Not only will you find some interesting ports of call along the shoreline of the smallest Great Lake, the beaches on Erie’s north shore are GORGEOUS.
We discovered our favourite at Port Burwell Provincial Park. There was hardly a soul on its 2.2 km of sand even though it was a sultry Saturday in early June. Obviously, the summer weekend crowds had not yet materialized. Port Burwell Park is one of several Ontario Parks you’ll find along the north shore of Lake Erie and all of them have beaches. We liked Long Point Provincial Park‘s beach too, where you can also camp among massive sand dunes. It’s part of a gigantic sand spit jutting out into Lake Erie that is recognized as a biosphere reserve and world-renowned refuge and stop over for migrating birds in fall and spring. While touring it with a park staffer, I couldn’t believe the chorus of songbirds. In nearby Port Rowan we heard how up to 20,000 Canadian and American boaters anchor off of Pottahawk Point on the Canadian side the second Sunday of every July in knee-deep water and hang out for the better part of the day drinking beer and catching up. The Pattahawk Bash as she’s known has been going on for more than 30 years. You gotta believe the OPP (provincial police) are all over this one.
Our two ports of call were Port Dover in Norfolk County and Port Stanley in Elgin County. Port Dover was hopping with lots of motorcycles rolling through town on a Friday night. Its Erie Beach Hotel is famous for its perch and pickerel dinners and it did not disappoint. Since there were only two of us we chose the hotel’s more sedate Terrace dining room downstairs.
The upstairs is a perch and beer affair perfect for groups of friends or family. Besides its famous fish dinners, our salad bar was memorable. Right out the 1950s, our own personal ” bar” came on wheels and had a variety of salads to choose from including homemade pickled pumpkin and jellied horseradish. Both were tasty.
Port Stanley is a pretty beach town that is home to one of the last commercial fisheries on the Great Lakes. Perch tugs which are bizarre-looking all-steel boats line the harbour here. We stayed at the Inn on the Harbour where I had a perfect harbour view. Saturday night dinner was on the patio at the Kettle Creek Inn close by. It was a fine way to end a great weekend.