The Duchess of Wellington

Rock Glen for Fossil Hunting

Day Tripping from Chatham

 

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Lake Erie North Shore Grapes Take a drive on the Southwestern Ontario Wine Route. The Duchess has done extensive on-site inspections of Sanson Estate Winery and the very-close-by Smith & Wilson Estate Wines (west of Cedar Springs). Also enjoyably sampled were the vintages of Colio Estates Wines and Pelee Island Wines. Dozens of their products are offered at Chatham's many restaurants.
The Monarchs Return Rondeau Provincial Park , located 30 minutes south of Chatham, is a year round destination for hikers, bikers, birders, and naturalists. The park features fauna and flora more common to the southern forests. The beaches are popular in summer....while September has an influx of visitors to witness the Monarch Butterfly migration. The close village of Erieau features antiquing, good restaurants, and sport fishing.
Lake Erie Shore at Wheatley Wheatley Provincial Park is about 40 minutes south-west of Chatham, and features sandy beaches, birding, and nature trails. The village of Wheatley is a commercial and charter fishing centre. Close to the town of Wheatley is a great place for shore-bird watching,
Point Pelee Point Pelee National Park is Canada's most southerly point. Annual events in this year-round park include Festival of Birds in May, Butterfly Count in August, Christmas Bird Count and Active Winter Day (hike to the tip) in February. I'm afraid the southern-most "tip" in the picture is gone-torn away by L. Erie storms this past winter. The Duchess is approved by the park, and is 45 min away.
Watch this space for places to go for great food. This month we are featuring Don and Jean Giffin's MAPLE SYRUP PRODUCTS. They are located about 20 minutes south of The Duchess. Take Charing Cross south to Cedar Springs, Highway 3 east thru Blenheim to County Road 11, turn south and watch for signs. Open year-round. Maple sugar painting by Eastman Johnson - 1873
Tour the Garden Routes of Canada's South, circle drives though Chatham-Kent and Essex. Highlights: Glass House in Chatham for specimen plants, Sherry's for unusual Perennials, and Phoenix Accessories in Ridgetown for statuary. The marble statue opposite is an example of the Phoenix onjects-de-art. Through the summer Great Lakes Lavander has self-directed tours and an open-field in June.

For some fun on your travels, visit a Chatham-Kent Corn Field Maze. One is located just 15 km east of Chatham on Longwoods Road, on the outskirts of Thamesville.

The Girl in the Duchess of Wellington Gardens
We love country auctions, where you can bid on anything from a corn-husker to a Citroen. Before you leave home, check out The Auction Advertiser and Auctionsfind for scheduled auctions in Ontario. If antique shopping is more to your liking, see a copy or surf The Daytripper for a listing of shops and a calendar of show events. Chatham's annual sale and takes place May 5 & 6. See you there. The Lacasse Team
Charter Fishing off Erieau Eaves-dropping on the crowded tables at Erieau's restaurants quickly reveals that this is a bonafide fishing village. The Duchess is sure you won't be disappointed at either O Buoy or Molly and OJ's . The folks at  Erieau Antiques scour the area for period furniture and interesting pieces. Kick off those sandals and walk the sandy shore.

Take a circle tour through Cedar Springs and Smith and Wilson Winery, and in season stop at cherry, peach, and apple orchards along Highway 3 and Charing Cross Road on the way back to The Duchess. You can pick your own, or skip all that and buy a pie.

If you think the fellow on the far left is happy, you're right! Harpoon Charters and other operators along Lake Erie offer 1/2 or full day charters. The Yellow Perch and Pickerel (aka Walleye) limits were raised in 2006 in response to a high fish population.