Norfolk County: My favourite things

Burning Kiln Winery, Norfolk

Summer is just around the corner and to me that means drives through Norfolk County.  Some of the best beaches, restaurants, wineries and outdoor activities are in Norfolk, I’m going to share just a few of them with you.

Pottahawk Pissup

First, let’s talk beaches.  Norfolk County has plenty of beaches, all of which are beautiful.  My favourite are Long Point, Turkey Point and Port Dover.  The second Sunday in July is my favourite, because it is Pottahawk.

Anyone from the area knows that Pottahawk is the biggest party of the summer.  In 2016, over 2000 boats and 10,000 people came to this sandbar just off the coast of Long Point Provincial Park to party.

Treetop Trek at Long Point Eco Tours

Another favourite of mine is Long Point Eco Adventures and Observatory.  The offer some really great activities such as ziplining and boat tours but my favourite is a package called “Romance Under The Stars.”  This package starts with a winery tour and then a chef prepared dinner.  After dinner, you get two hours in the Observatory and then optional stay at the hotel.  I recommend this amazing package to everyone.

Burning Kiln winery is party of the Long Point Eco Adventures, and my favourite Norfolk County winery.  They pair their great wines with fresh local food and you can taste the love they put into their wine and food. I absolutely their Chenin Blanc, and it pairs so well with dessert made on site.  They have food sold in a food truck style, meant to pair with their wines.  It’s a beautiful winery and one of my favourite places in Norfolk County.

When the weather changes make sure to take a drive to Norfolk County and visit some of the places I love.

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Hollywood Beach, Florida

Hollywood Beach Florida

I love to vacation in South Florida, specifically Hollywood Beach and I try to get to Florida every couple months. I am familiar with the area and thought I’d do a post about what to do when in Hollywood Beach.

Yes, this is a blog about Ontario, but I thought I would change it up with a post about one of my favourite vacation spots!

Vacation can be really expensive so if you’re travelling to Hollywood Beach, it’s good to keep in mind that there are some free

Margaritaville Beach Theatre

and low cost options.  Some of my favourite activities that won’t break the bank are the water taxi and free concerts at the Margaritaville Beach Theatre concert stage Tuesday through Saturday nights at 7:00pm.

The best food options on the Broadwalk (yes, it’s called a Broadwalk, not Boardwalk!) are: breakfast at Florio’s of Little Italy– best breakfast sandwiches in town. Lunch is The Taco Spot– the Mexican street corn is my favourite!  Dinner is definitely Rocco’s Pizza (seriously huge pies and the best pasta).

Also, if you want to hear the live music on the Margaritaville stage, make

Rocco’s Pizza

sure to get your seat on Rocco’s patio early.  Make sure to avoid Bonny and Read’s. They were featured on Bar Rescue but don’t let that fool you, the food is awful and the service even worse.
Staying in Hollywood Beach is also pricey, especially if you are looking for beachfront.  If you want to spend the money, I recommend Margaritaville.  It will run you $300-$500 USD per night, but you will get the best customer service and an absolutely stunning hotel that has been open about two years.

If you’re looking for something a little more modest, there is a hotel one block from the beach called the Caribbean and it has a cute tiki hut bar attached and that will run you about $100 per night.

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Cake and Loaf Bakery, Hamilton

Cake and Loaf

I have been following Cake and Loaf on Instagram for years now and keep meaning to go there and try one of their many delicious baked treats but today was the first time I actually got to try it. I’ve seen my friends post about Cake and Loaf and my friend Jessica, who writes a blog about local, sustainable food in Hamilton recommended I blog about Cake and Loaf. This was my excuse to go see for myself what all the hype is about. I was warned by some people to go early and be prepared to wait in line because they are always busy. I didn’t have to wait in line but it was busy. I was hoping for a perogi pizza bun, but unfortunately they didn’t have any on the menu today. I got plain pizza buns, vanilla bean sugar cookies and the most delicious macarons I have ever tasted.  A macaron is a French, egg white meringue confection with buttercream filling.

These macarons were absolutely delicious.  I got four of each kind: Nuella, Strawberry, Lemon and Birthday Cake.  Each was more delicious than the last.  They had a slightly crunchy crust and then the inside was soft and cake-like with a sweet filling.  It was a decadent treat that you need to try for yourself.

Cake and Loaf was born out of a dream for creating sustainable and locally sourced delicious food and creating a work environment for their employees that was fun, creative and meaningful. (source)

You can find them on Dundurn Street in Hamilton or at the Hamilton Farmers Market.  Run, don’t walk to Cake and Loaf and get there early because they sell out fast!

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Erie Beach Hotel, Port Dover

Erie Beach Hotel in Summer

If you have driven to Port Dover just to have dinner at the Erie Beach Hotel, you are only one of thousands of people who drive from all over Ontario just for a meal of fresh Lake Erie perch and the famous celery bread from the Erie Beach Hotel.

The Erie Beach Hotel has been a staple in the Port Dover community, their website says it has been in existence since 1946 when Harold and Marjorie Schneider bought the hotel and it became famous for its delicious home cooked meals.  In the early 1970’s, Harold and Marjorie’s son, Tony and his wife Betty bought the hotel and changed it to their style.  They added more dining by building a kitchen on the Terrace Room level.  In 2000, Tony and Betty’s son Andrew and his wife Pam bought the hotel, carrying on the family tradition.

Fresh Lake Erie Perch with lemon

It has been a tradition of my family to go to the Erie Beach Hotel for Perch Dinners one Friday a month.  I have been doing this for the last 25 years with my grandparents and my parents and now I take my own children.  We all love the fresh perch and their celery bread is one of a kind (the reviews on trip advisor show the love).

Last year we did notice a price increase, but that is because the price of Lake Erie perch increased and the hotel had to pass that on to their customers.  In a world of chain restaurants with generic food, it’s worth taking the drive to Port Dover for a delicious, home-cooked meal that is made with love.

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Family Day Activities

Frosty Fest

If you have kids, I’m sure that you have struggled to find fun activities for the kids that don’t cost a fortune.  Family Day is a great time to take advantage of all the low cost activities that are available.  This Family Day is supposed to be mild, so try an outdoor activity and get the kids out of the house.

Family Day with Snakes at Ruthven Historical Site, Cayuga.

Outdoor Festival at Dundas Driving Park, Dundas.

Free Family Day skating in Caledonia and Hamilton arenas.

Free family swims in Hamilton pools.

Frosty Fest at Fifty Point Conservation Area– outdoor.

Family Day Fun at Caledonia Fairgrounds.

Kidsfest at the Hamilton Warplane Heritage Museum

Sugar Bush Tours start on Family Day at Richardson’s Farm, Dunnville.

Learning how maple syrup is made at a Sugar Bush tour

I am going to be taking my kids to Richardson’s Farm for the opening day of Sugar Bush Tours.  It is a lovely farm located outside Dunnville.  They were featured in Ontario Southwest’s video Next Stop Taste.  I love the sugar bush because the day starts with a breakfast of pancakes with fresh maple syrup.  After breakfast we take a horse drawn wagon ride through the forest to see them make maple syrup.  It is a great day for both adults and children.

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The Windmill Market, Mt. Pleasant

 

Windmill Country Market

Have you ever driven past a place that piqued your interest and you thought about long after, wishing you had gone inside?

That happened to me with the Windmill Country Market in Mt. Pleasant.  I passed by it a few months ago and was fascinated by the huge windmill and why this place in the country was so busy.  So I asked people about it and everyone seemed to know about it. I heard how wonderful the home made baked goods were and that the hot meals were delicious. So today I went to try it for myself and I am a huge fan.  It’s always packed and people are always parked on the road.

The first thing you see when you walk in is the massive selection of cakes, tarts, squares, cookies, pies and other sweets. I couldn’t help but buy six fruit tarts to bring home.

Fruit Tarts

Fresh made cherry and blueberry donuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also purchased some mexican cheddar cheese (their cheese selection is extensive; I could have spent a lot of money on their artisan cheeses) that will be delicious on tacos or in a mac and cheese.

Cheese Selection

Not only do they have fresh meats, cheese and a huge bakery, they are a country store that sells handmade items.
Even though the Windmill is Brant County, not Haldimand or Norfolk it’s very close to where all three counties meet and a trip to Haldimand/Norfolk should definitely include a trip to Mt. Pleasant to check out the Windmill Market. I highly suggest if you are in the area to stop in for lunch or just a treat. They are closed Sunday and Monday so make sure to plan your visit Tuesday to Saturday.

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Hewitt’s Dairy, Hagersville

Hewitt’s Ice Cream

If you have ever driven down highway 6 on your way to Port Dover, I bet you have stopped at Hewitt’s Dairy Bar for an ice cream.

Hewitt’s Dairy Bar, Hagersville

A local favourite, Hewitt’s Ice Cream is a staple in the community.

Just a few of the flavours of ice cream

If you have ever been to Hewitt’s in the Summer, you would know that it is guaranteed to be a line up.  Especially if you are passing through on your way to Port Dover’s Friday the 13th.  You could be waiting hours for a cone if Friday the 13th is on a summer day!  I guess even bikers enjoy Hewitt’s Ice Cream!

Although they are probably most famous for their ice cream (my favourite is their Black Cherry, but they have over 30 flavours to choose from) and dairy products, they also have an old fashioned, diner-style restaurant.  The feel is like something from the 60’s and it doesn’t seem like much has changed.  The regulars come in for lunch and chat among themselves and to the women serving them.  The menu is simple; sandwiches (grilled cheese, BLT;  just to name a couple), burgers, and fries.  The perfect compliment to an old-fashioned milkshake.

So if you find yourself in Hagersville, on your way to Port Dover or for any other reason, Make sure you stop in at Hewitt’s to see for yourself why it’s the best ice cream in Haldimand County.

 

 

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Sugar Dandy, Caledonia

Sugar Dandy Store Front

There’s nothing better than hand made chocolate and candy.

I remember the day Sugar Dandy opened in 2014.  I work in the same plaza as Sugar Dandy, and the day it opened, my coworkers and I were beyond excited to try the new candy store.

 

 

Handmade chocolate is the best way to treat yourself or someone you love.  There is nothing more wonderful than giving or receiving a chocolate handcrafted with care and love.  The chocolates from Sugar Dandy are just that.  Sea Salt Caramels, Truffles and Fruit Creme chocolates are just a few types of chocolate that she makes fresh every day in store.

Let me tell you what you need to try when you are there.  It’s really hard to pick a few favourites, but I will do my best.

  1.  The GIANT peanut butter cups are amazing.  They are huge, so you might want to share it with a friend.  Actually, once you try it, I’m sure you will want it all to yourself.  Oh, and if you don’t like peanut butter, she makes a cookies and cream version as well.

2. Hewitt’s Ice Cream.  A local favourite, Hewitt’s Dairy (hint: my next post is going to feature Hewitt’s) makes the BEST ice cream and you can get it at Sugar Dandy.

3. Chocolate covered Big Feet.  The classic candy from my childhood has been revamped at Sugar Dandy.  Dipped in chocolate, it’s probably my favourite thing ever.

If you find yourself in Caledonia, looking for something sweet, check out Sugar Dandy.  You will find an assortment of old fashioned candy, handmade chocolate and you will be want to come back again and again.

The most delicious peanut butter cup in the world

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Argyle Street Grill, Caledonia

One of my favourite restaurants in Haldimand County is the Argyle Street Grill in Caledonia.

A favourite in Caledonia, the “Argyle” as it is referred to by many, is always busy and was featured on the television show, You Gotta Eat Here.  The Argyle is always busy at both lunch and dinner so reservations are recommended, especially the busiest day of the week which is Tuesday’s half price chicken wing day.

The most popular items on the menu are the weekend Prime Rib specials, Fish and Chips (the Lake Erie Perch is absolutely delicious) and the Portobello Chicken.  I have had pretty much everything on the menu and my personal favourites are the Asiago Chicken Linguine and their special for this week, the Jambalaya Mac and Cheese.  Today I chose the Chicken Club Trio which came with the most delicious Roasted Red Pepper Soup.

Chicken Club and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

The Argyle Street Grill always features local items in their menu, such as bread from a local bakery in Hagersville, Jensen Cheese in their marble cheese planks and fresh Lake Erie Perch just to name a few.

The Argyle Street Grill is definitely my favourite restaurant in Caledonia, warm and inviting on the inside with great service.  If you go there in the summer, you have to sit on the patio, my favourite place to spend summer evenings relaxing with friends.

 

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Welcome

Grand River Caledonia

Hi!

Welcome to Fork in the Road, a blog dedicated to sharing all the wonderful things the South Coast of Ontario has to offer.

I live in Haldimand County and want to share the beautiful beaches of Long Point and Port Dover, the scenic roads along the Grand River and Lake Erie, and all the best places to take a day trip, eat, take the kids or just enjoy nature.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have an idea of something I should feature or if you just want to say hi!

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