Mix urban and rural on a flavourful Next Stop: Taste journey that’ll take you to an 8-sided barn full of home cooking and surrounded by gardens, an old movie theatre turned craft brewery producing premium beers, an all suite boutique hotel full of luxury and eclectic charm, and a family farm crafting small batch beers made with barley grown right on site!
Our first stop takes us to Muirkirk in the heart of the Chatham-Kent countryside. Crazy 8 Barn & Garden. The unique 8-sided barn, reconstructed from the original 1898 design is the centrepiece of a very special garden inspiration centre that connects you to nature and fresh homemade foods. Step into the barn and take in the smells of all the made from scratch dishes & baked coming from the open kitchen of the café. You’ll definitely want to try their famous butter tarts, baked fresh from a family recipe. On a warm day, grab a Busted Buttertart Sundae made with chunks of their tarts mixed with Shaw’s Ice Cream.
Throughout the year, you can participate in hands-on experiences in the garden including the Pick, Press and Preserve workshop. You’ll pick fresh flowers from the garden, press them to create your own unique art piece, and then enjoy a beautiful picnic lunch on an old wooden harvest table covered in burlap with beautiful flowers enjoyed in the shade of the unique barn.
From the country, we head to the city the Chatham to an all home-grown group of friends who’ve come together to form Sons of Kent Brewing Company. Focused on tapping into the area’s rich agriculture, Sons of Kent crafts premium craft beers using traditional methods with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible including hops, barley, grains, and more. The brewery is located inside a renovated movie theatre that the owners frequented in their youth. The walls of the brewpub are still painted to show the incline from where the seats were. Sitting at the bar or on the long picnic tables, the atmosphere invites you to mingle with fellow guests and even play classic board games as you enjoy the collection of brews and a bite from the on-site kitchen. It’s all about community at Sons of Kent.
A short distance from the brewery, you’ll find one of the most amazing destination hotels anywhere. The Retro Suites Hotel, a turn-of-the-century hotel has been meticulously transformed into a modern luxury boutique hotel. The lobby walls are adorned in art from around the world, retro touches and even a staircase dating back to 1895! The uniqueness continues with the individually styled guest suites, each with a unique different theme such as Paris, Log Cabin, Rock n’ Roll, and Easy Rider. You’re in for an amazing experience no matter which room you choose to lay your head.
Before you lay your head, step into the Chilled Cork Restaurant and Lounge for a modern take on culinary classics. Dishes are created with only the freshest, in-season ingredients Southwestern Ontario has to offer and paired with the finest quality steak and seafood from around the globe. Have a seat, enjoy the small-town atmosphere, charming service and a menu full of delicious dishes made with care and creativity.
And finally, we leave the city and head back out to the countryside to Stonepicker Brewing Company in Plympton-Wyoming. Located on a family farm in rural Lambton County, this brewery is all about the rural atmosphere. A tractor marks the road sign directing you down a long laneway to the barns and the drive shed that’s home to the brewery and taproom. Inside, everything is open so you’ll see all the brewing action while you sample the ever-changing small batch brews; there’s new ones to try every few weeks. Step onto the patio and overlook the fields that grow the barley used to make the very beer in your glass – it doesn’t get any more farm-fresh than that!