Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Stepping back to the past, farming, and family adventure in Leamington

John R. Park Homestead leamington
During our visit to Leamington we had a few interesting experiences. We stepped back into the past when we visited John R. Park Homestead and Point Pelee National Park. Then we had a family adventure at Colasanti's, and learned all about farming at Lee and Maria's farm walking tour. While we explored the area we enjoyed delicious meals at Freddy's restaurant and Bradt's Butcher Block, and went to Sweet Retreat for ice cream. 
lee and maria's farm
Taking a walking farm tour at Lee and Maria’s is a fun and exciting way for families to learn about farming and food. Lee and Maria’s is a family run farm that started 40 years ago as a small roadside hut. Now, they sell fruits and vegetables grown in their 30 acre farm and are known for their membership based delivery service which has a customizable seasonal weekly menu.
lee and maria's farm
As we got the guided tour by a family member of Lee and Maria's we got to ask lots of questions about the tools they use, planting, harvesting, and more. We got to see and learn about the importance of crop rotations, how the farm equipment works and the amount of labour required in a farm, the cost of farm tools and equipment, and more. It is interesting to be aware of these and getting the tours makes you really understand the amount of labour and love that goes into food.
lee and maria's farm
During our tour we also learned tips on how to grow and harvest some vegetables, and what to look for when we shop for fruits and vegetables. For example, the weight and the round top of the corn determines if it is time to harvest. 
lee and maria's farm
The tour ended with a sampling of Kombucha drink, tasting corn right off the cob - the sweetest we've had, juiciest melon, and chocolate cherry tomatoes.
lee and maria's farm
They also have ice cream and a lovely spot to enjoy it. We can also purchase Kombucha drinks, lots of healthy frozen food from companies like Healthy Mama, and join their cooking classes. There was a lot of different fresh produce for sale, so on our way home we bought fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and corn.
lee and maria's farm
If you live in the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent area, you can order customized bins using Lee and Maria's app to get local produce with over 150 organic groceries, bread, eggs, and milk delivered right to your home. It was interesting for us to see their system of how the customized packages are done during the tour. 
lee and maria's farm
We feel the best way to learn about our farming and food is directly from the farmers, this tour is a wonderful way to do just that!
colasanti tropical garden leamington
There is so much to do at Colasanti's Tropical Garden. They have a restaurant with different options and a lot of seating. Although, it is indoors it feels like we are outside. There are different spots to shop for both beautiful home décor and tropical plants including cacti. 
colasanti tropical garden leamington
There are carnival rides and a mini golf area both children and adults can enjoy. We can also play in their arcade by purchasing tokens. There is also a petting zoo with goats, an area with other barn animals, and another zoo like space with parrots, lizards, and more. 
colasanti tropical garden leamington
We enjoyed going on a few rides such as the Tea Cup Ride, Miner Mike Coaster Ride, Mini Himalaya, and on the Bumper Cars. There are height and weight restrictions to all rides. Younger children will enjoy the Kiddie Rides such as the Caterpillar ride and Busy Bee, Kids Kingdom Playground, and the Inflatables. 
colasanti tropical garden leamington
If you get a fun pass for weekends, holidays, or in July and August then most of their rides and petting zoo is covered. On the weekends they have meet and greets at the petting zoo hourly from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. 
colasanti tropical garden leamington
Since there are lots to do, it is easy to spend a few hours at Colasanti's. We felt most areas inside were warm because it was set up in a greenhouse. 
colasanti tropical garden leamington
It is convenient for families to have a meal while spending the day enjoying the variety of activities. We tried the seafood and vegan burgers with fries and coleslaw along with their popular peach drink. Their restaurant is famous for their broasted chicken, and have a lot of family meal options and buffets. 
colasanti tropical garden leamington
When you visit Colasanti's don't forget to try their donuts, made right in front of us and sold warm.
John R. Park Homestead leamington
When we visited John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area's original 1850's homestead it gave us a glimpse into the early settler days of Essex County. John R. Park born in Massachusetts emigrated to Upper Canada with his older brother, Thomas in the early 1820s. In 1833, the two brothers bought this land and began to build a mercantile business and farm on their 114 acre land. While John remained to run the store, farm and sawmill, his brothers, Thomas and Theodore, moved to Amherstburg to manage the Great Lakes shipping line and trading business. 
John R. Park Homestead leamington
John married Amelia Gamble and had six children, where they built a fine house in the summer of 1842. When John moved to Amherstburg, Francis Fox purchased the property in 1871 and the property remained in the Fox family for nearly a century. Since 1978, the Homestead is opened to the public as a living history museum and is operated by the Essex Region Conservation Authority. Check erca.org for details. 
John R. Park Homestead leamington
The House is an American Greek Revival home where we can see how well-to-do families in 1850 would have lived. This is a rare surviving example of a nineteenth century farmstead, where there is scale and massing of all elevations of the barns and outbuildings. The clapboard house has a two storey gable-roofed centre block, balanced by one storey wings to the east and west. We learned a lot about the history of this homestead when we went into the 1860's storage barn which is now the Visitor's Centre where we can watch an introductory video. 
John R. Park Homestead leamington
The shed reconstructed from 1840s is original, as it uses mortise and tenon joints, where there are no nails in the frame of the building. There is a livestock stable with sheep, beautiful heirloom orchard and garden, smoke house, and an ice house where blocks of ice cut from the frozen lake was packed in layers of sawdust to preserve for summer use. 
John R. Park Homestead leamington
They had a blacksmith shop where small hardware and repair of farm tools is done using forge and blower. The brick forge and chimney of the Blacksmith shop surrounded by a dirt floor is an attribute special to the American Greek Revival architecture. The sawmill powered by an 1882 steam engine was a typical equipment that was used in the  past.
John R. Park Homestead leamington
The staff at John R. Park Homestead told us about the 10th anniversary weekend festival of Explore the Shore event where 32 businesses had set up activities along County Road 50, Canada’s southernmost drive.
explore the shore leamington
One of our stops was the Garden Gallery, where we strolled the rolling gardens along a natural stream in a Carolinian woodland and met a few artists and had a conversation with Ed from Sissy and Roché Fine Arts and Elizabeth from Paint Pleinair. After meeting Ed and getting to know about his studio, we dropped by to visit before returning home. 
Sissy and Roché Fine Arts
Ed conducts watercolour classes for all ages, and they also have lots of painting and fun products we can purchase for home décor at their shop/studio, Sissy and Roché Fine Arts. Ed has a wealth of knowledge about the watercolour medium, and after seeing his paintings we are inspired to try painting more with watercolours. 
Best western plus leamington
When we explored Leamington we stayed at Best Western Plus Leamington Hotel and Conference Centre. The room had all the amenities to make our stay comfortable. It is close to Pelee National Park, and to restaurants and other attractions in Leamington. It is a built in a unique fashion  with an atrium in the centre that had a basketball court, badminton court, ping pong table, lounge area, and arcade. There is also a heated crystal blue salt water pool with two giant water slides. 
Best western plus leamington
We liked how this environment brought together all the visitors to have a community feel, our children were quick to make friends when they explored the play area. The back sliding door of the room looks into the atrium, so we can keep an eye on the children or join them to play any of the sports or sit and relax in the ample seating by the television. They also have a complimentary coffee and tea station. 
point pelee national park leamington
This is our second visit to Point Pelee National Park which is the second smallest national park in Canada, but the most visited because of its diverse species and natural events such as bird and butterfly migrations. This park has oTENTiks where visitors can stay over and enjoy the park. They also have a 4 km cycling trail.  
point pelee national park leamington
There is a lot to do at this beautiful park, which is in the Carolinian Zone. The original forests of Point Pelee were typified by broad leaved deciduous trees and lush growth. The southern location, mild climate and moderating effect of the Great Lakes create a long growing season and diversity of life not found elsewhere in Canada. Since 2010, Parks Canada has been working with the Caldwell and Walpole Island First Nations to bridge traditional ecological knowledge with scientific research in order to protect the park for future generations. 
point pelee national park leamington
We explored the Visitors Centre museum and children's learning space. There are a few beach access points where we watched the rough waters of Lake Erie. 
point pelee national park leamington
We enjoyed taking a guided tour of the marshland on a freighter canoe, which can be booked in advance for a fee. It is fun to go with other people in the canoe and observe the beauty of the marsh. We got to see unique flora like the lotus, lily, cattails and hibiscus plants native to Ontario. 
point pelee national park leamington
The tour guides were knowledgeable, and were able to answer questions and point out interesting features like the beaver lodge, different frogs, and fish that can be found in the water. 
point pelee national park leamington
In this visit we checked out DeLaurier House, where you can see a two storey, gable roof structure and log houses. As we walked around and read the information boards - we learned a lot about the past life at Point Pelee. We were able to see the life and times of a small French Canadian community outside of Quebec and the agricultural activity between 1850 and 1966. Point Pelee used to be a British Naval Reserve because of its tall stands of white pine which was used as timber for ship building. During 1891, families like DeLauriers, Abbotts, and LeFleurs were granted free title to the land they had squatted on since the 1830s. In this close knit Point Pelee community, there had been houses, cottages, tents, shanties, a school, post office, several shops, a couple of hotels. By late 1960s there were more than 300 privately-owned buildings that filled the Park from the entrance to the Tip - which is hard to imagine now. 
seacliff beach leamington
We also went to sit by Seacliff beach before leaving Leamington. The Pedestrian Pier is a beautiful place to just watch the beautiful water. There is an amphitheater, change rooms, parking and a water park for young children.  
seacliff beach leamington
Leamington and Windsor-Essex has become a blooming place with lots of fun family friendly activities and attractions. There is so much to do, as a lot of creative people have taken a leap of faith to open a variety of stores and restaurants. We have only seen and done just a handful of things at these places, so we are looking forward to going back soon to enjoy other things this county has to offer.

Disclosure: This post is created in partnership with Tourism Windsor-Essex. Please note that all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own. All rights reserved on photographs and written content Createwithmom © 2010 - 2019. Please Ask First

20 comments:

  1. I love Point Pelee, my daughter and I stopped in on our back from a skating competition and saw a beautiful bald eagle

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  2. Colasantis looks like an amazing place to take my family

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  3. what a fun and amazing place to visit! Lots fun and the food looks good too!

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  4. The farm tour looks like it would be very interesting especially for my kids seeing where and how the crops grow

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  5. Wow what an endorsement of our area Akheela. Thank you especially for introducing our gallery to your readers. It's always a pleasure meeting new friendly faces visiting Sissy & Roché. Glad to hear you're stepping into the world of watercolour - you'll have to email some as you complete them. Thanks again for the kind words - enjoy your summer.

    Ed

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    1. Thank you Ed, I look forward to share our watercolour projects with you :) Thanks again for the inspiration.

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  6. The John R Park homestead looks great, I would love to take my kids there

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  7. Lee & Maria's sounds great and I love that they offer ice cream with a dairy-free option

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  8. This would be an amazing place to visit I would love to try the vegan burgers they look delicious

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  9. I have always been interested in learning how farms run and how they know when crops are ready so it's interesting to know how they can tell corn is ripe.

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  10. Colasanti's Tropical Garden Looks like an interesting place to visit while in the Leamington Area

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  11. I will have to add Leamington to my list of places to travel in Ontario, there are quite a few interesting places to visit in the area

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  12. This would be a great visit the corn looks so good

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  13. What an amazing place to visit! Something for all ages and interests! Love the history, and the fresh food - not to mention the donuts!! Yum!

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  14. My kids would love the rides and the animals at Colasanti's

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  15. I think next summer I will have to add Leamington to my family adventures list

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  16. Point Pelee is a lovely park

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  17. I can't believe Colasantis even has a petting zoo my kids would have an amazing time here

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Thank you for commenting :)