I’ve been really taking advantage of the silver lining of no international travel this year (as you may have already seen on the blog!) and have only been taking part in local vacations… the next stop on our list was the Windsor/Essex area.
We were so lucky to have been hosted by Ripple Rental’s (www.instagram.com/ripplerentals) to stay in two bedroom cottage by the name of Sunny Beez (www.sunnybeez.ca) in Essex!
It took us about 3.5 hours to arrive in the sleepy Belcreft Beach neighbourhood from Toronto. We were so happy when we pulled up to the cozy little cottage because we saw a beautiful little beach just a stone’s throw away from our front door! We would enjoy many relaxing ‘beach hangs’ with our friends over the course of the weekend. (Sunny Beez hosts were even gracious enough to leave a cooler with wheels on it we could use!)
Sunny Beez comfortably sleeps four adults in two queen size bedrooms. If you’re travelling with other pals or kids, you can find a pull out couch in the living room along with an ottoman that pulls into a single bed (perfect!). It was well decorated and stocked up with everything we needed! You’ll find a coffee maker, full size fridge, stove, microwave, toaster, outdoor BBQ, pots and pans, etc… if you’re looking to stay in and cook your meals there.
I really enjoyed having two half bathrooms in this shared space, one room was more like a powder room with toilet and sink while the other room just had the shower in it. This really kept the ‘line ups’ for the bathroom down while staying as a group.
Sunny Beez boasts a large backyard with fire pit and outdoor seating area. Perfect for tanning, grilling up some burgers or having the kids run around. It was so nice to sit out by the fire at night and watch the stars (something us city folk don’t usually see). When it was too chilly out one night, we enjoyed staying in to watch a movie since the TV was equipped with Roku streaming service which was super easy to use.
TIP: Staying in a larger group or vacationing as two families? Ripple Rentals owns the cottage right next door to Sunny Beez so you can share a large backyard and still have more than enough space and beds for everyone. (Sister property is www.latitudeadjustment.ca)
The cottage is located just a short ride away from many attractions like wineries, breweries, great eats and quaint towns to visit. Here are some of the spots we enjoyed over the weekend:
Let me start off by saying, we got the BEST service here. We visited this location twice and everyone was so friendly and helpful. If you know me, you know I love my craft beer and this family owned brewery was less than a 10 minute drive from Sunny Beez. It had a great outdoor patio with rotating food guests every weekend (We enjoyed sharing some of Nonna’s Pizza!) and wonderful brews to choose from. (My favourite this time around was Common Mutt, a lager with nutty caramel and a mild citrus finish) I also really enjoyed their music selection which was all on vinyl. Definitely a fun place to meet up with some friends and have a good time.
HOT TIP: The outdoor parking lot area of GL Heritage turns into a farmers market on Saturday starting from 8:30am.
We loved grabbing our delicious morning brew from Acorn and Oak (www.acornandoakcoffee.ca), a husband and wife team who own a micro-roastery in Essex. Their company focuses on high quality beans and fair pay for the farmers who produce them, and let me tell you, their coffee was really, really delicious.
My husband and I enjoyed a sweet treat from The Pantry (www.instagram.com/thepantrybakeshop) as well, he got a fruity scone and I devoured a blondie bar. I was impressed to find out they were all handcrafted and homemade by baker Catherine Chauvin. Still dreaming about these goods! Yum!
My friend Katie also picked up a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a mason from BlackStone Flower Farm. This stall has so many lush bouquets to choose from and there were really cool flower’s I don’t think I’ve ever even seen before! Fun addition to the Air BnB for the weekend.
I love me a woman run business! The Mitchell Family have owned this winery by the beachfront for over 28 years (It’s also Ontario’s ONLY beachfront property, fancy that!) We were told the oldest sister was now in charge of the winery and we always love supporting a family owned business. I’m not a huge wino and definitely not an expert but staff member Robin led us through a tasting and helped me find the wine I’d like the best (ended up being Caboom! A fruity red – I walked away with a bottle).
Being able to enjoy our tasting flights out in the sun on the sprawling property was really nice. We even walked down to the beach and walked barefoot in the waves of the shoreline. The estate is frequently rented out for weddings and we can see why, it’s simply gorgeous. If you’re stopping in for lunch, they also have picnic baskets for purchase to enjoy some nibbles by the beach…and again, a short drive away from Sunny Beez!
Polish Beach Club
I was so glad Brian from Ripple Rental’s filled us in on the epic Polish Beach Club waterside restaurant. Don’t expect it to be super fancy or dressy… go casual - think Polish Grandmother whipping you up some delicious pierogis, schnitzel, sausage and cabbage stew… are you drooling yet? This was quite possibly the best meal we had all weekend! It’s about $20 a person for a combo and we could barely finish the generous portions. We were also able to buy a bottle of local wine and watch the sunset over the lake under their fairy lights on the patio. It’s STEPS away from Sunny Beez so you have no excuse not to visit! We were there on Friday night, but we saw it got very busy on Saturday so you might want to consider a reservation. So much fun! (Call 519-253-2708)
Dairy Freeze Ice Cream Bar
Although Dairy Freez is a little bit of a drive from the cottage, we really enjoyed this local favourite. You can dig into some reasonably priced ice cream cones, sundaes, chips, burgers and onion rings etc… either in the comfort of your own car (they’ll bring it right out to you, like the old days) or in their charming backyard/back patio area. Dairy Freez is located in suburbia in Kingsville and a fun little stop for a cheap dinner and to bring kids! (Call 519-839-4703)
We loved stopping at this place for breakfast and brunch! It’s close by, has cheap eats and the back patio can’t be beat. It literally felt like you were enjoying your morning coffee in the forest! Staff were friendly and were always refreshing our coffees and checking in on us. This was a really great place to end our trip. Reservations recommended. (http://m.facebook.com/garfieldscolchester)
Located about 15 minutes away from Sunny Beez, and with a menu filled with creative cocktails lies WolfHead Distillery. They make small batch whiskey and vodka with some interesting flavours like banana caramel (we bought a bottle to take home) and caramel apple root beer. It was a nice stop for lunch (think burgers, salads and sandwiches), quick service, and fun atmosphere/staff but keep in mind to reserve a table ahead of time, as we barely made it in without one. It was a perfect place to enjoy a sunny afternoon – Wolf Head had us howlin’!
We made a day out of visiting other towns nearby like Kingsville and Amherstburg – Sunny Beez is a great launching point. We had some memorable stops at coffee shop Caffeine and Co , Jack’s Gastro Pub which was featured on ‘You Gotta Eat Here!’, Vintage and Vinyl Amherstburg , Kings Bakeshop, and Lot 10 Brewery .
There was so much to see and do in this area that we’re going to have to go back for another round. Keep an eye on the blog for more info.
And a heartfelt THANK YOU to Ripple Rental’s for being wonderful and welcoming hosts. We had a fantastic weekend!
Until next trip!
Hey! I'm Sarah! A 30 something living in downtown Toronto with a great guy and an OK dog. I love seeing what my city has to offer and try to hit up as many fun events or attractions as I can! I haven't slept since 2004.