Wheatley Provincial Park 5 – 14 August – Summer 2018

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Clint and Willie

It’s Clint’s birthday today! Happy Birthday ! And it’s stupid hot out, It’s 40 plus celsius and we are packing up and leaving Rondeau Provincial Park for Wheatley Provincial Park.

We had reserved a Premium site, you know it’s premium when you camp by a marsh, lol

 

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Campsite at Wheatley Provincial Park
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Bittern
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View from my chair at Wheatley Provincial Park campsite

I think it used to be a river, kind of, but now it’s covered in green slime and lots of growth.  But we did see three herons, at the same time, which is unusual and there were always ducks floating around eating stuff out of the green slime.  The site is huge, I think it’s even bigger than the site we had at Awenda and it was also a big site.  This is a beautiful spot actually.  We can sit and watch the water and the waterfowl.  Clint saw an egret fly by one day.

Wheatley has a great ice cream shop, called IScreams and it’s not far from the Provincial Park.  Cute little town, not very big.  Not much to do……….

We drove to Point Pelee National Park one day and drove all around the park.  We stopped at a beach area and there were people swimming !  The waves were pretty big but my eyes were on the little “beach dog”  that was sitting on a picnic table watching his owner.  So cute.

 

 

We walked on the beach and did the Boardwalk trail.   The Boardwalk trail is only a km or so and loops through the wetlands but the grass is so high you can’t really see anything and we didn’t see any birds, turtles or anything else.  Unique spot and different from what we normally see.

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The Visitor Centre was nice and big, lots of displays and there is a movie to watch and a gift shop.  Well done Visitor Centre.  From there we took a shuttle down towards the famous point.  We had to walk the last 10 minutes or so.  Point Pelee is the southernmost land mass in Canada.  It’s quite unique, you look on one side of the point and the waves are crashing and roaring and on the other side the water is as calm and peaceful as anything.  There have been some drowning deaths here.  They used to have a big sign posted but people ignored it, now on the shuttle they repeatedly tell you to not even wade in the water.  The currents at the point are really fast and unpredictable.

 

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Southernmost point in Canada
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Left side has lots of waves and the right side is so calm

Clint has a friend living in the area that he used to work with and hasn’t seen for a couple of years.  We met Willie and his wife Delores for dinner one night in Leamington.   Nice visit and we did some catching up !  Had a nice dinner at The Crave, a local pub.

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We went to a lot of different little towns and cities while in this area, racking up a lot of miles and seeing everything we could see in the time we spent here.

Kingsville

Kingsville is a nice town.  We did quite a lot here and Colasanti’s is such a great place to spend an afternoon.

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Colasanti’s !  –  This is a cool place to go to.  Located near Kingsville, Ontario.  It is a huge place and everything is inside, except for the petting zoo.  It’s mostly a garden centre but they have lots of plants for sale, a gift shop with some unique items, miniature golf, rides, games, a big restaurant and I don’t know what else !  We went outside to feed the animals and I am not a big lover of zoos or seeing animals caged, but these guys have it pretty good.  They run free all over the place for the most part and have large inside areas as well.  The baby goats were the best !  So cute and playful.

 

 

We also played miniature golf, indoor miniature golf I might add !  and we walked through the shops looking at all the items for sale.

We did buy some tickets to play a shooting game.  It was a lot of fun, 3D glasses and a laser gun and killing zombies.  Who wouldn’t love that?  I love all arcade games.

Outside and kind of behind Colasantis’ they had a huge track and with little remote control cars racing around.  We walked over to see what was going on and I thought we would be able to race cars but it was a club and members bring their own cars.  We watched for quite a while, very cool indeed.

We really enjoyed Colasanti’s and in fact we went back a second day,   But Oh my heart, those little goats !

Banded Goose Brewery which is located at Jack’s Gastropub.  Really cute place, in an old house with lots of character and nice outdoor patio.  We did not eat here but the menu looked great.  When you entered the front door, if you went to the right was a small bar area and to the left was a sitting room/eating area and then of course the kitchen/bathrooms towards the back.  We split a sampler tray but neither of us were crazy about their beers.  Just not our taste.

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The cute little Banded Goose Bar inside Jack’s GastroPub
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Lounge/eating area in Jack’s Gastropub
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Jack’s Gastropub where Banded Goose Brewery is located

 

Just down the street and around the corner from the Banded Goose is the Grove Brewery  They have IPA’s, Stouts, Brown Ales, lagers etc  I really liked their American APA and bought a couple of cans.  It looks fairly modern from the outside but once you go in the bar is kind of industrial/old-fashioned.  Hard to explain but quite an interesting place and their website is pretty cool also.  The bartender, whose name escapes me, was really friendly and it is nice to have interaction with people when sitting at the bar.  They made their taster trays out of pieces of wood and old pipes, very cool indeed.  Enjoyed it here.

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I love their taster trays

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Black Bear Farms – which is a fruit winery; we did not try their wines as they make all fruit wines.  I know that sounds weird considering wine is made from grapes which are fruit but I don’t like OTHER fruits in my wine!

 

Mastronardi Winery –   Huge place, we got lost trying to find the tasting room !  A young guy working at the counter, really nice and we ended up buying some wines.  We bought some Baco Noir and Rose and they had these Berry wines that were pretty tasty! A really classy piece of property.

 

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Pelee Island Winery –  This is a little misleading because they have this winery on the mainland in Kingsville and they also have Pelee Island Wine Pavilion on Pelee Island.  This is a nice spot and very popular, probably because their wines are pretty good.  They do tours and have a nice gift shop section.  Nice place with friendly staff.

 

Windsor

Windsor is a big city, by Canadian Standards anyways lol, approximately 220,000 people I believe.  There are lots of things to do and they have a huge casino, which we did not go to as we are not casino goers.

We also did some driving around Windsor along the water and we could see Detroit on the other side ! Windsor seems like a nice city and they have a lovely waterfront.

 

The Brew Brewery, nope I did not stutter as I typed.  That is the name, The Brew.  I really liked this place, stuck on a little side street in a semi sketchy neighborhood……….great place, great guy tending the bar and good beer.  No cans though and with travelling we prefer cans as they take up less space and won’t break.  We did end up filling up one of our growlers with a maple flavoured beer.  Definitely recommend The Brew.

 

 

Craft Heads which is in a downtown area on the corner down some stairs.  They must have had 30 beers on tap, all their own and some very unique flavours.  I tried Salted Caramel which I liked, and a Tropical Whirlpool English IPA which I did not care for.  I did like their Surfside West Coast IPA too.  Clint tried Motown Honey Brown and a Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter.  They also had a Russian Imperial Stout and Coffee Imperial Coffee Stout.  So many different beers and all pretty tasty.  I did find the bar itself messy for lack of a better word.  There were boxes on different tables piled up and I dont’ know, just didn’t have a good vibe.  But we did enjoy their brew but again no cans.

 

 

 

Sandwich Brewery – cute name and I assume they named it after the street its’ on !  This is located in a 100-year-old building and when they renovated they scraped all the paint off the ceiling and it was a beautiful tin ceiling.  Nice place, another place that’s not too big but a nice atmosphere and a nice courtyard style outdoor area.  They sell snacks but no food..  I tried their IPA which was okay and their Ruby Sue which I also liked.  I think that is their Flagship beer?  Their Farm house Ale is a fruity raspberry beer which I did not like. The owner was a very personable lady and one of the regular customers Brenda was a sweetheart.  We spent a fair bit of time chatting with her.

 

Walkerville Brewery – Huge place in an old building down by the water.  We sat at the bar, as usual, occasionally we sit outside.  The bartender was super friendly and certainly made everyone feel welcome and happy to be there.  We really liked their product and Yes! they sold cans so we bought some IPA and Stout.  This bar has been around a long time and is a great venue for a party or get together and they do have entertainment regularly.

 

 

Amherstburg

Amherstburg is a great town.  I love the look of it.  We did some wineries, breweries, and Old 1812 Fort, a bistro for lunch and lots of walking and looking around.

The downtown and waterfront are beautiful.  Really gorgeous and picturesque.  Something to think about Belleville !

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They named a boat after Clint ! lol

We walked all around the downtown area and waterfront, it was a beautiful day.  After we went to Fort Malden Historical Site.   During the War of 1812, Fort Malden was the base of operations for an attack on Fort Detroit. The attackers being the British and Shawnees.   Eventually the British burned the fort down to stop it from falling into the hands of the Americans.  The American forces then occupied this site until 1815, longest period of time that Americans occupied Canadian soil.  This is a beautiful spot right by the water.  Lots of buildings to go through, movies, displays etc.

We sat outside and watched a musket demonstration which was pretty cool.  I can’t believe how long it took to get a musket ready to fire !

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After we left the Fort, we ate lunch at a cute little bistro called The Dalhousie Bistro.  It’s in an old house and we sat outside on the verandah for our lunch.  The food was good and everything is homemade.  Quebec sugar pie, paninis, salads, soups etc

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Lonsberry Farms Brewery and Wolfhead Distillery

We didn’t care for the beer too much and I don’t drink liqour so I didn’t even try it.  Nice outdoor space though.  Big patio and a couple of old trucks nicely done up.  Pretty spot.

 

 

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Sanson Estate Winery – Enjoyed this winery and we liked their wine and as a bonus she had fresh farm produce for sale; Ontario garlic and really yummy little cherry field tomatoes.

 

 

 

GL Heritage Brewing Co – This is kind of out in the middle of nowhere, took us a bit to find it.  Nice location, nice building with an outdoor area.  They do concerts and other events here.  The inside is okay and staff is friendly………..do you feel a BUT coming on?  The beer is meh…………..didn’t care for it.  Which is too bad, it is a nice place.

 

Now we move on to the Harrow and Colchester (municipality)  This is a nice area too and we drove around most of it.

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Coopers Hawk Winery –    another big place with a big horseshoe style bar.  Lots of gifts here, I bought myself a Christmas gift.  They had purses that would hold a bag of wine with a spout near the bottom at the end of the purse.  How crazy is that?  Wine was okay.

 

 

North 42 Degrees Estate Winery – Huge fancy building, not my taste.  One of the reasons Clint and I like going to breweries and wineries is the ambience, location, style and the big fancy places do not catch our eye.  Not always, but usually, there is not a lot of warmth and/or personality.  So this is one of those places……….The wine was so-so.

 

 

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Oxley Winery –  Harrow  – This place was also huge with a big outdoor seating area for eating, drinking or listening to entertainment.  There was a duo singing/playing there when we stopped in.  Nice music and a beautiful venue.  Clint didn’t try any wines here.  This is the second place we have been to that charges tastings per person (no sharing of a taster tray), regardless if you have one tasting or 4.  I normally don’t have more than 1 or two tastings as does Clint which means we normally share a tasting and pay one price but not here.  This and other wineries in the area also charge the tasting fee even if you buy wine.  We haven’t encountered this in any other wine area we have traveled to.

Oh yeah – Disclaimer…………we did not do all these wine/beer places in one day !  We were in this area for over a week.  Also, sometimes one or both of us decides not to have any tastings if they don’t have what we like.  We just like the ambience and some of the wineries are just stunning.  The buildings, flowers, fields, outdoor areas.  Just beautiful.

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Muscedere Winery – Harrow – What a beautiful spot.  Just gorgeous.  The wines were not to our taste but their house and property is very scenic.  They also serve wood fired pizza but we had eaten just prior to coming here so not sure what they are like.  They looked good !

 

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Paglione Winery –  Harrow  –  This was weird……….we went in and it looked like a private party; which it was.  Apparently they were closed for the day but the owner let us come in and look around and try one wine.  She said there was a closed sign at the driveway coming to her place off the highway.  Neither of us saw it.  On our way down her very long driveway, we noticed other cars coming up.  As we were leaving we looked for the Closed sign and yup as we turned right on to the highway, I saw it tucked in behind her blue recycle boxes !   I think a better location would  have served her purposes a lot better.

CREW Winery (Colchester Ridge Estate Winery) – Harrow – We didn’t buy anything here either.  Nice place and the statue of the sheep is hilarious and very well done and they had cute signs but it was a no-go on the wine.

 

Erie Shores Vineyards –   Cute little place and the lady serving us was very informative and she knew her wines !  We purchased a few things here and had a fun chat with 2 other couples who were also there tasting wines.  Barely room for 6 of us at the bar but it was a great time.

 

 

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Aleksander Estates –   Ruthven  –  cute little place and the lady was super nice.  We did buy some wine here.  Clint owes her a Valentine’s Day card, long story…………..she was a sweetheart.

 

 

 

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Here comes our ferry back to pick us up !

Pelee Island – This island is in the western half of Lake Erie and is connected to Canada and the USA mainlands by a ferry service.  Its the largest island in Lake Erie.  We were here before, years ago and biked around the island so decided to give ‘er another go.

We wanted to take the ferry to Pelee Island so we left our truck in the parking lot and got on the ferry with our water bottles and bicycles.  I think it cost about 27$ each way.  It was 7.50 per person each way and 3.75 per bike each way.  Plus we paid a few bucks to leave our truck at the parking lot by the ferry.  It was a very cloudy day yet warm.  The ferry ride takes about 1 1/2 hours each way.  And nothing to see !   I believe the ferry holds about 300 people but only seats about 80, figure that out !  On the way back Clint pretty much walked around for the trip, I was able to get a seat finally.

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View from the ferry of Pelee Island

When we got off the ferry on Pelee Island we went to the left and biked that way, we wanted to do most of the perimeter of the island.  I think at the end of the day we only did about 30 kms.  Our first stop was at the “Stone Man” who looked like a huge inukshuk.

 

 

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Mr Inukshuk

Then we stopped at a bakery !  Very exciting, so exciting I don’t have the name of it.  We thought after biking we deserved a treat.  They had the best pineapple pecan cake with cream cheese icing, really good.  Clint had a cookie and a butter tart.  It’s kind of boring riding these roads, nothing really to see.  We wanted to go to the Lighthouse so we got off the main road and took a secondary road to the Lighthouse.  When we got to the end of the road, there was a sign saying the trail was closed so we couldn’t  go see the lighthouse.  We did stop here and there by the water to take in the views.

We headed back to the docks and over to Pelee Island Winery.  Big place with a gift shop and wine tasting. Very large outdoor eating area and a small food booth where you could get dips, pizzas, things like that.  We were hungry so we ordered their daily dip, which was spinach dip, and warmed pita triangles and a small BBQ pizza.  The spinach dip and pitas was really good, pizza was so-so.  They did it on a woodburning oven they have outside.

We left after eating our lunch and stopped at a bar/restaurant called The Stone House.  This place is almost right across from the ferry.  Nice place, we just sat outside and had a glass of beer and a glass of water.  We left about 330 to get our tickets to get on the ferry which was departing at 4 p.m.

So that was the end of our trip to Pelee Island, on to the next tourist location !

 

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As we were driving around this area we noticed all these huge greenhouses.  I mean huge and A LOT of them.  Now some are actually for vegetables but a lot of them are for growing pot.  The only thing that bothers me about this is the SMELL.  Holy cow, you can smell it in the air, it’s not a smell I personally like.  Kind of like the smell of Domtar the paper factory in Trenton.  I know people are hoping for this type of business in our area but be careful what you wish for.  Clint didn’t mind the smell but I would literally sell my house and move.  Some of these houses are right beside these buildings.  Anyways, not everyone hates the smell I’m sure.

One day, we drove and walked around Leamington which is the Tomato Capital of Canada !  Trum got his photo taken with the famous Tomato Family.  Cute downtown.

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I can’t remember everything we did in this area.  I know we did a lot of biking in the campground all around to the different places, down by the river and over to the beach.  The beach is located at the bottom of a steep cliff, maybe 20 feet high?  They had 2 or 3 steep trails to get down to the beach area.  We spent some time at our campsite by our little swamp watching the herons, bitterns, ducks and one lone egret.

All in all, our site was nice, the park is nice and we did find a lot of things to do in the area.  It’s a great central spot to drive to Windsor, maybe 75 minute drive maximum.  Probably won’t go back to this area though as we have been here twice now.  On to the next location !

 

 

 

 

 

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