Why is it that long weekends seem to go by faster than regular 2 day weekends? We had such a blast this past weekend visiting my grandparents in Essex, Ontario. My grandparents have lived in the same house for nearly 50 years, and little has changed about their home and the little town they live in. The May long weekend was spent reminiscing and re-living some of our favorite childhood memories. We had SO MUCH FUN, so much so that I decided to add Essex to my road trip series. You’ve probably never put Essex on your travel bucket list, in fact, I’d be surprised if you have even heard of Essex. Essex County is a charming little town located in South Western Ontario.
While the most obvious reason why we love visiting Essex is to hang out with my hip grandparents, we love making the trip up there because we always find something fun to do and fill our time with. This quaint little town has a little something for everyone.
Where to Stay
While we always take advantage of the free accommodations provided by my grandparents, there are a number of charming bed and breakfasts that would LOVE to host you. I’ve linked some of the BEST rated spots in Essex HERE.
Where to Eat
The Dairy Freeze
The Dairy Freeze is a classic carhop style eatery and well known to Essex locals. The Dairy Freeze is a family owned restaurant with a rich history. Enjoy your meal from the comfort of your car (the true carhop way) or enjoy it on the patio tables provided outside. I highly recommend the burgers and milkshake. Also stretchy pants are a must when eating at this fabulous local spot (your waist line will thank you)!
South Western Ontario has the BEST pizza around. If you’ve ever had Windsor pizza, you know what I mean. Don’t believe me? Check out this article! My favorite spot to get Windsor Pizza is Armando’s, it NEVER disappoints!
Annabelle’s Tea Room
This is another childhood classic that my grandma would always take us girls too. It’s like dining in a real life doll house. At Annabelle’s you are transported into an era of gracious dining as you enjoy your delicious meal in a historic home from 1859.
What to Do
Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens
For such a small town, there is surprisingly a lot to do in Essex and the surrounding areas. One of my favorite places to visit is Colasanti’s. It’s a fun event for the entire family. Experience the beautiful gardens and greenhouse, feed some friendly goats at the petting zoo, get competitive at the arcade, and delight in freshly made cinnamon sugar donuts and peach juice (the donuts and peach juice are a must!).
Point Pelee will most certainly bring out your adventurous side. From the beautiful landscape to the wildlife, Point Pelee is fun for the entire family. Hike the 2.75 km loop through the old forest habitat, cycle the 4 km Centennial Bike and Hike Trail, play detective and rent a GPS unit (for only $3.00) and head out to the Carolinian Forest where you can collect caches and receive a certificate at the end of your adventure, canoe or kayak the scenic marshes, and look for birds, beavers, turtles, and other wildlife that inhabit Point Pelee.
This fun is for the adults. Harrow, Ontario (just outside of Essex) is home to a gorgeous landscape of wineries and vineyards. Enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting at the different vineyards that Harrow has to offer. Some tourist favorites include: Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard, Oxley Estate Winery, and Muscedere Vineyards.
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