When we say Simcoe — many people think of Simcoe County, but we’re here to tell you there’s more than one (amazing!) destination by that name in our big, big province.
The town of Simcoe is the heart of Norfolk County.
Simcoe is home to some serious eats, as well as many historical and cultural treasures, like the only operating alligator tugboat remaining in the world, the W.D. Stalker! The small town was also a stopover on the Gentlemen of the Road Tour that Mumford and Sons did a few years ago (You can still enjoy a pint of the Gentlemen’s Pilsner at The Blue Elephant Craft Beer House, custom-made for the event).
When in the area, keep an eye out for Pristine Gourmet products. The Persall family has been growing GMO-free soy, canola, and sunflowers in the area for decades and are the cornerstone of the food community in Norfolk County. In the late summer, driving by their sunflower farm will take your breath away. Locals know to seek out their cold-pressed, virgin oils and unique vinegars.
Pair those with its great local brews, restaurants and scenic countryside, and you’ll see why Simcoe has everything you need to put together the perfect weekend road-trip.
Here’s what our weekend in Simcoe looks like:
One of the beautiful things about Simcoe is it’s proximity to amazing farms, gardens and beverage producers. When heading into the area, make sure to stop in at Rambling Road Brewery for some amazing farmhouse brews and a bag of their house-grown, homemade kettle chips. The dill pickle flavour is our favorite!
Every Thursday –all year long — at the Norfolk County Fairgrounds, you’ll find the best food producers in the county selling everything from local asparagus to hand-made jams. The Simcoe Farmer’s Market is a must-stop for anyone heading to the water for a picnic or exploring local wineries. It’s also where you’ll find Jensen Cheese — a popular local cheese producer.
There are so many amazing restaurants in this little town, you’ll be spoiled for choice come lunch time. Our secret though? We head for The Apple Place and get our fill of cider doughnuts, hot fresh pie and of course, Norfolk County apples!
Beer lovers should definitely put The Blue Elephant Craft Brewhouse on their list. Their beer is brewed in small batches with no additives or preservatives using local organic barley and Ontario-grown hops. May we humbly suggest you take home a growler (or two!) of the Sweet Leaf Brown Ale — Winner of the 2014 Great Ontario Hop Competition?
No trip to Simcoe would be complete without a stop at VG Meats. Owned and operated by the Van Groningen family since 1970, they produce some of Ontario’s most beautiful beef. Their flagship farm is right near Simcoe and definitely worth a visit. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll run into one of the brothers and learn all about raising, processing and caring for their beautiful cattle.
Dinner means making a reservation at The Combine — a century home on an acre and a half of land in the heart of Simcoe. In the summer months, the stafftend to a 2500 square-foot garden that supplies the kitchen with amazing edibles like the zucchini and garlic scapes pictured above!
For more information on Simcoe — and the rest of Ontario’s South Coast, check out the Norfolk County website.