Discovering the beauty of Fall along Lake St. Clair

Jessica Dennis | October 20, 2015

When the autumn leaves start to fall and the weather gets chilly, it’s easy to stay home all bundled up, assuming that everything is closing shop for the winter. Going apple picking, to a pumpkin patch, or for a pumpkin spice latte are just a few fall favourites, but there are so many hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered in Windsor and Essex County. I took a drive from Windsor to Belle River and discovered that fall doesn’t have to mean Netflix and chill. Before the cold winter season, there are some really cool places to check out this fall.

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My drive started towards Tecumseh, to the paddle boarding hot spot Urban Surf. Paddle boarding was a foreign concept to me until last summer when a friend convinced me to try it. I fell in love! It’s not only a ton of fun in the sun, but an amazing full body workout. When I got to Urban Surf, the plan was to get out on the board, but the water was very choppy which would make it too difficult to stay dry. I opted out of paddle boarding, but the view of Lake St Clair and the changing leaves still made it worth the drive. If you’re braver than I, make sure to dress for the weather as temperatures are a lot colder on the water. Also make sure to call ahead and book a reservation. Urban Surf’s summer hours are very flexible, but fall and winter are their down time so call in advance. 

Parkside-Grille-burger-smallAll the hard work of standing and taking pictures made me hungry, so I drove through Tecumseh for lunch at Parkside Grille in Belle River. When I arrived at the restaurant I was surprised at how beautiful and modern it was. They have a fully stocked marble bar, a large fire place and a glassed in wine rack which goes along with the modern feel. Their menu was very reasonably priced, with appetizers and salads between $8-$12 dollars and burgers and entrees between $10-$20 dollars. I have to say every item on the menu looked delicious, with food items and combinations I’d never seen before, like their peanut butter and banana burger.  After much deliberation, I ordered the truffle burger with brie cheese, prosciutto, sautéed mushrooms and truffle aioli.  When the burger came out my heart melted. My little burger had a Parkside Grille logo branded on the top of the bun, which was an adorable added touch. Not only was it cute to look at, but it tasted like a grilled slice of heaven. The burger was hands down the best I’ve ever tasted, so for all you burger lovers out there, this restaurant is a must try. I would highly recommend anyone who might be out for a fall drive to plug Parkside Grille into the GPS as your lunch or dinner stop.

 

Rochester-Golf-Club-(sign)The restaurant backs onto the Rochester Place Golf Club & Resort, with close views of the green. The patio was quiet because of the time of year, but in the summer it would be the perfect atmosphere to sit with friends. The patio wraps around the restaurant and has seating for at least 75 people, with fireplaces for the cooler summer nights on both sides. I’m not a golfer, but walking around the course I noticed how beautiful and well maintained it was. There were many golfers out getting in as much playing time as they can before the club closes for the winter. The location is great for a round of golf, followed by lunch or dinner at Parkside. For non-golfers, like myself, you can enjoy the view while relaxing inside by the fire, or outside on the patio, weather permitting.

 Treasure-Nook-exterior

Energized by a satisfying meal, I continued down County Rd 2 toward Notre Dame St in Belle River, a quaint town filled with touristy shops. It’s the perfect street to take a fall stroll with a latte in hand. I stopped at Treasure Nook, a favourite among local and out of towners. The shop offered a mixture of jewelry, small gift items, Halloween costumes, and women’s clothing. The look and feel of the Treasure Nook matched the cozy hometown vibe of the street. If you want to get away from the hectic city lifestyle and are looking for a way to unwind, I would recommend stopping to walk around Notre Dame St.

I continued towards my last destination, Lighthouse Inn, a small restaurant and bar overlooking Lake St Clair. Pulling up, the first thing I noticed was the red and white lighthouse sitting on the edge of the river. It’s a beautiful site, so make sure to bring a camera. Lighthouse Inn is a restaurant with character. It’s the complete opposite of Parkside Grille, and it was enjoyable to see both sides of the coin. When I was there, the restaurant had a more mature crowd. Sitting quietly and enjoying the view and the seafood on the menu is why most people go to Lighthouse Inn. I sat in the glassed-in dining room overlooking the rocky cove and watched the sun set. It started as a beautiful fall day and ended just the same.

If you’re looking to explore and try something different this fall, I’d recommend stopping at some or all of the places mentioned. They’re in close proximity to each other, and the scenic drive is one of the best parts of the journey. Call up some friends or grab your loved ones and get out this fall and explore!

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