3 GREAT DESTINATION IDEAS
Ann Arbor, Michigan provides miles of riverside biking and hiking trails.
FOR TWO GREAT PEOPLE ON ONE GREAT GETAWAY
Autumn is the perfect time for a couple’s getaway. The weather is cooler for sightseeing, and kids are back in school, so venues tend to be less crowded. There are many popular places to choose from, but taking the road less travelled is a rewarding way to explore places that you may have overlooked.
Inglis Falls outside of Owen Sound is just one of the area’s many scenic waterfalls.
1 (and a bit) hours away
Not far down the road is underappreciated Leamington. This agri-centric area has so much to offer visitors: lake views, beaches, a national park, wineries, international food and a lively arts scene.
Don’t forget to throw your bikes into the back of the vehicle and pack a lunch, as there are 200 kilometres of trails, including a path that takes riders out to Point Pelee National Park to see the autumn bird and butterfly migrations.
Maximize your fun on the EPIC Wine Trail by hopping on board a Windsor Eats tour with Adriano Ciotoli and riding bikes between wineries.
On some Friday evenings in the summer and fall, the Mill Street Market takes place downtown and features local vendors. Leamington’s strong international population ensures that foreign food delights are plentiful. Down-to-earth El Comal is a great example. Hungry diners enter through the backdoor of what looks like a residence, into the kitchen and out to the covered back patio to consume South American treats, like pupusas and tamales.
More upscale dining options also feature locally-sourced goodies, like Thirteen on the Inn. It is right next to the waterfront so take an after-dinner stroll to the marina or ferry launch to enjoy the evening breezes.
If the kids or grandkids are tagging along for this weekend getaway, a trip to Thiessen Orchards is a great idea. Apple picking, a haunted barn, a corn maze and play areas will entertain for hours.
The charming HoriZen Bed and Breakfast is a great choice for lodgings in Leamington. The century home is owned by Shelby and Mike Foster. He whips up a breakfast speciality each morning, like fresh Belgian waffles and Huevos rancheros. Each of the four rooms has an inspiring theme, and the wide porch is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine from one of the local vineyards.
2 (and a bit) hours away
Ann Arbor, Michigan is more than a Detroit suburb; it’s a distinct community near Motown but so different.
Explore Owen Sound by canoe or kayak.
Home of the University of Michigan, the lively student culture energizes adjacent downtown. It features shops and boutiques, like Cherry Republic. (Must try: Balaton Cherry Wine.)
Nearby is charming Kerrytown and it houses the Farmers Market, which is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Autumn seems the perfect time to get into a Harry Potter vibe, U of M’s law quad has been called the ‘Hogwarts of the Midwest,’ and be sure to take a walk through ‘the Arb’ (Nichols Arboretum) for great views of the area.
Fans of midcentury modern architecture will love this destination, as there’s a plethora of well-maintained homes built in the 1950s and ‘60s in MCM style. Take a drive through the Angell area of the city to check them out.
Cyclists will appreciate the 270 kilometres of paved riverside trails in Ann Arbor. Biking through the city, on the paths, through the woods and along the Huron River will easily fill a get-fit day.
After all that exercise, the dining options are just as varietal. Casual lunch options include the fun atmosphere at Frita Batidos (Cuban sandwich-inspired burgers and shakes). A stop at the iconic Zuckerman’s Deli is a must, but be warned these delicious sandwiches are big enough to split. For a romantic evening slowly sampling tapas and unique cocktails, Aventura is a great choice. A lovely atmosphere and small plates make this a dining experience to be shared with someone special. The Gandy Dancer, a converted train depot, has great cocktails and plenty of history.
3 (and a bit) hours away
A small, scenic waterfront town, on the escarpment with plenty of natural beauty – sounds like a great destination. It’s Owen Sound and while you might not think of it as a vacation option, it’s an excellent choice for a weekend getaway.
Downtown Ann Arbor is alive with shops and restaurants.
The hilly terrain offers hiking and biking opportunities in this Bruce Trail-adjacent area. The town is surrounded by several scenic waterfalls that you can hike to but Inglis Falls is the easiest to access by car if mobility issues are a concern. It’s a truly stunning sight and well worth the $8 parking charge.
The quaint downtown houses one of the few remaining Carnegie Libraries, with signature vaulted ceilings, and next door is the Tom Thomson Art Gallery. To enjoy more displays of local art, check out the Artists’ Co-op.
Walk along the harbourfront to Mudtown Station, a converted midcentury train station, to slake that hunger and thirst. This brewpub offers excellent suds, with six of their own on tap, and unique lunch entrees like tomato ricotta pie and cottage fries as big as your thumb.
Strolling through Harrison Park’s trails or along the waterfront at Kelso Park is soothing but a side trip to Sauble Beach for an afternoon of walking along the beach should be on your agenda.
When ready for a coffee and snack break, a stop at the charming Luscious Bakery just behind the beach is a must. Golfers will enjoy hitting the links at Cobble Beach Golf Resort, and car enthusiasts will want to visit during the Concours d’Elegance, on September 15.
Bike to and around Point Pelee National Park when visiting Leamington.