It feels so good to be back in Grand Bend for the summer. Each year, my family waits with gruelling agony as April finally comes to a close and we enter into the final count down to “opening weekend” in this popular Lake Huron beach town.
My father has been camping in the Bend in the exact same spot for over 50 years now. With about a seven minute walk to anything in town, it is by far more of a home to me than any other home I’ve ever known.
I was just telling my hubs that I hadn't realized how important Grand Bend had become to me. As I've gotten older, the gratitude for all the incredible memories and fabulous times it’s afforded me in my life has deepened, greatly.
Even with it's (historically) party-town nature, Grand Bend provides a nurturing environment and peaceful state of mind with it's beautiful fresh water coastline.
I have recently undergone a massive transformation with my relationship to food and a quest to understand whole foods, healthy eating habits, and delicious nutrition. While providing more than enough outdoor exercise opportunities than anyone can ask for (hiking, swimming, cycling, etc), Grand Bend is a tad more complicated to navigate when you're looking for a quick grab-and-go-something-healthy post run, swim, hike, etc.
Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of delicious eateries in Grand Bend and I I'll boast for many of them as they each create some of my most beloved dishes. But, last weekend we paid our first stop into: Highway Girl, A Finer Food Shop, perched at the corner of River Road and Ontario Street (a three minute walk from the strip).
We walked in to live music and people having lunch in their indoor cafe. On one end of their shop there were handmade soaps, aromatherapy potions, art, pottery, and other gift-shopy items for sale. On the other side of their shop they offered vegan, gluten free, local, house made, and whole-heartedly-full-of-all-the-rich-stuff goodies fit for refuelling or for those seeking delectable treats to bring to their next BBQ.
A friendly shop representative gave me a personal tour of their make your own yogurt parfait bar and a sandwich/quiche lunch menu that sounded delicioso (at the time of writing this post, we didn’t order anything from it).
I chose a small snack of Sheepy Pesto and Seedy Crackers (both from Carmela's in London ON) to go with our Chive Goats Gouda we had just purchased at Hayters Turkey Farm in Dashwood ON, to take with us.
I downed a Peach Ginger Kombucha (Kombucha is my new favourite obsession, from the new local Grand Bend brewery Culture Shock Kombucha. And, in a last minute moment of weakness, I bought two gluten free chocolate cake (one of which was rolled in coconut) donuts which were to die for. Made fresh by Boho Bake Shop in London ON these donuts were so cakey, so dark chocolatey, and the silky coconut glaze “rounded” the whole devouring experience up with sweet vegan perfection.
I have to make mention, I didn't try the house made goodies not because I wasn't sooooooo tempted, but it was more of an awkward time of day thing where I knew I needed certain snacks. The lovely shop representative who cashed me out did however share a sample of the house made sweet potato and avocado brownie with me and it was fudgey heaven.
I have full intentions of revisiting Highway Girl again and trying their house made foods. But overall, I just have to say, I'm so happy that my Grand Bend experience now includes the deep physical satisfaction of healthy, local, plant-based foods and good for you treats.