Dunnville, Ontario

Famous for the spectacular Elora Gorge and its 80 foot limestone cliffs descending into the Grand and Irvine Rivers. Adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers regularly flock to Elora, Ontario to enjoy some fun and take in the natural beauty.

Many original stone buildings from the 1800′s still make up the downtown village centre. Over the decades, Elora has maintained its old world charm and the century-old buildings have been transformed into unique galleries, gift shops, artists studios and charming restaurants creating the perfect four-season shopping and dining destination.

Elora is a cultural haven with so much to offer. Rich in live music, visual arts, crafts, up-scale boutiques, natural beauty, architecture, culinary flavours, and diverse in culture; Elora provides an alternative lifestyle not typically found in small, rural communities in this day and age. Discover for yourself what makes Elora so unique and you will fall in love too!

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A Picnic with Grandma
by Shelley Norman

shelley norman grandma picnic“Grandma! I’m here!” an excited little voice called. I heard the front door bang against the wall, then a thunder of feet heading towards the kitchen before a smiling, blond, curly hair topped head peeked around the corner. “Is that my little Becca?” I teased turning from the counter where I was packing sandwiches into a picnic basket. “Yep! Look I’m wearing my new outside running shoes Mommy bought me for school, and my new pink and purple backpack,” she pointed over her shoulder as she turned to give me a better look. “I’ve got a surprise in there for you,” she grinned. “But you can’t have it until we have our Grandparent’s Day picnic.” “I guess I’ll just have to be patient then,” I pretended to look sad. “But do you think, maybe, I could have a hug to hold me over until then?” I crouched down and my little five year old granddaughter ran over and wrapped her arms around my neck in a big hug, just as her mother walked into the kitchen. “Hey Mom! I see you found my little speed monster,” she ruffled Becca’s hair. “Ok, I’m off. You two have a great afternoon together. See you later.” “Bye dear,” I waved. “Okay Miss, are you ready for our picnic?” “Yeah!” Becca danced across the kitchen pulling a chair up to the counter to peer inside the basket at what I’d packed. “Hey! There’s no cookies in here!” “Well we can’t have that, can we,” I grabbed a plastic container from the cupboard and with Becca’s help selected the biggest cookies from the jar to take with us. I added the cookies, a couple bottles of water and some napkins to the basket and closed the top. “Good to go!”

We headed out the backdoor of my old farmhouse and toward the path that lead to the meadow at the back of the farm. “Ooh! Look at all the butterflies Grandma,” Becca pointed at the collection of winged insects flying amongst the wildflowers that decorated the fence line. “I really like the orange and black ones. My teacher read us a book about them at school on Friday. They’re called Monarchs, right?” “That’s right!” I reached over and broke off a pretty purple wild flower to tuck in Becca’s hair. “How was your first week of school?” “It was great! I got Ms. White for a teacher. And she let us choose our own cubbies, so mine is beside Ella’s this year. Way better than beside stinky old Liam’s like last year,” Becca stuck out her tongue and made a face at the remembrance. “His cubbie always smelled like dirty socks.” I smiled, “well I’m glad you don’t have to suffer through that again this year.” “Me too,” Becca nodded in agreement.

When we reached the meadow gate, Becca ran ahead towards our favourite picnic spot under the old pear tree. “Let’s put the blanket right …here,” she pointed at a spot that was nice and flat and free from windfall pears. “Perfect,” I said setting down the basket and opening the top to retrieve the blanket. Becca spread it out then collapsed in the middle. “That sure was a long walk, I think I need cookies to regain my strength,” she smiled at me hopefully. “Good try, but sandwich first,” I handed her a ham and cheese with mustard, her favourite. Then got a turkey sandwich out for myself. We sat under the tree and ate our sandwiches while Becca told me more about her adventures during her first week of senior kindergarten. When she was done, I leaned back and looked up into the tree, “gee I’d really like one of those nice ripe pears up there. But how can I ever reach one, they are so high?” Becca bounced to her feet, “don’t worry, Grandma! I’ll climb up and get you one.”

Becca loves an excuse to climb trees, and this old pear is a perfect climber. She scrambled up into the branches faster than a squirrel could have. “Do you want a big one, or a REALLY big one?” she asked looking down at me. “I think a regular big one will do just nicely,” I said watching as she selected what she felt was the perfect one and tossed it down to me. She selected another pear and stuck it in the pocket of her sweatshirt before climbing back down. We returned to our places on the blanket and bit into our fruit, juice dribbled down Becca’s chin and she wiped it on the sleeve of her shirt. When she was finished she grabbed her backpack which she’d set by the basket, “are you ready for your surprise?” she asked opening the zipper. I nodded. “Ok, close your eyes,” she paused waiting until I had, “now hold out your hands.” I did so, although a bit leary remembering the time many years ago my son asked the same thing and he placed a squirmy snake in them, but what I felt placed in my hands wasn’t moving or scaly thankfully. “Ok, you can look now!” Opening my eyes, I saw a lovely yellow paper sunflower, in the centre was a picture of a very familiar blond curly top little girl, and on the petals was written ‘I Love Grandma’. “That’s a picture of me!” Becca said. “And I printed all those words all by myself!” read more Shelly Norman “It’s wonderful!” I exclaimed reaching over to give the little artist a hug. “I can’t wait to hang it on my fridge!” Becca beamed. “But before we head back to the house to do that, there is one more thing we need to do.” Becca looked confused for a second until I pulled the plastic container from the basket. “We need to regain our strength for the walk back by eating cookies!” “Grandma, you’re so silly,” she laughed and reached over for one as I pulled the lid off.