Tag Archives: Bluewater

Huron County readies for summer tourism season

21 Apr
Keynote speakers Rebecca Wise and Victor Barry of Cottage Life’s INNvasion’s reality TV show, talked about the growing trend for nostalgia and urged participants to think of all the senses - smell, sounds, touch, and tastes.

Keynote speakers Rebecca Wise & Victor Barry of Cottage Life’s INNvasion’s reality TV show, talked about the growing trend for nostalgia & urged participants to think of all senses – smell, sounds, touch, and tastes. Photos by Jenna Ujiye.

By Diva Karen Stewart

BLUEWATER – Tourism is the world’s largest industry with revenues of over $500 billion including travel, tourism and hospitality businesses. In Huron County, tourism is a major economic driver as we welcome over one million visitors to our region each year.

Recently, the Huron Tourism Association held its annual industry event. Over 100 tourism business operators gathered at the Community Centre in Zurich to listen, learn, and interact with their peers. By bringing together tourism operators to network and to sharpen skills, to learn about the County’s tourism assets and to talk about emerging travel trends we work to provide the best possible experience for our visitors.

This year’s theme was “Hospitable Huron – Weve got it, Lets flaunt it!” Our keynote speakers, Rebecca Wise and Victor Barry of Cottage Life’s Dining INNvasion reality TV show, talked about the growing trend for nostalgia and urged participants to think of all the senses – smell, sounds, touch, and tastes – whether in the kitchen or through decorating their public spaces. On the same note, Rebecca noted that her visit to Huron County exceeded her expectations, saying “You don’t know hospitality until you’ve stepped out into the rural countryside.”

Boxes and bundles of  new brochures are distributed to tourism operators throughout the county in time for the tourism summer season.

Boxes and bundles of new brochures are distributed to tourism operators throughout the county in time for the tourism summer season.

Heritage sites and stories, food, events and opportunities for outdoor adventures were all highlighted during three familiarization trips in the host municipality of Bluewater. Tourism operators gained a deeper awareness of just how rich in tourism assets that region of the county is.

One of the main activities during this annual event is the Brochure Swap. Participants are encouraged to gather related business brochures so they can promote each other to the world all season long. In

Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol Curator Patricia Hamilton (centre) receives the Tourism Champion Award from past recipient Jim Lee of Cinnamon Jim's and Huron County Tourism Co-ordinator Cindy Fisher.

Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol Curator Patricia Hamilton (centre) receives the Tourism Champion Award from past recipient Jim Lee of Cinnamon Jim’s and Huron County Tourism Co-ordinator Cindy Fisher.

addition, the newly re-designed 2015 Ontario’s West Coast Travel Guide was available as were the County’s specialty brochures including Fishing, Hiking and Cycling guides – each one a valuable tool that drives business in the County each season of the year.

And, finally, more proof of the good work folks are doing in the county was shared when two awards were presented. Huron County Museum and Gaol Curator Patricia Hamilton was honoured with the Tourism Champion Award, presented for demonstrating stellar hospitality, creative marketing savvy, inclusive partnerships and forward-thinking leadership and promotion of Ontario’s West Coast. And, the Maitland Trail Association, which

Roger Goddard and Suzanna Reid, of the Maitland Trail Association, accept the Tourism Development Award from John McHenry, an HTA board member.

Roger Goddard and Susanna Reid, of the Maitland Trail Association, accept the Tourism Development Award from John McHenry, an HTA board member.

celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, was awarded the Tourism Development Award for demonstrating leadership, creative invention, partnership initiatives, community impact and excellence in the tourism industry.

In Huron County, we’re open and ready for business. We look forward to welcoming you to Ontario’s West Coast for adventure, theatre, festivals, events, and food.   You’ll find heritage and culture sites that share stories of our deep rural roots and you’ll find new friends offering you a warm rural hospitality.

Visit ontarioswestcoast.ca today to plan your visit today.

Bayfield Christmas Parade

4 Dec

by Diva Rachel Lynn

Ahhhh Christmas. I love everything about Christmas.  I love the snow. I love the carols. I love spending time with family and I love Christmas themed events.  I gathered up my mother-in-law and daughter and headed to Christmas in Bayfield.

We arrived as the stores opened to beat the morning crowds… or so we thought.  It seems like a lot of others had the same idea.  As we popped in and out of stores, there were free offerings of hot chocolate and apple cider to keep us warm.

The crowd is getting bigger waiting for Ol’ Saint Nick

The crowd is getting bigger waiting for Ol’ Saint Nick

The shops were decorated for the Christmas season and the music was playing in the background and I caught myself humming along.  You could also get free horse drawn carriage rides around town.

JMR Gallery & Village Bookshop are ready to welcome guests

JMR Gallery & Village Bookshop are ready to welcome guests

It was time for the parade and people were lining up on the Main Street.  There was a variety of people in the parade from miniature horses, to a pipe band to the local fire department.

FiretrucksAndFuryFriendsI managed to pick up a few goodies, but unfortunately I can’t show you the pictures!  Someone reading this may be a recipient of the gifts!

After an hour of shopping we decided to visit the Albion Hotel for a bite to eat.  The place was packed!  We didn’t even think to make reservations but managed to grab one of the last tables.  We decided to feast on wings and sweet potato fries.  I must commend the waitress.  She was amazing! Even though the place was full, our drink order came fast, our meal was really fast and the food was hot and delicious.  I would recommend the Albion to anyone who wants a relaxed atmosphere.  I will even go so far to so say the Albion has the best wings around.

WingsFries

Beatrice was fast asleep as we headed home.  Despite the rain, it was a fantastic day.  The people were happy, the streets were full and Bayfield helped us all get ready for Christmas.

A few tips for those attending the parades:

  • If the parade is on Main St and you can back your car up in a parking spot, please do.  This will help if it is raining or too cold so you can watch from the front seat.
  • If you plan on eating before or after the parade at a local restaurant, make reservations to avoid disappointment.
  •  If you didn’t make the Bayfield Santa Claus Parade, Santa is making one more stop in Huron County – Clinton Santa Claus Parade: December 5 @ 7pm

A Busy Friday Afternoon at the Bayfield Farmer’s Market 

1 Aug


Whether it is stopping on the side of the road to pick up some sweet corn on the honour system or frequenting markets, eating local is both good for you and our economy!

Whether it is stopping on the side of the road to pick up some sweet corn on the honour system or frequenting markets, eating local is both good for you and our economy!

By Diva Calista Powell

We are so fortunate in our area to have beautiful lakes and land that make for the perfect farming climate. We are also very lucky that we have so many places in Huron County for small businesses to sell their harvest. As a past “Londonite” I made sure to visit the many markets the city has to offer, but had never been to one in HC. It just so happened that for one of my other jobs I was asked to sell tickets for a local initiative in Bayfield during the market hours on Clangregor Square. Boy, was I ever impressed. I thought that the sleepy beach town of Bayfield would have a small turnout, but each booth was so busy, I hardly had a chance to chat with the vendors. I was also impressed because there wasn’t just the regular old fruit and veggie stands lining the square. I enjoyed a hot coffee from Shop Bike Coffee Roasters and a vanilla cinnamon roll from the Red Cat Farms bakery cart. I also had the chance to say hello to Pat McDougall and Shelagh Sully of CovenTree Gardens and peruse through Irene Morris’ unique garden art. Overall, Bayfield Market has a great selection of vendors and is worth the visit this summer.

Check out the Bayfield Farmer’s market every Friday from 3-7PM on Clangregor Square.To find other markets in the area download Huron Perth’s Farm to Table, “Buy Local! Buy Fresh!” guide here:http://huronperthfarmtotable.ca/consumers/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/4th-BLBF-Map-FINAL.pdf

Firmly Rooted supplies many happy customers with fresh seasonal veggies.

Firmly Rooted supplies many happy customers with fresh seasonal veggies.

Pat McDougall and Shelagh Sully pose for a shot with their fresh cut flowers. Coventree Gardens is known as the home of Bayfield lilies.

Pat McDougall and Shelagh Sully pose for a shot with their fresh cut flowers. Coventree Gardens is known as the home of Bayfield lilies.

Irene Morris smiles alongside her work that was originally inspired by art she saw in Ottawa.

Irene Morris smiles alongside her work that was originally inspired by art she saw in Ottawa.

 

ArtSee Cafe Eats in Bayfield, ON

30 Jul
The mushroom spinach and ham crepe in a white wine cheese sauce. Delish!



The mushroom spinach and ham crepe in a white wine cheese sauce. Delish!

By Diva Calista Powell

ArtsSee Cafe’s website states they are, “Serving delicious, innovative, fresh and healthy food. Our service is friendly, casual and attentive. Our environment is relaxed, current, youthful and welcoming”, and I have to 100% agree with them. I have always wanted to go to this French-style bistro, so on a rainy day I drove up to Bayfield to have lunch here with my Grandma, Polly. It usually takes me about .5 of a second to decide what I am going to order but every single item on this menu was so intriguing. We ended up deciding on splitting a mushroom, spinach and ham crepe and the Mediterranean Panini made up of Metzger’s smoked turkey breast, artichoke hearts, crumbled feta, and sundried tomato mayonnaise grilled on a focaccia. It was nearly impossible to decide which meal I liked better. You can never go wrong with a healthy sandwich made from local ingredients, but then again the crepe had a white wine and cheese sauce that I wish I could eat every day.

The Mediterranean focaccia as recommended by our server. Definitely a good choice.

The Mediterranean focaccia as recommended by our server. Definitely a good choice.

The portions were great for a light lunch and the ambience of ArtSee Cafe was relaxed and welcoming. At one point a lady wearing her pyjamas sat down to an espresso to frantically scribble something on to a napkin that I could not make out . I later overheard as she was speaking to a friend who entered the cafe that she was visiting from London for a poetry workshop and just had a surge of inspiration. It made me smile knowing that someone from a neighbouring city would feel at home here and find ArtSee Cafe as wonderful as I did.

To view ArtSee Cafe’s Schedule and Menu go to their website at http://www.artseecafe.ca

They are located at 19 Main Street, Bayfield, Ontario

The super friendly serving staff Cassie Groot, Shannen Murray & Maddy McDonald.

The super friendly serving staff Cassie Groot, Shannen Murray & Maddy McDonald.

The culinary wizards who made my amazing meal! Big thanks to Guy Spence, Anita Spence and Stacia McLean.

The culinary wizards who made my amazing meal! Big thanks to Guy Spence, Anita Spence and Stacia McLean.

 

Life is a Beach in Huron County

23 Jul

by Diva Calista Powell

It is easy to take for granted the beautiful beaches that we have available to us in Huron County. I have traveled around the world and lounged on some of the most incredible seashores; From Frasier Island’s champagne pools in Australia to Elafonisi’s pink sands in Crete, Greece. As wonderful as these exotic sands are, there really is no place like home.To me, there is nothing better than the freshwater Great Lakes and watching the sun set over the West Coast horizon. Here are a few favourite beaches of mine that I recommend you visit this summer:

The Stegall sisters performing at Summer Sunset Sounds for a crowd of beach go-ers.

The Stegall sisters performing at Summer Sunset Sounds for a crowd of beach go-ers.

Beach #1: Grand Bend Beach

Whenever I have to explain to city folk where my hometown is, I usually say, “45 minutes from Grand Bend”, because everyone is familiar with this lively strip and beautiful waters. From the night life to the soft stretches of sand, Grand Bend never disappoints. After a 27-degree day of sun tanning and water frisbee, I packed up my beach bag and strolled up to the observation deck stage to see one of my favourite bands, Stegall, perform for Summer Sunset Sounds. Summer Sunsets Sounds is a series of free live concerts that happen every Sunday night at 7pm on the main beach of Grand Bend. The sensational sunset and laid back atmosphere complimented the Stegall sisters beats in the most perfect way. To see the line up for the rest of the summer visit: http://grandbendtourism.com/events/summersunsetsounds

The waters of Grand Bend shining at sunset.

The waters of Grand Bend shining at sunset.

Beach #2: Bayfield South Beach (Howard Street Beach)

The sleepy town of Bayfield is one of my favourite places to be in the summertime. This season, I made a point to stroll through Patina Studios to see the fine art and pottery by artists Joan Bailey and Tony Eyamie, stop in to see my friend Jean-Anne Hamilton at The Black Dog Pantry for a snack and then take the trek down the long wooden staircase on Howard Street Beach to soak up some rays. What I like about this beach is that it is fairly secluded and has a much quieter pace, so it is perfect way to recharge and take a mini-vacation from the hustle and bustle of work life.

The Bayfield sunset lights up the South Street Beach shoreline.

The Bayfield sunset lights up the South Street Beach shoreline.

Directions: At Brandon’s Hardware store on the square, take a right onto Howard Street and follow it all the way to the very end lot.

Beach #3: Port Blake Park

This was the first year I have ever visited Port Blake Park, and thanks to Best Host West Coast (a Huron Tourism Association training program) I now know about this Lake Huron gem. Port Blake is a serene, yet lively conservation area equipped with a picnic pavilion and BBQ areas. Over the years, this location has attracted guests from urban centres such as Kitchener and the GTA. Port Blake Park is a great place to bring the whole family for the day, and is dog friendly (as long as they are leashed). Admission is $4 per person or $10 a car load and is most definitely worth checking out this summer.

Address: 71155A Bluewater Highway 21 at Highway 83 (Dashwood Road)

For more information on beaches and to discover many more summer destinations, check out Ontario’s West Coast publications at http://www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/beta/news/publications-brochures/

Shelter Valley Campground offers plenty to do

2 Jul Our tiny little cabin was cozy and sweet!

by Diva Christine Harris,

I packed up my husband and my little dog Maggie and we went to spend some time at Shelter Valley Campground this past weekend.  We were greeted by Linda Lucier, who is one of the new owners with her husband Shawn.  She was very helpful getting us situated in the cute little cabin we were to stay in.  This cabin is the only one on the campsite, which made us feel a bit special when some of the other campers took notice and asked if they could take a peek inside.

Our tiny little cabin was cozy and sweet!

Our tiny little cabin was cozy and sweet!

Shelter Valley Campground is located on highway #8 between Clinton and Goderich.  Once you turn off the road you drive down a pathway to the campground in the valley right next to the Maitland River.  There are plenty of amenities and things to do at the campground.  They have a store full of everything you might have forgotten to pack or have ran out of, and if you happen to feel electronically deprived you can even sign up for wifi.  There is lots of playground equipment for the kids, a pool, and shuffleboard and horseshoe pits for the adults. They even have foosball, ping-pong and darts set up in hall.  The weekend that we were at the campground, there was a movie playing, a bass fishing derby, kids crafts, kids bike parade, ice cream social, wagon ride, and a 50/50 draw.

 

Activity Board keeps everyone "in the loop"

Activity Board keeps everyone “in the loop”

We really enjoyed staying in the cabin.  It has two bunks (double on bottom, single on top), a mini fridge, fold out table, chairs, BBQ with propane, hydro, picnic table and a fire pit. There is also a cute little porch to sit on out front to catch some shade during the day.  The cabin is also situated between both river access points and just a short walk to the store and washroom facilities.  All around the cabin are trailer sites and we were pleasantly surprised by how many friendly people stay here.  Almost everyone said hello as they passed by, and someone was even nice enough to let us know that our interior lights had stayed on in our vehicle.

Overall we really enjoyed our stay at Shelter Valley Campground.  Great scenery, great people, and plenty to do!  For more information check out their website: www.sheltervalleycampground.ca or call Linda or Shawn at 519-524-4141.

Camping requires a roaring fire to sit around, doesn't it?

Camping requires a roaring fire to sit around, doesn’t it?

Double size on the bottom, single on the top bunk

Double size on the bottom, single on the top bunk

The camps sits beside the beautiful Maitland River

The camps sits beside the beautiful Maitland River

The little porch on our cabin

The little porch on our cabin

The store was well stocked with camping essentials

The store was well stocked with camping essentials

Great things come from ‘Out of the Blue’

7 May

 

Sue showing off their wide variety of imported seafood and talks about the lobster tails from Cuba that customers have coined as “The Ohmygods”

Sue showing off their wide variety of imported seafood and talks about the lobster tails from Cuba that customers have coined as “The Ohmygods”

by Diva Calista Powell
It was fishing on the river where Sue Larson and Don Voisin met, and today this married couple continue to share their passion at their fresh fish and seafood market ‘Out of the Blue’ in Bayfield, Ontario. Six years ago, Sue and her husband noticed that Huron County was lacking a supplier of freshly caught fish and wanted to open up shop and bring in their own fare from the Great Lakes. Since then, they have cast their net wider to import the best lobster tails from Cuba and even catfish from North Carolina that they cure themselves in their at-home smokery. It has been claimed by the residents of our area that they sell the best quality and variety of fish on the West Coast, which is supported by the many restaurants in Huron County that feature their local fish on their menu. This claim is also validated by returning international tourists that stock up before they head home to South Africa, China and Jamaica to name a few places. While chatting with Sue, she said that their claim to fame is definitely their wide variety of smoked fish, so I decided to take the plunge and get the smoked catfish. Even though I can be a picky eater and was hesitant to try catfish, I was blown away by the moist light flavour and have even been back to get some more since writing this article. It was at that time where I also decided to turn up the heat in the kitchen and try out local Lake Huron rainbow trout. Sue gave me a fail-safe recipe that she swore by, and even laughed a little when I jotted down her straightforward directions on my notepad. As promised, this recipe turned out fabulously and the trout was perfectly flaky and had a nice delicate flavoring. If anyone else would like to test their culinary talents and support local, I too highly recommend buying from Out of the Blue Fish and Seafood Market.

Out of the Blue’s fresh fish display case with varieties of bass, halibut, perch and pickerel among others.

Out of the Blue’s fresh fish display case with varieties of bass, halibut, perch and pickerel among others.


Sue Larson’s Simple Baked Rainbow Trout:

Ingredients:
2 cuts of fresh rainbow trout
Soya Sauce
Sea Salt
Pepper
4-6 thick slices of tomato
2 lemon wedges

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with aluminum foil.
2) Place the trout on top of the foil and drizzle on soya sauce and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Top with thick slices of tomato.
3) Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes and serve with a lemon wedge.

My delicious rainbow trout creation!


My delicious rainbow trout creation!


For more information about Out of the Blue visit their Facebook page at:https://www.facebook.com/OutOfTheBlueFishAndSefoodMarket

Out of the Blue
Hwy 21, Bayfield
(519) 565-4240

 

“You can give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; you teach a man to come over to Out of the Blue and he is happy for a lifetime”.                              – Sue Larson

Situated right off of the Bayfield square makes this a great location for County residents and summer tourists to stop in and acquire a taste for their product.

Situated right off of the Bayfield square makes this a great location for County residents and summer tourists to stop in and acquire a taste for their product.


Sue wraps up my rainbow trout and catfish in newspaper and calls it “the old English way”.

Sue wraps up my rainbow trout and catfish in newspaper and calls it “the old English way”.

photo 3