Our goal in this chapter of our lives was to create a life we don’t need a vacation from.
This year, we are excited to be hosting an Italian exchange student. As part of this story, we want to share our adventures with her as we showcase our favourite parts of Grey County. With our busy farm business, school and markets, we sometimes forget to take time to visit these treasured spots.
We are always thankful for the natural beauty that surrounds us each and every day. We enjoy the changing seasons and the different activities each bring; maple syrup in the spring, seasonal markets spring to fall, the bounty of the harvest at Thanksgiving and the brilliant colours of fall, serving maple taffy on snow in the winter, snow days in front of the woodstove and sheep on pasture in the summer and so much more. Here we go!
To get started on our adventure, we found a link on Facebook directing us to the new Grey County map. I sent off our address online and it soon arrived with neat little planning flags so we could mark the places we wanted to visit. There are lots of other resources you can order online too; like the waterfalls tour, paddling, hiking, the Saints and Sinners trail and more. Prior to our trip, we invested in a few self-guided tours on the Bruce Peninsula Explorer website. Even after living here for 10 years, we found lots of interesting tidbits, facts and history about the area.
Skinner’s Bluff Lookout
One of our favourite views to show off to visitors is literally at the end of our road. A trail that leads in through a conservation area comes out to my favourite view in the world, Skinner’s Bluff. It’s worth visiting in every season, especially when the leaves are changing. This lookout is just off the Bruce Trail which continues on west from here to Wiarton.
Just east of Wiarton on Grey Rd 1, moments from our doorstep is the Bruce’s Caves Conservation Area. We enjoyed seeing the caves while everything was green and we decided we need to return when the colours change. There was a bit of climbing heading in and then a nice easy walk out.
Before we moved, we used to visit our property for day trips. During these days we would visit Lake Charles and go canoeing. With the busyness that comes from farming full time, I haven’t been back on the water since. With our visitor and 4 out of the 5 of us never having kayaked before, this needed to be added to our list of thing to do. So what does one do if one wants to kayak and doesn’t have a kayak? One heads to Suntrail Source for Adventures for a rental.
The helpful and enthusiastic staff set us up with everything we needed and helped us strap everything securely into our truck. We decided to rent a single and a tandem to give us maximum flexibility. We launched at Lake Charles, a stone’s throw from our farm. For just over $100 a day, it was a great chance to try out the sport and now kayaks are on our ‘someday we’d like to have’ list.
Lake Charles is just one of a multitude of paddling hotspots in Grey County. We were alone on the water and turtles, frogs, fish and blue herons were spotted while we paddled around the lake. It was a great place to learn. Big enough to explore, and small enough to see it all and not get lost.
We are privileged, as farmers, to work with several talented chefs, supplying meat, pies, duck eggs, etc. It’s always a pleasure to experience the end result of their talents using our products. Since Mudtown Station in Owen Sound opened in May 2018, their support has been impactful for our farm. As a busy summer drew to a close they roasted up one of our Berkshire pigs for a staff gathering. The end result of a long day’s work was incredibly delicious. It was nicely complemented by Morag’s brews. For a unique farm to table (slow food) experience in a restored train station, with a variety of craft beers brewed right on site, head to the east side of the Owen Sound harbour.
Owen Sound Artists’ Co-op
One rainy day, we set out to run an errand and decided to stop in at the Owen Sound Artists' Co-op. What a brilliant idea that was. This wall of colour by Kelly Maw was just one of the colourful displays that helped brighten a cloudy day. As we looked around there were many names and subjects we recognized from around the area.
Owen Sound Farmers’ Market
Every Saturday morning, we attend the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market with our various meats and frozen meat pies. It’s great to do our own shopping for the week with ready to eat treats (especially the Syrian and Italian foods) and vegetables, not to mention the great gift shopping.
Most summer evenings involve a quick trip down to the shore at Big Bay for a refreshing swim in the waters of Georgian Bay. Very deep and slow to warm in the summer, the water is invigorating and the rocky shore means no sand to drag home. The smooth stones are perfect for skipping and the sunsets are a stunning way to end the day.
We had no idea what we would stumble across before we moved here. We are so blessed to be living and working in a place we love and whose beauty is an integral part of our everyday life. Our next goal is to take more opportunities to enjoy our favourite spots. Our goal in this chapter of our lives is to create a life we don’t need a vacation from and to that end we have succeeded.
Ten years ago, my family and I moved to our current home outside of Wiarton as our daughters were getting started in school. We wanted to farm fulltime. My husband Brian finds a regular chore time routine fulfilling while I enjoy the new day to day challenges, like finding new things to do with the things we grow. Shortly after we began direct marketing our farm product, we made the decision to add an inspected kitchen. This allowed us to add value to the meat we produce at DeJong Acres. We now sell our fresh products and meat at both our farm store and at the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning. Drop by to see what we have to offer.