8 minute read

Hit the road

Road trips

LEFT AND MIDDLE Union 10 Distillery Co. is on Dundas Street. • It lays claim to the city’s only sand beach. RIGHT The large patio shared by Paradigm Spirits Co. and Powerhouse Brewing is located at 100 Kellogg Lane.

NEAR OR FAR

it’s time to get in the car By Jill Ellis-Worthington

With several months of pent-up energy resulting from lockdowns and an itch to hit the road to gain some new experiences, there may have never been a better time to take a road trip. Whether you’re seeking a daytrip close to home or a weekend getaway a bit further afield, we have ideas to share. Some are familiar favourites offering new twists and others are fresh ideas too good to pass up.

SPIRITED EAST ENDERS

A large patio paradise has been established by two neighbouring beverage makers. Powerhouse Brewery and Paradigm Spirits Co., located in the courtyard at 100 Kellogg Lane, offer a patio that seats 180 people socially distanced and 2,000 at capacity, according to Paradigm co-owner Irma Joeveer.

They are making good use of it by offering myriad live events featuring food, music and, of course, the libations they produce. From a Canada Day event for the whole family to Pride celebrations, such as a drag queen brunch at the end of Pride Week, and an all-you-can eat lobster and crawfish boil the patio will be popping this summer.

Joeveer is excited about weekly jazz and cocktail nights. Featuring local artists, these all-inclusive evenings will embrace delicious dinner items, as well as creative libations.

She expects to be able to offer both indoor and outdoor dining, as well as distillery tours, cocktail classes and spirits tastings this summer. www.paradigmspirits.com

London’s only sand beach lives at Union 10 Distillery on Dundas Street. Populated with Muskoka chairs and picnic tables, a fire pit takes centre stage, but the real stars are the cocktails, made with Union 10’s own spirits, served beach side. Up to 75 people can enjoy this beachy vibe safely and socially distanced.

Road trips

Stratford is offering large open-air spaces for visitors to enjoy cuisine from the city’s many eateries. INSET TOP RIGHT Delicious local options available on the Tasting Huron County tour.

An outdoor stone oven was recently added, so stone-fired pizza will be available to satisfy your hunger.

Inside the large distillery, tastings, tours and cocktail classes are being offered to small groups to allow for social distancing. For the latter, you receive a cocktail when you arrive, learn how to mix up two tasty libations and get a tour of the facility. https://unionten.ca/

FESTIVAL CITY

Over the past several years, Stratford has worked to extend its reputation from Ontario’s live theatre home to Ontario’s foodie capital. This summer, al fresco dining will be on the menu with large outdoor venues set up throughout downtown Stratford and along the river, with umbrellaed tables. Enjoy a takeout meal and appropriately matched libations from local restaurants. https://visitstratford.ca/al-fresco-dining/

TASTY TOUR

Combining her love of travel, food and historical architecture, Mandy Sinclair is offering Huron Tasting Tours. Recently returned from Marrakesh due to the pandemic, Sinclair is eager to show off her hometown of Goderich with walking tours that will include “unknown but classic eateries (and hopefully breweries)” of this west coast town.

Get informed about Goderich’s rich history and architecture along the way, because there are “wonderful historic homes that hold so many secrets,” she adds. www.tastinghuroncounty.ca

The Port Albert General Store is a charming throwback to the past. INSET Lake Huron is world famous for its sunsets.

POP INTO PORT ALBERT

You may have worn out the Bluewater Highway visiting various Lake Huron beach towns, but have you been to Port Albert yet? The tiny village has a couple points of interest: the fish ladder and the general store, in addition to a long stretch of beach.

Fisherpersons and parents with curious kids will want to make a visit to the Port Albert Fishway and see the fish ladder. It allows spawning fish to avoid obstructions when they run seasonally. www.huronbeaches.ca/fishing

For a feel-good stop, pop into the charming Port Albert General Store and Pub. As indicated by its name, this retailer offers a little bit of everything, including generously portioned ice cream cones. The adjacent tented pub area features pizzas and pints to enjoy after a walk around the quaint village. www.portalbertgeneralstoreandpub.com

To stretch your stay, consider spending a night or two at the Port Albert Inn. This quaint bed-n-breakfast is across the street from the general store. www.innattheport.com

Nearby Point Farms Provincial Park offers nice stretches of beach but bring your swim shoes as they can be rocky. This is a good camping and picnicking destination; bring your bikes because the trails are varied (from woodsy to open meadows) and fairly flat. www.ontarioparks.com/park/pointfarms

Point Clark’s lighthouse will have a web cam to enjoy the view from the safety of your home.

Area resident Jenna Ujiye holds a salmon caught in Port Albert.

GET TO THE POINT

Drive a bit further up the coast to Point Clark lighthouse. The lighthouse is closed to visitors again this summer, but you can enjoy a walk around the green space around it and read the informational plaques. A web cam is being installed at the top of the lighthouse, so that visitors will be able to get a view from the top from the safety of their own homes. https://visitpointclark. ca/profile/point-clark-lighthouse/2500

With six delicious stops, the Huron-Kinloss Ice Cream Trail beckons families this summer. Besides a sugar rush, your crew can participate in the

Cycling along the shores of the St. Clair River and Lake Huron is a refreshing experience.

photo contest, try three different scavenger hunts and win fun prizes. www.huronkinloss.com/en/explore-andplay/ice-cream-trail.aspx

Belying its reputation, a visit to the Imperial City can be a breath of fresh air when you load the bikes up and hit the Sarnia Waterfront Trail. Starting from Centennial Park on Sarnia Bay, check out the watercraft at the marina there and take in the lake freighters as they navigate the St. Clair River.

Stop for famous French fries under the bridge and head into the village of Point Edward. Bring your appetite because Salvatore’s is an authentic Italian restaurant with homemade pasta dishes, served family style, that feel like a hug from mamma.

The trail continues through Canatara Park with a stop at the free animal farm or a visit to the area’s Blue Flag beach to cool off.

Cyclists can also try the St. Clair River trail that starts in Corunna and ends in Sombra. You’ll bike 32 kilometres on the full ride. http://bikefriendlylambton.com/cycling-in-lambton

Check out some of the 14 producers of adult libations on the Cheers to the Coast drink trail. Be adventurous and try craft meads, ciders, beers and wine. Wave Limo is offering tours so that you can relax and not worry about driving. To make it a long weekend, Point Perfect is new and offers self-contained 

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NATURAL NIAGARA

Beyond the tourist attractions of Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls offers many outdoor activities to ensure that a summer visit will be as fun as it will be busy. Take a walk in the park or get a little more wild with a hike along the gorge. www.niagarafallstourism.com

Queen Victoria Park is a lovely stroll near the Falls, with flower beds a plenty and grassy areas to spread out a picnic blanket. The Oakes Garden Theatre, with its Zen vibe and Japanese garden, offers a respite for your busy day of touring.

The Niagara River Recreational Trail is 53 kilometres long in its entirety. It follows the Niagara Parkway and offers hiking trails with a natural flair.

Visiting the Niagara area and not trying some wine would be a mistake and a safe way to do that with a twist is offered by Vineland Estates Winery. Their Trek and Taste of Terroir is a guided hike along the Bruce Trail and through the winery with wine tastings along the way to refresh you, and the journey is customized to the interests and fitness levels of participants. https://vineland.com/taste-tour/

* At time of writing, these activities were expected to be allowed this summer, but always check with local health units, as well as adhering to provincial mandates. n