There truly is no place like home. And by home, I mean Chatham-Kent.
Maybe I’m biased (well, there’s no maybe about it, I love living here), but a fine example of this came last week.
On Thursday, we slid over to London to try the food and beverages at Beertown Public House. The food and beer lived up to the billing that my wife and her sister told me about after a recent visit to another Beertown in Waterloo.
There are about 30 different kinds of beer on tap, 100 different brands available by bottle, six different kinds of root beer for the kids, and a wealth of tasty pub grub options.
It truly was a fun experience in a hopping establishment.
But then there’s the 90-minute drive to and from Beertown. That’s fatiguing in the middle of the workweek.
Beertown is buried in London, which is fine for 99% of its clientele. It is also relatively close to the University of Western Ontario, also a smart move. Yet in terms of access from the 401, it isn’t great.
But it serves the locals nicely.
Another establishment that serves the locals – and then some – is Bayside Brewing Company in Erieau. We took friends out there Saturday for an early dinner. I couldn’t tell you how long the drive out there was, maybe half an hour – some of it along scenic Erie Beach – because there was no stress involved.
We enjoyed very tasty beer – Long Pond Lager and their light beer – and excellent food. The massive variety of beer wasn’t there, but I’m rather in love with Long Pond.
And the view of Rondeau Bay is so relaxing. Whether in the restaurant or on the patio, it’s just a great venue.
I laughed when we were seated, as the server warned us there was a looming reservation at our table – in two hours.
That’s plenty of time to eat, I thought. I remember working as a food and beverage manager in Bobcaygeon about 16 years ago, and we’d try to turn around the tables in just over an hour.
But, despite prompt service at Bayside, we did find ourselves lingering. The atmosphere is just so addictive. Still, we were out with at least 15 minutes to spare, and we picked up our growler of take-home beer on the way out.
Yes, as much as I enjoyed Beertown, I love Bayside that much more. Nothing beats quality local businesses.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Our daughter plays house league soccer. Nothing overly competitive, but it’s a great way for her to have fun and get some exercise in the summer.
And soccer is a very popular and relatively inexpensive sport. Buy cleats and shin guards, pay the registration fee and you’re good to go.
Little did I know I should have packed a weed whacker into that equation. Our daughter plays on the fields at Tecumseh school, as well as out at Thames Campus. The Thames Campus field is always in excellent condition, well groomed. The same can’t be said for the fields at Tecumseh.
There have been perhaps two occasions when the played at Tecumseh where the grass had recently been cut. On her most recent night, it had to be a good six inches long. It’s hard to play soccer when the grass is grabbing at your feet the whole time, and tugging on the ball.
At one point last game, one of the opponents fell down halfway across the field. Wearing a green shirt, she lay on her back for a couple of seconds. We spectators could hardly see her as the grass had all but enveloped her.
Our kids deserve better than this for recreation.
I realize this has been an aberration of a summer in terms of rainfall and vegetation growth, but surely the fields could be maintained to at least a reasonable level.
Think of an ice rink that not only doesn’t see a Zamboni between periods, but rather for two or three games. Sure, you can play hockey on it, but the game really suffers due to the chips and gouges on the surface. Skating becomes more of a chore, and the puck doesn’t slide well at all.
That’s the soccer reality this summer.