Tag Archives: balls bridge

Mini-vacation in Huron County – just in time for March Break

14 Mar

naftel3The following is the second 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.

Recently, my hubby had a week’s holiday but since we couldn’t “get away” we decided to enjoy some of the local attractions.

There is the saying “a change is as good as a rest” and even one night away from home feels like a mini holiday. We decided to use some travel reward points to book a Jacuzzi King Suite at the Dreamz Inn on Hwy. 21 between Goderich and Bayfield. We had stayed there one night last winter and enjoyed the experience so we decided to do it again.

After checking in, I swam for an hour in their clean, saltwater pool while my hubby alternated between pool, dry sauna and hot tub. We ate a picnic style supper, which we had brought with us, while watching TV on their good-sized flat screen TV. We ended our evening by snacking on potato chips while sharing a romantic soak in the large Jacuzzi tub in the firelight of the electric fireplace. The King bed was comfy as were the downy soft sheets.

In the morning, my hubby skipped down to the breakfast room to grab some free breakfast munchies while I enjoyed another soak in the Jacuzzi tub. When he came back we enjoyed blueberry muffins, yogurt and tea.

The sun was shining and the temperature was mild so after checking out of the hotel, we decided to go for a hike at Naftel’s Creek Conservation Area on Hwy. 21., just south of the Dreamz Inn. The Conservation Area’s entrance is on the east side of the highway. It is not well marked so you need to be looking out for it. The parking lot has a fair amount of space. The trail is popular with people walking dogs and cross-country skiers in the winter.

naftel7The main trail is fairly flat and winds its way through evergreens, hardwoods and cedars in wetland areas so there is a nice mix of environments and eco systems. There is a pond and a couple of tinkling creeks.

The beginning of the trail runs through a conifer plantation. Recent windstorms have toppled a few of the trees and you can see how wide but shallow the root system is that anchors these tall trees. You can tell by the tracks in the snow that the uprooted tree bases make for great shelter for the forest creatures.

naftel2naftel6Boardwalks lead you through mini forests of cattails in the wetlands as well as over bubbling streams, the edges of which are marked by deer tracks coming to the creek for a drink.

There had been a snowfall the previous day so the woods were covered in a fresh blanket of puffy white. Some tree stumps sported puffy caps making them look like giant mushrooms.

naftel5In the cedar groves, the trees on either side of the trail reach up and lean towards each other over the trail forming a natural cathedral ceiling and make the hiker feel like they are walking through a woody tunnel.

naftel1A winter hike on this trail is very quiet and peaceful with only the sound of the occasional chickadee.

The weather was still sunny after our hike and we didn’t feel like ending our mini holiday by going home yet so we decided to go for a country drive. We once again headed north and did the Blyth Road to Auburn then Base Line Road route. This time we decided to explore Maitland Block, a loop that cuts off of the Base Line Road and catches a portion of the Maitland River. It ended up that we weren’t able to traverse the whole road as not all of it is maintained in the winter, but on the way down, we watched a half dozen crows heckling a large hawk and soon saw the hawk’s mate following behind. On the way back up the road, I was looking at the tree-line and spotted a bald eagle sitting in a tree snacking on something. We got to watch it for quite a while before it majestically flew away.

We pulled off the side of Base Line Road at Little Lakes Road and walked down the hill to the historic Ball’s Bridge as that end of the road is not winter maintained. Down at the bridge we noted another group of crows displaying incredible acrobatics as they were swooping and dive-bombing another hawk in a tree.

ballsbridge4The icy edges of the riverbanks were covered with the wide-toed tracks of snowshoe hares.

ballsbridge1 ballsbridge2After walking back to the car (watch for snowmobiles as this is part of their trail) we drove to Londesboro Road. And then turned onto River Line Road. On one side of the road is an old brick building surrounded by antique farm machinery – an interesting contrast of textures and colours. On the crest of the hill, there is a large home resembling a fairy-tale castle, complete with rounded tower. This home has an incredible view of rolling farmlands and woodlands to the east.

ballsbridge8River Line Road becomes Hills Road, (a good name for the location) which is dotted with Victorian farm houses. We then headed through Benmiller on our way home.

There is so much variety and beauty in Huron County that you don’t have to leave to enjoy a winter holiday.

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dreamzinn

Dreamz Inn as Your Destination:

What:

A contemporary designer hotel with luxuriously appointed rooms, with attention to detail. Non-smoking family atmosphere, with saltwater pool, fitness centre, outdoor lounging areas & multi-purpose court. Complimentary breakfast.

Where:

79272 Hwy. 21, at the intersection of Union Road and Hwy. 21. Between Goderich and Bayfield.

When:

Open year round.

Contact:

Website – http://www.dreamzinn.ca

Email – reserve@dreamzinn.ca

Phone – 519.524.7396 or toll free 1.855.524.7396

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Local photography showcased at Elizabeth’s Art Gallery

12 Jun

DPIpeoplelooking

By Diva Heather Boa

GODERICH – I’ve had a peek at the favourite memories of about 20 friends and strangers.

One after another, I’ve seen photos of their families, pets, vacations, and everyday life. I’ve seen what’s captured their imagination and what they want to remember. There’s all displayed on the walls of Elizabeth’s Art Gallery, on this opening night of the 11th Annual DPI Photography Exhibition.

Tucked in the corner is a closeup square shot of a man’s hands, tanned and weathered, gently engulfing a woman’s much paler, fisted hands. It’s a photo Barb Lassaline took of two friends. Looming above, just to the left, is a panoramic view from the front of an orange canoe with a paddle at rest over the bow, looking out over the calm waters, which meet a vivid blue sky somewhere in the distance. Sally Walker snapped this one during a visit to a friend’s cottage north of Bobcaygeon. Then there’s a Toronto streetscape with the Red Rocket crossing from the right, a herd of elephants looking into a camera in Tanzania, a quiet shot of Ball’s Bridge over the Maitland River, and a row of colourful cowboy boots lined up for sale.

Since I’m from town, many of the photographers are known to me, and I marvel that they are so talented. Many of the photographers are unknown to me, and I’m just as amazed by the beauty of their work – the stories I’m urged to imagine these images tell. There are composite photos, textured photos and tinted photos; photos where the photographer planned for the shot and photos where the photographer planned how to manipulate the shot on the computer.

It’s inspiring and makes me want to join the DPI Photography Group this fall.

The DPI Photography Group consists of photographers of all ages and ability levels who meet at the Gallery the second Thursday

Sally Walker gives a hand to Marilyn Potter, as she takes photos of her unique photography printed on purses.

Sally Walker gives a hand to Marilyn Potter, as she takes photos of her unique photography printed on purses.

of every month from October to June. Each meeting they are assigned a topic of interest as a general guideline for shooting, then their work is presented with an open critiquing discussion followed by tips and tricks, using mainly Photoshop as the choice photo editing program. Topics covered include such as how to use various modes on your camera, composition, lighting, posing and printing.

The images that capture the imaginations of the DPI Photography Group are on exhibit for public viewing until June 30. Most of the photography is available for sale.


11th Annual DPI Photography Exhibition

Where: Elizabeth’s Art Gallery, 54 Courthouse Square, Goderich, ON

When: Until June 30. Gallery open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact: 519-524-4080 or artinfo@elizabeths.ca

Bridges and Beaches

15 May

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

bridge4

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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Our Countryside – So Beautiful!

2 Jul

I was out driving around the county last week and was noticing how beautiful the wonderful Countryside is!

I thought I would post some pics to remind everyone how pretty Ontario’s West Coast is!