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Exploring Elgin County

This weekend my family came to visit, giving me the perfect excuse to put work aside and explore my new home county.  Despite the gloomy weather forcasts, we enjoyed fairly decent weather and only about 10 minutes of rain the whole weekend (other than Saturday night when we holed up at home and watched  a movie while shelling a bushel of peas from my housemate’s garden).  My parents stayed at Conny’s Bed and Breakfast on the Farm, which they found to be excellent, with lovely clean rooms, spectacular view, excellent homemade food and charming hosts.  My brother and their dog stayed with us.

Here are a few photos.  After a tour of Orchard Hill and Fairmeadow Farms, we went to Port Stanley.  Despite some ominous clouds, we only got rained on briefly…

This is Port Stanley’s “small” beach:

There was quite a chop that day, so we just watched the water from shore.  But there were some brave souls who seemed to really enjoy the big rollers:

There are several striking murals downtown, with this one being the most dramatic.  It depicts the story of local emergency rescue crew rowing out in a gale to (successfully) save the crew of a sinking ship:

We had lunch at Mickey’s Boathouse, which was lovely.  I had a delicious chilled cucumber and dill soup and am now looking for a recipe to make this myself at home!

We also explored many of the little gifts shops and artist galleries.  Then off to the “big” beach.  And big it is, particularly in the size of the waves!  They were flying red warning flags indicating a strong rip-tide, so again we didn’t venture into the water despite the sunshine.

White water kayakers enjoying the white water!:

The new (to me) sport of Kite Sailing, what appears to be a combination of surfing and para-sailing:

It’s hard to tell, but in this photo he’s actually pulling “big air” – flying above the water and turned right upside down.  Yikes!!

My father and brother contemplating life…

Next we went to Winter Wheat, a very whimsical and artistic property and gift shop located just south of Sparta:

As you walk around the grounds, you discover all sorts of clever and wonderful creations using every day items.  Here are just a few:

Radiator sheep (as you know, I just love sheep!) – if you look to the far right you can see a black one…

Giving a whole new meaning to ‘tea-lights’:

On the wings of this statue is written Robert Frost’s haunting poem ‘stopping by woods on a snowy evening‘ (not sure if that is the actual title)

On Sunday we went to Lavender Blue lavender farm and gift shop.  My mother (a big lavender fan, having lived in the south of France), was delighted and left with a bag packed full of future Christmas presents.

Finally, some time enjoying a sunny afternoon around my new home!  The view from the bottom of my driveway:

Where you end up after a three minute walk down the lane:

The river mouth, leading to the marina just upstream:

Wind farm:

A wonderful end to a wonderful weekend:


9 Responses

  1. Certainly looks like you had a wonderful adventure exploring the local environment with your parents. The view from your new place is awesome!

    • It was a great weekend and I am very spoiled to live where I do right now! What a treat – this is such a lovely area to live in, at least in summer. We’ll see how enjoyable it is come winter, ha ha! I suspect I’ll need to buy snowshoes and cross country skis to continue enjoying. I recently discovered a great conservation area where I hike the dogs – I expect it will be a perfect place to ski come winter! Will try and post those photos (i.e. of the conservation area) shortly. Cheers!

  2. Beautiful photos – so nice to see your lovely new place.

  3. I loved your pics and reading your blog. We’re in Markham, just north of TO, but are considering a move – possibly to the Port Stanley/Elgin area. Any advice/inside info you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    What prompted you to move there?
    Are you finding it easy to settle in and make friends?

    • Hi Pam,
      I do find people to be quite friendly here, but I also already knew some people before moving. I have mostly met people through food: shopping at local markets, stopping at farm gates and belonging to Orchard Hill and Fairmeadow Farm CSAs. I find most people very open and welcoming when I tell them I just moved to the area, so I think it is fairly easy to meet people here. Certainly more so than in larger cities.

      I find this area to be surprisingly dynamic and diverse, with many places to visit and little nooks and crannies to explore. I am enjoying it a lot more than London and London area. At least so far – I’ve only been here for a month and have yet to experience an Elgin County winter!

  4. Thanks for your speedy reply. I think the winters will be quite beautiful there….Elgin County is in the same Hardiness Zone as downtown Toronto (which is milder than Markham) and the Niagara Region (excluding the far south)…6a. And being a gardener I will appreciate that immensely.
    You will have lots of virgin white snow, while TO has the grey sloshy stuff. Are the roads snow-ploughed there I wonder, or do you have to slog through at your peril?
    And how did your parents like the area? They are probably nearer my age.
    I have yet to make a tour of all the small villages/towns in the area and decide on where exactly I want to relocate. But the water and region are beckoning me.

    • Hi Pam,
      I didn’t realize that this area is the same Hardiness Zone as Niagara! I grew up in Niagara and I have to say, their winters are more pleasant than most places I’ve experienced them in this country. So I agree that winter should be rather pleasant around here. I have been told that the lake freezes over and that it is very beautiful, quiet and peaceful when it does. I look forward to that!

      My parents really loved the area when they came to visit. They have visited me in most of the places I’ve lived and I don’t think they’ve liked any area as much as here (except, perhaps Boston, for very different reasons!). Last summer they stayed up in Goderich area for a week and explored there, and came away not terribly impressed. I’m glad they decided to give the Southwest another chance. My only concern with living here is the amount of pesticide use. Living right on the water hopefully somewhat mitigates that!

      Have fun exploring the little towns and finding the one that feels most like ‘home to you. Feel free to share what you come up with! There’s still a tremendous amount around here that I have yet to discover…

  5. Hi,

    I am wondering if it was you that I saw taking pictures of the surfers at Port Stanley’s Little Beach on Halloween weekend?

    If so, I’d really love to see the shots as I was one of the surfers.

    If it wasn’t you, thanks for reading anyway. You have some nice shots of Port! Come back anytime.

    • Hi Todd,
      I’m afraid that was not me on Halloween weekend. You are a brave soul to be surfing this time of year! I definitely need to make another road trip down your way and see what the Port is like off-season. Happy surfing!

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