Travel – Headwaters – Where Ontario Gets Real – Day 2 of 2
Headwaters is where Ontario gets real, and where we connect with the unspoiled nature, enjoy farm-fresh food, and get artsy!
1. Buy & Make Art at Alton Mill Arts Centre
Alton Mill Arts Centre, situated on the bank of Shaw Creek, is a restored mill from the 1800s transformed into an art centre featuring art studios, galleries, and a coffee shop.
The mill used to produce rubber products including balloons for Disney back in the 1900s.
In this beautiful art centre, visitors can buy one-of-a-kind art pieces, and/or join a workshop to create their own.
We joined the Art of Mandala Making with artist CJ Shelton where we learned a little more about ourselves and explored our subconscious through the art of circle.
Mandala Art is found in many Eastern traditions and indigenous cultures since thousands of years ago and is used for meditation and spiritual beliefs.
It is the art to be able to discover how everything in nature begins with a circular form, such as tree trunk rings, snails, earth, the sun, or a basic cell structure.
I was particularly drawn into this theory after reading Junji Ito’s Uzumaki manga collection where everything eventually turns into spirals.
Mandala Art believes that certain colours and symbols we are drawn to at a particular moment reflect our subconscious minds and desires.
I was drawn to a painting by CJ that represented the element fire, which made me passionate and artistic, according to CJ.
Time allowed us to join a second workshop with Andre Bird where we made Encaustic Art, a kind of mixed media art that allows everyone to become an artist.
We painted layers and layers of heated wax and fused them together with an iron, then played around with the colours using a heat gun and a blowtorch.
It was really fun to watch how the colours change and wait for the end results.
If I had more time, I’d join artist Bridget Wilson’s workshop to create plates with one-of-a-kind patterns by melting and fusing different colours of glass.
2. Visit Landman Gardens & Bakery
Landman Gardens & Bakery is a farm filled with piglets, chicks, a few cows, and lots of baby goats (we are talking about over 300 dairy goats!). The dad of the Landman family wanted to make sure the kids grow up in a safer environment than being surrounded by big cows.
The goats though tiny, are not shy at all. After feeding the baby goats with beer bottles (the big goats are fed with wine bottles), I got to name mine Bruce.
The Landmans cooked a farm-to-table lunch for us to enjoy in their dry stone Blackhouse with a living roof of plants, I can already imagine how beautiful it’ll be when the flowers bloom.
The Blackhouse is available for private booking and is perfect for a candlelit dinner, family style.
If you like your pickles sour, try their homemade pickled asparagus. If you like your sweets natural, try their home baked pie. If your lucky, you might be able to try their homemade goat cheese like we did.
All good things come to an end. To keep a piece of Headwaters with me, I brought home…
Pommies Dry Cider, Spirit Tree Apple Cranberry Cider Spritzer, Downey Potato Farms’ potatoes, Wicked Shortbread’s shortbread cookies, Rock Garden Farms’ homemade roasted peppers and homemade crisps, Fire in The Kitchen’s seasonings, Gourmandissimo’s peanut brittles, The Naked Goat’s handmade goat milk soap, and a fresh blueberry pie personally baked by Mayor of Mono, Laura Ryan.
Of course, I didn’t forget about the little one…
If you have more time, try…
Fly fishing in private Headwaters ponds full of rainbow trouts at Glen Haffy Park, planting flowers at Paradise Country Gardens, cheese & cider pairing at Heatherlea Farms & Spirit Tree Estate Cidery, and cooking at the The Friendly Chef.
Travelling to Headwaters soon? Pick up a copy of Headwaters 2015 Visitors’ Guide, available at hundreds of locations including hotels and other tourist-friendly locales across Ontario.
(photos by T&T)