Tag Archives: Queens Bakery

Ladies on Leave – or LOL – create a weekend getaway in Huron County

22 Oct
Ladies on Leave (LOL) find a weekend getaway in their own backyard.

Ladies on Leave (LOL) find a weekend getaway in their own backyard.

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:

Sometimes fun comes in the simple things - like mini-golf.

Sometimes fun comes in the simple things – like mini-golf.

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”.

A tour of Blyth Farm Cheese was one of the weekend highlights.

A tour of Blyth Farm Cheese was one of the weekend highlights.

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!


Abra-KID-abra a magical way to end March Break

23 Mar


By Diva Caroline Thuss

Looking for entertainment that is good for both kids and adults alike? Abra-KID-abra pulls an excellent magic show out of a hat that left both my daughter and me in stiches. As soon as we entered the Blyth Memorial Community Hall the comical mood was set with the music playing as we waited for the show to start. The theatre was full of kids of all ages, parents and grandparents who were all eager for the show to start. Once Peter Mennie took the stage you knew that it would be a performance that would leave adults and kids in awe of his magic and in stitches from all the comedy that he effortlessly dishes out.

Diva Caroline Thuss and her daughter were in stitches during the show.

Diva Caroline Thuss and her daughter were in stitches during the show.

His magic and illusions allowed a multitude of kids to become part of the show as his “assistants” and he played off of their reactions, which if you have kids you know they can say some pretty funny things. Many of the kids around us wanted to get on stage and he made sure he involved as many as he could. My daughter often whispered to me “Mom, he is soooo funny!” and “WOW…how did he do that?” I have to admit that I also wondered the same thing.

After the show, they had kid-friendly magic wands for sale at a very reasonable price of $3, which included a booklet of magic tricks to do at home. I bought five of them to give to my other children and my nephew and niece the next time I see them.

It was a pirate-themed week over at Queen's Bakery, with treasure chest treats - Rice Krispies squares with chocolate gold coins

It was a pirate-themed week over at Queen’s Bakery, with treasure chest treats – Rice Krispies squares with chocolate gold coins

After the show, we headed across the street to the Queen’s Bakery to enjoy a coffee. They were having a pirate-themed week, which added to more fun. My daughter enjoyed a treasure chest (Rice Krispies squares with chocolate gold coins) and a Davey Jones root beer while I enjoyed a wonderful blueberry scone and a latté. What a great way to end a fun afternoon outing in Blyth!

To find out more about attractions in Huron County, visit online.




Blyth Memorial Community Hall is a 444-seat theatre owned by the Municipality of North Huron. It is home to the Blyth Centre for the Arts, which includes the Blyth Festival, a professional summer theatre that produces new Canadian plays. Check its 2015 season here.

423 Queen St., Blyth. Phone: 519-523-9300 Toll free: 1-877-862-5984

Queen’s Bakery is a coffee shop and bakery located in a former apothecary on the main street of Blyth. Lunch served.

430 Queen St., Blyth. Phone: 226-523-9720

Music takes centre stage at Queen’s Bakery in Blyth

1 Mar
Tim Craig and Julie-Anne Lizewski play to a toe-tapping crowd at Queen's Bakery in Blyth.

Tim Craig and Julie-Anne Lizewski play to a toe-tapping crowd at Queen’s Bakery in Blyth.

By Diva Heather Boa

heather boaBLYTH – Leather soles of many boots slap the wooden floorboards in unison in this village coffee shop on a Saturday night, Feb. 28. The rhythmic, dull thuds accompany harmonica, acoustic guitar and harmonized vocals from local musicians Julie-Anne Lizewski and Tim Craig.

It’s the second appearance at Queen’s Bakery in Blyth for these two, who are relatively new to the local music scene, and tonight there’s a good crowd of about 20 who’ve settled in for an evening of music, coffee, drinks and desserts. The atmosphere is cozy in this bakery, with its exposed brick, high tin ceilings, full-length front windows with a view of white Christmas lights on trees and a set of blinking blue string lights in the Blyth Festival’s courtyard across the street.

Finola McGuinty and Mike Crocker throw some Dixie Chicks into their set.

Finola McGuinty and Mike Crocker throw some Dixie Chicks into their set.

We ease in with Canadian band Tragically Hip’s Bobcaygeon, then move through some gems I’ve never heard before, like Kathleen Edwards’ Alicia Ross, a song written from the perspective of a 25-year-old Markham woman who was killed by her next door neighbour, and Shawn Colvin’s Polaroids, an upbeat number with all sorts of vocal twists and turns. Then there’s the angry, cathartic song with a title I can’t print here because it’s chock full of potty mouth language.

Along the way, the duo perform Bob Dylan’s Shelter From the Storm, a song request from a woman in the audience. Like most of the playbill for the evening, the lyrics are rich and poetic. The tempo flirts with upbeat – toes are tapping – but remains somehow constrained.

Owners Les Cook and Anne Elliott waltz in the kitchen.

Owners Les Cook and Anne Elliott waltz in the kitchen.

There are other familiar songs, and yet they’re just a little bit different. I discover there’s far more to the 20th century American standard Irene than the abbreviated version sung at the end of many nights at a pub. As Tim plays the lap steel guitar, owners Anne Elliott and Les Cook take up a waltz behind the counter, then gracefully twirl through the restaurant.

The couple enjoys hosting local musicians from time to time.

“It’s something we wanted to do from the get-go. Because we dance we kind of have a thing for live music,” said Les, who is a dance instructor at Blyth East Side Dance.

Each of the two sets are opened by well-known Goderich musicians Finola McGuinty and Mike Crocker, a great pairing for Julie-Anne and Tim. Perhaps their most endearing piece is Nancy Griffith’s Trouble in the Fields, a song Finola first heard in Belfast but says can easily apply to the farming community that is Huron County. In fact, most hands shoot into the air when she asks who in the audience has a connection to farming. It’s to those farmers she dedicates the song.

Huron County pubs and restaurants are great supporters of live music. Friday, March 6, North Country Towers will play at Cinnamon Jim’s in Brussels. Check Ontario’s West Coast events calendar for more information on this and other events.

Queen’s Bakery, Blyth

Address: 430 Queen St. S., Blyth

Phone: 226-523-9720

Follow them on Facebook or Twitter @QueensBakery4

Huron Adventures

26 Jun

By Diva Melody Hodgson

Living in Huron County, the love and pride felt by the residents is evident in even the simplest of conversations.  Pride in their land, homes, the bounty of all the area has to offer; love of their relationships, workplaces and the general feeling of community partnership and support.  Many of us are fortunate to share at least one, if not all of these sentiments.  Rarely, however, do we get to combine them all and create a work environment that embodies everything we love.  Welcome to Huron Adventures Inc.  (On Twitter)

The brainchild of Genny Smith, Huron Adventures Inc. packages the best of what Huron County has to offer and curates a tailored experience for each of their clients.  Genny, along with Heather Boa (Communications), Craig Sinclair (Graphic Design), and Angela Smith (Photography), have taken their shared love of Huron County and created a company that takes the guessing out of experiencing.  Whether you are looking for a genuine adventure (hiking, crossfit and wakeboarding – oh my!), a culinary experience, or a theatrical creation, Huron Adventures Inc. has all the passion and partnerships to let you in on the many adventures we have hidden within our beloved county.

Last Friday I was fortunate enough to be able to join Genny and her crew on their inaugural adventure with Steven Sparling and the Canadian Propane Association corporate retreat attendees.  If you’re anything like me, I often feel intimidated by the limitless options we have within the area and end up doing much of the “same old” every weekend since I can’t make a decision.  Luckily for everyone, Huron Adventures Inc. had the whole day planned out, leaving any decision making out of the equation.

I met the group at the Queens Bakery in Blyth after their chartered bus pick-up at the Benmiller Inn & Spa.  Located in a beautifully renovated heritage building on main street in Blyth, the espresso bar features local artisanal products (coffee, cheese, maple syrup, etc) and fresh baked goods in a super relaxing and chill environment.  From here we were to grab a beverage of choice (hello Royal Canadian coffee!), where I looked like an opportunistic coffee mooch by joining the group’s coffee order prior to an introduction.  After some laughs, we were on our way to experience a historic tour of Blyth hosted by one of the town’s most avid ambassadors – Rick Elliott.

Queens Bakery in Blyth

Queens Bakery in Blyth

Rick’s historic tour wound it’s way past the Blyth Memorial Hall (we were unable to enter the hall due to theatre rehearsals; the festival opens Wednesday, June 25th), and led us towards the soon-to-be repurposed Blyth Public School.  As a defining component of Blyth’s Campaign 14/19, the old public school will be re-established as a School of Art and Design within the next five years.  After a humourous education regarding the longstanding familial rivalry between rutabagas (thank you autocorrect) and turnips, we toured past Howson Mills where the smell of durum wheat at the flour mill made us think longingly of all of the delightful goodies we left behind at the Queens Bakery.

The final leg of Rick’s walking tour brought us to the Blyth Greenway Trail.  Situated on old CPR rail lines, the walking trail features fitness stations nestled alongside the Blyth Brook and is one of town’s hidden gems.  It was here, in this peaceful and relaxing environment, that we met our next adventure…Jen Fleming of The Tank Crossfit in Goderich.  All smiles and full of contagious energy, she presented us with this lovely whiteboard:

Nothin’ to it...right?

Nothin’ to it…right?

“Surely she can’t be serious”, I said to myself.  A few seasons of office work had fooled me into thinking my semi-daily walks were enough to keep me “fit”.  I was sorely mistaken, but since this was a day of adventure and trying new experiences we all dove right in.  There is something to be said about how great it feels to remember muscles long forgotten, but I will be forever grateful to the kind soul who decided all buses should have a handrail to climb and descend stairs with.  The program Jen created for us was fun and energetic, and we all spent a good portion of the exercises alternately laughing (at ourselves), and negotiating repetition counts.  It’s not every day you get to hold a propane tank over your head while your partner pounds out dreaded burpees!

Hey, Manitoba...how’s that one-armed push-up going?

Hey, Manitoba…how’s that one-armed push-up going?

The CPA Group after the Fit Tank Goderich Crossfit experience!

The CPA Group after the Fit Tank Goderich Crossfit experience!

Once we had completed the team building crossfit extravaganza, we hopped (I use that term loosely, we did just complete a million lunges) back onto the bus and began the trek out to Bayfield for some wakeboarding and stand up paddleboarding (SUP).

As you will learn, I love food, and this lunch was one of my favourites.  Shop Bike Coffee Roasters (a locally operated establishment in Bayfield with a lovely shop bike I am extremely envious of) sponsored the lunch featuring gourmet sandwiches, gluten free pasta and sweet treats all from the Black Dog Pantry.  To top it off, they had a variety of their organic & fair trade coffee options available to try.  Ah-may-zing.


ShopBike2smA snippet of the delicious spread by Shop Bike and the Black Dog Pantry

The energy that palpated through the bus on the drive to Bayfield had diminished somewhat by the time we boarded for our return to Blyth.  Not out of any sense of disappointment, but rather a combination of exhaustion and reflection; we had already experienced more of what our county has to offer in one day than most (myself included) choose to experience in a month.

The final stop on our adventure tour found us once again in Blyth, this time at Part II Bistro under the care of chef extraordinaire Peter Gusso.  Chef Gusso and his staff had prepared the restaurant for a private sushi lesson.  Each person was to create a sushi roll for another person in the group, however they liked, at which time the recipient would do the same for the next person.


Smoked trout sushi created under the guided direction of Chef Peter Gusso.

With full bellies, a few rutabagas, and big, tired smiles it was time for the CPA crew to call it a day.  Thanking them before they boarded the bus back to Benmiller, I was at a loss of words to fully explain how much I appreciated being able to join them that day.  The passion and dedication the Huron Adventures Inc. crew have for Huron County, small towns and local businesses is inspiring.  Their business model will create sustainability within the community through their shared partnerships and dedicated goals.  Huron County has so much to offer, not only to visitors, but especially to those who reside within our boundaries.  It is sometimes easy to forget, but like Friday showed me, it is sometimes just as easy to remember as well.

If you aren’t excited about Huron Adventures Inc yet, you need to be.

Huron Adventures Crew2

L to R, Heather Boa, Angela Smith, Genny Smith and Craig Sinclair of Huron Adventures Inc.


Huron Adventures Inc.

It was a sweet kind of day

14 May

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

Cinnamon BunsQueens Bakery shirt

I have stopped in and picked up baked goods and food to go at the Queens Bakery in Blyth, but I hadn’t yet stayed in for a meal. I had a meeting with my friend Karen in Blyth, so we decided to go to the bakery for lunch. When we walked in the smells were great. There were 5 or so other tables of people dining and all of the food looked yummy. We chose a table and went to the front to check out the lunch specials, which all sounded good. Karen went with the chili and cheese biscuit with pesto and cheese on it and I ordered the chili and Reuben sandwich. Both of the meals were excellent and the price and service made this place top notch in my mind! Both of our meals came to only $18 and change and we were both full.

Queens Bakery Food Queens Bakery Food

There are also so many great treats, which are freshly baked daily. They had over 20 different types of drinks (coffee, teas, juices, pop etc.), date squares, cookies, oat bars, tarts, muffins, loafs, cheeses, sandwiches, salads, soups and more.

cookies lemon loaf

Oh and did I mention they had cakes and ice cream too! Prices ranged from $6 for a sandwich, $3 for quiche and $3 for soup; desserts ranged from $1 – $4 depending on what you decide on. They are also licensed so if you want a beer, wine, specialty coffee or spirit you can. Another offering they have is accommodation upstairs. This summer you can go to Blyth, check out a show at the festival, eat at the Bakery and then spend the night (Plus you can stop in to the Blyth Inn and check out the shops)! For more information visit: www.queensbakeryblyth.com/

Queens Bakery’s Royal Tea Popular for Young Princesses and Princes

13 Mar

On Tuesday afternoon young princesses and princes from near and far met at the Queens Bakery in Blyth for a Royal Tea.  Most were dressed for the royal occasion where they enjoyed balloon sculptures, storytelling and puppets.  Delighted by its enormous success, co-owner Les Cook said “lot’s of royal fun … it was a blast!”    I’m sure this is the first of many tea parties for children (young and old) as the full-house of delightful and excited youngsters were thoroughly enjoying the party.

Mikayla & Jayden Ansley enjoy tea with gramma Debbie

Mikayla & Jayden Ansley enjoy tea with gramma Debbie

Gina & Melanija Wernham  enjoy an outing with their great Aunt Linda Bird.

Gina & Melanija Wernham enjoy an outing with their great Aunt Linda Bird.

Koby McClinchey of Ottawa made for a dapper young prince!

Koby McClinchey of Ottawa made for a dapper young prince!

Madeline Doran (Julie McClinchey Niece)

And, Madeline Doran is cute as a button in blue.

Sarah & Abigail Ball with Mom Melanie enjoy the fun with Katie Schneider and her friend Colleen Edwards

Sarah & Abigail Ball with Mom Melanie enjoy the fun with Katie Schneider and her friend Colleen Edwards

More pretty little princesses enjoy a story.

Pretty-in-pink princesses and a handsome young prince enjoy a story too.