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Port Rowan, ideal autumnal getaway

© by George Bailey
Getting to this idyllic inlet took about three hours. Half the trip, we hugged the northern Lake Erie shoreline and mainly, we owned the road. We stopped at roadside stands overflowing with harvest bounty and purchased farm-fresh vegetables and fruit on the honour system.
     Nothing shouts in Port Rowan. The little main street is quaint. Echoes of the past resonate as we walked, and store clerks exuded a laid-back quality found in most small towns. Twins Ice Cream Parlour, a late 1930's building, was renovated by Marguerite and Albert Quaegebeur in 1993, and they opened what soon became a Port Rowan landmark. Albert said, "We have about 32 flavours. The most popular licking one is chocolate peanut butter." After sampling one or two, I agreed.

Boat House Restaurant  Dock Area  Ice Cream Parlour  Ice Cream Tasters  Port Rowan Map  Typical Historic Home

     At the end of the main street, a road travels downhill to the Port Rowan Harbour, and when I closed my eyes, I thought I'd arrived at an east coast hamlet visited in Newfoundland only a few months ago. The harbour begs to become a painter's landscape. We grabbed a sandwich and bottles of water at the nearby Boathouse Restaurant and staked out a picnic bench for an hour, soaking up the beauty of the area, watching boats coming and going, a wide variety of birds, and people fishing off the dock. The world slowed. Away from downtown, we walked the mature tree-lined side streets. Many historic turn-of-the-century homes called out to be photographed.
     Our B&B was a turn-of-the-century home, a five-minute walk from downtown, nestled on the shores of Long Point, which is a designated World Biosphere and home of Bird Studies Canada. The following morning we enjoyed a full-course healthy breakfast and later, our second cup of coffee sitting in over-stuffed leather chairs looking onto a beautiful garden.
     One should take time to visit the Backus Heritage Conservation Area two kilometres north of town. This National Historic Site features a 1798 gristmill and other historic buildings, a unique nature centre, and you can also walk or hike through the popular Backus Woods. Entrance fee is $13.00 per vehicle. The park closes on October 15th.
     If you enjoy wine you will want to stop at a new winery, Burning Kiln, which opened last year. The retail area is found in a renovated old pack barn where tobacco was once stored. (just outside the tiny hamlet of St. Williams)
     Across the street is Long Point Eco Adventures. This exciting attraction sends you zipping (zip lining) from tree to tree on a series of high-wire cables smack in the middle of a Carolinian forest with wrap-around views of majestic, pristine, natural beauty.
     Further down the road (don't blink), you encounter the quiet village of Normandale. Savour an ice-cream on the porch of the Normandale Century Inn, originally built in 1875.

Photo Credits
George Bailey

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.

If you go
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Rowan
Tourism: www.norfolktourism.ca or 800-699-9038
Burning Kiln: www.burningkilnwinery.ca
Long Point Eco Adventures: www.lpfun.ca or 877-743-TOUR
Places of worship: http://www.yellowpages.ca/se...
Fiction: http://www.ontariobusinessguide.com/listi...

Travel Aid
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Currency conversion: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
Distance calculator: http://www.indo.com/distance/
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Maps (Google interactive map): http://maps.google.com/
Maps (Mapquest) U.S. & Canada: http://www.mapquest.com/maps/main.adp
Maps (Mapquest) World: http://www.mapquest.com/maps/main.adp?country=GB
Media Guide (local newspapers with current listings): http://www.abyznewslinks.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/
Time zone converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/
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