Just a mini road trip, but with lots of learning opportunities, naturally.
We began our excursion in the tobacco-turned-hop fields of Norfolk County (Ontario). Accompanied by OnlySon, I toured Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm. What a concept! What a beer! In addition to the hops, Ramblin' Road grows potatoes. Potatoes for potato chips, and ... potato beer. It's all good. A complimentary tour and tasting was an easy sell, and we brought a couple of souvenir packs home for Mr. Fun.
I had the great fortune to tag along with Daughter1 to this enjoyable event - the unveiling of "Kil(n) Hand," an installation by Saskatchewan artist and Norfolk Artist-in-Residence, Heather Benning.
Until this evening I knew absolutely nothing about the history of tobacco farming in Ontario. Thanks to the artist and the guests of the Norfolk Arts Centre, I feel so much more enlightened. The above tobacco kiln (or locally pronounced "kil") was donated by a family that has been farming in Norfolk since the 1950's. Not visible in the photo are 500-600 casts of hands suspended within the kiln. The pulled back tar paper allows the viewer to have a peek inside. The many hands that are required to work the family farms? The loss of manual work in the move toward increased mechanization? There are many interpretations. A very fitting piece of artwork to commemorate this International Year of Family Farming.
Day Two found me at another repurposed tobacco farm - Bonnie Heath Estate Lavender and Winery. Owners Steve and Anita Buehner have vineyards and lavender plants where tobacco once grew. (See this Norfolk News article).
If only I had visited a couple weeks earlier! I would have been greeted with the more vibrant purple that comes with peak lavender season. A perfect excuse to mark it on my calendar and return next July. And they may have their lavender icewine available at that time, too. In the meantime, I am enjoying a delicious lavender honey that I purchased at Bonnie Heath. It makes a wonderful addition to a cuppa tea.
While at Bonnie Heath, I got a tip to check out Whistling Gardens in the northern part of the county. Just seven years ago, this piece of land was a cornfield. It now houses a botanical gardens and garden centre.
It's my understanding that yoga is offered in the beautiful gardens.
A few hours and hundreds of photos later, I did a time check and realized that I had to get a move on. Daughter1 would be finished work and there were trails to be hiked.
I got back on the trails the next morning. This time, on wheels, and headed for the beach. You know if there's a beach only 10 km away - I'm there!
|Gotta hand it to Norfolk County - great trail system!|
|book + beach = bliss|
Unfortunately, I needed to end my tour of Norfolk before I had checked everything off my list. Mr. Fun can only go so long without having me at home. But I will be back! Anyone from Norfolk have any sights or sites that I need to add to that list?