As an Artist, I'm always on the lookout for inspiration. There are many lovely small towns to be discovered in Ontario and Southampton is one to anyone looking for beautiful beaches with a tight-knit eco-conscious community.
Watch the video below for more highlights from our family vacation.
The beaches in Southampton you can spend a whole afternoon walking along the beaches, enjoying the sunsets with the lighthouse off in the distance. The terrain is quite rocky with driftwood scattered around but it's very engaging as you just might find a little piece of shimmering beach glass among the variety of rounded rocks.
At the main entrance to the beach a man plays the bag pipes along with the sunset every Friday night during the summer. This year we were lucky enough to just catch the last song!
Southampton is also known for their Monarch Butterfly activism as many residents volunteer their time to grow gardens with milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii) with and safely tag butterfly. They also participant in citizen science by safely tagging Monarch butterflies to track their migration to warmer climates. This information is crucial for helping sceintist understand what can cause the journey to go smoothly.
Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre
Right beside Fairy Lake you can visit the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre. It features interactive displays starting from the dawn of time all the way to our our present day. Of course I love the vintage displays from around 1880s. But I also found the section how technology has created greater accessibility quite intriguing. There are also displays outside featuring a lighthouse, a pioneer family and school house that visitors can explore.
On the second floor there was a public records room that unfortunately I didn't have enough time to explore. There was also a juried art show taking place called "Escarpment Roots: The Land, The People, The Story" in collaboration with the Bruce Peninsula Society of Artists (BPSA). There was a wide variety of mediums presented and through the artwork you could feel the strong connection that each artist had with the Niagra Escarpment.
At the start of the main strip beside a beautiful century home is a pathway leading down to Fairy Lake. From the main entrance you will be greeting by the rustic Amphitheatre for hosting events like concerts or weddings.
Along the trail following the circular lake you will find wood carvings of animals by local artists and a wide variety of plants including a monarch butterfly garden. There are many lookout points so that you may listen and watch the enchanting setting before your eyes.
Shops and Events
At one of the main intersections on the corner is Southampton Arts. They host gallery exhibitions, art classes for many ages and mediums, as well as events and community engagement projects. Last year we happened to come during their outdoor Art Market. The talented artisans were very friendly and often took inspiration from their natural surroundings.
One of the shops that stood out to me personally was A little of This and That. The shop owner Sarah has curated a collection of mainly Canadian made products. With beautiful artwork, home decor, and vintage goods, each visit feels like a treasure hunt! I could not resist getting a skein of natural alpaca wool in a lovely mauve colour, an old copy of Robinson Crusoe with illustrations, and a Southampton mason jar shot glass to put my beach glass into.
If you have a sweet tooth you have to checkout the ice-cream parlour on the main strip. It is a short walk from the beach so it's the perfect stop to pair with an evening of sunset views. You may have to wait in line for a bit as the shop is very popular. However, the wait for delicious ice cream never feels long as there are specialty treats and cute gifts to browse. Last year I found these cat and dog rings that are just too cute!
For more information, you may visit the the Town of Southampton's website. If you've been this lovely town before or you are now planning to, let me know in the comments below! Until next time 😘