Guest Writer: Zak Erb
I’ve spent most of my 35 years having fun in Grey County. I climbed around on the escarpment as a child, played in a band as a kid, poured a million glasses of local wine as a young man. Now, as a … somewhat less young man … I take photos and write stories about the County I’ve always loved. From ice fishing on windswept lakes, to photographing distant galaxies, if it can be done in Grey County, chances are I’ve given it a go. See what I’m up to @stirthembirds.
This region is beautiful in fall, no question. But on some days, Grey County can be a little too grey. So what to do on a rainy day in Grey? Consider this your insider’s guide to defeat the rainy day blues. Hit all the stops for a very fun, very full day, or pick and choose a few - either way you’ll have yourself a beautiful time, even if the weather isn’t exactly cooperating.
Grey Roots Museum and Archives, just south of Owen Sound on Grey Road 18, is a perfect place to start. The gorgeous modern facility houses a massive collection of artefacts and a nicely curated selection of exhibits. Take in the sights (the Grey County Gallery is a must), see if anything catches your eye in the Museum Store, and if the rain’s holding off, go for a walking tour through the lovingly cared for Moreston Heritage Village.
Continue your trip through Grey County’s past at the Billy Bishop Museum on 3rd Avenue West in Owen Sound. Billy Bishop, the First World War flying ace, grew up in the Victorian era house which now serves as his namesake museum. Inside, you’ll find a beautiful, presented peek into turn of the century life in Owen Sound, as well as military history displays, and of course, lots on Bishop himself.
By now you’re likely feeling a little hungry, and more than a little thirsty. Thankfully it’s not far to Mudtown Station - one of the region’s finest brewpubs. Operating out of the old CP Rail station on 1st Avenue East, Mudtown offers an impressive list of craft beers, brewed in house, and an equally impressive lunch menu, anchored by the celebrated Whip Burger. Sample a flight and enjoy a bite, but save some room because your delicious rainy day treats are just beginning.
Find Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery on 2nd Concession North between Owen Sound and Meaford. The winery is beautifully set up for rainy days with several bubble igloos on the patio. It really is a joy to sit outside, perfectly dry and toasty, sipping a wine or cider and nibbling cheese while hearing the rain patter down around you. Be sure to ask about seasonal cider offerings and pick up your favourite bottle to take home.
Continue along Highway 26 into the charming town of Meaford. The waterfront in Meaford is truly lovely, and your next destinations are right in the heart of it. The Meaford Museum lies at the north end of the marina, at 111 Bayfield Street. It’s a well-run little museum chock full of interesting artefacts and local history, from Beautiful Joe, internationally celebrated canine, to John Muir, father of the US National Park system.
If you skipped lunch at the previous stops, now is your chance to fix that. Find the Meaford Social at the south end of the marina - a short walk from the museum. The Social boasts the best view in town and it’s easy to see why. Even on a rainy day the view across the harbour into Georgian Bay is exceptional, and there’s always a chance to catch sight of a rainbow over the water. The menu, marrying Indian and Mexican fare, offers something for everyone.
Make time to check in on Still Fields Brewery. Operating on a 22-acre farm just east of Meaford on the 3rd Line, Still Fields garnered a lot of justifiably good buzz when they launched in September 2021. Having closed briefly for winter maintenance (and to brew more delicious oak fermented beers), they’re set to reopen in early November. Sample, enjoy the laid back and welcoming atmosphere, and mark the day in your diary. Still Fields is onto something special, and you were there right at the beginning.
Let the wind blow you south along 3rd line and you’ll end up at Windswept Cider, a micro cidery on 100 acres of beautiful rolling farmland. Windswept is unpretentious and up front - they produce some top tier ciders and they’re not afraid to show you behind the curtain. The tasting bar and production area occupy the same space and it’s great knowing that the staff pouring your flight was bottling and racking ciders not a moment before you walked in.
So there you have it - that’s exactly how to best enjoy a rainy day in Grey County. A little bit of history, a bite to eat and a beverage to warm up over. Sure, we all love those beautifully clear unseasonably warm fall days, but rainy days definitely have their charm as well. Don’t let the weather put you off your plans - get out there and seize the (grey) day!
Please drink responsibly, know your limits and do not drink and drive.