Tag Archives: bayfield

Bayfield’s rich history stored in one building

16 Mar

bayfieldarchives3By Diva Claire Carter

Huron County is full of amazing stories. As residents, we sometimes forget the contributions to culture and Canada’s history that have come from our own backyards.

I’d walked past the beautiful dollhouse-like building that houses the Bayfield Historical Society and Archives many times, but had never gone inside.

That changed on a quiet trip to Bayfield.

A visit begins with a warm welcome.  It is hard not to feel a spark of curiosity as you open the old door.  Walls are lined with artifacts, artwork and books. Visitors can purchase books about the area and prints by Bayfield artists. Locally produced videos can be viewed on a big screen. I watched the film about Maud Stirling, a nursing sister from Bayfield.

bayfieldarchives1Volunteers host historic walking tours each Saturday in July and August, starting at 1 p.m.  As the website says, “Learn about the history of the area, the ghosts, the fires and the fascinating characters who helped make the village the wonderful place it is today.” The $10 fee supports Archive initiatives.  If you can’t make it on a Saturday, self-guided tours are available at the Archives and a number of other local outlets for $5.

Located at 20 Main Street North, the Bayfield Historical Society and Archives is open May to November from 1-4 pm on Wednesday and Saturday.

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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

2015 Halloween activities in Huron County communities

29 Oct

spooktacularBy Diva Claire Carter

The leaves are falling and the days are getting shorter. While this usually doesn’t excite me much, Halloween changes my tune for a few days at least. It seems that there is more festive fun happening around the county for 2015 than usual. Here’s a roundup of Halloween activities for all ages.

Bayfield

Bayfield Witches Walk

Oct. 30, from 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. 34777 Bayfield River Road. Admission and hotdogs by donation.

Explore the 19 spooky acres of woods behind The Ashwood, and check out Spook Stations set up by local businesses! This fund-raiser for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Huron promises to be a blast! Kids enjoy treat bags. Rain or shine.

The Albion Annual Halloween Party

Oct. 31, from 8 p.m. to close. 1 Main St., Bayfield. Admission free.

Prizes for best costumes, awesome drink specials & Live entertainment by the Cheap Shirts.

Exeter

Poe in the Park

Oct. 30 (6 p.m.) and Oct. 31 (8 p.m.) at McNaughton Park (from Main Street (Hwy. 4) turn east onto MacNaughton Drive, Follow Andrew Street and turn east on Hill Street). Admission – $5.

Arrive in MacNaughton Park and take a stroll along the trails, accompanied by spooky Edgar Allan Poe stories brought to life by local spirits. Presented by Libro Imagine Huron and Him & Her.   Dress for the weather, and bring a flashlight or lantern.

 

Goderich

Pumpkin Carving

Oct. 29, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Huron County Museum (110 North Street). Free with regular admission or with a canned food item for the Huron County Food Bank.

Decorate a pumpkin for Halloween! Try a variety of carving techniques. Pumpkins are free with regular admission.

Tales for Tots

Oct. 30, 10:30 a.m. and noon, Huron County Library, Goderich Branch (52 Montreal St.). Free.

Looking for something to do with your preschooler? Visit the Goderich Library for Halloween themed songs, stories and crafts. Contact Helen (519-524-9261) for more information.

Spooktacular Halloween

Oct. 31, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Downtown Goderich

Visit your favourite stores in costume for a trick or treat! Children must be accompanied by an adult. Over 51 retailers participating.

Halloween Main Street

Oct. 31, from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Huron County Museum (110 North St.). Free.

Trick or treat at the Huron County Museum, and explore the History Hall all dressed up for Halloween. Enjoy cider, popcorn and candy. This family friendly event is hosted by the Friends of the Huron County Museum.

The Haunted Halls of the Bradley Building

Oct. 31, 3:30 pm and 8 pm, 55 Hamilton St. Free.

The Bradley Building is being transformed into a haunted house! Enter at 55 Hamilton St., and exit at 59 Hamilton St. Note: this event is accessed by a set of stairs and is not stroller or wheel chair accessible.

It’s Halloween at the Legion

Oct. 31, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Goderich Legion (56 Kingston St.).

There’s really something for everyone at the Legion! Meat draw begins at 6 p.m., with prizes for best costume at 8 p.m. Entertainment by Sunset Hotel.

If you need a hearty breakfast after a weekend of Halloween fun, the Auburn and district Lions Club is hosting a breakfast to fund-raise for the Huron County Christmas Bureau on Sunday, Nov. 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Auburn Memorial Community Hall. The cost for adults is $7, and maple syrup is supplied by Robinson’s.

 

Huron’s tourism operators get a night out

22 Oct

waynepettiBy Diva Heather Boa

BAYFIELD – A cluster of women have turned their chairs away from tables recently cleared of the remnants of another fine dinner at The Ashwood and they face indie rock musician Wayne Petti, who commands the small stage.

He encourages them to sing the chorus “If I live, or if I die” while he lays his vocals over top, accompanied by guitar. Their voices carry to the far end of the bar, where others attending the Fall Harvest Dinner hosted by the Huron Tourism Association chat over after-dinner drinks.

It’s a Thursday night in this quiet village, but nearly 40 people have gathered here for a three-course dinner and to hear this talented Canadian singer-songwriter from band Cuff the Duke, just another musician in an impressive lineup of performers who hit the stage at The Ashwood. (Royal Wood with Peter Katz on Oct. 29 is sold out, but there are still tickets available for Northern Pikes – yes, the same band that sings She Ain’t Pretty – on Nov. 12., and The Ashgrove on Nov. 14.)

The Ashwood is a fine example of the effort local tourism operators put into creating experiences that attract tourists.

Kim Burgsma, President, Huron Tourism Association

Kim Burgsma, President, Huron Tourism Association

In fact, Kim Burgsma, who is the president of the Huron Tourism Association, tells those tourism operators gathered for dinner that tourism brings $60 million annually to Huron County, with 94 per cent of visitors coming from less than three hours away.


 

Want to be in the know about what’s going on in Huron County?

Here are a few ways:

  1. Follow Ontario’s West Coast’s Facebook Page
  2. Follow Ontario’s West Coast’s Twitter Page @onwestcoast
  3. Sign up for the Huron Tourism Association weekly listing of upcoming events by emailing tourism@huroncounty.ca

 

Annual Bayfield Fall Foto Fest: Your imagination in focus

9 Oct

IMG_2722By Diva Shari Parsons

BAYFIELD – Nature photography is one of my passions, particularly using macro shots. This past weekend I was able to learn some new skills in the area of macro photography and digital video at the Bayfield Fall Foto Fest.

The Foto Fest, organized by the Photography Club of Bayfield (PCoB) and Photo TourTrekkers offered a variety of workshops over the weekend. I chose to attend two workshops on Saturday. Pre-registration was required and I did mine online.

Participants were invited to wander around the temporary photo gallery in the town hall and view the photos entered in the photo IMG_2678contest. There were photographs to suit almost every subject taste from nature, people, domestic and exotic scenes, reality, digitally enhanced artistic impressions, stark black and white to vivid colour.

I had a quick chat with Jack Pal, president of the PCoB. We both agreed that photography is very subjective. One viewer may see or feel something different compared to another viewer looking at the same photo. While it was evident that talent was present in the creating of all the photos, I can’t say that I liked all of them. There were definitely a few that spoke to me more so than others. I like photos that make me smile or say “oooooh” automatically without thinking about it.

My first workshop was macro photography, which is close-up photography, usually of very small objects, in which the size of the IMG_2692subject in the photo is larger than actual size. The instructor was Nancy McRae from Sarnia, who is not only an avid photographer but also a potter, gardener, world traveller and nursing educator.

Nancy gave us a short but interesting and informative blurb about herself and some tips on macro photography. She shared some of her “tricks of the trade” such has carrying around a small spray bottle of water to spritz on flowers and spider webs for IMG_2759a dewy look or applying a drop of thick glycerin in place of a runny water droplet. Dark coloured backgrounds, especially black, make colours and shapes pop. Small
mirrors can be used for lovely reflections. Interesting “modern art” can be created by
shooting multi-coloured paper through a glass plate of vegetable oil and water. She also gave us some great tips on how to avoid spending money on expensive photography equipment. Tricks like using large embroidery hoops with white, silver or gold fabric to make light reflectors or using a Pringles chip tube with one end cut out to fit over a flash and the other end covered in wax paper as a flash diffuser.

Nancy had several work stations arranged around the room and she bade us to jump right in andIMG_2735 have fun experimenting. There were several “water droplet” stations where you could try to catch an image of the droplet splashing as it hit the water. Some of the water was coloured and one was made using cream. A couple of stations had small mirrors that we used to get shots of reflections of butterflies, flowers and jewellery. There were a couple of stations set up with black backgrounds and one with a royal blue background inside a small, white fabric “tent” lit from the outside. I found the most amusing station was the one with the coloured paper, oil and water. The resulting shots made me think of planets in another galaxy.

This workshop was a little challenging for me as my camera does not take different types of lenses. I could only use the macro IMG_2698function on my camera, which does not work as well as an actual macro lens.

Nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

My afternoon workshop was digital video taught by Tony Shantz, a freelance cinematographer from Sarnia. We started with a discussion about some of the differences and similarities between photos and video. Tony told us that video is made up of a rapid series of still images, 24-30 per second, which gives us the illusion of movement.

IMG_2738Tony showed us a still image of a blacksmith working in his shop. He then gave us the task of thinking about how we would tell the story using various video images. An important step in preparing to shoot a video is to build a “shot list” which is the sequence of scenes being shot to tell that story. He also told us to think about the composition of the shots such as wide angle or close-up and how to use tilt or pan to show movement.

Tony then taught us how to set up our digital cameras so that they could be used to record video images. We were told that it is important to remember WISA – White balance, ISO, Shutter speed, and Aperture.

The workshop ended with a discussion about some of the online and computer programs available for editing and sharing videos.

IMG_2724Although I was not able to attend, the Foto Fest also offered a keynote speaker, a wine and cheese reception and a movie by local filmmaker and environmentalist Jennifer Pate.

The cost of attending the workshops was $50 for one day and $70 for two days and included two workshops each day, keynote presentation and wine and cheese reception.

Next year’s Foto Fest will take place Oct. 1 and 2, 2016.

First-ever Bayfield Volkfest: Love, peace and fun, fun, fun

30 Sep

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By Diva Shari Parsons

BAYFIELD – This past Sunday my hubby and I enjoyed travelling through a time warp when we visited the first-ever Bayfield Volkfest in Clan Gregor Square.

As it was the first Volkfest, we weren’t sure what to expect but we were both very pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of vehicles present. We love camping and exploring so our favourite vehicles were the camper vans or buses. A few of them were in a “well matured” state while others had been lovingly restored. Some of the campers featured fun little vignettes complete with funky rainbow tie-dye interiors.

secondleftThere were also VW Beetles, including Herbie the Lovebug Jr. My favourite “bug” was a red convertible – perfect for summer cruising with the top down. There were a few more exotic species present as well such as the VW Thing, some dunebuggies, and an interloping Porsche. My favourite “exotic” was a lime green 1972 VW Karmann Ghia, which had been lovingly restored from the wheels up.

firstrightvwSome of the vehicle owners and a few visitors were dressed as groovy as the vehicles. There was a scent of incense (legal) wafting on the breeze and folk music playing in the background. A few vendors were situated around the park offering health food, locally roasted coffee beans, groovy jewelry, brightly coloured clothes, VW memorabilia, and apparently the grooving hippy’s choice of instrument – the ukulele.

A small stage was available for live music performances. While we were there a cute little girl in pigtails was singing her heart out while accompanied by someone drumming on an amplified wooden box and another musician playing the guitar. In the audience, several little children grooved to the beat including one little girl who twirled a rainbow coloured garland in time to the music.

Festival organizers Ryan Somers, Jen Reaburn and their eight-week-old daughter, River.

Festival organizers Ryan Somers, Jen Reaburn and their eight-week-old daughter, River.

I chatted with festival organizers Ryan Somers and his partner Jen Reaburn, owners of Elephant Juice, Juice and Smoothie Company of Bayfield. Inspired by Bayfield’s Vette Fest and obsessed with VW campers (funnily enough Ryan does not own a VW but he hopes to soon), volkfest4Ryan thought that it would be a great idea to put together a Volkfest. Incredibly, the festival was literally thrown together in about six weeks! Ryan started it off by creating a Facebook event and emailing a few friends to see if there was any interest. Social media was the driving force behind the success of this festival. Apparently classic VW owners are a friendly bunch who like to get together so news of the event spread quickly.

A few area businesses jumped on board. Smackwater Jack’s Taphouse in Grand Bend organized a brunch and group drive. The Ashwood Inn of Bayfield provided the stage and music set-up. Shopbike Coffee Roasters of Bayfield helped to spread the word.

This was a free, fun and relaxing event that was suitable for all ages. My hubby and I left dreaming about what adventures we could get up to if we owned a VW camper.

Next year’s event is already planned for Sept. 25, 2016.

Party in Bayfield has decidedly local flavour

26 Sep

foodcharter1By Diva Heather Boa
BAYFIELD – Five one-ounce plastic containers of wine huddled on a paper plate. Each held a taste of wine made from grapes grown right here in Huron County, at Maelstrom Winery.

foodcharter3I started with the Frontenac Blanc, worked through the Chardonnay and then moved on to the reds. There was Pinot Noir and Tempest. And, finally, Marquette, a big and bold red that happily chased down a pastry from Cait’s Kitchen filled with thin slices of pepperoni from Metzger’s Meat Products and a creamy jalapeno cheese from Blyth Cheese Farm. Beside me, a local criminal lawyer sampled a Prison Break Pilsner brewed in Guelph. On my other side, a friend sipped on a glass of Pinot Noir, her favourite from the Flight of Wine.

Clusters of people filled the cabaret-style setting, while in the background, The Blacklist Social, a local band, comfortably sprinkled original songs between a strong playbill of folk and rock music.

The Food Charter Launch Party at the Bayfield Town Hall on Sept. 26, organized by the Huron Food Action Network, had a decidedly local flavour.

foodcharter15According to its literature, the network has a mission of cultivating a sustainable, local food system to nourish all people of Huron County and beyond.

“Huron county is not only beautiful in its appearance but in its abundance,” said Nathan Swartz, who is the network’s food system co-ordinator. He said its rich soil produces an abundance of food.

As part of the launch party, the network handed out awards to what it calls Food Heroes.

“Superheroes do things we wish we could do. Perhaps more importantly, things we should be doing,” Swartz said. “We can’t depend on government and massive corporations to protect our food so it’s up to us and local food heroes.”

Award winners were: Red Cat Farm, north of Goderich on Hwy. 21; Bayfield Berry Farm, just east of Bayfield on Orchard Line; Part II Bistro of Blyth; and Maelstrom Winery, just east of Clinton on Sanctuary Line.

While I wholeheartedly support the network’s efforts, for me it was also a great evening out with friends in celebration of local food, drink and music.

Its next event should be a sold out affair. Watch for it.


 

Maybe I lost a bet or something, but I did also promise to publicly proclaim Caitlin Vail of Cait’s Kitchen as Croissant Queen of Goderich. There you go.

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