Because we aim to please, we’ve created three more must-drive routes for you to convince your friend with a convertible to take you on a fall road trip in Ontario’s Southwest. Don’t forget to call ahead and make sure that the locations listed are open on the day that you want to visit.
1. The Wine Lover
Must-drive route number one is crafted specially with the wine loving convertible owner in mind. If you want to drive that convertible, offer to be the designated driver and head to Epic Wine Country were 14 wineries are located within the same scenic route along Lake Erie (Aleksander Estate Winery, Colchester Ridge Estate Winery (CREW), Colio Estate Winery, Cooper's Hawk Vineyards, Dancing Swallows Vineyards, Mastronardi Estate Winery, Muscedere Vineyards, North 42 Degrees Estate Winery, Oxley Estate Winery, Paglione Estate Winery, Pelee Island Winery, Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, Viewpointe Estate Winery, and Vivace Estate Winery). Since hitting all 14 isn’t possible, here are 5 options that would make a great fall road-trip.
Pro-tip: purchase an EPIC Tasting Pass to receive tastings and bonus deals at select EPIC wineries.
Wine Lover Option 1: Aleksander Estate Winery
Stop at Aleksander Estate Winery and enjoy lunch and the beauty of the vineyard in the fall. The Bemben family have been in the wine industry for over 30 years. It’s clear from their award-winning wines, that they know what they’re doing. Purchase an EPIC Tasting Pass to get a complimentary tasting of their Chambourcin, White barrel blend and Red barrel blend.
Wine Lover Option 2: Paglione Estate Winery
Feel like you’ve flown to Italy and stop by Paglione Estate Winery. This winery shows beautiful attention to detail with a mural on the ceiling and a real stone oven that they use to make delicious pizza.
Wine Lover Option 3: CREW - Colchester Ridge Estate Winery
The beautiful, raised patio is a fantastic spot to stop when on a fall road trip. This winery has a great vantage to view the vineyard with the fall forest in the background. With an EPIC Tasting Pass you’ll receive three CREW wine samples of your choice.
Wine Lover Option 4: Erie Shore Vineyard
Erie Shore Vineyard is another option to stop in at as your make your way down the coast. They even have a drive through, so you can grab a bottle to go, and continue your road trip.
Wine Lover Option 5: Vivace Estate Winery
The last winery along the route is Vivace Estate Winery. With the EPIC Tasting Pass you’ll get a tasting of 4 wines, including their famous icewine. This winery is a wonderful place to finish the fall winery tour!
Wine Lover’s Last Stop: La Roos Maison Bed and Breakfast
We get it, how can you possibly pick when there are so many great wineries to try? We suggest upgrading this day trip to a weekend getaway and staying at the La Roos Maison Bed and Breakfast.
2. The History Buff
Must-drive route number two is the history buff route. Designed for the convertible-owning friend that wants to learn something new.
Chatham-Kent is home to the Tecumseh Monument where in 1813, Shawnee Chief Tecumseh was killed in the Battle of Moraviantown.
History Buff Stop 2: Awaken YOUR Spirit; Spirit Horse Encounter
Once living freely in the boreal forest of Ontario and northern Minnesota, thousands of Indigenous ponies ran wild around the Great Lakes region and lived in harmony with the First Peoples. Colonization brought the ponies to the brink of extinction. In 1977 only 4 remained. Through conservation efforts, these horses have been returned to their ancestral lands near Walpole Island to live once again as the Little Horses of the Big Woods. You can walk amongst these little rare and endangered horses and experience their incredible spiritual power at TJ Stables via their Awaken YOUR Spirit experience. Make sure that you book ahead before going. See website for details.
History Buff Stop 3: Chatham-Kent Museum
If the stop at the Tecumseh Monument brought you additional questions, be sure to include the Chatham-Kent Museum in your itinerary to learn more about the War of 1812. This museum is closed currently due to COVID-19 but has plans to open soon. See their website for more information.
History Buff Stop 4: Chatham Docks
The next stop on the road-trip is to historical Chatham, that was founded in 1793 as naval dockyard. There are many great restaurants to grab lunch at while you reflect on how much history has been occurred in that very spot along the Thames River.
History Buff Stop 5: Buxton National Historic Site & Museum
Drive the county roads to the Buxton Nation Historic Site & Museum. Pre-book a tour to be to learn about black history in Canada.
History Buff Stop 6: The Thames Lighthouse
The Thames Lighthouse is a beautiful destination at that you’ll take picturesque country roads to get to. It is one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes and has seen it’s fair share of history!
History Buff Stop 7: Dockside On The Cove
Since you must be hungry at this point, we recommend walking over to the Dockside On The Cove to enjoy dinner.
History Buff Stop 8: Lake’n it Eazy - Belle River on the Lake
If you want to take it easy before the drive home, you should make your way to the Lake’n it Eazy lake house.
3. The Craft Beer Connoisseur
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the convertible-owning friend that loves craft beer. And here is another opportunity for you to drive their car by offering to be the designated driver! Enjoy a scenic fall drive along Lake Huron with some fun stops along the way for your beer-loving friend.
Craft Beer Connoisseur’s Option 1: Widder Station Golf, Grill & Tap House
Start the day off right with lunch at the Widder Station Golf, Grill & Tap House. The Train Wreck beer made by Widder Station Brewing Co. pays tribute to the fact that the building was once a railway station that has since been restored.
Craft Beer Connoisseur’s Option 2: Stonepicker Brewing Company
Next along the route is the Stonepicker Brewing Company. Its name originated from the simple equipment used to make their beer, a bucket that was used for picking up stones. Now they have a variety of beers to sample, including some seasonal fall brews.
Craft Beer Connoisseur’s Option 3: Imperial City Brew House
Wind down to the Imperial City Brew House where you can find an impressive Sarnia based brewery complete with an industrial style taproom, patio, and retail store. Road tripping to their brew house and enjoying their award-winning beer is a great way to enjoy a fall day.
Craft Beer Connoisseur’s Option 4: Refined Fool Brewing Company
Another local Sarnia brewery is the Refined Fool Brewing Company. You can grab a bite to eat from the March Hare Snack Bar and see what a “Shirtless in the Mufflerman Waiting Room” beer tastes like. Spoiler alert, it’s good.
Photo courtesy of Refined Fool's Facebook Page.
Craft Beer Connoisseur’s Last Stop: Insignia, Ascend Hotel Collection
We recommend staying the night so that you can participate in some of the beer sampling. The Insignia hotel is close to the Refined Fool Brewing Company and near many restaurants that serve even more local beers.
See map here! Tag your friend with a convertible that you’re hoping will ask you to ride shotgun.
To learn more about what you can expect when exploring Ontario’s Southwest and how businesses are trying to keep you safe and following government guidelines, click here.