By Diva Melody Hodgson
BAYFIELD – Bayfield, in all of its summertime quaintness, brings about the dreamer in me. I fell in
love with the little town upon first sight back in 2006. It is my go-to for a Sunday drive, lunch on a Friday or a night out with the gals. I am not alone in my infatuation with Bayfield. The main street is packed with shoppers, foodies and visitors year-round.
Joanne and Mike Oliver, originally from Toronto, were two such visitors. A short detour to Bayfield while visiting their son in Blyth two years ago resulted in an instant love affair with the lakeside town. Fortunately for us, Mike and Joanne were able to transform their moment of serendipity into a permanent residence and place of business; a casual lunch conversation eventually resulted in the couple becoming the new owners of the Little Inn last October.
Joanne and Mike, paired with much-sought after local interior designer Cynthia Weber and
renowned locavore chef Michael Potters, have painstakingly renovated the Inn in an effort to create a true culinary destination within Bayfield. Throughout the entire renovation process, the team have been respectful of the inn’s deep-rooted historical ties to the community. Original flooring has been refinished and restored, traditional inn features have been reimagined, and local Mennonite craftsmen have been hired to recreate a multitude of items from stair-railing spindles to matching the original baseboard in the taproom. Chef Potters has embraced the richness of local Huron County producers and created two menus of pure deliciousness I can hardly wait to experience. Their unwavering dedication to the vision of the project is obvious. The entire time I was with Joanne, I felt that their goal was not to take the soul out of the Little Inn, but rather to give it a little boost. From all accounts, they have succeeded beautifully.
I must admit, I have never ventured into the Little Inn prior to last week. I always felt it was a little too fancy for my sometimes-brushed-hair and ripped jeans, and as a result I’ve always been more of a low-key pub girl. After meeting with Joanne and touring the property, however, I feel like I may have to make a little room in my heart for the new kids on the block.
The Little Inn of Bayfield
Where: 26 Main Street, Bayfield
When: Soft opening March 27th, grand opening April
Willow Room (Fine Dining), daily
Breakfast: 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Dinner: 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
The Four In Hand Taproom (Casual Dining), daily
11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Contact: 1-800-565-1832, email@example.com
HURON COUNTY – Now that the days are getting longer and a warm breeze has blown into Huron County, the conditions are perfect to get out to cross-country ski, snowshoe or hike the many trail systems across our woodlands, riverbanks and countryside.
Here are a couple of top picks to get you started. Explore more of the county’s natural areas and trails here.
1. Picks ( and pics) from Heidi & Tyler Hessel, Owners, Outside Projects of Bayfield
We often enjoy snowshoeing the many trails in and around Bayfield. All are easily accessible and within a light to moderate difficulty level. They’re easy for anyone to get out and enjoy the winter even if you are simply hiking or have on a pair of snowshoes. Maps and information about these trails can be found on the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association website.
2. Picks (and pic) from Phil Beard, General Manager / Secretary Treasurer, Maitland Valley Conservation Authority
I like to go on the Wingham Community Trail extension, which goes out to the new elementary school in Wingham, aptly named the Maitland River
Elementary School. Behind the school is a farmfield that is proposed for the Wingham Creek Subdivision.
There is an easement around the field for an extension to the Wingham Community Trail. A lot of people cross country ski on this property. It connects with the parkland owned by North Huron that extends along the Maitland River.
By Diva Jenna Ujiye
If you haven’t heard it yet, beef cheeks is the new tenderloin when it comes to food trends! OK, I may be making that up, but being a big foodie I do follow food trends. One of the major 2014 trends was eating meats from nose to tail and I really think this particular trend is going to continue in to 2015.
So you’re probably wondering, what do beef cheeks have to do with my story? Well, I’ll start at the beginning. I met up with three girlfriends, Emily, Katie and Natalie, last Friday at the Black Dog in Bayfield for dinner. I was super excited to have a nice dinner and catch up with friends, so I hadn’t even remembered to look at the Taste of Huron menu before I left home.
When I entered the restaurant, the familiar amazing smells delighted me. To top it off I ran into one of the owners, Kathleen, and she highlighted the Taste of Huron menu with delight. Katie and Emily read the menu and said “beef cheeks?” with a bit of concern on their faces. I explained that these tender meat morsels would excite their taste buds and that they would like the food. So they both decided to try the meal, which is three courses all for $32. Nat skipped out on the special and went with village salad ($8.25) and vegetable curry ($16).
The first course of the Taste of Huron dinner was Cheese Fonduta with Roasted Garlic Crostini. I thought this course would be kind of like a Swiss cheese fondue and it was, but way better than I have ever been able to make! The garlic buttered bread dipped in the cheese was a mouthful of dancing rich flavours that I never wanted to end. As you’ll see below in the photos, Emily and Katie couldn’t get enough and licked their cheese fonduta ramekins clean. I’ll also note that the photo was not posed, I looked up and they were both pretty much trying to drink their cheese.
The next course was Braised Beef Cheeks with Winter Vegetables and Parslied Egg Noodles. Yet again, the chef did not disappoint. The meat was extremely tender and the sauce mixed with noodles and vegetables made it a complete meal.
For dessert, we had Apple Fritter with Vanilla Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce. This was no ordinary donut! Essentially it was a whole apple covered in smooth pastry and loaded with ice cream and butterscotch. An excellent end to a great meal!
This menu also highlighted wine pairings to go with each course, which Katie and I tried. Both Emily and Natalie selected beer from the 20 on tap at the Black Dog. We had a wonderful evening and left the restaurant happy and full!
The taste of Huron winter dining menus run until Feb. 28 and you don’t want to miss out on these yummy meals.
The Black Dog Village Pub & Bistro
Phone: (519) 565-2326
5 Main St N, Bayfield, ON N0M 1G0
by Diva Rachel Lynn
Ahhhh Christmas. I love everything about Christmas. I love the snow. I love the carols. I love spending time with family and I love Christmas themed events. I gathered up my mother-in-law and daughter and headed to Christmas in Bayfield.
We arrived as the stores opened to beat the morning crowds… or so we thought. It seems like a lot of others had the same idea. As we popped in and out of stores, there were free offerings of hot chocolate and apple cider to keep us warm.
The shops were decorated for the Christmas season and the music was playing in the background and I caught myself humming along. You could also get free horse drawn carriage rides around town.
It was time for the parade and people were lining up on the Main Street. There was a variety of people in the parade from miniature horses, to a pipe band to the local fire department.
After an hour of shopping we decided to visit the Albion Hotel for a bite to eat. The place was packed! We didn’t even think to make reservations but managed to grab one of the last tables. We decided to feast on wings and sweet potato fries. I must commend the waitress. She was amazing! Even though the place was full, our drink order came fast, our meal was really fast and the food was hot and delicious. I would recommend the Albion to anyone who wants a relaxed atmosphere. I will even go so far to so say the Albion has the best wings around.
Beatrice was fast asleep as we headed home. Despite the rain, it was a fantastic day. The people were happy, the streets were full and Bayfield helped us all get ready for Christmas.
A few tips for those attending the parades:
- If the parade is on Main St and you can back your car up in a parking spot, please do. This will help if it is raining or too cold so you can watch from the front seat.
- If you plan on eating before or after the parade at a local restaurant, make reservations to avoid disappointment.
- If you didn’t make the Bayfield Santa Claus Parade, Santa is making one more stop in Huron County – Clinton Santa Claus Parade: December 5 @ 7pm
By Diva Calista Powell
ArtsSee Cafe’s website states they are, “Serving delicious, innovative, fresh and healthy food. Our service is friendly, casual and attentive. Our environment is relaxed, current, youthful and welcoming”, and I have to 100% agree with them. I have always wanted to go to this French-style bistro, so on a rainy day I drove up to Bayfield to have lunch here with my Grandma, Polly. It usually takes me about .5 of a second to decide what I am going to order but every single item on this menu was so intriguing. We ended up deciding on splitting a mushroom, spinach and ham crepe and the Mediterranean Panini made up of Metzger’s smoked turkey breast, artichoke hearts, crumbled feta, and sundried tomato mayonnaise grilled on a focaccia. It was nearly impossible to decide which meal I liked better. You can never go wrong with a healthy sandwich made from local ingredients, but then again the crepe had a white wine and cheese sauce that I wish I could eat every day.
To view ArtSee Cafe’s Schedule and Menu go to their website at http://www.artseecafe.ca
They are located at 19 Main Street, Bayfield, Ontario
by Diva Calista Powell
It is easy to take for granted the beautiful beaches that we have available to us in Huron County. I have traveled around the world and lounged on some of the most incredible seashores; From Frasier Island’s champagne pools in Australia to Elafonisi’s pink sands in Crete, Greece. As wonderful as these exotic sands are, there really is no place like home.To me, there is nothing better than the freshwater Great Lakes and watching the sun set over the West Coast horizon. Here are a few favourite beaches of mine that I recommend you visit this summer:
Beach #1: Grand Bend Beach
Whenever I have to explain to city folk where my hometown is, I usually say, “45 minutes from Grand Bend”, because everyone is familiar with this lively strip and beautiful waters. From the night life to the soft stretches of sand, Grand Bend never disappoints. After a 27-degree day of sun tanning and water frisbee, I packed up my beach bag and strolled up to the observation deck stage to see one of my favourite bands, Stegall, perform for Summer Sunset Sounds. Summer Sunsets Sounds is a series of free live concerts that happen every Sunday night at 7pm on the main beach of Grand Bend. The sensational sunset and laid back atmosphere complimented the Stegall sisters beats in the most perfect way. To see the line up for the rest of the summer visit: http://grandbendtourism.com/events/summersunsetsounds
Beach #2: Bayfield South Beach (Howard Street Beach)
The sleepy town of Bayfield is one of my favourite places to be in the summertime. This season, I made a point to stroll through Patina Studios to see the fine art and pottery by artists Joan Bailey and Tony Eyamie, stop in to see my friend Jean-Anne Hamilton at The Black Dog Pantry for a snack and then take the trek down the long wooden staircase on Howard Street Beach to soak up some rays. What I like about this beach is that it is fairly secluded and has a much quieter pace, so it is perfect way to recharge and take a mini-vacation from the hustle and bustle of work life.
Directions: At Brandon’s Hardware store on the square, take a right onto Howard Street and follow it all the way to the very end lot.
Beach #3: Port Blake Park
This was the first year I have ever visited Port Blake Park, and thanks to Best Host West Coast (a Huron Tourism Association training program) I now know about this Lake Huron gem. Port Blake is a serene, yet lively conservation area equipped with a picnic pavilion and BBQ areas. Over the years, this location has attracted guests from urban centres such as Kitchener and the GTA. Port Blake Park is a great place to bring the whole family for the day, and is dog friendly (as long as they are leashed). Admission is $4 per person or $10 a car load and is most definitely worth checking out this summer.
Address: 71155A Bluewater Highway 21 at Highway 83 (Dashwood Road)
For more information on beaches and to discover many more summer destinations, check out Ontario’s West Coast publications at http://www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/beta/news/publications-brochures/