Tag Archives: Auburn

Auburn Grill offers a hearty breakfast menu

28 Feb

auburnrestaurantexteriorBy Diva Heather Boa

It’s obligatory for a reviewer to order the signature dish at a restaurant. And the top breakfast menu item at the Auburn Grill & Family Restaurant sounded pretty tempting – a Belgian waffle topped with corned beef hash, eggs and a special cream sauce.

So I ignored the usual offerings of eggs, omelettes, pancakes and sandwiches and put in an order for the Breakfast Special ($8.50) and a cup of coffee, then took note of my surroundings. The Sunday morning patrons were the usual rural crowd of ball caps and plaid and fluorescent work jackets, which in my books means the breakfast will be hearty and traditional, and the coffee will be refilled regularly. The melamine tables and crown-backed chairs were arranged around the work area, where customers pay for gas from the pumps outside, frozen meals and other convenience items, or fresh pastries from the glass case. Behind a piece of wood lattice, the cook prepared food in the kitchen.

Outside the picture window, the occasional vehicle drove by on Cnty. Road 35 (Blyth Road)  and on the other side of the road a farmer’s barren field lay exposed, a row of orange-tipped sticks all that remained to mark the trail snowmobilers would travel to come for a meal.

I was surprised to hear rock music playing in the restaurant, a little heavier variety than one usually hears in public places. I liked it well enough.

Breakfast arrived – a prepared crispy waffle with a light inside, corned beef (but no potato to make it hash), nicely scrambled eggs, and a thick cheesy white sauce that would stick to your ribs on a cold morning.

auburnrestaurantBut I might have made a tactical error in ordering the Breakfast Special, and I’ve since learned that the restaurant is really known locally for its generous portions of standard breakfast fare – eggs, meat, homefries and toast. I’ll make a note of that for my next visit.

No matter what the meal, coffee is a deal breaker for me. Is it hot enough? Is it strong enough but not bitter? Is it refilled on a regular basis? And on all fronts, this coffee did indeed stack up.

The Auburn Grill and Family Restaurant also has a complete lunch and dinner menu, plus children’s menu, and is open seven days a week until 7 p.m.

 

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Mini winter holiday in Huron County: Part I

28 Feb

hikinggoderich4The following is the first in a series of winter day-tripping ideas from Diva Shari Parsons, who has a special passion for driving adventures, trail hiking and photo opportunities.

What do you do when you need a “Winter Getaway” but you can’t actually “getaway”? That was the conundrum facing my hubby and me this past week. With a week’s holidays and only a beer budget, you have to get a little creative.

We decided to take advantage of some of our favourite activities in some of our favourite places right here in our own backyard of Huron County.

hikinggoderich3A sunny day with cold winds called for a road trip on country roads. We started down at the Goderich waterfront where I enjoyed looking at the fantastic ice mounds formed just offshore. The ice covering the one harbour entrance light made the building look like a frosted wedding cake. Snow and ice made for some interesting costumes for the dozens of Inuksuit (that is the plural form) still bravely standing along the ice-encrusted shoreline.

hikinggoderich2A stop at the north end of St. George’s Crescent in Goderich gives a fantastic view of the grain elevators, salt mine, and harbour, which on this particular day held three ships in an icy grasp. Puffy clouds on the horizon mimicked snow capped mountains in the distance. Turn around and you can enjoy the wonderful historical architecture of stately homes such as McDermott’s castle and the former home of lumber merchant Joseph Williams.

hikingauburn5We continued to drive north from Goderich on Hwy. 21 and turned onto Blyth Road (Cnty. Rd. 35) where we enjoyed the sight of rolling snow covered fields criss-crossed with sparkling creeks. After crossing the picturesque Maitland River in Auburn, we turned south onto the Base Line Road and pulled off at Manchester Park to take in the sights and sounds of the Maitland River on a sunny winter’s day. The sunlight made an interesting pattern of shadows on the snow from the long line of poplar trees along the lane. The snow was criss-crossed with the tracks of an adventurous field mouse.

hikingauburn6We continued south on Base Line Road, then turned west on the Londesboro Road and stopped at the former mill in Benmiller, which is now the Benmiller Inn. You can watch the Maitland River flow past the historic River Mills buildings. I took some photos of interesting architectural features frosted with snow. The blue sky, trees and historic building of Gledhill House were reflected in the water of Gledhill Pond.

hikingbenmiller8We returned home having enjoyed the bright winter sun, lovely scenery and some great photo ops.

Grab your favourite hot beverage, jump in the car and explore the beauty that surrounds us in Huron County!

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Hiking the GART

11 Feb

gart4By Diva Shari Parsons

AUBURN – My hubby and I love hiking on the many lovely nature trails that Huron County has to offer. The spring-like weather recently was the perfect time to check out the section of the GART (Goderich to Auburn Rail Trail) that we are taking responsibility for this year as Trail Rangers for the Maitland Trail Association.

The GART follows the old CPR rail line from the historic CPR Station in Goderich (now the Beach Street Station restaurant) to the remnants of the former bridge over the Maitland River just west of the village of Auburn. The trail is a little over 13 km long with the vast majority of it being an easy walk over flat ground on a fairly wide and well cleared trail. For the most part, the trail base is made up of finely crushed rock with flat grassland and hard-packed soil in other sections. Large sections, especially at the beginning of the trail, are wheelchair and stroller accessible (not in Winter). The entire trail is great for riding bikes (not in Winter). Part of the GART is also used as a snowmobile trail in winter.

gart7This weekend we hiked the section between Sharpes Creek Line and Heron Line, a distance of approximately 4 km return. Depending on the season, there is a little space for parking one or two cars on either side of the road edge on Sharpes Creek Line. The trail entrance is well marked.

As we walked along we enjoyed the wind whispering through the tops of the Scots pine that line each side of the trail. The pines give way to scenes of rolling farm fields and tree studded hilltops. Towards the far end, there is a small bridge that spans a burbling stream.

gart8The trail is popular with walkers, joggers and their faithful four-legged companions. It is also a veritable highway for the local wildlife. A thin layer of snow made the perfect medium for leaving tracks of all shapes and sizes. We saw squirrel, rabbit, hare, and fox tracks along with the snake-like trail of a field mouse in the snow. We also got to enjoy the sound of chickadees “chick-chick-chicking” us and the sight of a beautiful hawk soaring in the sky. I even found an old rusty rail spike lying on a mound beside the trail giving evidence of the trail’s former glory as an active rail line.

gart5If you are looking for an easy stroll filled with peace, tranquility and pleasing scenery, give a section of the GART a try. There are eight or nine different access points for the trail so you can walk just one section at a time if you wish. My only complaint/comment about the trail is that there aren’t any benches to sit on for most of the trail.

A free hiking guide with maps for the GART and other area trails can be found at http://www.hikehuron.ca/. You can also purchase a Maitland Trail Guide from the Maitland Trail Association

Happy trails!

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There’s a lot of history packed into village of Auburn

21 May
Main Street of Auburn.

Main Street of Auburn.

heather boaBy Diva Heather Boa

The main street of Auburn is pretty this time of year.

The road is surprisingly wide and grand trees are just starting to come into bloom. There’s a post office shingle and a number of sheds in which business might take place, but most of the buildings, including an ivy-covered church, on main street are now homes. There are no cars parallel parked at the side of the street and my car rolls quietly.

At this time of day, people are outside waiting. Waiting for the bus that will bring their children home from schools in neighbouring communities. A woman sits in her idling car in the church’s driveway. A mother and a her two youngsters sit on the steps in a doorway. A man on a bike waves as he rides by.

It’s worth a day trip to come poke around Auburn, if you’ve never turned off Cnty. Rd. 25 or Base Line Road. Check out the Huron Bay District Co-operative for garden flowers and supplies, maybe grab a bite to eat at the Auburn Grill or pack a lunch and enjoy it in the park down by the Maitland River. Or stay overnight at the Auburn Riverside Retreat, a family-run campground, which also has timber framed cottages and pine cabins for rent.

And while you’re there, keep in mind these historical notes that were gathered by researcher Diane Smith for a project done by the Municipality of Huron East to expand the Huron County Historical Society’s Driving Tour a few years ago:

Auburn – The village is divided, east from west, by the Maitland River. The lines of four different township boundaries auburnsignintersected here, and those lines also divided Canada Company land open to settlement from the government-owned hinterland beyond. Later, streets and plans were divided along the same lines, thus creating Auburn’s distinctive layout of “dogleg roads and offset lots.” Auburn, as with many other locations, became an area of settlement because water power was readily available here. The village was called both Auburn and Manchester – early maps of parts of the village dated 1854 and 1856 called it Manchester while the post office name assigned in 1854 was Auburn. In fact, the name of the village was Manchester, for all other purposes except postal service, until 1978 when it officially became the Police Village of Auburn.

United Church – The Presbyterians had begun a congregation in Manchester in June 1860. They were the first to construct a unitedchurchchurch building, which opened in March 1863. In the early days, the service was given first in Gaelic and then in English. The old Knox Presbyterian Church became Knox United Church when the three Protestant denominations united in 1925. The church building you now see dates to 1904. The red brick manse to the west was built in 1913, but the original Presbyterian Manse on the east side dates to the 1870s.

Apple Farms – (Maitland Terrace) The once abundant orchards of Auburn and the rest of Huron County supplied maitlandterracethe local apple evaporator plant. The Caldwell General Store was converted into the plant in the late 1890s. It continued in business until it was destroyed by fire in 1925. Local apple supply dwindled and by the 1930s the rebuilt plant was closed.

Dam – Manchester Park – In the mid-1840s, most of the land of what would become the auburnparkfuture townsite of Auburn was bought by the first settler to arrive here, William Robert Garratt. Because the provincial government had reserved all the waters of the Maitland River for its own use, Garratt was stymied in his plans to build a mill, and he soon left. Eneas Elkin was next to arrive in 1850, buying land in the Hullett section. Elkins ran a ferry service across the river. In 1854, Elkin had the northern part of his farm surveyed into a town site he called Manchester Village. Sales of lots enabled him to build a dam and a four-storey grist mill on the Maitland River just south of the main village site. In the late 1860s, a spring flood destroyed Elkin’s mill dam and it was then rebuilt by James Cullis. A short distance downstream the Cullis sawmill provided another essential service to the village.

Have a look, too, at the unique entrance signs on Cnty. Rd. 25 that announce your arrival in Auburn. These blocky cement letters are listed among the Folk Art Treasures of Huron County, a book written by Ron and Bev Walker.

Parents, kids hunt for Easter Eggs in Goderich’s downtown park

8 Apr

easteregghunt from Heather Boa on Vimeo.


 

rachellynn

By Diva Rachel Lynn

GODERICH – Easter Egg Hunt…I have been waiting for you for a whole year. Last year my daughter was too little to participate and I have had this written on my calendar for quite some time.

Despite the cool weather, it did not discourage what I would guesses to be a couple hundred people

Shawn and Beatrice get ready for the hunt.

Shawn and Beatrice get ready for the hunt.

from attending this event, which is put on by the Kinsmen Club of Goderich.

It’s more about parents bundling up in their winter hats, mitts and scarfs to accompany their kids to The Courthouse Park for this event. The kids are bundled up too, but the shear excitement of gathering chocolates is probably what is keeping their blood warm.

The Courthouse Park is at the centre of this town’s Square, a business district full of coffee shops, restaurants, clothing stores and much more. As we drive up to The Square, it is already full of cars. Kids are crossing the street swinging their Easter Egg baskets ready to be filled with chocolatey goodness

The Easter Bunny has arrived, ready to take pictures with kids of all ages. There is free hot chocolate and coffee for parents and children.

The Easter Bunny greets children of all ages.

The Easter Bunny greets children of all ages.

We stayed in the 0-3 age range for Easter egg hunting. Don’t let the age deceive you; this area was packed full of kids and parents ready to fill their buckets, baskets and I even saw a kid with an Incredible Hulk wagon. This kid meant business.

I love the write up about the event: “It’s a shotgun start at 10 a.m., and by 10:05 it will be all over!!!” They were not kidding. As soon as the kids were given the go ahead, they swarmed on the chocolates like bees on honey.

Let’s be honest, this event was for myself and my husband, as parents, because my daughter is 19 months old and doesn’t get the idea. My husband was showing her how to put the chocolate eggs in her

Youngsters grab chocolate Easter eggs from the ground.

Youngsters grab chocolate Easter eggs from the ground.

fluffy pink bunny basket but she kept taking them out and giving them to other kids. I wonder how long this will last!? In the end we didn’t walk away with any chocolates, but Beatrice was just happy to be able to run around.

As a parent, it doesn’t matter if she “gets it.” It’s a memory we will cherish.

There were over 10 Easter egg hunts across Huron County this past weekend.

Did you miss them? Don’t worry, there’s one in Auburn next weekend. Here are the details:

Auburn Community Easter Egg Hunt
Date:  Saturday, April 11
Time:  10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location:  Huron Chapel Evangelical Missionary Church (119 John St.)
Details:  Easter Egg Hunt at 11 a.m., fun stations set up for kids starting at 10 a.m.  Colouring contest awarding 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes.  Colouring pages can be picked up at the Auburn Post Office.
Cost:  Free, donations accepted
Contact:  Cathy at the Auburn Post Office

For more information on upcoming events on Ontario’s West Coast, visit online.

The Courthouse Park in downtown Goderich is swarming with children on the hunt for Easter eggs.

The Courthouse Park in downtown Goderich is swarming with children on the hunt for Easter eggs.

Canoeing and Carrying on

13 Jun

Canoeing on the Maitland

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

I have always been one to enjoy being on the water and try to get out canoeing at least once a year. A few weeks ago I headed out on the Maitland River and set out for a weekend of canoeing and camping with a bunch of friends. I was fairly excited as last year the water was really low and we weren’t able to get out at all.

Fishing and canoeing Getting ready to canoestretch of it! We started out at Belgrave Road and meandered the river for a few hours until we stopped right at Auburn. My boyfriend had rigged up our canoe with a motor, but the water was flowing fairly quick and we didn’t end up using it (luckily, as it just seemed totally silly!).

Now what I find is the major trick to canoeing and camping is the packing. You have to make sure you bring enough – but not too much – so your canoe is still comfortable. We were able to do this by dropping of the majority of our overnight needs at the camping site and just taking our lunch and extra clothing with us.

At the campsite Canoeing on the Maitland Canoeing on the Maitland

My favourite parts of the trip were as follows:

– Seeing the forest floor covered in our Ontario flower – the Trillium

– Watching a friend endlessly catch tiny little fish

– Stopping for lunch in an amazing picturesque setting

– Giggling while one of the canoes somehow filled with water and sank (of course all in good fun, they just emptied it and were good to go again without loosing anything)

If you are looking for more information about paddling in Huron, here is a link to the Huron County Fishing and paddling guide: http://www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/?page_id=248

Bridges and Beaches

15 May

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

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I’ve been wanting to get over to check out the Balls Bridge for a couple of months, but the weather wasn’t perfect until last weekend. This bridge is really amazing and it’s story is even better. They say that it is the “bridge that love built,” the original builder built it so his wife didn’t have to get her shoes wet walking through the river on her way to the market back in 1885. This bridge is also one of  the older bridges in Ontario and the design is very rare with less than a dozen left in existence. To find out more about the Balls Bridge visit http://ballsbridgeontario.com The pictures tell it all!

bridge1 bridge2I ended at the Goderich boardwalk, a 1.5km trek along the three beaches in Goderich. My friend Cindy says it’s the best, because there are ice cream shops at both ends. While I was walking I probably passed 100 people enjoying the sun and getting a bit of exercise. I actually watched a couple of kids swimming at The Cove beach, but it was still pretty cold. I can’t wait for the water to be warm enough for me.  This beach has the best waves and sand around! To find out more about these wonderful trails visit www.hikehuron.com

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