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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bacon and Ale and Barn Quilt trails; Sloman Museum; Hike the Hullet; Ontario Parkbus

   One-Tank Trip for June 30/12
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Time for another look into the e-mail bag for some tips on trips from readers and publicists across “one-tank trip” land.

   Bacon and beer, eh
   First there was the Chocolate Trail and now there’s the Bacon and Ale Trail for a tasty treat in Stratford.
   “Stratford Tourism Alliance has combined two of life's greatest pleasures – bacon and ale – on a trail to 11 Stratford and area unique restaurants and retail locations,” said marketing manager Cathy Rehberg.
Enjoying a cool one on the Bacon and Ale Trail in Stratford. (Photo - Stratford Tourism Alliance)
Each stop on this self-guided tour of food shops and pubs offers a delicious bacon and beer taste or product, she added.
   From beer barbecue sauce to pork terrine wrapped in smoked bacon and paired with a craft brewed ale, to bacon-flavoured frosting or toothpaste, the trail is a taste sensation.
   The area has a long history of brewing and raising pork, so “Stratford is the perfect location for a trail dedicated to these two flavours,” said Danielle Brodhagen, culinary program coordinator.
   Choose five stops along the trail from among 11 offerings for $25 in this year-round program.
   Participating places are the Best Little Pork Shoppe, Bradshaws, Foster’s Inn, Kitchen Connaisseur, Mercer Hall, Molly Bloom's Irish Pub, Puddicombe House, Revel Caffe, Small-Mart General Mercantile, Treasures and Your Local Market Coop. Details: www.visitstratford.ca/bacontrail; 1-800-561-7926

   Along the barn quilt trail
The "homeview" barn has the classic log cabin pattern and is in Elgin County near St. Thomas.
   The Southwest Barn Quilt Trail has been established by the Elgin, Oxford, Norfolk Association of Museums with some 100 locations along historic roads.
   Mike Baker, project coordinator with the Elgin County Museum, said the trail includes Elgin, Oxford, Norfolk, Middlesex and Brant.
   “A barn quilt is a single block of a traditional pieced quilt painted on two 4x8 sheets and hung on the side of a barn or farm building or set on free standing posts next to an historic site or structure,” he said.
   The pattern used in the block often reflects traditional quilt blocks or is inspired by the history of the host farm and the surrounding community.
This quilt is on the side of an historic store in Sparta Ont. and is known as the drunkards path.
   “Over the past year, hundreds of volunteers including quilters, historians and community groups have laboured to produce the stories and blocks that now stretch along the trail,” Baker said. www.barnquilttrails.ca; (519) 631-1460, Ext. 159

    Teaching on the rails
   An anniversary celebration is planned July 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Clinton, southeast of Goderich, for the Sloman School on Wheels Museum.
A 30th anniversary party happens July 21 in Clinton at the Sloman School on Wheels Museum.
   Carolyn Parks Mintz writes that this “unique (nearly) 100-year-old artifact” arrived there 30 years ago this summer and is now “resting on its specially built rail bed in south Clinton’s Sloman Park.”
   The late town native and teacher Fred Sloman and his family spent 10 months of the year in the school car that included their living quarters in order to bring education via the rails to children of the bush in Northern Ontario.
   The dedicated Sloman and his wife, Cela, travelled along the rail line for more than 250 kilometres between Foleyet and Capreol from 1926 to 1965 while raising five children.
   The burned-out shell of the car was found near Toronto in 1982 and the journey began to its final destination in Clinton where it was restored to create a “living history” for thousands of visitors. www.schoolcar.ca; (519) 482-3997

   Hike the Hullett
   Reader Dale Ann McKichan wants to let everyone know about “Huron County’s hidden treasure.”
   It’s the Hullett Provincial Wildlife Area along the South Maitland River that’s strategically located on the paths of two major waterfowl flyways near Clinton (off Highway 8 and County Road 4).
   The 20 kilometres of dyke tops and 12 kilometres of established trails are great for hiking, cycling and horseback riding, she said.
   Trails meander through interior forests, native grasslands, meadows and flood plains, while the dykes and viewing stands allow for an elevated view of the ponds and wetlands.
   “On our walks, we have seen sand hill cranes and white pelicans and there have been over 140 different species of birds sighted,” McKichan said. www.hikehuron.ca/site; (519) 482-7011

   Camping by bus
   Want to explore Algonquin, Killarney and Grundy Lake provincial parks as well as Bruce Peninsula National Park and leave the car behind?
   Boris Issaev reports the non-profit Ontario Parkbus Initiative is back this summer running buses between Toronto and key national and provincial parks in Ontario.
   The buses drop off passengers at popular campgrounds, canoe access points and backpacking trailheads in the parks, he said.
   It was started as a grassroots initiative by two York University graduates and outdoor enthusiasts, with the program running in cooperation with Ontario Parks and Parks Canada with Ontario government funding support.
   Buses are operated by Muskoka’s Hammond Transportation, with one-way adult tickets ranging between $35 and $40. Complete schedule and pricing information can be found at www.parkbus.ca; 1-800-928-7101


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