Enjoy great meals and one-of-a-kind shopping on this two-day getaway.

Itinerary highlights: fabulous food, antique stores, art galleries, a winery and a lavender farm.

Day 1:

Start your journey in the town of Aylmer. Consider staying at The Sweet Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast, a heritage home built in 1870 on the Talbot Trail. The house has been beautifully restored while still keeping its original charm.

Savour a hearty meal at Ruby’s Cookhouse, where the owners source many of their foods locally, including their vegetables, poultry and sausage.

Day 2:

The backroads of Elgin County offer many interesting villages and hamlets to explore. Pinecroft Pottery is considered to be Canada’s oldest continuously operating pottery studio. Tucked away in a 54-acre pine forest, this thriving family-run establishment has produced fine quality earthenware and stoneware pottery for over six decades.

Make time for mid-morning tea at the Mad Hatters Team Room in Orwell. After tea, a stroll through The Queen of Hearts Garden will lead you to the outdoor market at the rear of Quaker Barrel Unique Antiques and General Store. This market features crafts made by local artisans, as well as plants and produce from local growers.

From there, head south to the historic village of Sparta and browse through shops and galleries including Peter Robson Studio and Sparta Country Candles.

Next, make your way to Winter Wheat, where a one-of-a-kind art experience awaits. Be charmed by the whimsical folk art paintings, sculptures and beautiful gardens. The country store offers pockets of delight and delicious expressions of imagination, with displays of artwork and unique gift items from metal garden art to handcrafted wooden birdhouses.

Just a short drive away, you’ll find Steed and Company Lavender. After strolling the fragrant fields, hit the gift shop for handcrafted lavender products including a full range of culinary lavender products.

If you’re looking for a fresh lunch, stop in at Ruby’s Cookhouse, a local eatery ran by a father and son team for over 30 years.

After lunch, make your way to Quai du Vin Estate Winery, a well-known local winery located on the fertile rolling slopes of Fruit Line Ridge near Sparta. Taste the latest vintage, tour the vineyards, and enjoy a glass of wine on the Wine Press Terrace. Open year round, reservations for specialty tours are encouraged.

Contrast your day of small town charm with a night in the city of London. Idlewyld Inn and Spa has been a local landmark since 1878 and combines the elegance of a bygone era with all the modern amenities sophisticated travellers have come to expect from a luxury hotel.

It’s just minutes from the heart of downtown London, so it’s easy to take a stroll to check out interesting shops and galleries.

Gusto Food and Wine Bar is a great choice for dinner, where you’ll discover a commitment to local cuisine so fervent that the restaurant doesn’t even own a freezer!

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