If a charm scale existed, with points from 1 through 10, the delightful heritage village of Bayfield would register off-the-scale.
A Dutch baron bought a large section of the Huron Tract in 1832, designating almost 400 acres for a settlement. Within twenty years Bayfield, named after British nautical surveyor Admiral Henry Wolsey Bayfield who joined the Royal Navy at the age of 11, was a thriving community of over 100 residents. It had a brickyard, tanneries, a distillery, an ashery (that produced hardwood lye-based ingredients to ship to Britain for glass and ceramic-makers), wagon and ploughmaking works and two blacksmiths shops.
The Albion Hotel, built in the late 1800s, boasts an eerie visitor, the 20-something son of the original innkeepers who lived at the Hotel then. He died of gunshot wounds during a quarrel with his drunken brother; some think his spirit still wanders the hotel, turning on bar taps and barroom lights.
STROLL & SAVOUR
Today the Victorian village of Bayfield boasts unparalleled charm amid its pristine scenic setting. Visitors are locals and people from a great distance away, strolling the streets, enjoying dining and drinking in one of several establishments offering diverse menus. Unique shops are the order of the day here; galleries showcase art and crafts, clothing and accessories boutiques satisfy the most discerning customers’ tastes and patios entice to savour a latte or glass of wine.
From spring to late fall, Main Street is bedecked with colourful planters of flowers and foliage, a photographers’ delight. Winter creates its own magic when nature’s snowfall imitates the art of a Trish Romance painting.
Enjoy the Blue Flag beach, the pier where you might see optimistic fisher-folk, and visit Pioneer Park for beautiful Lake Huron views and world-renowned sunsets over the water.
Windmill Lake Wake & Eco Park, five minutes from Bayfield, offers fun for the whole family. Water Park, Wakeboarding & Wakeskating, SUP and SUP Yoga Classes, Canoe and Kayak experiences on the 40-acre lake bring outdoor enthusiasts here.
Bayfield Trails include the 2km Sawmill Trail; the path to the river is on the original pioneer corduroy road from Bayfield to Goderich. The 2.5 km Heritage Trail starts at the heart of the village, Clan Gregor Square and wends its way along Main Street past century-old business locations to Pioneer Park where, if your timing is right, you could see flocks of seagulls chasing the fishing fleet as it comes into the harbor with the day’s catch.
FUN, FIN, FINE & FOAMY
There are enough options in Bayfield that it would take you more than a week to try every one.
A great selection of fresh local lake and east coast ocean fish and seafood as well as frozen items are available at Out of the Blue Fish Seafood Market. If you are dining in or taking out, sample the Seafood Chowder or fish & chips prepared with your choice of fish.
A view of the Bayfield River is a side order along with the special “Funked up Fries” at The Docks Restaurant & Bar. Bayfield Berry Farm is a great choice for brunch; in addition to meals, you can pick your own berries here or buy them ready-picked.
Stone-baked pizza is just one of the otherings at Renegades Diner.
Stay and fine dine at The Little Inn where locally-sourced produce and proteins are ingredients of a creative, varying menu.
Another fine place to stay and dine is The Ashwood Inn, a boutique motel with newly-opened Zaz Bistro Bar & Grill.
River Road Brewing & Hops is Huron County’s first farm-based brewery; ingredients going into the beer are grown right on the farm. The Brewery’s herd of highland cattle enjoy spent grain from the brewing process.
Shopbike Coffee Roasters focuses on high-quality, fair-trade coffee beans, roasting them in small batches – from shipped bean to cup takes under 48 hours. Taste test the freshness for yourself.
Bayfield has an eclectic and multi-season roster of events. From The Bayfield Concert Series in the Town Hall to the Bayfield Volkfest in September featuring the classic and vintage VW buses, bugs, vans, campers and more this village knows how to celebrate!