Visit Perth County
If you are looking for a fun and relaxing getaway, have you considered a trip to the country?
Whether you are celebrating a special occasion, looking for a girls’ getaway, a golfing trip with the gang, or a family adventure weekend, the small towns and communities that makeup Perth County could provide you with the rural vacation you didn’t know you were looking for.
With so much natural beauty, local history, great shopping, fabulous eateries, food producers, and outdoor activities to enjoy, the charming communities of Perth County are a great escape from the everyday.
The big moments in our life we always celebrate with a vacation. For every birthday, anniversary, or milestone event in our lives together, we mark the occasion with a trip. Holidays may look a little different for many, but we are always up for finding adventure in every destination. So, this year, we spent our anniversary exploring the beauty of the country in Perth County for the perfect rural retreat.
Where We Stayed
While there are many places to stay when you visit Perth County, our hosts for this adventure were Kim and Conroy & the great folks at The Forest Motel, just outside of Stratford. Nestled amongst the trees, this motel is situated just a stone’s throw from Stratford on Lake McCarthy and is a real respite from the city. It is quite a beautiful oasis; a hidden gem right under our noses, that we never noticed before.
The motel itself is divided into three types of accommodations – a rustic log cabin / lodge-style main building, the McCarthy House, and a Bed & Breakfast – which is where we stayed. You will enjoy the beautiful landscaped yard & gardens, gazebos, fire pits, hiking trails, complimentary bike rentals, and lounging areas that are all a part of the experience at the Forest Motel.
You can while away the hours watching the swans, and other waterfowl swim and play in the lake. Listen to the frogs, and look for chipmunks and other woodland creatures, as you enjoy the peace and quiet of the nature that surrounds you.
The property offers other great amenities such as canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats that the guests can take out onto the lake, at any time. This time was my very first-ever canoeing experience, and it was terrific. The family of swans would swim right up to canoe to greet us. I am sure they were hoping for food, but sadly we didn’t remember to bring corn.
While we were there, they were in the process of launching a brand new feature – a guided nature & history tour. We enjoyed a preview of these tours, and our guide was very knowledgeable of the history of the property and engaging.
What To Do
No visit to Perth County would be complete without experiencing a little life on the farm, and the learning about the rich history of the area. We had a couple of really cool agricultural tours and local cultural encounters, that provided us with just some of the delightful experiences that await you in Perth County.
Located in St Mary’s, Stonetown Artisan Cheese has been making delicious gourmet cheeses right on their own dairy farm in the great Swiss tradition for many years. Owner Hans and master cheesemaker Ramon gave us a tour of the facility to see how they make their cheese. They described the processes that they go through to ensure you are buying a delicious cheese of the utmost quality and craftsmanship. The use of fresh unpasteurised milk with no additives ensures the cheese is pure and natural.
After all of this cheese talk, a tasting was in order. We sampled most (all?) of their amazing cheeses from Fontina, Emmental, Gruyere, and goat and many other delicious varieties. I highly recommend the MoonShine cheese.
Afterwards, we had to meet some of the ladies who make the cheese possible, so a visit to the cow barn was in order. We have been to many barns and dairy farms over the years, and the facility at Stone Cheese is incredible. Happy cows do make the best cheese.
With so much buzz surrounding bees, and their importance to our food chain, a visit to an apiary was a fun activity. Beekeeper Jodi gave us a brief introduction and hands-on education into beekeeping. During our private tour of the beehive, she taught us how to inspect a hive, the differences between the types of bees, how to identify the Queen Bee (not Beyonce), and the different types of cells in the hive. At the end of our tour, she showed us how to extract honey from a honeycomb, as we paired the sweet, delicious honey with gourmet cheese and crackers, and filled a jar with some amazing on the comb honey for us to take home. It was a honey of an experience.
We love to learn a little history about everywhere we visit, and we often will make visits to community museums so we can understand more about that specific area. However, we have passed the Stratford -Perth County Museum and Archives many times over the years and always said – “we need to go in one day”, but we never did. This visit – we finally did, and it was well worth it. We had an outstanding interpreter who guided us to some of her favourite exhibits and told us the stories that she is fascinated by most. There is a lot of history in this quiet farming community that we never knew before, and for you Justin Bieber fans – there is a little something for you, too. The exhibits often change, so be sure to visit regularly.
Enjoy the nature walk out back as well.
Flavours of Perth
In every community within Perth County, there is sure to be something to satisfy your taste buds, regardless of what you might be craving. Some of the great spots we enjoyed on this trip are worth checking out for yourself.
BJ’s Dairy bar and eatery is a quaint little spot to grab a bite in the heart of the town of Mitchell. They offer a variety of great savoury meals with fantastic flavour profiles. Try the Kim Chi Philly cheesesteak – it is a messy delight of flavour. Do not leave without grabbing some unique fresh hand-packed ice cream from the dairy bar. If you still have room after that sandwich.
Shakespeare Pizza has been on our radar for a long time due to their impressive Instagram posts showing fantastic images of gorgeous pizzas. We have never had their food before because we are always just passing through. So when our Alfresco dining reservations got cancelled due to rain, we knew exactly where we had to go.
River Valley Golf Club is where we had reservations for al fresco dining that got cancelled due to rain, which is a real shame. We stayed and dined there during our Autumn adventure trip to Perth County, and the food was terrific; the people were delightful.
Veky’s international Cuisine in Listowel is a delightful family restaurant specializing in homemade European classics such as schnitzels, cabbage rolls, and Hungarian Goulash. This is where we enjoyed our anniversary dinner in their beautiful and spacious dining room.
Lynn River Farm store is a favourite spot for us to visit whenever we are in Shakespeare. They always have farm-fresh produce, deliciously prepared meals, frozen meats, and meals to take home. And friendly people to serve you. We were treated to a lovely picnic lunch, provided to us by Lynn River. The lunch was delicious and fresh, and exploring the Shakespeare Conservation area afterwards made for a perfect summer experience.
No road trip is complete without a visit to a bakery. In Perth County, there is one (or more) in almost every community. Here are some of our favourites that you will want to visit for yourself; and grab some sweets to take home. (all are part of the Perth County dessert trail itinerary).
- Impressions Bakery, Listowel – we never come to Listowel without visiting. A future article dedicated to this great spot is coming soon.
- Life’s a Party, Listowel – drool-worthy baked goods and meals.
- Gunther’s Bakery, Milverton – freshly baked bread, cookies, and other sweets
- Anna Mae’s Bakery, Millbank – delicious homemade pies, tarts, and bread
- Fresh Start Bakery, Gowanstown – gorgeous cupcakes, squares, tarts, and more
- Shakespeare Pie Company, Shakespeare – amazing fresh homemade pies, butter tarts, and more
Small Town Charm
We love exploring small towns wherever we travel. Ever since Covid-19 has affected our travel plans, exploring small-town Ontario has become more important to us than ever before. There are many gorgeous, charming, and vibrant small towns that you will want to explore when you visit Perth County. Here are a few other highlights from some of these towns that we stopped into on this trip:
🔹 Millbank Family Furniture – makers of hand-crafted home furnishings of the finest quality. You can see the craftsmanship that goes into every beautiful piece—gorgeous furniture in a vast, beautiful new space.
🔹Millbank Cheese – a must for the cheese-lover. We never miss an opportunity to buy some of their curds.
🔸The Lil Fry Pie Shoppe – delicious and addictive hand pies.
🔸Petals if You Please – flowers and home décor items.
🔸Goderich to Guelph Rail Trail – a repurposed railway recreation trail
🔹The Kitchen Cupboard Ice Box – great gifts, delicious deli foods, and desserts
🔹Listowel Memorial Park and trails – a beautiful park with a loop trail across the river.
🔹Goats on 86 – There is always time to stop and play with goats, especially when there is a new baby.
🔸The Hick’s House building – a beautiful and historic building in the heart of town.
🔸Jillian’s home décor – gorgeous décor items and furnishings for that magazine-worthy home decorating
🔹Shakespeare Brewing Co.- family-owned craft brewery in the heart of town
🔹AppleFlats Market – cocktail mixers, marketplace promoting some of the best local products from around the area.
🔹British Touch – Gifts, foods, and treats from all over the British Isles.
This trip wasn’t our first time to visit Perth County; we visit quite often, and this won’t be our last. The best part of our short stays is it always leaves you with so much more to discover. Start planning your own visit to Perth County today.
This article was created through a partnership with Perth County Tourism. To partner with Roguetrippers, visit our contact page.