Elora and St Jacobs

We convinced Andy that he needed a day off work, having worked at least 3 extra weeks time in just 3 months at his new job.  We got up reasonably early and packed some lunch and dinner, the tiny BBQ and headed off west towards Elora.  We all enjoyed it so much last time we visited and we felt that there was so much more to see that we wanted to visit again.

This time we took a more direct route (last time we travelled through all the country roads including some unsealed ones) through Guelph, lovely town which we will revisit at a later date.

We arrived in Elora at about 11am.  Our first stop was at the information centre where we collected lots of ideas of what to do.  The woman there suggested that if we would like to see the Mennonite community we should head off toward St Jacobs which took us about 25 minutes along some lovely country roads, past some beautiful farmland.  There were hills and valleys - lovely.

We parked in The Mill carpark and saw a glass blowing shop.  Jesse was interested in this so we wandered in and watched the glass being made.  It was wonderful to watch and the results were just amazing. 

The Mill is an old mill which has been converted into shops, mostly for handmade things like pottery, patchwork and rugs.  There were also museum exhibits and we visited them all - the Maple Syrup Museum, Quilt Gallery, the Electricity Exhibit and the Hardware Exhibit.  They were all fabulous.

After leaving the Mill we walked along the main street and found a place to sit and have some food (we had already eaten our picnic lunch sitting by the river in Elora but the boys were hungry).  We sat under the shade of a huge tree and watched the World go by.

I had been telling an NZ friend the other day that quilt shops were few and far between here in Toronto and now I know where they all are - St Jacobs. I counted three in the main street and there was also patchwork for sale at the Mill.  I wanted to visit them all but had to choose one.  I chose the one that Mennonite Quilts but to be honest I was a little disappointed.  Yes, there were lots of quilts but they were packaged up and stacked in large piles so you couldn't see them properly and they had no prices.  Like I need another quilt! (says Andy).

We visited a wonderful antique shop which sold all sorts of glassware and knick knacks and jewelry as well as some furniture.  Of course we (I) could have stayed here all day but Jesse was keen to go for a swim so we headed back to Elora's Conservation Area.  

On the way we passed a coupe of Mennonite horse drawn buggies moving along the side of the road.  I was sitting in the back with Jesse so asked Jenna to take photos, not that great but proof that we saw them.  One of the buggies had about 6 women sitting in the back with large buckets.  They were either sorting or cleaning some sort of fruit or vegetable.  Jesse said that they looked like "Little House on the Prairie" which we have been watching (but that's another story).  

We arrived back in Elora and visited the hole in the rock, through which some stairs have been built, then we went and found the beach.  The lake was quite small and the water was kind of brown but Jesse didn't mind.  It was wet!  He swam for two hours, found lots of wildlife including a frog and overall had a wonderful time.  Andy had a quick swim and then relaxed on the beach.  We had a BBQ of chicken, pork and potatoes (which come wrapped in foil from the supermarket) with salad.  Only one problem - we had forgotten the plates so we had to eat from the tops of the tupperware containers.  That was OK.

We finally dragged ourselves away at about 7.30pm and headed for home.  We were tired but incredibly happy having enjoyed the most fantastic day.