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Downtown Jordan

Downtown Jordan

Jordan, A Quick Afternoon Trip

© by George Bailey

Jordan Village, is only a dot on a roadmap, and where is there a rule that says you have to travel far to enjoy a break from everyday life? Nowhere. Here’s the proof, a quaint little village on the edge of St. Catharines in the Township of Lincoln. The restored 1858 School house found on the grounds of the Jordan Historical Museum

There are not many shops on the main street, called Main Street; however, the pedigree of the artesian shops, antique shops, art galleries, Cave Springs Cellar winery and the up-scale Inn on the Twenty Restaurant and Spa and UnWined Bean and Bistro is impeccable.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, Ellen and I explored this lovely village. Their tiny downtown is filled with lots of flowers, well-kept grounds and plenty of shade trees.

One of our favourite places to pop into is Irongate Garden Elements. It anchors the northern end of the street. This place is all about style and sophistication. A few items that caught the eye, but not our pocket book, were the one-of-a-kind Teak Wood Tiger and an Indian Rosewood Bench. For $2,850 and $1,150 respectively they’re yours to take away. Native Arts Niagara, Tintern Road and the Heritage Gift Shops are not too shabby either.

We found a terrific spot to sit on a patio and enjoy a lovely Sunday afternoon leisurely lunch with a glass of wine. Service was pleasant and welcoming at UnWined Bean and Bistro. We lingered as we soaked up the sun and people-watched.

This area is in the heart of the grape-growing region and you will find plenty of wineries. Many buildings that house wineries had different former lives. For example, the long rambling building with its handmade cement blocks that Cave Springs Cellars now occupies was built in 1870 to house Jordan Vinegar Works. Jams, jellies, dried apples; evaporated fruits, cider and pure cider vinegar were shipped in barrels throughout Ontario and overseas to England.

After lunch we walked to the southern end of the street to The Village of Jordan Historical Museum. Oddly enough, we discovered the museum is closed on Sundays, one of the busiest days of the week. In our travels we find this a lot when museums rely on volunteers. But what we found on the grounds outside the museum was fascinating. We checked out a historic school house built in 1858. This sturdy limestone structure taught local children for 89 years up to 1948.

The original 1815 home of Jacob Fry deserved to be photographed. It was moved here in 1960 to save it from destruction. This is a fine example of medieval German architecture from Pennsylvania.

Have your camera ready to take photos of a Pioneer Conestoga Wagon and a restored buggy that delivered Royal Mail to locals six days a week between 1922 and 1952.

A plaque told us this was the original location of the first Mennonite settlement in the Niagara Region. It was established in 1799. Gravestones can be found of a few of these settlers.

To fully enjoy this visit, I suggest you arrive on a weekday. You’ll then be able to visit the museum housed in a turn-of-the-century heritage home. Admission is by donation. While there, pick up the Walking Tour of Jordan Walking Tour Guidebook for $2.50.

Pioneer Day is held early in October, and this is the 49th year. Costumed interpreters are on hand to offer authentic Pennsylvania German Mennonite foods and early pioneer demonstrations. There is dancing and unique crafts. Organizers promise activities for kids and famous apple fritters. There is free parking and a free shuttle bus from the Jordan arena. The event is held between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Adults $5.00, Seniors and Children $4.00.

Before you leave the village I suggest you take 21 Street at the north end of Main Street and take the steep winding road into Jordan Valley. The street is easy to miss so keep your eyes peeled. At the bottom of the hill is a one lane Bailey Bridge (no relation). Be sure to wait your turn before crossing over the bridge. Before you cross over, pull off the roadway on your left to soak up the lovely scene. If you want to stretch your legs you can take a short hike here along the Waterfront Trail.

Gerry Walker of Irongate Garden Elements show us a one of a kind Teak Wood Tiger
Gerry Walker of Irongate Garden Elements show us a one-of-a-kind Teak Wood Tiger

Jordan Village Winterfest

Tourism in Twenty Valley

Photo Credits
George Bailey

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George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, The Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.

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