Tag Archives: benmiller

Hiking in Huron

17 Oct

By Diva Cindy Fisher

Well, okay. . . there have been a few flurries in the forecast for this weekend but don’t let that discourage you from hiking in the fall colours in Huron County – Ontario’s West Coast.

There are still weeks of good fall weather for hiking and if you pick up a County Hiking Guide or view it online. You will see that there are over 25 hiking destinations featured from all over this great County. Put them all on your bucket list!

Menesetung Bridge.

Menesetung Bridge.

Let’s start at the lake, with a recent photo of the Menesetung Bridge captured this week by Debbie Carroll. If that doesn’t hustle you out the door, I don’t know what will! I appreciate this bridge over the Maitland River and am so thankful that it was saved from demolition when the CPR line was abandoned – I can’t imagine Goderich without it.

This converted railway bridge in Goderich will link you to several great trails:

– the GART (Goderich to Auburn Rail Trail) – 13 kms and beautiful pastoral scenery;

– the Sifto Loop – 1.6 km – follow the blue blazes off the north end of the Menestung Bridge;

– the Menestung Trail – 1.8 kms – follow the yellow blazes off the north end of the Menestung Bridge, and;

cindy&friends– the Maitland Trail – You can follow the white blazes off the GART near Tiger Dunlop Tomb entrance. The trail is a total of approx. 50 km but you don’t have to do it all in one day J. Some people do, but I prefer a more relaxed approach in my enjoyment of the outdoors; it was pretty fun to do ½ of the trail (25 km) on the Camino weekend event at the end of September – hundreds of people agreed! And here I am with my neighbours, happy and hiking!

Goderich also has the Millennium Trail (about 3 km along the Maitland River in Goderich) and the Maitland Woods behind the Columbus Centre – and also great trails behind the Maitland Cemetery.

So many trails……so many trail snacks!

On the way to Bayfield you can check out Naftel’s Creek Conservation Area, right on Highway #21 between Union Road and Kitchigami Rd – can’t miss it.

In Bayfield, you will find three great trails there – Sawmill, Heritage and Woodland. The Sawmill starts north of the village and river, at the end of Sawmill Rd. Heritage and Woodland start from Clangregor Square.

Near Bayfield you can find the beautiful Varna Trails starting at the Stanley Recreation Complex just west of Varna on County Rd. #3/Mill Road. Who doesn’t love the 2 kms at Bannockburn CA just east of Varna – a real fall jewel.

There are great trails near Exeter (McNaughton / Morris Dam); and I haven’t even mentioned Hullett Provincial Wildlife Area or the Lobb Trail near Clinton. Wingham has a clever trail associated with the former CNR Bridge and Blyth has a nice greenway trail on a former rail bed. Benmiller boasts the Falls Conservation Area.

I love living here…year round…next time I will share some great local spots to cross country ski.

If you like to go on guided hikes, check out what is happening on: www.maitlandtrail.ca or at www.bayfieldtrails.com . Both of these trail associations also have pretty sweet detailed trail guides so that you won’t get lost. If there is signage regarding hunting this season, asking you to not use a particular section of trail, then don’t – here are lots of other hiking spots around.  So get off the couch (unless you’re cheering on the Blue Jays), go out the door and walk – you will be glad that you did.


Oct. 18, 2015 – Editor’s Note: Cindy sent in this photo after a fall hike on a snowy day.



Stocked pond provides hours of family fun

5 May

fish3By Diva Caroline Thuss

Looking for a great (and inexpensive) way to entertain everyone from young to old now that the nicer weather is here?

Hop in the car and take the short and scenic ride to Falls Reserve Conservation Area in Benmiller and check out its stocked fish pond.

My family headed out for our first fishing adventure of the year at the Falls Reserve on opening day. For the cost of a gate pass ($15 per vehicle) and a fishing permit ($8 for adult and $4 for child) for the stocked pond we were ready to enjoy several hours at the beautiful location.

fish5Don’t have a fishing rod? Don’t worry! The Falls Reserve is a loaner site for the OFAH / OPG TackleShare program where you can sign out a rod, etc. like you borrow from a library! The fish pond is located shortly after you enter the park and very close to the Maitland trail. There is lots of room for picnic lunch on the grass or a table nearby.

When we arrived there were already several people around the pond looking for that beautiful big trout. Some were using spinners, others jigs, and some the classic worm bait to get them to bite. We chatted briefly to the father and his son who had caught their quota of four beautiful trout already and were heading out. It was great to see so many people taking advantage of this program.

We enjoyed the sun while we cast out our lines hoping that we might get lucky. It did not take too long before we had a fish on the line and were able to reel in a nice sized trout, which my kids were super excited about…okay I was a little excited too as it has been a long time since I was able to catch a nice sized fish. We did release a few other lucky ones as the kids were more excited about the chance to reel one in than the thought of eating our new “friend” for dinner. It is all about building a positive experience for the children and encouraging them to practice sustainable fishing.

We will be back on July fourth when they host the Family Fishing derby, which is like a small derby for children with lots of prizes fish6and excitement from what I have been told.   This annual event will occur from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  There is no cost to participate although park admission will apply.  The maximum park admission fee is $15 for a car load of people.  There are three age categories (10 and under, 11-17, 18+) and prizes will be awarded for the three longest fish caught in each category.  A prize will also be awarded for the smallest fish of the day.  There will be a variety of prizes donated by local sponsors and provided by the Falls Reserve C.A.  After prizes have been awarded according to the categories a draw will be held to give away the remaining prizes so all participants are encouraged to register to be eligible to win a prize.  They must also be in attendance to win a prize.  There will be a barbecue and refreshments available during the event.  Bait will also be available to purchase.

We were able to enjoy a short hike on the Maitland Trail as well before heading back into town to dress the fish and get it ready for the barbecue. Yummy! You can access the recipe I used here.

What: Falls Reserve Conservation Area

Where: 80900 Falls Reserve Line, RR 4, Goderich, ON N7A 3Y1

Why: Stocked Trout Pond

When: Day permits valid from 8 am. to 10 p.m.

Cost: Daily vehicle permit: $15. Daily pond permit: $8, adults; $4, children aged 5 to 12 (April 25 to June 26, trout only); no charge children aged 5 to 12 (June 27 to Sept. 30, catch and release only.)


 The Snowflake Stay Package at the Benmiller Inn & Spa

1 Dec

Snowflake Stay Packages

by Diva Calista Powell

Starting at $131 per person
From $262/per two people/night | Includes – A special gift ($20 value) awaiting your arrival, Over-night accommodations, A three course a la carte dinner for two (Appetizer, Entree & Dessert) off the regular menu. A full Huron County breakfast in the morning Monday-Saturday mornings or Brunch is served on Sundays
BOOK ONLINE OR CALL 1-800-265-1711

*** Alternative Rates February 13 – 15

Snowflake Stays are taking place at four different Inns throughout Huron County From Dec.1 to February 28. 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/


A cozy lounge area outside of the dining hall decorated for the holidays.

A cozy lounge area outside of the dining hall.


My appetizer: Blyth Farm Golden Eweda Raclette. A must try!

My appetizer: Blyth Farm Golden Eweda Raclette. A must try!

Once we get hit with the notorious Huron County snow squalls, it’s easy to go into hibernation mode and want to stay indoors until the warmer seasons. After experiencing the Snowflake Stay package at the Benmiller Inn & Spa, I am so glad that I got to enjoy the beautiful side of winter. My partner Dan and I arrived to Benmiller after dark, so we went right to the dining room to enjoy our three-course meal that was included in the package. The entire menu looked delicious, and I always appreciate when local fare is incorporated into the recipes. I was feeling pretty adventurous so I chose the Blyth Farm golden eweda raclette appetizer, which was a skillet full of rissole potato, cornichon pickles, double smoked bacon and a grainy mustard sauce. I have to say; I‘ve never had anything quite like this dish. The double smoked bacon was to die for, and I especially enjoyed the cornichon pickles. For the main course, I treated myself to the grilled Ontario duck breast that was crusted with a delicious spice served on top of a sweet potato mash and root vegetable rissole. The montmorency cherries were the perfect amount of sweet to compliment the rich flavours in the duck. Just when I thought our meal could not have gotten any better, it was time for dessert. A natural chocoholic, I selected the flourless chocolate gateau. The serving size was massive, and it tasted absolutely decadent and rich-just how chocolate cake should be. I must also credit the attentive dining staff, as our server Amber was especially thorough, and ensured that our experience was first-rate.

Grilled duck on sweet potato mashed

Grilled duck on sweet potato mashed

After our meal, it was time to check into our room in the River Mill building where we found a lovely gift of jam preserves, candy canes and Huron County thermoses. Bundled up in our Benmiller robes, we enjoyed a bedtime tea in our room, which had a view that overlooked the Maitland River. We arose early in the morning to check out the indoor pool, and I was wishing that I had packed a swimsuit. We headed back down to the dining hall to enjoy our breakfast of Omega-3 eggs, smoked bacon, homefries, fresh fruit, and Benmiller Inn baked scones with fresh blueberry jam.

Photo 4s

Not wanting to leave just yet, we decided to take in the beautiful day and walk around the grounds. Growing up in this area, I am aware of how beautiful the river is in the summertime, but with the sunshine gleaming off of the fresh fallen snow and the frozen ponds, it was absolutely stunning. I can’t recommend the Benmiller Inn & Spa enough for their friendly service, delicious food, gorgeous landscape and cozy rooms. I most definitely want to try out another Snowflake Stay package at another Huron County destination. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, or even a girl’s weekend, any Snowflake Stay package will be sure to create lasting memories for you this winter.

Photo 5s

All Snowflake Stay Packages include:

– A welcome gift awaiting in your room
– A snowflake sugar cookie
– Accommodations for one night
– Three-Course Dinner for Two
– Breakfast for Two

Starting at $131 per person
From $262/per two people/night | Includes – A special gift ($20 value) awaiting your arrival, Over-night accommodations, A three course a la carte dinner for two (Appetizer, Entree & Dessert) off the regular menu. A full Huron County breakfast in the morning Monday-Saturday mornings or Brunch is served on Sundays
BOOK ONLINE OR CALL 1-800-265-1711

*** Alternative Rates February 13 – 15

The Benmiller Inn & Spa
81175 Benmiller Line
Goderich, Ontario
Canada N7A 3Y1
Tel: (800) 265-1711 or (519) 524.2191
Fax: (519) 524.5150

Foodie in Benmiller

19 Jul


By:  Diva Jenna Ujiye

An inn, restaurant, spa and retreat, The Benmiller Inn and spa truly is a gem on Ontario’s West Coast. If you haven’t noticed, I am a foodie and I typically plan my trips around where I am going to eat! Not long ago my friend Rebecca asked if I wanted to head out to Benmiller for a quick lunch. Yay! Of course I wanted to go. I knew chef Spencer would have many items on the menu that I would want to try.

IMG_4626 IMG_4625

I ordered the reuben panini and Rebecca got the smoked cheddar chicken sandwich. As you can see from the photo, the food smelled so good that we ate first and then remembered to take the photo. After we finished we ran in to dining room manager Marianne and she had not started her meal, so I was able to capture the beauty of the plated food. She was having mushroom flatbread and seared flat iron steak with frites.

IMG_4620 IMG_4619

I took some photos of the menu and wanted to try out everything! Now I know I have written about the Benmiller Inn before, so if you read this blog often you will also know that Benmiller has many unique rooms, a pool, meeting rooms and a spa. A perfect oasis for a vacation at any time of the year! They also have some great events, so check out their website here: http://benmiller.ca

Benmiller is located just outside of Goderich in Benmiller Ontario, along the beautiful Maitland River:

Benmiller Inn and Spa
81175 Benmiller Line
Goderich, Ontario
Canada N7A 3Y1

Tel: (800) 265-1711 or (519) 524.2191
Fax: (519) 524.5150

Benmiller Inn – Local Food, Great Atmosphere

8 Mar

benmillerfeb-5 benmillerfeb-3

by Diva Jenna

A couple of weeks ago the divas met at Benmiller Inn to chat about 2013 blog story opportunities and to meet each other!

The meal was seriously awesome. They started us with an amuse bouche – which I just call happy mouth – which had smoked salmon, cream cheese, wasabi and was served on a small potatoe pancake. We all wanted more!


The menu is seasonal and Chef Spencer Vail changes it up fairly often. They also highlight the local producers and farmers of the area, which is something a foodie loves to see. A couple of the Divas ordered off the the prix fixe menu, which is three courses (a couple of choices for each course) and the price point was $29!

We had soups and salads to start and moved on to the main course. We had a variety of dishes including: Chicken Supreme Risotto – Sun dried tomato, roasted red pepper, spinach, chevre, parmesan ($24), Metzger’s Cast Iron Roasted Beef Tenderloin – pommes sarladaise, spring vegetables, whisky spiked hunter sauce ($28) and Willowgrove Hill Pork Chop – sweet and sour cabbage, potato rosti ($28). We were all very pleased with our meals and a couple of the girls even moved on to dessert!

If you are looking for a nice evening out and an excellent meal, Benmiller Inn will definitely impress. Oh and did I mention they also have a great Inn and a spa, but I’ll save that for another story!

For prices, menu or to book please visit – http://www.benmillerinnandspa.com

Up, Up and Above!

11 Jun

By: Diva Jenna

Yesterday I went to the Above the Falls Challenge Course with work and boy was it a fun time! I would say team building and communication challenges are in my top 10 of things to do. The Challenge Course has something for everyone all the way from basic to advanced skills. Rob Bundy and Craig Harrison were our guides for the day and they did an awesome job! I would recommend this attraction to anyone, I hope you can all make it out sometime soon!

When we first arrived Rob had the whole group of us do a couple of “get to know each other” games and then we headed out on the course. We were split in to two groups, I was in a group where we had to “build a bridge” consisting of 3 pieces of wood and 5 posts to put the wood in. Long story short we had to do a bit of balancing and physical work, but spent most of the time trying how to figure out how to get all of us across.

Next we headed to the climbing tower where we suited up in harnesses and helmets. This is where we all got to look pretty nerdy! Everyone got a chance to climb or sit and watch. I will say… I could not make it to the top, this proves to me that I need to work harder and get stronger. I also came home with a giant bruise on my arm, in which Rob and Craig called a “medal.” We had such an awesome day and I can’t wait to go back and make it to the top. We had some really fast climbers in the group and it was really great to see! Oh and of course, I can’t forget the food… We had the lunch catered in from the Benmiller Inn, they made us a paperless lunch which consisted of an assortment of pitas, veggies and dip, fruit and homemade dessert buns, yummy!!! Check out some more photos and video from the day below, if you are interested in taking the challenge visit: www.abovethefalls.com