Guest Writer: Elora Tarlo
My name is Elora, like the town, but I was born and raised in the Blue Mountain area. I love art, the environment, and my community. Having a passion for all three is what led me to start my own business. It's called Georgian Bay Marketplace and I feature local artisans while promoting shopping locally. I love this area not only because the scenery is unique, but also because the people are too. I have wonderful and meaningful conversations with longtime locals and new residents drawn to this area. Like many adolescents from rural communities, I looked forward to leaving but I guess Dorothy was right, there's no place like home.
I had to laugh the other day when I was listening to the CBC and they were discussing the best places to visit in Ontario. Of course, I heard the familiar names of South Georgian Bay, Eugenia/Flesherton area, Thornbury, and Meaford but guess what place they missed? I bet you don’t know.
It’s Clarksburg. Or if you know this area well, you might know it by the name of Artsburg.
With the fresh air, running water, crisp apples and smiling faces, make sure Clarksburg is on your list to visit this fall! It may be a village but there’s a full day of activities to do here. Each activity is a 10-minute drive apart and you’ll enjoy the rural scenery all the way. I grew up in this quaint town but even today, I’m still discovering gems in Clarksburg.
Living near Clendenan Dam, I hiked there often. There is no better way to start your day than a morning stroll there. You will hear the roaring water from the dam as you park. At the start of your walk, you’ll see a lake span in front of you with a forest backdrop stitched together for a breath-taking view. Then, across the bridge over the dam and into the magical forest. You can walk along the river or be surrounded by the trees! If you go in the fall, you can enjoy all the leaves changing colour.
Downtown Clarksburg / Artsburg
Perhaps after a hike, you will need a coffee. Head downtown Clarksburg to The Market on Marsh! Clarksburg has long been without a coffee shop, and now that we have one, we cannot imagine life without it. Fairtrade coffee and locally made goodies will surely get your day started right! Then you can go figure out why Clarksburg is called Artsburg! Downtown you can also enjoy the various galleries and antique shops that Clarksburg has to offer. At Matilida Swanson Gallery, you’ll find 40+ artists featured, all with their own beautiful, creative and inspiring talent to share. Next door is Kilby’s Art Gallery, where you might catch him painting an antique car. Or go see Cindy at the ArtBank Collective . She’s a bundle of joy and positivity, the best recipe for a fun visit. Make sure to check out the antique shops! Danfield Antiques and Clarksburg Antiques are both filled with wonder that will take you to the past. Speaking of the past, check out Hindles Hardware store! The business is celebrating their 50th anniversary and I bet you it has not changed much since it opened. The shelves are filled to the point where nothing more could fit, and yet each item has a unique purpose… some even interestingly particular. Trust me, check it out.
Local Vineyards and Cideries
Growing up here, I never frequented the vineyard or cideries. Now, being a young adult, I didn’t think I could rationalize the financial splurge. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong, and I must admit, I was very wrong. Not only were those a highlight in my tour around Clarksburg, but also affordable for the wonderful and unforgettable experiences.
At Georgian Hills Vineyards on Grey Road 2, you can reserve the outdoor tasting bar ahead of time on their website. I highly recommend this experience with a friend or partner, as I did the 5 tastings of their menu and was delighted by the grapes grown in the fields next to me. None of their wines were overly sweet, (except their delicious ice wines of course), and each held a unique bouquet of fruits, spices, fresh earthy smells and tastes. Our sommelier Jessica was full of knowledge and clearly enjoyed creating an experience that was delightful.
Before heading to the ciders, drop by T&K Ferri Orchards and Oaklane Orchards on Grey Road 2. They’re located beside each other so you can visit both and enjoy being surrounded by the sweet scent of apple. There are cider, plums, and other local goodies you can find at each orchard. You will be greeted by smiling faces and wonderful people who also make it all worth it!
I also highly recommend Spy Cider House and Distillery, just down the road from T& K and Oakland, off of Grey Road 13 on Side Road 24. The term Spy plays off of two terms. Spy is a variety of apples but it also plays off the spy agency persona this cidery has adopted. Driving up to this place, all I saw was farm fields! Just before I truly started to worry about going too far, there’s Spy! It’s not too far out of town but this building certainly looks unique against the farmland. Spy has a great layout, with a front patio where you can savour the sunset while listening to live music. If outside is not your thing, reserve ahead of time to get the modern furnished trailer! From the outside, the main building doesn’t look huge. But then you walk in, see the distillery set-up, and you can’t help but be surprised! Spy Cidery and Distillery offers friendly customer service that makes you feel at home, an outdoor setup to make you feel county chic, and delicious ciders… oh let’s not forget the spirits! Gin, Vodka and brandy made with local fruits.
On your way back into Clarksburg, hit up Grey and Gold Cider Company on Grey Road 13. You can get growlers of their locally made cider. They also support bees with on-site beehives that assist in pollination. I am not sure if this affects taste, but I swear I have tasted hints of chamomile. Truly a unique tree-to-glass tasting experience that you can’t get anywhere else!
Maybe after the vineyard and the cideries, you don’t feel like cooking dinner. That’s okay. I don’t blame you. Return to Market on Marsh for some locally made frozen meals. Vegetarian vegan, or carnivore options available! I personally love the blue cheese and bacon empanadas. You’re welcome.
For Clarksburg events, shop, attractions, local accommodations and everything else I mentioned here, go to VisitClarksburg.ca for more information. Or email Clarksburg.firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!
I love my community and I highly suggest you come and see why. It’s a small town, filled with people who have big hearts and we got lots of art!