It’s a bit of a hike from Ottawa, but Norfolk County on the north shore of Lake Erie is worth the trip. The warm and friendly residents are passionate about their heritage, and welcoming when you drop by for a cool beverage or a bite to eat. And the long, sandy beaches are magnificent!
Here are just a few places to check out.
At Long Point Eco-Adventures in St. Williams, start with a guided tour featuring eight zip lines, two suspension bridges and a 40-foot rappel. My favourite was the 800-foot parallel run alongside Lake Erie with a stunning view across the marshland. The whole two and a half hours brings you up close and personal with Mother Nature, while you learn how we can all be more ecologically conscious and still have fun.
After the tour (not before!), nip across the road to Burning Kiln. Tour the facilities and then head to the patio for tapas and a glass or two of Cabernet Frank. No, that isn’t a typo—but you’ll have to visit Burning Kiln to hear that story.
After growing up in Norfolk County, Heather Pond-Manorome travelled the world as a chef with an international hotel chain. Now she has returned home to showcase the flavours of local produce in her signature dishes. The oak-grown shiitake mushroom cream soup is to die for, as are many of the other menu items. With not one but two patios, the Blue Elephant in Simcoe is also a great place to stop for a cold drink.
Let rich scents soothe your senses as you stroll through fragrant fields in Waterford that owners Anita and Steve Buehner hope will one day rival Provence! They will eagerly share the story of how they are creating a sanctuary where visitors can simply relax and be. Pick up a few items from their boutique so you can enjoy the scents of summer all year long. As this is a working farm, tours are by appointment or chance.
Whistling Gardens, which opened in Wilsonville in 2012, is Darren Heimbecker’s version of “If I can dream it, I can do it!” Supported by his wife Wanda, he is creating the most amazing botanical garden with one of the largest collections of conifers in the world. As you explore these 18 acres, you can see the couple’s vision coming to fruition with over 4km of walking trails, statues, a Greek temple, water features—including water fountains with synchronized lights and music—and an amphitheatre for evening concerts and events. If you want to be inspired and re-energized, don’t pass up the opportunity to spend an hour or two exploring this blooming oasis.
Are you a golfer? Check out this guide to the golf courses of Norfolk County at GolfTravelAndLeisure.com.
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If you go
Distance from Ottawa: 582km (Port Dover)
Information: Norfolk Tourism