By Tara Shannon
There’s really nothing better than a lazy Saturday during the dog days of summer. No pressing schedule and only our dogs to wake us up. But after that, and of course a couple of cups of coffee, the day is ours to make of it as we wish. Today, a road trip to the lake with lunch on the way and a few stops here and there to sample the delights that Hagersville, Selkirk and Jarvis have to offer.
We’ve ordered takeout from Barin’s Kitchen in the past and were very happy with the quality, quantity and flavour of the food. Today will be our first visit for in-person dining and I can’t wait.
Barins is a family-owned and operated restaurant in downtown Hagersville specializing in Armenian cuisine. They serve the most delicious kebabs, shawarma, borsh and, don’t even get me started on their Armenian Honey Cake. It’s just so good.
As anticipated, Barin’s did not disappoint. The restaurant is warm and the staff so welcoming. You can tell they love what they do, it’s in the food. It’s made with love. Today my husband and I each order a wrap. For me the Chicken Shawarma and for him the Chicken Kebab while together we share an Armenian Salad. It’s perfect and so fresh.
Following lunch, we walk across the street to My Sweet Sweet World Artisan Chocolates where were greeted by owner and chocolatier, Shola Ekperigin, and the delicious, sweet smell of chocolate being made. Shola is a self-taught chocolatier, learning by trial and error. He imports his cocoa beans from his native Nigeria and then prepares the beans and makes all his chocolate from scratch — right here in downtown Hagersville. Shola takes great care in making his chocolate, avoiding the use of unnatural sweeteners, preservatives, and oils. The result; high-quality chocolate at an affordable price. Shola makes 10 different flavours of chocolate, each bar stamped with a map of the world and packaged with a message to share in multiple languages, be it “Kindness”, “Joy” or “Gratitude”. Today, I’m all about “Courage” and “Vitality” as I pick up my favourite bars, Dark Chocolate Mint and Masala Chai. Thank you, Shola!
With the chocolate packed into our cooler, safely out of the heat, we’re off to the beach to relax in the sun, beachcomb, and go for a refreshing swim. We don’t have far to go, just a 15-minute drive or so to the historic town of Selkirk.
Selkirk was settled around 1800 making it the oldest village in Walpole Township. This picturesque town at the edge of Lake Erie was (and still is) an important centre for farmers. At one time Selkirk was the site of a mill, a “fishery, an apple evaporating factory and a famous hotel, the Bluewater.”
Following Erie Street South, through downtown Selkirk, to the end where it meets Lakeshore Road, we arrive at the Waterfront Way Lookout. This area is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise that links to the Haldimand Conservation area (complete with campsites) and the Waterfront Way Trail. It’s ideal for cyclists, birders, hikers, and those just wanting to enjoy a relaxed afternoon by the waterfront.
This is where we set up for the afternoon. I just love this place and it’s so close to home. No need to drive hours away, it’s the perfect distance for a fantastic day trip within Haldimand County or for those living in Norfolk, Brant, Hamilton, or Niagara.
Next stop Concession Road Brewing which is on the way home.
Concession Road Brewing is in Jarvis at 17 Talbot Steet East. Also, in Jarvis, Christine’s Homestyle Bakery Catering & Deli (it’s just around the corner from Concession Road at 2004 Main Street South), and of course we must stop there too.
Jeff and Shannon, owners at Concession Road Brewing, are always ready with a smile and eager to tell you about their latest brew. They’re always experimenting with flavours and incorporating locally grown fruits and products into their beers and store. Open just a few short years, Concession Road has exploded onto the craft brew scene and it’s hard to imagine a time when it wasn’t here.
Just one last stop around the corner to Christine’s Homestyle Bakery where there’s one thing I have on my mind – sticky buns. The sticky buns made here go fast. But I’m in luck, there’s one package left for me to take home. It’s a sweet end to a perfect day.
Haldimand County gratefully acknowledges the support of FedDev Ontario for tourism businesses in Ontario’s Southwest.