The Knitter's Guide to Mooresburg (and beyond!)
We’ve been rather quiet recently, but rest assured that behind the scenes we are busily preparing for the fast approaching Open Day. Big plans are in place for this year’s event and over the next six weeks Viola HQ will be buzzing with activity; dyeing, skeining, organizing and preparing for your arrival here in Mooresburg.
Perhaps you have already heard that Bookhou, Hedgling, Amanda Rataj Handwoven and Kiyomi Burgin of Needle Leaf Knits will be joining us for the day along with a selection of their work. I have become a collector, to put it gently, but will do my best to hold back so that you have a fair crack at the beautiful things they bring! In addition to these four makers, our neighbours at Black sheep Farm (you’ve glimpsed their barn in the pages of Knits About Winter) will be bringing along a gorgeous selection of sheep skins ranging in size, shape and colour - i have one already and it’s wonderful. If you were able to join us last year, you may have seen the beautifully carved knitting sheaths that were nestled into our window display. This summer, Hans Peter has carved even more unique designs in a variety of woods, shapes and sizes. Even if, like me, you don’t use straight needles, these objects are so intricate, tactile and beautiful you’ll be happy to hold them in your hands and study their shape. We’ll have some needles and yarn ready for anyone who would like to have a go on a sheath or two. For any Harry Potter readers out there, I think of these like magic wands, you’ll want to hold and use each one before discovering the knitting sheath that’s right for you.
For those of you who are planning to visit us in Mooresburg this July 27th, below you will find our guide to the area. We hope that it inspires an adventure or two and can be useful as you plan your trip to Grey County!
A Knitter’s (and all-round fibre lover’s) Guide to Mooresburg (and Beyond!)
We borrowed the idea for a Knitter’s Guide to Mooresburg from our friends at Pom Pom Magazine, who have crafted many handy guides to exciting cities around the world, you can take a peek here. This Knitter’s Guide to Mooresburg is really just a little list of our favourite places to visit, things to do and food to eat, hopefully it will be useful regardless of whether or not you’re a knitter, crocheter, weaver, etc. We hope you discover some fun things to do in Grey & Bruce Counties!
Because Mooresburg is actually an incredibly small place, those of you who plan to visit us this summer may want to venture further afield after you visit us...okay, we’re sure you will. Our old general store sits amongst a cluster of about seven other houses. There’s a good chance that you will encounter more cows, horses and chickens here than you will inhabitants. Large square blocks divide up the surrounding area which is comprised mainly of fields and trees, each block is about 10 km to walk or run around. Lots of valuable colour research has happened during my runs ‘around the block’ and recently I even saw a bear cub!
Mooresburg may be small, but it is in fact home to a rather famous swimming hole. Walk just a minute or two from VIOLA HQ and you’re there. During hot summer workdays, I often take more than one swimming break. Adventurous swimmers like to jump off of the bridge into the deep water below, while those who prefer a more gentle experience can wade in from the smooth, sandy edge. There are other river access points dotted around us, but the swimming hole is the most popular and it’s great fun too!
About a 10 minute drive from us are two short but beautiful hikes through Kinghurst Forest. On theses trails you might encounter the stone foundation of an old farmhouse and it’s well pump (still working!), beaver dams, old growth forest, deer, an abandoned sugar shack (home to at least one porcupine) and endless beautiful wildlife, fungi and vegetation. I spend a lot of time on these trails with a camera in hand.
Driving 30 to 40 minutes in any direction from Mooresburg brings you to a great selection of waterfalls and trails. Grey County has an amazing selection of waterfalls, each worth a visit. Find a map and list here. If you enjoy hiking, you might want to take a peek at the Bruce Trail website (we are in the Sydenham section) I use a really handy book called ‘Looping Through Sydenham’ to plan little circular one day walks.
NORTH of us…
Errands, appointments and shopping usually bring us to Owen Sound, about a 30 minute drive north of Mooresburg. The Tom Thomson Art Gallery is small enough to see in an afternoon and shops like Heartwood Home, the Artist’s Co-op and Riverside Yarns are great shopping destinations in the downtown area. If you find yourself hungry in Owen Sound, Casero Open Kitchen serves rather nice tacos, the Milk Maid has a fab selection of cheeses for you to enjoy with a glass of local wine or cider (takeaway cheese and charcuterie options are available too...perfect picnic food!) Sprout offers tasty plant based takeaway and Mudtown Station is a pub and brewhouse located in an old train station with tasty beer and good food. Owen Sound has a really lovely Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings (stop in before visiting us in Mooresburg). Harrison Park is a beautiful place to explore, it links up to the Bruce trail, offers space for picnics, waterfall admiring and gentle walking too.
Just a short drive south of Owen Sound on highway 6 is a little place called Rockford where you’ll find two lovely ‘greasy spoon’ cafs; the Rockford Family Restaurant and the Dragonfly Cafe. Deep fried pickles, cooked breakfast, coffee and diner classics await! Inglis Falls (you can also walk to Inglis Falls from Harrison Park on the Bruce Trail - it’s beautiful!) is a spectacular waterfall and just around the corner from the Rockford Diner. It has lots of green space at the falls as well as a car park ($5 parking fee) for anyone who doesn’t want to or is not able to walk far. Looping trails from the falls offer shorter walks as well. Just around the corner from Inglis Falls is Morland Place, an old mansion home with amazing gardens that you can explore (small donation requested). The entire estate is still independently owned and maintained by one man, no small feat! There is a subtly overgrown and very charming ‘secret garden’ feeling in the air as you wander through the grounds which also include a labyrinth! And just a little jaunt down the road from Moorland Place is the Grey Roots Museum which is full of local history and a very fun spot to explore.
A 30 minute drive to the west of Owen Sound is Lake Huron, where you will find the beach towns of Port Elgin and Southampton as well as busy Sauble Beach. Swimming at any of the beaches along this coast is absolutely beautiful and in the summertime ice cream opportunities are always close by (we like Fun in the Sun ice cream in Southampton). If you have the time, a visit to the beach will be well worth it!
Lastly, if you have the time to venture further north of Owen Sound, you will work your way up to the most spectacular coast in spots like Lion’s Head and Tobermory. The Bruce Trail winds its way all the way up to Tobermory, which is it’s northernmost point. And if you’re up for a real adventure, take the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry from Owen Sound to Manitoulin Island where even more fun awaits!
EAST of us..
About 15 minutes drive to the east of us in Mooresburg is a little place called Williamsford. The Williamsford Mill is a cozy and friendly cafe with a huge second hand bookstore upstairs. They also have a great selection of local books and the best butter tarts in the universe (according to their sign...and they are quite good). Across the road from the Mill is the Williamsford Pie Company where you’ll find all the pie you can eat, maple sausage rolls, Meredith’s Ginger Elixir (a local treat) and more tasty lunch options. We often find ourselves in Williamsford if a last minute lunch is the order of the day.
SOUTH of us..
To the south of Mooresburg is Hanover and Neustadt (mentioned in this blog post) as well as Flesherton where you’ll find Artemesia Cheese that will serve you an amazing grilled cheese sandwich and the lovely Bicycle Cafe just next door. In Eugenia another waterfall and hiking await as well as the Flying Chestnut Kitchen serving up seasonal and local dinner as well as Sunday brunch (it’s Brit’s favourite spot and where the Viola team shares a holiday meal each year).
To the east of Owen Sound is Thornbury, Meaford and Collingwood. Known for the Blue Mountains and great skiing opportunities in the winter time, but there are lovely restaurants, shops and stretches of Georgian Bay coastline to explore in the summertime.
Believe it or not, our list was much longer than this…but we’ve paired it down to just our favourites. As always, reach out of you have any questions or would like any more information about anything mentioned above. We’ll be back soon with the scoop on yarns, colours and other exciting things that will be available at the Open Day this year - stay tuned!