By Guest Diva Darlene Empey
Eight ladies set out on their annual Mystery Tour get away recently (Sept 11, 12 & 13). The theme of the weekend is to see some things we haven’t seen, participate in some new activities and, generally, just have a nice three-day weekend away.
This year the planner (me) wanted to discover or rediscover attractions in our “own backyard”. Only the planners know where the tour is taking the group, making the element of surprise part of the fun.
We started out in Goderich and here’s what we did:
First stop, Jillian Walden opened her at-home studio to us, for an hour of simple yoga poses, healthy eating tips (plus a healthy drink and snack) and advice on a host of topics raised by our 50/60-something group.
Jillian energized us for our busy day ahead.
Next we went to the Huron County Museum. It is amazing how much local history is contained here. Most of us had not been to this museum for years, we won’t say how many, but, suffice it to say that the two-headed calf was my most vivid memory.
By the time we were finished at the museum we were hungry. Pat and Kevin’s, on Court House Square,welcomed us for lunch. Everything was ample and delicious, and we all had a complimentary side of Mayor Kevin’s wit.
We then went to the Huron Historic Gaol. Again, a great history lesson and a sobering glimpse into the past.
I have lived in Huron County all my life and had never visited the gaol.
Now, to add a little culture, we visited Sharon Johnston who gave us a lesson playing the harp. Sharon patiently introduced us to an instrument that sounds beautiful no matter what you play, and, even if I do say so myself, our rendition of Three Blind Mice sounded pretty good. But, it paled in comparison to the solo Sharon played for us that sent musical shivers down my spine.
We dined at Beach Street Station, in its private room; the food, service and the view were delectable.
Off to Samuels, in Saltford, where we stayed for the night…beautiful rooms, cheery staff, nice continental breakfast and complimentary cupcakes!
Saturday morning we headed to the beach to see the newest attraction in Goderich. The Inuksuk display is impressive and a monument to the community spirit within Goderich, “Pretty Strong Town”.
We picked up our deli sandwich lunch at Shanahan’s, on the Square, and headed north on 21 to do something we hadn’t done for years….we played mini-golf at Point Farms Market.
Then we visited Susanne and Bill Robinson, at Robinson’s Maple Products. We sampled maple butter, fresh from the spout and toured the facility. This family operation has grown from a maple bush, supplying the neighbourhood with maple syrup, into a business providing dozens of maple products locally and internationally. It was clear from our visit that their secret ingredient is “passion”.
Next stop was Blyth Farm Cheese. Most of us didn’t even know that this award winning cheese plant existed just outside of Blyth. Paul VanDorp gave us a tour of the facility and explained the art of cheese making, the regulations and what he was planning for the future. But, of course, the best part was the sampling. We tasted several varieties of cheese and they were all amazing; my favourite was the “Drunken Goat”.
So, now we were tired and looking for a place to put our feet up. In Blyth? On the Threshers weekend? Yes, indeed. We stayed above the Queen’s Bakery, a lovely, spacious getaway, with a fully equipped kitchen and living room area.
Fine dining is always one of the highlights of our weekend (because we don’t have to cook). Just a few steps from the bakery we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Part II Bistro, including the chef’s complimentary appetizer.
Then, right across the street, we took in the final performance of the Blyth Festival season; the touching story behind “Mary’s Wedding”.
Sunday morning, we enjoyed not getting up too early and nibbling on the fruit, cheese, muffins and cherry loaf put together for us by Scrimgeour’s Food Market in Blyth.
On the last day of our LOL weekend, we headed off to Brussels. We are kind of worn out by this time, but no worries. Kathy McNeil Nichol and her staff at Solace Spa opened the doors at their beautiful historic location to welcome our group. We spent most of the day being pampered with pedicures, massages and reiki. It was a lovely, relaxing day, including lunch from the Jam Jar.
By the end of our weekend we were all impressed, and maybe a little surprised, to discover and rediscover all the things to do and see in Huron County within such short distances of home (and we barely scratched the surface). Talent, art, history, fine dining, accommodations and successful businesses, all just waiting for you to experience them, right in your own back yard.
Thanks to all the people & businesses that made this a great weekend for us!