2014 – St. Jacobs, ON
It’s been the longest and coldest winter I can remember, relief and a change of scenery was needed. As Valentine’s Day rolled in, we decided to take advantage and see if we could warm things up, make the best out of a weekend and take a short trip. We choose a one-night get-away to Maryhill, a town close to St. Jacobs Ontario. Maryhill’s a small hamlet situated about 20 minutes outside of St. Jacobs (halfway between Guelph and Kitchener, Ontario, Canada).
We arrived early and decided to pop by the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market before booking ourselves into the Maryhill Inn B&B. The market’s a great place to buy local meat, especially sausages and bacon! We decided not to buy any meat this time but found a couple of good finds such as some ‘Greek’ organic olive oil, locally produced honey and locally made granola (using either local honey or maple syrup). The ‘outlet’ mall located across from the market wasn’t anything to write home about although the Corning store had some good deals.
The Maryhill Inn B&B is located at what was the hub for the area. Shops like a blacksmith, a general store and the Church of St. Boniface etched Maryhill (originally named Rottenburg and then New Germany) into history. Maryhill had been a bustling community and even offered a second ‘hotel’ right across the street from the Maryhill Inn. It’s named the Commercial Tavern and is a great old-school country and western bar.
As the region is known as a quaint and quiet community it’s sometimes hard to find restaurants open after 8 and nightlife. For dinner, we decided to go into St. Jacobs and try the restaurant Jacobs Grill. We had the Pan-Seared Maple Cracked Pepper Chicken Breast (w/brown butter mashed patties and Chef’s choice vegetables) and Grilled NY Strip-loin (Corn Fed NY Striploin, market vegetables and Sautéed Mushrooms). After dinner at in St. Jacobs we decided to pop in and catch some live music with a few shots of Jack Daniels. It was a ‘hoot,’ especially when two other couples from the B&B asked us to join them. The owner, Paul Weber, plays with the house band which plays classic country and western music with a great authenticity that would make Gene Autry proud. The crowd was a bit in the senior levels of maturity but I’ll tell ya, they sure can ‘cut a rug.’
Before returning home we took the opportunity and revisited St. Jacobs. As we had dinner at the Jacobs Grill the night before, we decided to have some coffee and tea at the the Stone Crock Bakery. It’s a nice bakery that offers soups and sandwiches for lunches and snacks. The bread making style is regional and quite good, especially their pies! For lunch we went to the Stone Crock Restaurant, another affiliated restaurant (and physically attached) to Jacobs Grill. The atmosphere and fare is more suited to larger groups (like tour buses) and families. Good ol’country fare is how I like to describe it.
The pin-in-our-cap for this trip was a visit to the recently opened Block 3 Brewing Company (named after the region’s original allotment). We were greeted by one of the founding father’s of Block 3, Mr. Derek Lebert whom took us on a personal tour of the facilities. His authentic passion and charm, coupled with some damn fine brew, made a good impression on us. The brewing company started as a ‘beer aficionados’ club and grew into somewhat of a passion. One of the newly formed partners had been an award winning brewer and so their path was drawn, as the pints were! Due to the popularity in the region, the only available beer was the King Street Saison which was their first brew. This is a very promising brewing company and we wish them the best.
As this trip didn’t start out to be an adventure, it sure turned into one pretty fast!
The Grape Gourmet
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