Thursday 4 July 2013

Destination: Oshawa Downtown Farmer's Market, Ontario Canada

Travels With Diane - A Morning Walk To The Downtown Farmer's Market

July 8, 2013 Downtown Farmer's Market Post Update.  Thursday morning I phoned The Oshawa This Week newsroom and was very fortunate to speak with Steve Houston, Feature Editor about the Downtown Farmer's Market. After listening to what I had to say, Steve set out to help me solve this situation. The first action taken by Steve Houston was to make sure that The Downtown Farmer's Market was posted on the online section of the newspaper under community events and contains a link to my blog featuring the Oshawa Downtown Farmer's Market. The farmer's at the Downtown Farmer's Market will be promoted online each week over the summer months thanks to Steve. The second action recommended by Steve Houston was a phone call to Oshawa City Hall. He even gave me the name of a person to contact at city hall.  The newspaper is very fortunate to have such a dedicated employee. It was a real pleasure working with Steve. Thanks, Steve. I contacted David Tooley at Oshawa City Hall and David was also very helpful. He is going to investigate the situation and get back to me sometime this week. I will update when I hear from David Tooley from Oshawa City Hall.

Original Post July 4, 2013

                    A couple of days ago I was searching the internet for the operating times of a farmer's market in the north of the City of Oshawa when I discovered there was a downtown farmer's market. I decided to check it out on my Wednesday morning walk. The City of Oshawa Downtown Farmer's Market is located on the east side of the historic Regent Theatre in an open public space. To my surprise there were only two farmer stalls and one gourmet epicurean stall.
                    While chatting with them, it came to my attention that no one is promoting them and few people are aware of the City of Oshawa Downtown Farmer's Market. The City of Oshawa, the Oshawa Business Association, and the local newspaper, Oshawa This Week are not promoting the local farmers at the Downtown Market. Just last night, the Wednesday Edition of The Oshawa This Week had a special pull-out section on "50 Things To Do In Durham Region" with a section on local farmer's markets. The Downtown Farmer's Market was not mentioned. If you are a local in Durham Region, please support our farmers by letting your friends and family know about the downtown farmer's market. They have great fresh Ontario grown fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. I bought delicious Ontario Strawberries for my dinner dessert, a beefsteak tomato, and some Royal Gala apples. They were all delicious.
                        The farms represented at the downtown market were Willowtree Farm from Port Perry ( and Vetzals Fruits and Veggies from Newcastle ( The epicurean is Karen Peacock, Epicure Selections ( or Here are a few pictures.

                                                          Vetzals Fruits And Veggies

                                                                  Epicure Selections

                                                                  Willowtree Farm

                                                         East Side Of Regent Theatre

                                                        My Farmer's Market Purchases

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Cobourg Waterfront Festival,Ontario, Canada

Destination: Cobourg Waterfront Festival, Ontario, Canada

Travels With Diane: A Small Town Ontario Festival

               One of my all-time favourite small town Ontario festivals is the Cobourg Waterfront Festival. The town of Cobourg is located in southern Ontario 95 kilometres east of Toronto. Since 1987, this 3 day festival has been held on the Canada Day long weekend. With a town population of 18,519 people, historic Cobourg has a great old fashioned main street featuring interesting historic buildings such as the Town Hall, named Victoria Hall, built in 1860 and designated a National Historic Site of Canada. The Cobourg waterfront Festival is held on the beach, the pier and the grounds of Victoria Park and Beach snugged up against the white sand beach of Lake Ontario. People come from all over to attend the Cobourg Waterfront Festival. Some people arrive in sailboats or yachts because of the easy access from the harbour. The festival Midway is located on the pier which separates the beach from the harbour. It is quite the sight to see the huge ferris wheel on the pier and an amazing thrill to hear the music drifting over the lake and harbour.




                       The Canada Coast Guard crew and rescue boat are on hand for any water emergencies as their offices are located at the foot of the pier and their rescue boats dock at the harbour side of the pier.



                        Brand new this year, the Cobourg Police were using Segway PT's to patrol the festival. The Segway PT is eco-friendly and operates on lithium-ion batteries. When you stand on a Segway PT it remains stationary, when you shift your weight forward, backward, left or right the Lean Steer technology sends you in the precise direction you want to go, at exactly the speed you want to go. The two police officers with Segway Pt's said that they really liked them and that they were easy to use.


                            My favourite festival booth this year was dedicated to bird rescue and education. They had a peregrine falcon and a 12 week old baby horned owl. The falcon was hooded to keep him calm in the crowds. Apparently, the baby owl was only 2 1/2- 3 inches tall when she was born. She felt very soft and she was very inquisitive. 

                        The Cobourg Waterfront Festival had an amazing variety of foods available. One unique food vendor, Vintage Pizza Pie had a copper wood-fired oven to create wood-fired pizzas. The huge copper oven was in the bed of an incredible pickup truck.

                       At the Craft Show, there were two specialty vendors who deserve mention; the Lighthouse Lemonade. Inc., from Rockwood, Ontario and the spruce wood handmade cookie co., from Warkworth, Ontario. The owner of the Lighthouse Lemonade. Inc., sells large bottles filled from her grandmother's recipe. All you do is add water. It was very tasty and refreshing. Check it out at 

                           Sprucewood handmade cookie co. makes very delicious and addictive shortbread cookies. I taste tested 7 different varieties. My personal favourites were the chocolate chip shortbread cookies made with semi-sweet chocolate chips and the maple shortbread cookies made from pure maple syrup.

                          Each year at the Coburg Waterfront Festival there is one hot item that people buy and use at the festival. This year, everywhere you went you saw people with walking sticks. These inexpensive walking sticks were available at the Fellowship of Christian Farmers booth. This year is their first year at the festival. The walking sticks have an attached leather strap decorated with 5 coloured beads symbolizing Christian ideas; a gold bead for Heaven, a red bead for the Blood of Christ, white for Purity and Forgiveness and green for Spiritual Growth. This Staff or Walking Street was the most popular item at the festival.

                               The 3 day Coburg Waterfront Festival is worth the visit as it is very enjoyable and has something for everyone; a Piano on the beach to play, A Teddy Bear Picnic, Bandshell musical entertainment, Beer Tents, Antique and Rare Coins Appraisal Show, Breakfast in the Park, Canadian Forces Skyhawks Parachute Show on Victoria Beach, free small Canadian flag and pin from the Town of Cobourg Visitor booth, a Canada Day Parade, Celebration and Fireworks on Canada Day plus much more. 

                                  The ambience at the Cobourg waterfront Festival was warm, friendly and relaxed. If you have never been there, I recommend you visit in 2014.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Sandsprit Park, Stuart, Martin County, Florida

Destination: Sandsprit Park

Travels With Diane - A Morning Visit

               This unique Florida Park offers many different types of experiences for visitors. Located just off St. Lucie Blvd., Sandsprit Park is a short ten minute drive from Hobe Sound along Highway A1A.  You pass through the historic village of Port Salerno, a gem of a time capsule where it feels like you have stepped back in time to the 1950's, before you reach St. Lucie Blvd. One example of an interesting time warp is The Powder Puff Beauty Salon.

The Powder Puff Beauty Salon, Port Salerno

            One of my favourite local restaurants in Port Salerno is Shrimpers Grill and Raw Bar, located on the water at the Manatee Marina. Locally referred to as Shrimpers, the food is delicious, the service is friendly and the waterfront views are incredible. You feel like you never want to leave. One of my favourite appetizers on the Shrimpers Menu is the deep fried green beans. I am drooling just thinking about them right now.

 Shrimpers Grill And Raw Bar, Port Salerno

One View From The Back Boardwalk at Shrimpers

                               Sandsprit Park has many beautiful things to see including local seabirds, fauna (in particular furry little squirrels),  
sea critters, incredible vistas, tiny sand beaches, boardwalks, and an unusual forest area. The variety of seabirds includes osprey, great blue heron, pelicans, cranes and gulls to mention a few. 
                               Pelican on the end of a boat dock at Sandsprit Park

A couple of photos of these cute inquisitive squirrels.

                          The wooded area at Sandsprit Park is home to these curious and friendly little squirrels. There is one awesome tree in this area of the park that makes one feel you have walked into a fantasy world. Judge for yourself.

                                                                      Mystical Wooded Area Sandsprit Park

                  As you walk along the boardwalk area you can watch the underwater life through the crystal clear water in the shallow areas. The morning I was there, I saw 6 different species including a small manta ray. Canoeists and kayakers launch here to paddle across the sparkling water to visit nearby small islands. Fishing boats and yachts leave from the marinas in Port Salerno, while smaller boats launch from the Park Boat Ramp. Small curved beaches with soft white sand are found at the end of the boardwalk.

                                         A Kayak & Canoe Launch


A Kayaker Heading For A Small Uninhabited Island

Small White Sandy Beach

                 Next time I will take you to my all time favourite restaurants in the Martin county, Florida area.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, Jupiter Island - A Secret Florida Beach

Destination: Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, Jupiter Island, Florida - A Secret Beach

Travels With Diane - Blog Number Two

                 Snuggled unrevealed at the top of a dead end road, the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge Beach is a five mile unspoiled, wild, and incredible coastal seashore. This Reed Wilderness Seashore Sanctuary was established in 1969 to protect the Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles. Bisected by the Indian River Lagoon, this coastal beach covers 171 acres of the total 1,035 acre Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge.

                Hidden behind towering sand dunes, this spirited beach can not be seen as you travel along the dirt North Beach Road. Suddenly as the road ends, there is a small refuge sign overpowered by the thick lush vegetation everywhere. You then notice a small dirt lane heading through these walls of vegetation into the refuge, where a park ranger booth, a parking lot, washrooms and a wooden observation platform above the dunes are the only man made structures.

                 "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead."

                   This quote from Einstein embodies the feelings I experienced as I gazed upon this Seashore Sanctuary. As I stood on the wooden observation platform above the dunes and gazed at this wonder, this marvel, I was moved by the mystery of this secret place. Muriel, an artist, I met in Hobe Sound, choses this beach to sketch for her paintings. She told me she can not express how this place touches her except through her unique paintings.

                    Each time I visited this mystical beach, the feeling of mystery took on different nuances. I tried to capture some of this feeling in my photographs. My most exciting visit was on a day the high winds were whipping up 10 foot waves and riptides and fiercely shifting and blowing the beach sands creating a desert like landscape with shades of a forever moonscape.


A morning after a huge storm I found these washed up items on the beach.

My next blog will take you to some interesting sites in Martin County near Hobe Sound. 

Thursday 13 June 2013

Destination: Hobe Sound, Florida, United States Of America

Travels With Diane - Blog Number One, Created June 13, 2013

                The unincorporated village of Hobe Sound Florida is located on the East Coast of the Atlantic Ocean about 1 hour north of West Palm Beach. As you drive towards the Hobe Sound Public Beach, you cross a lift bridge that takes you to Jupiter Island. Driving along Bridge Street you feel as though you have entered a magical world, as the sun filters through the overhead arched canopy of ancient banyon trees.
                 Hobe Sound Public Beach is an incredibly beautiful pristine beach that offers its visitor something new every day. Whatever you are looking for at the beach, whether it is peace, meditation, excitement, or the awesome power of nature, you can find it here.

                        Every day at Hobe Sound Public Beach is a one of a kind experience shaped by wind direction, temperature, storms, sunshine, clouds and rain. The sand on the beach holds new treasures each day and the waters hold varied marine life and fish. I love the ocean in all its manifestations, but I think my favourite days are the ones created by the strong winds and cooler weather. The waves and riptides can reach up to ten feet and the ever-changing shades of the ocean from blues to greens to grays are enhanced by visually stunning whitecaps. The sailboarders, surfers, and kite boarders love these
wild, powerful and dangerous conditions. The grace they display flying through the ocean's fury is


Sailboarding at Hobe Sound

                            Fishermen arrive with the ebb and flow of the schools of fish, waiting patiently at the shore of the beach hoping for a good catch, which might include mackerel or bluefish. Schools of tiny fish jump through the waves bringing in the larger fish to feed on them. Naturally, the pelicans and seagulls are companions to the fisherman. I was very lucky to get up close and personal with some pelicans, although I did seem to annoy one particular seagull who engaged in a prolonged stare-down with me.
                             Next week I will take you to Hobe Sound National  Wildlife Refuge Beach located at the north end of Jupiter Island.