jun

CanadaDay-EventsBy Diva Claire Carter

The five-day forecast is showing a break from the rain, and I’m ready to celebrate Canada Day!  The holiday is extra special this year, as we’re also celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Canada Flag.  Here’s a list of what’s happening around Huron County.

goderich fireworksFestivities in Goderich kick off tonight with a fireworks show at the beach, featuring the sounds of Hotel California, the Original Eagles Tribute Band near the Marine Museum.  The concert starts at 8 p.m., and fireworks at dusk.  In the event of lightning, the fireworks will be rescheduled to July 1st.

On July 1st, head to Courthouse Square Park at 11 a.m. for free hotdogs, beverages and live entertainment.  The entertainment lineup for the day includes:

11:30 a.m. – Late Nite Radio
12:15 p.m. – Goderich Laketown Band
12:30 p.m. – The Civic Ceremony takes place on the Performance Stage to officially recognize Canada Day.
2 p.m. – Parade begins, traveling around the square and following the route below:

Goderich parade map

After the Canada Day parade, head back back to the beach for the Sail Pass and Boat Parade. The boats will sail past Cove Beach, St. Christophers Beach and the Main Beach before they enter the Main Harbour to be judged.

The Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol are both open from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Canada Day.

July 1st is a very full day in Exeter.  Head to the Rec Centre and Legion in South Huron early for a full day of events!  Free swim will also be offered.
7 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Breakfast

9 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Car Show

10 a.m. – Dress your Pet Contest

4 p.m.– dusk – musical entertainment

5 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Supper at the Exeter Legion

Fireworks at dusk.

Contact  Ian Palmateer for more information – (519) 228-7303.

The Wingham Firefighters Association is hosting fireworks in Riverside Park at Dusk on July 1st.
Also on July 1st, is the Seaforth Firefighter’s Breakfast.  Travel to Huron East and enjoy eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, pancakes, toast, coffee and juice at the Seaforth Firehall (31 Birch Street) from 9 a.m. until noon.  Contact Marty Bedard for more information. (

Depending on how much you feel like doing, you can see fireworks two nights in a row, enjoy a great breakfast or dinner and participate in community fun.  Happy Canada Day!

For information on other summer events in Goderich, visit

Bayfield’s Pioneer Park is the picture of tranquility

11 Jun

Pioneer Park from Heather Boa on Vimeo.

By Diva Rachel Lynn

BAYFIELD – Pioneer Park is located on a beautiful bluff in the village of Bayfield. On the morning I arrived, there was a couple
pioneer park bike racksitting on the south end looking out to the water and another couple on the north end reading books. I could hear sailboatsthe birds chirping and the sweet smell of summer was in there air.

According to the park’s website, in 1945, Lucy Woods Diehl, a long-time resident of Bayfield asked friends of the community to preserve the last piece of undeveloped lakefront property overlooking the Bayfield River and Lake Huron. In the end, Lucy gathered eight friends along with herself to purchase the park land. Lucy thought the land should be owned and operated by an association, not by individuals contracted out.
Activities take place at the park to help raise money, including the rummage sale (originating in 1948). In the first 30 years, there were also film nights, outdoor plays and puppet shows. Today, Saturday night steps down to beach pioneer parkentertainment and weddings are among the activities that take place.

The 68th annual rummage sale takes place on the second Friday in July at the Bayfield Arena and Fairgrounds. Admission is free.


About the Park

Location: on the bluff overlooking Lake Huron bordered by Bayfield Terrace to the north, Tuyll St to the east, and Colina St on the South.

Driving distance: One hour north of Sarnia or Port Huron, Michigan

For more information:


Miniature horses a big hit with kids at Clinton Spring Fair

8 Jun


By Diva Christine Harris

CLINTON – The annual Clinton Spring Fair drew a good crowd again this year, from the Friday opening ceremonies through to the Sunday miniature horse show.

miniature1On Sunday, the midway had its bracelet day where you could ride all the rides for one price, and in the show ring REACH Huron, the local equine centre, the miniature horses were in competition.  The Miniature Horse Show is part of the American Miniature Horse Association that holds shows in the U.S. and Canada.  With 30 different classes during this competition, there is something for everyone to see.

The kids in the stands were quite interested to see this small breed of horses, which must not exceed 34 inches to enter the show.

miniature3Ribbons are awarded for first to sixth place, but each one is hoping for that blue ribbon when they enter the arena to have their horse judged.  Though the prize money isn’t huge, you can tell the pride is when the winner leaves the circle.

Now in its 161st year, organizers have it down to a successful science, with a full lineup of events, including the demolition derby, canine agility show, homecrafts, talent search, parade, mini-tractor pull and other family events.

If you missed this great community event, then mark July 3 to 5 on your calendar for the annual Kinsmen Pluckinfest in Clinton, with a street dance, teddy bear parade, chicken barbecue, holeyboard competition – if you don’t know what that is, then you’re in for some exciting times – firemen’s breakfast , town-wide yard sale and more. For more information, check the Kinsmen website or to find out more about the community, check out the Municipality of Central Huron’s website.



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