Tag Archives: Huron County

Ladies’ night success demonstrates why this diva loves Huron County

21 Jan
Hypnotist Comedian Hank Stone found a number of volunteers to give him a hand. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Hypnotist Comedian Hank Stone found a number of volunteers to give him a hand. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

by Diva Melody Hodgson

SEAFORTH – I have always found it interesting how quickly things can transpire once the wheels have been put into motion.

This past Saturday was the 1st Annual MILPS Gala in Seaforth, hosted by the Huron East Centenaires. What began as an informal conversation after the Men’s Steak Night last summer quickly turned into a full-on planning session for a fun- filled ladies’ night in Seaforth. The gala was to focus not only on raising funds for the newly formed Men’s Senior AA hockey team and local youth sports initiatives, but also provide a showcase for some of the local bounty that Huron County has to offer. In a few short months it went from a vague idea and discussion to a sold-out event with 200 women filling the Seaforth & District Community Centre.

The MILPS Gala (which stands for Mom’s I’d Like to Party with) is not the first ladies’ night to hit Huron County (the Clinton Kinsmen has an incredibly successful one in November!), and it is with a respect for the existing events that we began the planning process.

Agnes Kluz and Brenda Campbell capture a memory of the evening. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Agnes Kluz and Brenda Campbell capture a memory of the evening. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

The event featured local musician Jay Allan (who blew the audience away with his acoustic talents!), catering by Walton’s own Teresa Dejong and High Creek Farm, fashion show curated by high-end consignment boutique Scarlet in Exeter and the only non-local talent, hypnotist-comedian Hank Stone.  Local partnerships were also formed with Blyth Farm Cheese and 16 Mile Cellar Winery (local businessman Paul Vandermolen of Lawnmaster is a partner), Shop Bike Coffee Roasters, Blooms ‘n’ Rooms and Your Life In Stills Photography with Rob Boyce.  On top of the entertainment, thanks to the generosity of local merchants there were over 16 door prizes ranging in value from $50 to $430, and 35 silent auction items to bid on.  The evening ended with a jam-packed dance floor, with DJ Jake Campbell (JCMBL) taking over the stage.  Throughout the evening, the Ex-Cents (a senior men’s league hockey team) formed a squad of concierges that waited on each table hand and foot, fetching drinks, serving the plated meals and laughing at all of the ladies’ clever jokes.

The tables were beautifully decorated for the event. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

The tables were beautifully decorated for the event. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

It was an incredibly fun evening, and exceeded all of our expectations when planning.  And while I may have been one of the event coordinators for the Gala, this is not meant to be a “toot my own horn” blog posting.  As an import to Seaforth and Huron County, Saturday night exemplified beyond words how much I love this town and the surrounding area.  I feel more at home here than I have in any other location (be it from the shores of lakes Erie, Ontario and Superior, to further northwest in a secluded little town called Atikokan), and it’s not just due to the fact that I have my own little family here.  It is, for the most, part due the people.  The area is full of amazing people who will help out at the drop of a hat, who are supportive and full of excitement and want nothing more than to see an idea succeed into fruition. Over time, they become an extended family that you never knew you needed, but are incredibly thankful to have.

Toronto may have its thousands of restaurants, clubs and subway system…but I know Huron County has more.  And I know for sure we are the only area to have our own MILPS Gala ;)

A model turns some heads during the fashion show. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

A model turns some heads during the fashion show. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Upcoming Ladies’ Nights

Be You, Be Fabulous (Seaforth) – March 5, 2015

Clinton Kinsmen (Clinton) – Date TBA

2016 MILPS Gala (Seaforth) – Jan. 16, 2016

2015 MILPS Gala Event Partners

Huron East Centenaires

Your Life in Stills Photography (also on Facebook)

Jay Allan

High Creek Farm

16 Mile Cellar

Blyth Farm Cheese

Shop Bike Coffee Roasters

NJS Design, Party & Event Rentals (also on Facebook)


Blooms n’ Rooms


The women at Table 3 pose with their host server. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

The women at Table 3 pose with their host server. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.


Nothing rounds out a great evening like a dance party. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Nothing rounds out a great evening like a dance party. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Snowflake Stays at Oakwood Inn

7 Dec

by Diva Danica Rush

Snowflake Stay PackagesLooking for a unique way to start off the holiday season, I treated my mother to a snowflake stay package at Oakwood Spa and Resort. The staff were warm and the wonderful evergreens on the grounds were decorated beautifully adding to the holiday cheer. We made our way to a wonderfully spacious suite and opened up our welcome basket containing Huron County treats. Our room was stunning and the two fireplaces and the pine finishes were the perfect setting for some mother/daughter time.  I’m a bit of a boutique hotel junkie and have to say that I was very impressed with the waterfall bathtub and rainfall shower that came with the suite. After enjoying a walk down to the private beach, a soak in the indoor hot tub and saltwater pool, we made our way to the Oakwood Pub for dinner.


The decor of the Oakwood Pub was beautiful and tastefully decorated in red bows and garlands, with little Christmas arrangements and gingerbread houses set out along the oak bar and fireplaces. The crowd was a lively mix of all ages; a table of women in their 20s enjoying a girls’ night, couples mingling at the bar and a few seniors out for a Friday night meal together. The ambiance was lovely – enjoyable background music and soft lighting seemed to put everyone in a jolly mood. The Chef has created seasonal menus for the weeks leading up to Christmas; with each week showcasing a different menu. Being the first week of December, we were handed “The First Week of Christmas Menu” and it was pretty hard to choose a dish as they all sounded amazing. I ordered “The Snow Man Beef and Noodles” while my mom ordered the “Ocean Jewels” off the traditional menu, neither of us were disappointed. My Ontario raised- grain-fed beef was delicious and the papperdalle noodles were perfectly cooked. The addition of sour cream and green pea shoots complimented the mushroom, red wine and demi-glace nicely. My mom said the scallops and shrimps were perfectly cooked. She loved the lemon rice that came with the dish and veggies reminded her of the way my grandma used to cook them. We were definitely satisfied but could not give up the temptation of sharing the Candy Cane Cheese Cake – a chocolatey and creamy piece of holiday joy. The night ended with girl talk by the fireplace while we enjoyed the complimentary coffee and teas that awaited us back in the room.

Snow Man Beef and Noodles

Snow Man Beef and Noodles

Ocean Jewels

Ocean Jewels

Candy Cane Cheese Cake

Candy Cane Cheese Cake

After a refreshing sleep we made our way to the Oak Room Dining Room for a hot breakfast buffet overlooking the Oakwood grounds. The experience of the Snowflake Stay Package at Oakwood Spa and Resort was a wonderful way for my mother and I to connect, recharge and unwind before the excitement of the holiday rush. If you are looking for a special way to treat your mom (or another loved one) to the warm spirit of Huron County, I would highly recommend a snowflake stay package at Oakwood Spa and Resort.

Oakwood Spa and Resort
70671 Bluewater Highway
Grand Bend (South Huron), ON
N0M 1T0
1 800-387-2324


Snowflake Stay @ Hessenland

3 Dec Hessenland2

by Diva Rachel Lynn

Snowflake Stays are taking place at four different Inns throughout Huron County From Dec.1 to Jan.1. Packages start at $101.50 per person per night and all come with a special welcome gift, dining and accommodation. For more information on this great winter opportunity visit http://www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/beta/news/snowflake-stays/

Snowflake Stay Packages

Hessenland Country Inn is a beautiful place on Lake Huron between Grand Bend and Bayfield.  My husband and I were looking for a night away and decided Hessenland was the place for us.  We decided on the Snowflake package, which included a welcome gift, a 3 course dinner and breakfast.

There is a rich history to Hessenland, which is now run by second generation Ihrigs: Frank and Liz.  Frank is the head chef and Liz takes care of the day to day operations as the Innkeeper.  For more on their history please visit: http://www.hessenland.com/about-us/http://hessenland.com/about-us/

My family is German and this is one of the reasons why I wanted to stay at Hessenland.  My dad was born in Germany and came to Canada in 1956.  My maternal grandmother came to Canada in 1933.

As we opened the doors we were greeted to a beautiful décor and our host for the evening: Katie. She showed us around the Inn and to our room before we were guided to dinner.


Shawn got the Caesar salad, but not just any Caesar salad.  Here is there description:

Hessenland’s Classic Caesar Salad made with Crisp Romaine and tossed with our own Caesar dressing, with Westphalia Ham, and aged white cheddar and 12 Rye Bread.  

I choose the Die Hessenland Gulasch Suppe (goulash ) cup of soup.  I was not disappointed.  It was full of flavour and the beef was so tender.


Main course:  Katie was informing us of the specials for the evening but as soon as Shawn saw Rouladen on the menu he tuned her out (sorry Katie!).  Rouladen is tender slices of Beef stuffed with vegetables, bacon & spices.    My mom makes this German staple like no other and Shawn has never seen it on any other menu.  He did not offer to share with me.


I knew before we arrived that I was going to order the schnitzel.  It’s one of my all-time favourite comfort foods and reminds me of home. I had high expectations for this meal.  It came with spaetzle (homemade noodles) and fresh veggies.  I was given the option of red cabbage (also one of my mom’s specialties and one of my favourites) but opted out as they make theirs sweet and my mom makes hers sour (I usually prefer it sour).  I was pleasantly surprised when my dish came to with a sample of the red cabbage.

My expectations were beyond met.  I could not get enough of the food. It brought me right back home.  And the red cabbage was so good.


 Pork Schnitzel, “Schweine Schnitzel”, Huron County Pork breaded and sautéed

I had to stop myself from eating all of the schnitzel to save room for dessert.  Shawn ordered crème brule and I ordered the strawberry sherbet.  My sherbet was made with real strawberries from Masse Fruit & Vegetable Market down the road.  It was the perfect ending to a spectacular meal.


When we arrived at our deluxe room, a welcome package was waiting with lots of great goodies, including homemade cookies from Chef Frank, a welcome letter from Frank and Liz and a Snowflake list of “Things to do” in Huron County this winter.  This was extremely useful as it helped me decide to go to the Poinsettia Festival the next evening.


Hessenland was a great staycation (only 25 minutes from Goderich).  We will definitely come here again….and again.

Hessenland Country Inn
72981 Bluewater Hwy, RR1
Zurich, ON

Hessenland: www.hessenland.com
Follow them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/hessenland
and Twitter: https://twitter.com/HessenlandInn

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!!!


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!


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.

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
tel: 519 235 1909

A Night of Gnocchi, Galleries and Good Theatre 

17 Aug

Part 2 Bistroby Diva Calista Powell

It has been a very long time since I walked through the doors of Blyth Memorial Hall, and upon walking out last Wednesday I vowed to return soon. A friend and I came down from London to see the Blyth Festival’s preview show of St. Anne’s Reel a new play written by Gil Garratt and directed by Marion de Vries. Starting with an absolutely amazing dinner by Chef Peter Gusso at Part 2 Bistro, my friend Pravin and I chose the vegetable gnocchi pasta in a brandy rosé sauce, and the mushroom stuffed chicken supreme. I am a huge gnocchi fan, and not many restaurants can make it right, but as always, Peter Gusso did not disappoint. Pravin chose the chicken supreme, and as he is originally from Toronto, he was amazed that the ingredients were from our local Huron County agricultural belt. I was definitely proud to show someone from a busy metropolitan area how we do things in rural Ontario. Resisting the temptation of dessert, we then headed over to the Hall and had a couple moments to browse through Kelly Stevenson’s art installation at the Bainton Art Gallery. It was amazing to see the fine details in the geometric patterns of her work and it interested me that she used india ink on a variety of mediums.

A couple onlookers view Kelly Stevenson’s exhibit at the Bainton Gallery.

A couple onlookers view Kelly Stevenson’s exhibit at the Bainton Gallery.

Doors open at Memorial Hall.

Doors open at Memorial Hall.

After perusing Kelly’s captivating work, we settled into our seats amongst a full house of eager theatre-goers. The performance started off with old man Walter in his farm house struggling to play his fiddle. He is then joined by a young and beautiful woman with a ghost-like presence who disappears when a travelling cowboy, Daniel shows up at the door. Quite quickly, the character roles fell into place and it was established that Daniel was returning back home for his mother’s funeral and Walter was in the midst of dealing with his recent widower status. Through heated bickering and passionate fiddling, the two wove a story of love, loss, and life’s regrets with the ghost of St. Anne hovering over them with a watchful eye. David Fox, Emily Lukasik and J.D. Nicholsen received a well deserved standing ovation at the end of their performance. I made a point to not read any synopses before St. Anne’s Reel and, as always, the Blyth Festival put on a deeply moving and unforgettable production.

St. Anne’s Reel plays until September 6th, 2014.

For tickets and other information about the Blyth Festival visit: http://www.blythfestival.com

Blyth Festival
P.O. Box 10, Blyth, ON  N0M 1H0
519-523-9300 | 1-877-862-5982

Photo 1: Come visit Peter Gusso and try his amazing gnocchi!

Photo 2: Doors open at Memorial Hall.

Photo 3: A couple onlookers view Kelly Stevenson’s exhibit at the Bainton Gallery.

Stag and Doe celebrates road to matrimony

15 Aug
Nicole Joy-Fraser, Jason Chesworth, Rebecca Auerbach and Greg Gale. Photo: Terry Manzo.

Nicole Joy-Fraser, Jason Chesworth, Rebecca Auerbach and Greg Gale. Photo: Terry Manzo.

by Diva Claire Carter:

I am at the point in life where many friends and relatives are walking down the aisle.  With the announcement of an engagement, often comes news of engagement parties, stag and does (also known as buck and does or Jack and Jills), bachelor and bachelorette parties, and a date set for the main event itself.  Despite planning, sheer luck sometimes seems to have more to do with how smoothly things run for all of these events.

I had the pleasure of attending the Stag and Doe in Blyth on Sunday, August 10, which is a shining example of how sometimes, things don’t always go as planned.  Within minutes, my guest and I (and the rest of the audience) were sharing serious laughs.  The plot of the story is worst case scenario, but has very real situations, of course punctuated by humour, shock and a bit of salty language.  There are parts of the stag and doe experience that seem universal; the community centre, games, discussing the guest list and similar social events from the past.

Because the show features both a stag and doe AND a wedding, we see the same honest writing and acting as far as the wedding is portrayed – budgets are ignored, family dynamics are made public, alcohol plays a factor in decision making, schedules for the day are delayed and the fairy tale image of the day differs from the reality (sometimes leading to bridezilla behaviour).

The Stag and Doe is the perfect show to go to with a group of friends for a bachelorette party, to gift tickets to all engaged couples or those celebrating anniversaries.  The actors in the Stag and Doe have great chemistry, and to the audience, seem like real couples, friends and enemies.  Having attended Kitchen Radio, I noticed a number of actors have roles in both shows.  It was amazing seeing how versatile these individuals are!

Another highlight of the show was catching the final performance of Bonanza Weekend, a Blyth Festival tradition when theatre-goers have the opportunity to watch all four main stage plays in three days for $100.  What a fantastic idea!  The theatre was packed, and the audience was having a great time.  Next year, I hope to plan my Blyth Festival trips around this great weekend.

Blyth Festival
Box 10, BLYTH, Ontario  N0M 1H0

Tickets are still available online or at the Box Office.


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