There's a surprising lot of interesting stuff going on around here, and this space is devoted to discovering and sharing it. We'll post regular updates on merchants, activities and events. Look in often and soon you'll see why Meaford calls itself "The other Big Apple".

posted January 28th, 2012
Beautiful quilts on display

Quilting seems to go with a small-town, rural way of life, and Meaford’s Friendship Circle Quilters have long been a big part of the community. Now’s your chance to see their work; you still have a week to enjoy their latest exhibit in the Meaford Hall Galleries. The display of nearly 40 stunning quilts (many for sale) went up a couple of weeks ago, and the exhibit runs through Saturday, February 4.

“The Friendship Circle Quilters are glad to bring the warmth back to the Galleries, Friendship Circle Quilters president, Cheryl Smith, told the Meaford Independent. “The quilts look beautiful in this great, light-filled space, and their presence gives the Galleries a very soft, warm and inviting feeling.”

Admission to the exhibit, which includes hand-quilted, pieced, appliquéd, and machine quilted works, is free, but call Meaford Hall to check for open times: 1.877.538.0463.

Meaford quilt

Courtesy The Meaford Independent

posted January 27th, 2012
An Ontario retirement community with a small town look

With many of our virtual focus groups in, we’re starting to get a clear picture of what the Meaford Haven retirement neighbourhood will look like. In keeping with the genuine small-town Ontario heritage appearance that Meaford has naturally acquired over the last century and a half, our prospective residents have voted resoundingly for a “small town Ontario” look for this Southern Georgian Bay retirement community.

The initial survey described that style this way. “This bears a close family resemblance to small towns and villages all around Ontario, such as Meaford. It’s made from modern-day materials and is clearly not 100+ years old, but the buildings make clear reference to the indigenous historic architecture of the area.”

So it seems prospective residents of Meaford Haven want to have it feel and look like an extension of the beautiful town of Meaford.

The other options respondents could choose from generated much less enthusiasm. While a rural look – rustic Ontario farmhouses typical of the surrounding countryside – did get some votes, the Muskoka cottage look and the modern community got a couple of big collective thumbs down. Seems people think that’s been way overdone in other communities in the Southern Georgian Bay area.

Here are a few comments that came in along with the surveys.

Have a look at the Maple Meadows project in Meaford. A very nice looking development. Whatever you do, please don’t go Muskoka Cottage. It will end up looking like all the other Collingwood/Thornbury area developments.

Small town feel, relaxed lifestyle, have lived the big city life and when retired we only want to enjoy the rest of our years in comfort.

The most important thing for me, would be to ensure that the building are adapted towards seniors; no/very few steps, ensuring all properties are built with safety and comfort in mind and opportunities to socialize with other people. For example, slip free floors, possibly cupboards and shelves that rotate, less bending, etc.

I like the look of the old Ontario farmhouses and Georgian manors with zipper edge brickwork, keystone arches, gingerbread trim, oak doors with brass kickplates, stained glass accent windows. An old world exterior but with a modern interior. Like taking an old farm house and stripping it to the clapboards, putting up new stud walls with modern insulation, wiring, plumbing, internet network, entertainment and security wiring, with chair rails and cornice mouldings thrown in for good measure.

See the full results here.

And you can still be part of the design of Meaford Haven by joining in the virtual focus groups.

posted January 20th, 2012
Winter fun on the Apple Pie Trail

Here are a couple of ideas to keep you warm, fit and well-nourished from Blue Mountain’s Activity Central and the Apple Pie Trail.

Ski at Scenic Caves and finish off with a great post-ski snack. Indulge yourself at Scandinave Spa, and indulge your taste buds with a delicious dinner. Or snowshoe at Blue Mountain, warm up with hot chocolate, and then warm up some more at an area restaurant. Here are the details.

MONDAYS ~ Cross Country Skiing Package ~ Save 20%

Ski through a quiet forest of sugar maples, beeches and oaks high atop the Niagara Escarpment at Scenic Caves overlooking Georgian Bay. Use your Apple Pie Trail certificate at one of the many area Trail locations and enjoy local apple products from pie to cider.

Price from: $38.90 pp +tx
(package is based on adult rates, includes ski rentals, trail pass and $12 Apple Pie Trail certificate)

TUESDAYS ~ Spa Rejuvenation Package ~ Save 20%

Refresh with a relaxing spa experience at Scandinave Spa, featuring Nordic baths, cold plunges, sauna, and steam room. Use you Apple Pie Trail certificate at the on-site Café Chartreuse or one of many other Trail locations in the area.

Price: $48.00 pp + tx (19yrs +)
(package includes bath pass and $12 Apple Pie Trail certificate)

FRIDAYS ~ Blue Mountain Snowshoe Tour, Hot Chocolate & Apple Pie Trail Voucher ~ Save 50%

10:30am A guided 1 hour tour for nature lovers will wind gently up the mountain, through the nature trails at Blue and descend back down. Warm up afterwards to a complimentary hot chocolate at Grand Central Lodge and use your Trail voucher at any of the 20 Apple Pie Trail locations from Collingwood to Owen Sound – including five stops in the Village.

Price: $15.00 pp + tx
(package includes snowshoe rentals, guided tour from Blue Mountain Village, Hot Chocolate at Grand Central Lodge and $12 Apple Pie Trail certificate)
(Excluding February 20, March 12-16, 2012)

Pond Skating Spa Rejuvenation Package at scandinave

That’s just a few. Find more here.

posted January 19th, 2012
Winter fitness for retirees — final tips

You’re fuelled, you’re fashionably kitted out, and you’re ready to get fit. Just a few more winter fitness tips to make your retirement fitness fun and beneficial.

Even if you’ve outfitted yourself with grips on your shoes or boots, be careful of ice. Assume that any wet-looking pavement or dark areas on pavement are icy or slippery, and be aware. You might want to consider working out with a buddy (or two!) If you’re alone, let someone know where you’re going and what time you’re leaving.

Colder temperatures can mean your muscles take longer to warm up, so make sure you warm up and stretch – get the blood flowing – before you step outside. You can even do a pre-workout inside. Kick off with some step reps on the stairs, jumping jacks in the living room, or turn on the Wii or Kinect and do a little dance. Outside, start slow, warming up your upper body and muscles as well with some lunges and stretches.

Check the weather. You probably don’t want to run in freezing rain, snow squalls, extreme cold or high wind-chill anyway. And you probably shouldn’t. Fire up the dancercise again.

Pay attention to how you feel – and take action of you’re getting too hot or too cold. And make sure you cool down after your workout. Slow the run to a walk a couple of blocks before home, then stretch a bit once you’re back inside. Finish up with a shower and some fresh, dry clothing to warm up, and pat yourself on the back for taking care of your health and fitness, winter or not.

posted January 14th, 2012
Fuel your body for healthy winter exercise

You’re all geared up for your cold weather fitness routine – or just plain old fun in the snow. Is your body ready?

Nutrition is possibly more important to healthy exercise in the winter. Naturally, normal healthy eating and sleeping routines put you in good shape. But you can do more.

Complex carbohydrates are even more important in the cold months, and if you can have them warm, you help regulate your body temperature to fight the cold Mother Nature’s sending your way. Indulge your body’s natural desire for hearty foods in the winter, and enjoy oatmeal, pasta, toasted whole-grain sandwiches or bagels, and other carb-laden energy sources.

Staying hydrated deserves more attention in the winter, too. When you breathe in cold air, moisture in your body condenses and you exhale it, and sweat evaporates more quickly in cold, dry air. On top of that, studies have discovered that people don’t feel as thirsty in cold weather – even when they should. Start drinking water well before your workout and carry a bottle of cool (not cold) water or sports drink with you on your trek.

(Water also helps your skin, which is fighting a battle against dryness with the wind and the cold.)

Healthy Winter Exercise

To keep your energy level high, carry a healthy snack – an energy bar, nuts or raisins – with you. It can also be a welcome emergency supply if a slip or disruption leaves you outside longer than you planned.

posted January 13th, 2012
Development concept for Georgian Bay retirement community imminent

Meaford Haven has taken more important steps toward finalizing the development concept of the Three-Seasons Community™.

After many discussions with the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, Meaford Haven has decided to not re-route the northerly stream. And our “Fluvialgeomorphologist” (try saying that three times fast. Heck, try saying it one time!) was able to complete fieldwork (before the snow fell) for a more extensive report supporting stream setbacks for the Conservation Authority.

These put us very close to presenting a final plan we’ll be able to present to Meaford Council in the coming weeks. We’ll keep you posted.

posted January 8th, 2012
Gear up for winter fitness

Last week, we looked at how a Meaford winter opens up your fitness options. Here are some tips on how to outfit yourself make your winter workout warm, safe and fun.

Come winter, you can’t just throw on an old T-shirt and a pair of shorts for your exercise. The cold temperature – which can vary in intensity from day to day – affects your choice of garb.

Water, from melting snow, rain, and your own sweat, draws heat from your body to the cold outside air, so keeping your skin as dry as possible goes a long way to keep you warm. Moisture-wicking material against your skin (such as nylon and Lycra), and a water-resistant layer outside as necessary, will keep you dry. Often, a moisture wicking jersey and long underwear, topped by water and wind-resistant top layer will be enough. But sometimes it won’t, so a middle layer of wool or fleece will beef up your warmth. Dressing in layers lets you adjust your clothing to the temperature and intensity of your workout.

Protect your extremities with gloves and warm, wicking socks. Thick, fluffy socks might be tempting, but depending on your activity level, thinner, wicking socks might be better. Remember, if you do prefer thicker socks, make sure your footwear size accommodates them, or you can end up colder due to restricted circulation.

And top yourself off with a toque or a headband; some ventilation in your head area may keep you from feeling overheated (and fogging up those glasses).

Wear running shoes or boots with good traction, or consider adding separate grippers available from various athletic manufacturers, such as

Even though you’re all covered up and it’s a far cry from a day at the beach, the sun – particularly when glaring on snow – can still be a threat, so wear a moderate sunscreen. And don’t forget windburn. Moisturizing cream and lip balm are your best defence. Finally, you might want to consider sunglasses to keep down the eyestrain and stop your eyes from watering in the wind.

At the same time, darker, shorter days mean reduced visibility, and winter conditions might have you tending toward the road rather than the sidewalk, so bright (or even reflective) outdoor gear are a definite plus in early morning, dusk – or even midday.

A tipped cane or walking poles are a perfect final touch for those brisk winter walks, helping keep you stable and forcing your arms into motion to increase your workout benefit. Like cross country poles, they have a tip that grips the snow or ice, but they’re adjustable for a comfortable fit, and usually come equipped with a basket to prevent them from sinking too deeply in the snow. Mountain Equipment Co-op has a great selection.

Ready? Next time, some nutrition advice for cold weather fitness.