Truth be told I have been preparing this blog post for some time now. I happen to work in the Town of Oakville, however apart from the occasional lunch time wander I had not spent a lot of time in the area. Which really is a pity because when it comes to beautiful walking spots, picturesque parks and quaint main streets; Oakville delivers. However, from what I found out this weekend is that there is more than what meets the eye in this Town and while the giant mansions on Lakeshore Road come with a hefty price tag…spending a day in this little town does not, you just have to know what to do and where to go. That is where I come in.
Where to Park?
I know that when I am planning an excursion, whether it be an entire day trip such as this or a few hours hitting a trail… I hate paying for parking! Unfortunately if you would like to park as close to the main strip of Lakeshore Road as possible; it is paid parking. However, most of Lakeshore Road is surrounded by housing so finding street parking with minimal walking is a possibility if you are willing to do the searching. On this sunny Saturday I parked at The Oakville Galleries; about a twenty minute walk to the main strip, something that I was more than willing to do given how wonderful the weather was. Also, this leads me right into my first destination…
The Oakville Galleries
This is a spot that I have frequented on many occasions, it is a nice place to come for a picnic in the summer, enjoy the gardens in the spring and the views of frozen lake Ontario during the winter. The Oakville Galleries sit upon a small hill up from a pretty garden and while I have come to scope out the landscape many times before I have never entered the galleries. I decided this would be my first spot not only because of the perks of the free parking but also the perks of free art, what’s not to love? There seem to be three different buildings on the grounds belonging to the Galleries; a studio, a workshop and of course, the Gallery itself.
The studios can be rented out for personal events, while the workshop hosts different art classes for all ages. While I didn’t participate in any classes I can say that if you do choose to do so, you will not be disappointed with the view. A great first stop, if I do say so myself.
Picturesque Downtown Oakville
I know, I know, what a generic item that is on every list of ‘Things to do in any small town’, I honestly have thought the same thing on many an occasion. But in all seriousness, this is usually a really nice thing to do.
Small towns are well known for the best ice cream shops, small boutiques as well as local eateries; something that most of us are interested in experiencing when travelling. Throw in some lovely buildings, small galleries and a coffee shop or two and this ‘generic’ item becomes the one no one wants to gloss over.
Salt Cave Solana
Did you know that time spent within a salt cave can help treat asthma, sinus issues as well as allergies and sleep deprivation? Yup. I spent 45 minutes in Solana Salt Cave on Lakeshore Road; it was a really nice way to unwind and spend the afternoon. When you enter the facility, there is an instant serene feel to the room. This is where you will leave your belongings; including electronics which are not permitted inside the cave for obvious reasons.
The cave itself is covered floor to ceiling in clean, dry food grade Himalayan pink crystal salt which is supposed to be the purest form of the salt. I sat in a reclining chair and just unwound, which is not easy but necessary. Spending time by ourselves in silence is important but it is also challenging, I found this to be a great way of forcing myself to slow down and take a break. Also, I found a deal on Groupon for the session, which is always a steal. There are other salt caves in the area, which may be worth a gander. They are also on Groupon here.
This is a bit of an odd one, also it isn’t in the downtown core of Oakville, this little shop is located at 2136 Speers Road and it specializes in South African food. Something that I know little about but my significant other is from South Africa and loves food. He introduced me to Florence Meats when we first started dating in 2012 but it was always a bit of a trek from our home town of Brampton. Now that I work in Oakville and we live in Burlington, that distance which kept us from frequenting this shop regularly is now gone. As an outsider, I would definitely recommend the biltong; a beef jerky type delicacy which you can have shaved right in front of you for easy snacking. This is a high in protein, low in salt, no sugar added, delicious snack that can be enjoyed at the lake with a glass of wine or beer…just a thought.
With Spring finally upon us, I am sure our weekends are filling up quickly and our desire for something new and exciting after such a long, dull winter is plentiful. So, as we start to plan our summers, perhaps add the Town of Oakville to your list, a road trip with a beautiful destination is a summer must.