Tag Archives: camping

Music lovers get their fill at jamboree and campout in Blyth

23 May

headshot (1)By Diva Karen Stewart

I love music! All types of music! There is nothing better than watching talented musicians make their instruments “sing” and a crowd of people moving to the beat.

This weekend – May 21-24 – is the 18th annual Barndance Historical Society’s Jamboree and Campout Weekend in Blyth. The event kicked off Thursday night and Friday afternoon with Campers Jam Sessions. These are Open Mic-type events where audience members perform to the crowd.

Friday night the Society presented its annual Bluegrass Concert. Wikipedia describes Bluegrass music as a form of American

There was standing room only at the Jam Session Thursday night in Blyth. Photo by Gord Baxter.

There was standing room only at the Jam Session Thursday night in Blyth. Photo by Gord Baxter.

roots music, and a subgenre of country music. Bluegrass was inspired by the music of Appalachia. It has mixed roots in Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and English traditional music, and was also later influenced by the music of African-Americans through incorporation of jazz elements.

The evening started with a concert by the Peace River Band, an award-winning group of five who reside in the Niagara region. They played a number of their own original songs as well as popular tunes such as John Denver’s Country Roads, Gordon Lightfoot’s Did She Mention My Name, Hank William’s I Saw the Light and audience favourite Mule Skinner Blues where lead Mary Lou Fitzgerald really got to show her pipes. Closing with The Orange Blossom Special the musicians had a chance to highlight their talent as they took turns playing the melody and improvising around it. This is typical to the style of Bluegrass music in contrast to old-time music in which all the instruments play the melody together. Rapid tempos, unusual instrumental dexterity and complex chord changes are typical and allow the viewer to appreciate the talent of each musician as well as the unique sounds of their instrument – in this case the banjo, the mandolin, the fiddle, and two guitars – one bass.


The second part of the evening was Open Stage. The House Band accompanied individuals from the audience who had pre-registered their intent to perform. They opened with a familiar tune.

BD from Heather Boa on Vimeo.

As the event name suggests, camping is a large part of the fun for Jamboree participants. Wednesday saw the arrival of the first

campground40 camping units – more than they had in Year 1 – says representative Gord Baxter. By Friday night, 350 campers were on site (approximately 700 people).

Over 100 volunteers help to co-ordinate this annual event. Baxter reports it’s not hard to get help as they break it down in to two or three hour shifts. I asked one volunteer why she keeps coming back and she replied, “For the music, and for the friends – new and old!”

Featuring traditional Barndance Musicians and their special guests.

Featuring traditional Barndance Musicians and their special guests.

On Saturday, there is a Musical Flea Market and Silent Auction, Open Stage events, a sold out pork chop dinner prepared by Blyth Lions Club and the ever popular Barn Dance Show followed by dancing until midnight.   Sunday’s Gospel Concert is one of the most popular events (You can catch the Peace River Band performing there on Sunday if you missed them), with 800 tickets sold already.

Read more about The Barndance Historical Society and its work at its website. All events still have tickets available that can be purchased at the door, and everyone is invited.


Barndance Historical Society & Entertainment Museum
273 Josephine St.
Wingham, ON N0G 2W0



Shelter Valley Campground offers plenty to do

2 Jul

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

Canoeing and Carrying on

13 Jun

Canoeing on the Maitland

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

I have always been one to enjoy being on the water and try to get out canoeing at least once a year. A few weeks ago I headed out on the Maitland River and set out for a weekend of canoeing and camping with a bunch of friends. I was fairly excited as last year the water was really low and we weren’t able to get out at all.

Fishing and canoeing Getting ready to canoestretch of it! We started out at Belgrave Road and meandered the river for a few hours until we stopped right at Auburn. My boyfriend had rigged up our canoe with a motor, but the water was flowing fairly quick and we didn’t end up using it (luckily, as it just seemed totally silly!).

Now what I find is the major trick to canoeing and camping is the packing. You have to make sure you bring enough – but not too much – so your canoe is still comfortable. We were able to do this by dropping of the majority of our overnight needs at the camping site and just taking our lunch and extra clothing with us.

At the campsite Canoeing on the Maitland Canoeing on the Maitland

My favourite parts of the trip were as follows:

– Seeing the forest floor covered in our Ontario flower – the Trillium

– Watching a friend endlessly catch tiny little fish

– Stopping for lunch in an amazing picturesque setting

– Giggling while one of the canoes somehow filled with water and sank (of course all in good fun, they just emptied it and were good to go again without loosing anything)

If you are looking for more information about paddling in Huron, here is a link to the Huron County Fishing and paddling guide: http://www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/?page_id=248

Campgrounds galore!

27 May

Playing at Shelter Valley

Ontario’s West Coast is known for it’s wonderful Countryside and Coastline, but who knew that we had 26 amazing campgrounds in the area?

When I was a kid my parents had a trailer and we spent every weekend at it in the summer time! I will never forget those cherished moments. Campgrounds always have really great events and activities going on.

This past weekend I stopped by to visit Laurie and Bert at Shelter Valley Campground, where my friend Adrienne was staying with her husband and daughter. Shelter Valley is located, on Highway 8 in between Clinton and Goderich. Of course, since it was May 24 weekend the campground was filled to capacity!  When I first got to the campground I walked round and checked out the river. The water was really high, perfect for canoeing or kayaking, we watched at least 10 people paddle by effortlessly. After that we went for a walk and played on the equipment, walked up the hiking path and then had a wonderful barbecue. “Chef Mike” (Adriennes’s Husband) made awesome burger and Adrienne got the salads ready. since it was a long weekend, fieworks were planned for dusk. Bert and crew put on an awesome 45 minute show!

I can’t wait to get out again, you can’t really say that I went camping, since I went home that night. I do plan on getting out this summer though! If you are single or with a group, camping is always a blast. Since activities are planned you will always meet interesting people from all over the place. If you are looking to camp this summer, check out http://www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/owc_directory/campground_rv.php to pick your favourite place!

Staycationing… Save some money on gas!

26 Mar

Send me Staycation Ideas if you have them!!!

Is “staycation” a word? I think so! For me this week has been about learning and finding out new information. I was at a “super” conference on Tuesday, where many people from around Huron County attended to learn about – Economic Development Strategies, Immigration in Huron, Transportation in Huron, Social Enterprise and The Huron County Sustainability plan.

Dr.Wayne Caldwell (Check out his website to learn more – http://www.waynecaldwell.ca/ )started off the day telling us about a few key factors to keep in mind on a daily basis. One of them really stuck with me, gas… or Peak Oil. Our world is in a situation where we may be paying large amounts of money to fill our vehicles with gasoline. I am not going to get in to any logistics, but I will say that a tank of gas could cost much more than we are paying now.I also got to hear more about Sustainable Huron, in which the County of Huron is creating a plan right now. We need to be sustainable to keep the current lifestyle we have. Check out the blog to learn more – http://sustainablehuron.wordpress.com/

So this got me to thinking about summer vacation, should I I take a staycation instead? There are so many wonderful attractions in the area that I could spend weeks checking them all out, for much less money than driving or flying out of the area.

So far I plan on doing the following:

Heading to the beach at Point Farms, Spending the day at Above the Falls Challenge Course (climbing and having fun!), Culinary delights, Renting a canoe from Timber’s Outfitters in Seaforth, Hiking and I am going to try to fish!

Again, if you have any ideas of things for me to check out, send them my way!