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A Daytrip Diary

Girl on rock by lake

I’m Hannah Miller and I am the tourism summer student working for Haldimand County’s Economic Development and Tourism division.

This summer, I wanted to have an adventure with my friend, without breaking the bank or traveling too far away. Flights are expensive, and so is gas! Luckily, I found some great places to visit right here in Haldimand County, with the help of the Discover Your Happy Place guide. I got my notebook out, called some lovely businesses, and coordinated with my friend to have an amazing summer day trip!

The first stop was The Social Café and Marketplace in Selkirk, which has the perfect café ambiance. Beautiful paintings hang on the wall and are also available to purchase. I ordered a Mango iced tea, and my friend ordered an Iced Coffee with a shot of caramel. As we sipped our drinks, we walked through the marketplace conveniently connected to the café. I found some cute local and handmade goods that caught my eyes! I bought adorable Croc cowboy boots and hat charms that were perfect to add to my collection. I also saw some deliciously scented candles that looked like they had frosting on the top! My favourite scents were Morning Espresso and Black Vanilla! After looking through The Social, we decided to drive to the Waterfront Way lookout with our drinks. Lake Erie was so beautiful and serene as the sunlight glittered on the surface. It also gave us a great opportunity for a selfie.

Our next stop was the Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum, which is just a short drive away. Our tour guide taught us about all the one-room schoolhouses that used to be scattered all over the countyside, as the kids had to walk to school, and I even found one on the displayed map that was once located near my house! We also learned more about the poet Wilson Pugsley MacDonald, who the museum is named after. He was born in Cheapside and made a living from his poetry alone. Fun Fact: Albert Einstein was a fan of his poetry!  There are also many fun events that take place at the Museum, check out the calendar of events in Haldimand to find things to do. We thanked our guides and headed off to our next stop!

Our third stop was Cottonwood Mansion, which is currently a living museum and event space that was built in 1860. We learned about William Holmes Junior who owned the estate with his first wife Mary Hoover and his second wife, Cynthia Anderson. Did you know that all of the big windows in the house were added to show Holmes’ wealth as each one was taxed by the government? We also learned more about Victorian lifestyles which I am fascinated by. I would recommend anyone who likes Bridgerton to come for a visit to live out their dreams! Cottonwood Mansion Museum offers a Victorian House Guest Experience with afternoon tea service that is not to be missed – check out their available dates and book your experience.

Cottonwood Mansion

After our morning adventures, I booked some relaxing retreats for both of us to enjoy. I went to Scattered Blessings Spa to get my nails done, while my friend went to The Cabin Wellness Clinic for a Reiki session. Both are in downtown Fisherville a few steps away from each other, so it was easy to walk there from parking. I chose to get my nails painted a bright electric blue, which I thought was daring and perfect for summer. I had a great time at the salon thanks to my nail technician who was skilled and very friendly! My friend thoroughly enjoyed her Reiki session at The Cabin done by owner and Reiki Master Heather Moerman. Reiki is a healing technique that promotes relaxation and reduces stress by gentle touch. She said that the session helped to reduce tension in her shoulders! After our relaxing escape, we set off to get lunch because after so many fun activities we were very hungry!

For lunch, we ate at The Carolinian Café in Cayuga. I got the McSorley (named after former NHL hockey player Marty McSorley who grew up in the area) and a goldrush smoothie, while my friend got the roast beef sandwich. My sandwich was very delicious, it had turkey on multi-seed sourdough, with red pepper, greens, and cheddar cheese. My goldrush smoothie was also full of summer flavors like pineapple and mango! We sat inside and ate while looking at the lovely art hanging on the wall, and then needed to walk off the meal with a visit to the Grand Vista Trail. At the beginning of the trail, there was a painted paddle which is part of the PATH. While we were walking, we saw a cute little bunny, it reminded me that I love being in the countryside! The best part of our walk was when we crossed the bridge over the river, and took in the most perfect view of the majestic and historic Grand River. I made a note to come back at sunset with my significant other on my next visit.

Afterwards, we drove to Jarvis to visit Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association. We got to tour the old Jarvis Train Station from 1962. There was a lot of interesting memorabilia from the railways, like posters, telegraph glass insulators, train models, and more! They also have artifacts from farm and home life that are on display too. The train station used to be located where the Jarvis Tim Hortons is currently, but volunteers saved it from demolition and brought it to WAFMA where it sits now. After looking around, we said goodbye and went to our next stop. (WAFMA is run by volunteers, so check with them for dates when they will be open to the public).

Poutine

For dinner, the Talbot Street Grill was top of our list, and had so many choices that it was hard to decide. I got the Mac Fries which are a unique menu item; topped with cheese curds, lettuce, pickles, Mac sauce, and crispy onions – making it taste like a famous burger you may know! My friend got a classic poutine loaded with cheese curds and gravy as seen on the left. The burger was a Smashburger with fresh lettuce and other awesome toppings. It was very filling!

To end our day, a visit to Concession Road Brewing was in order, with an extra surprise – it was the night for their tap room tunes. While listening to the delightful live music, we both got a Seltzer Sunrise Cocktail. It was made with their mango seltzer, orange juice, and grenadine, topped with a slice of orange and cherries. We enjoyed the music and talked about our fun day! There were also really beautifully crafted wooden board games available to play, from their neighbours Michaud Toys. So we played a round of checkers together before we left to return home. Next time we visit, I want to try one of their limited edition brews like the Bluetiful Melons Sour they have right now! Options change frequently, so be sure to visit soon.

Fruity Alcoholic drink from Concession Road Brewing

Our day trip in Haldimand County was wonderful, and my friend and I made lots of memories together too! It was all inspired by the Discover You Happy Haldimand guide. There are so many more exciting things to do in Haldimand that we didn’t get to do on this trip, like visit Purple Haven Lavender Farm, Second Chance Records, and Blueberry Knoll Berry Farm but summer is only beginning and you can discover many more great experiences listed in the guide. Vising us? Share it! Use #haldimand or tag @tourismhaldimand for a chance to be featured on the Instagram page!