Tag Archives: Ontario Travel Divas

Family friendly fun in Blyth

28 Jul
Brodie Nesbitt, 10, sold railway spikes to raise money for a 4-wheeler.

Brodie Nesbitt, 10, sold railway spikes to raise money for a 4-wheeler at the Blyth Streetfest this past weekend. Photos by Shari Parsons.

By Diva Shari Parsons

BLYTH – It was with some nervous excitement that I set out Saturday afternoon for my first assignment as an Ontario Travel Diva, which was to report on the Blyth Streetfest. After reading a number of the other Diva’s posts, I felt that I had some pretty big shoes to fill.

Blyth is a picturesque village about 27 kms east of Goderich. From Goderich, it is an easy and relaxing drive along Blyth Rd. 25 through rolling countryside dotted with farm fields reminiscent of Gramma’s crazy quilts.

Once in Blyth, I found a shady parking spot beside the Blyth Public School and then walked two short blocks to Queen Street where all the action was to take place. As I approached, I could hear the skirl of bagpipes and the rat-a-tat-tat and boom-boom of the Brussels Legion Pipe Band. I arrived shortly after the noon start time and a number of the vendors were still in the process of setting up their booths. This gave me some time to wander the length of the Fest, before it got crowded, to scope out what was available. A cheerful gentleman in a bright tropical shirt was strumming little ditties on his ukulele as he wandered up and down while a budding young artist was busy creating a welcoming message on the road with pastel-coloured sidewalk chalk – ‘Blyth Streetfest “hear”’ (artistic licence perhaps?).

I stopped in to the Blyth Streetfest Headquarters and spoke with Connie Goodall, Economic Development Officer for the Township of North Huron. She told me that the event was started three years ago as a Busker Festival by the Blyth Business Improvement Association in partnership with the Township. It was created as an event that would bring people into the downtown core as an adjunct to a large camping festival that was taking place in Blyth at that time. Two years later, the event has changed dynamics somewhat and now features a performance stage and vendors. Connie said the focus of the Streetfest is to have an affordable, family friendly event with something to interest all ages.

For vintage car buffs, there was a variety of models of vintage cars all buffed and polished with chrome trim sparkling in the
IMG_2252 (2) (640x439)bright summer sun. You definitely needed your sunglasses on to look at those babies! My favourite was the 1958 Pontiac Chieftan with its shiny jet black body, brilliant chrome trim and crisp white sidewall tires, owned by Ed Becker of Clinton, ON. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone who would take me for a ride in it!

Summer festivals always mean food vendors and there was no shortage of choices to be made. You could try a basket of deep-fried pickles at Gator’s Grub (my tummy wasn’t brave enough). If you wanted something more traditional, the Lions Club had hamburgers and hotdogs. For those with a sweet tooth, there were a number of vendors offering a wide variety of delicious, home-baked goodies. Although those baked goods called to me with their siren (as in mermaid) voices, my burgeoning waistline convinced me to just look but not taste. The most interesting and entertaining food choice was the Tatostix and the Appostix. The Tatostix was made from a potato that was placed into a cylindrical machine that turned the potato while slicing it into one, long corkscrew. This was then threaded onto a long wooden skewer and placed in a deep-fryer. When cooked, the buyer then had a choice of a variety of flavours and spices that could be sprinkled onto the Tatostix. The Appostix was made from a Granny Smith apple that was sliced in the same manner and then threaded onto the skewer. The Appostix is not cooked but you could choose to have it sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or drizzled with chocolate sauce. In keeping with my desire to eat something “healthier” I chose an Appostix, but seeing as I am a bit of a chocoholic, I broke down and had mine drizzled with the chocolate sauce. The tart, crisp apple with the bittersweet dark chocolate was quite the taste sensation. It left me with sticky fingers and a paranoia that my face was covered in chocolate.

If you enjoy shopping, street vendors offered cosmetics, handicrafts, home decor, baked goods, fresh produce, spices, scented candles and even 3D Fibre Eyelashes! Many of the vendors are local folk but there were also some from Brussels, Mitchell and IMG_2279 (2) (640x480)_1Chesley. One lady from Stitches with a Twist in Blyth offered the most darling selection of tiny, hand-knit sheep, chickens, hedgehogs, rabbits and gnomes. Another lady sold soft-sided toy boxes, the colourful fabrics reminding me of a Turkish bazaar. Whitefield Farms had an artistic display of wonderful fruits, veggies and flower arrangements. Roslyn Cook of Goderich made lovely, brightly coloured mosaics. Vendors, David Hafner and Nick Buri, from Maple and Moose in Blyth sold quality wooden bird houses, feeders, game boards and cutting boards. The Wonky Frog Studio created pottery and other art. Their business mascot is the endangered Lemur Leaf Frog from Costa Rica.

My favourite entrepreneur was 10-year-old Brodie Nesbitt who was selling rusty rail road spikes for the bargain price of $1 each. Brodie and some friends have been busy collecting the spikes from the nearby Greenway Trail. He told me that he is hoping to earn enough money to buy a four-wheeler.

For the children, there was face-painting, a bike rodeo and a Corn Box filled with corn kernels and toy farm equipment, which was IMG_2293 (2) (480x640)very popular with the younger crowd, all farmers-in-training. The North Huron Fire Dept. had its Safety House to teach the children home fire safety. The volunteer firemen took me through a tour, which included smoke filled rooms, hot doors and fire alarms. There were booths where children could enter their guess as to how many coins there were in one jar or jellybeans in another. The CIBC had a bean bag toss and gave out little bottles of bubble solution.

Entertainment for children was provided by Dickie Bird – the fellow in the bright Hawaiian shirt. He played guitar and mixed humour with upbeat songs while a bubble machine filled the air with rainbow coloured bubbles. Dickie Bird was not one to hog the limelight so he quickly had the stage filled with young participants who clapped, honked horns, and jingled and jangled while others tried to hulahoop in time to the music. Dickie followed his music with magic tricks to the delight of the children.

The children’s entertainment was followed by a display of ballroom dancing performed by the East Side Studio Dancers from Blyth. I wanted to get up there and rhumba with them! 1-2-cha-cha-cha. Waiting in the wings ready to “swing your partner” were the Wheel’N’Dealers Modern Square Dancers from Clinton with the ladies wearing their brightly coloured skirts over puffy crinolines and the men in their western shirts and coloured neckerchiefs.

I have been considering getting a tattoo but I am not crazy about needles. Luckily for me, Dr. T was there with his airbrushes. He used to have a venue on Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls and also travelled with carnivals. I chose the design with 2 hearts (for me and my hubby) bordered by delicate leaves – and of course I had to have a healthy sprinkling of sparkling pixie dust to finish it off.

Another booth that I found interesting was a display of handcrafted items made by students at the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity located in Blyth. You could sign up for a wide variety of courses. I chose photography, photojournalism, wire jewelry, and fabric marbling.

If you were hot and needed a quick cool down, you could try bobbing for apples at the North Huron Community Foodshare booth where you could also learn just how little the amount of food that a family of four can pick up for one month.

IMG_2312 (2) (480x640)As I was leaving, some young men were performing skateboard jumps. The occasional jumper landed on the ground sans skate board – I was glad it was their bum and not mine!

I would like to acknowledge all the young volunteers who were present throughout the event, many of them high school students earning their community service hours. One student, Kaila Nesbitt, (older sister of the intrepid railroad spike entrepreneur) modelled the vivid, lime green Blyth Streetfest backpacks that were available for purchase. Kaila lives in Blyth and likes to support her community through volunteerism.

I enjoyed my time at the Blyth Streetfest. Everyone was very friendly and parents felt safe letting their little ones roam. I think that it is a pleasant, inexpensive, family friendly activity that can easily be enjoyed for a couple of hours.

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Blyth’s Part II Bistro: Fresh tastes chase away winter blues

24 Feb

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By Diva Claire Carter

It’s official – winter in Huron County isn’t going anywhere for awhile.  Luckily, Chef Peter Gusso and the staff of Part II Bistro in Blyth have a delicious menu to help visitors beat the winter blues.

I visited Part II with a group of ladies on a quiet Wednesday night in February. The restaurant ceiling is draped with romantic twinkle lights, and reminded me of the carnival scene from the movie “Big Fish.”

We were warmly welcomed by our server, and all had some difficulty deciding on what we would eat.  After

Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche

ordering, we were treated to an amuse bouche of a curried cauliflower soup that featured Blyth Farm Cheese.  It was delicious and warmed us all up.

I ordered the pork spring rolls as my appetizer.  I was pleasantly surprised

Appetizer

Appetizer

when they were served on a bed of seaweed salad.  The spring rolls were filled with tender pork and perfectly cooked veggies.  The flavours of this dish had a lovely Asian influence, and the sweet sesame lime dressing tied everything together perfectly.  My dinner companions ordered appetizers including the spinach and pear salad, Caesar salad and beef tacos.  Each of these dishes was beautifully presented and delicious.

Main course

Main course

I ordered the steak as my main course, and continued to be overjoyed with my choices.  The steak was a tender sirloin, rubbed with garlic and rosemary, and smothered in a healthy serving of a peppercorn and mushroom cream sauce.  The steak was served with truffled mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.  It was difficult but I managed to enjoy every bite of this savory meal.

I didn’t think I could do it, but I managed to find just enough room to enjoy the

Dessert

Dessert pavlova

pavlova for dessert. The dessert, created in honour of Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, had a meringue that was light and fluffy, and the berries atop whipped cream tasted like they had been soaked in a chocolate liqueur.  While I was beyond stuffed, I would have been full of regret if I hadn’t had this dessert.  I also had to share a photo of the creme brulee, another beautiful dish ordered at our table.

Dessert creme brulee

Dessert creme brulee

What did I like best about Part II Bistro?  The ambiance, great quality and presentation of the food all impressed me.  When our table of eight was completely silent after receiving each course, I knew we were all in foodie heaven. Part II is participating in Taste of Huron’s Winter

Dining Program on until Feb. 28. If you go, please be sure to advise them you are participating in the Winter Dining Program when you make reservations. It is also  hosting two beer tastings (March 27 & 28).  Call the restaurant for details, 519-523-2663.

Part II is located right across from the Blyth Theatre, making it a great place for a bite to eat before or after a show.  From Tuesday through Sunday, they’re open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. ($12-$15) and open at 5 p.m. for dinner (appetizers, $8-13, mains, $25-29).

 

Lunchtime organ concert runs Fridays through Lent

21 Feb

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By Diva Heather Boa

EXETER – Close your eyes and you can hear the organist tease resonating notes from cool air on the finicky pipe organ or feel the sound vibrate through your seat and into your bones from the digital organ during a lunchtime concert in the sanctuary of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church in Exeter.

Open your eyes and let the hymns by great composers such as Brahms, Handel and Bach become background music

Dr. Richard Heinzle, organist and music director of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, hosts a lunchtime concert every Friday through Lent.

Dr. Richard Heinzle, organist and music director of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, hosts a lunchtime concert every Friday through Lent.

to the sights in this magnificent church, built in 1888 and funded by Thomas Trivitt, Justice of the Peace in Huron County – the sun shining through stained glass scenes from the bible, Neo-Gothic architecture of tall narrow windows with pointed arches at the top and arched ceilings accentuated by wooden beams, the majestic bells that represent a full octave, which have temporarily been removed from the five-storey bell tower and line the church aisle.

It’s your choice how to best appreciate 40 minutes of organ music in the church sanctuary.

Every Friday until the end of Lent (the end of March), Trivitt’s organist and music director Dr. Richard Heinzle will present a lunchtime concert, inviting any and all to take a seat in pews usually reserved for the choir and enjoy their own brown bag lunch while he plays the pipe organ and the digital organ. (Just a note based on my own experience: A crunchy apple is probably not the best choice for lunch.)

Since early 2014, Richard has been music director and organist at Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church in Exeter and music director of the South Huron Community Choirs, part of outreach efforts by the church. He is also a board member of the Bach Music Festival of Canada, which will take place in Exeter this summer.

Richard introduces each hymn, telling us, for example, before he plays Bach’s Jesus, My Joy that most works were playbillimprovisational but the composer put together this piece in order to teach students how to improvise and to explore the different ways pieces could be put together.

There are just two visitors to this first concert, but Richard was undaunted and hopes word will spread and more cushions will be filled in the coming weeks.

He also wants people to know about the upcoming Hymn Sing Marathon planned for Saturday, Feb. 28 at the church. People are invited to drop anytime from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to make a cash or food donation to the Exeter and Area Community Food Bank and sing along as he plays through one verse of each song in the hymn book. He says many of the hymns in the Anglican hymn book are the same as in other hymn books, so you’ll be able to sing some familiar hymns as well as some new ones.

For more information on Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, visit this website.


 

2015022020organ4trivittLunchtime Organ Concert: If you go

What: Organ Concert At Lunch, a brown bag concert series

When: Every Friday through Lent, until March 27, starting at 12:15 p.m. and ending at 12:55 p.m.

Where: Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church’s sanctuary, 264 Main St. S., Exeter

How much: Goodwill offering. Suggested $5

What else: Dress warmly

 


 

 

Why Hello Huron County!

20 Dec

By Diva Maegan Reinhart

It has been decided that I am going to bring forth some wild, fun and adventurous things to do in this wonderful place I am lucky enough to call home!  I am thrilled to have this opportunity and can’t wait to get my feet wet.  My eyes have been opened up to how much this county really has to offer.  I have somehow been challenged with the adventure of trying to hike the county… now this is going to be a challenge and I will try my best to check out all the sites, but wow there are a lot of places to hike.  I also can’t wait to awaken my taste buds to the dazzling delicious treats Huron County has to offer!   Come join the Diva’s and I as we set out to have some fun and learn about all the fun things to do in Huron County.  Don’t be afraid to let me know if your looking for some Diva time.

Yours truly Diva Maegan Reinhart

Sushi in the county? whaaaa?

29 Jun

Hey everyone,

A few days ago I mentioned about how I had the perfect weekend. Well the weekend didn’t stop! It continued until the wee hours of Sunday evening. I went back to the Little Inn – yup I was there Friday and Sunday night, it’s that good. However, Sunday was for a very special event, SUSHI NIGHT!  It was the chefs birthday and he had his friend come down and make sushi, with a fusion twist.  As much as I absolutely love Huron County, there is somewhat of a lack of ethnicity when it comes to cuisine, so as soon as I heard sushi was coming to down I was 100% on board!

Needless  to say the food was absolutely amazing! It was 7 courses of perfection. I took a picture of every course for you so you can be jealous of what I got to enjoy! I would write a description of everything, however, there was too much to remember, with a bunch of words I have never heard of, let alone pronounce.  I may also had a few glasses of wine, so my memory isn’t 100% -oopies! I do however remember that the food was perfect, the service was perfect, the night was perfect. The Little Inn is such a great place to go and have a night out.

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Meaghan Smith at Bayfield Town Hall

26 Jun

Hey world, how is/was everyones weekend? Mine has been absolutely perfect thus far. Last night I went to the Bayfield town hall to see Juno award winner (best new artist) Meaghan Smith perform as part of the Bayfield concert series. She was absolutely incredible! Not only was her music amazing, but she was also hilarious. The show was very personal and intimate with less than 100 people. She shared a number of stories about the meaning of her songs, and growing up in Canada.

This song is about an ex boyfriend of hers that was sent to jail… and then escaped. This story she says is 100% true, and provided the entire crowd with a laugh. Sorry if the video quality isnt perfect, I was using my iphone. Anyways enjoy!!

Not only was she amazing to watch, but she was so sweet. After the show she stuck around to have a chance to talk to everyone and thank them for coming. She was such a friendly and lovely lady.

Alright so I gotta tell ya, I have yet to be disappointed with a Bayfield concert series show, Peter Meades books such high quality acts every time. If you are into live music make sure you get tickets for the rest of his shows he has planned for the summer!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bayfield-Concerts-Series/130581713152

-Kaylie