Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Time to Hit the Road Again

After a few weeks of hanging around doing home-based things, it was time to hit the road again.

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
Are you wondering about Pete the Cat? Well I've had an escort on all my summer adventures. My Early Years and Primary students love Pete. I plan on creating a video for them and sharing Pete's summer holidays. Stay tuned.

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?


  1. Love your recap of your little getaway! I also loved having you here and it's just not the same without you. I think you should add Pumpkinfest in Waterford in October to your Norfolk County list of things to check out. We can see how it holds up to Port Elgin's!

    1. Sounds like a plan! And maybe I could make it to that adorable Quilters Junction, too.


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