Make Yourself Romantic: Candles, Wine, and Fresh Food Travels

What if you could go out for the perfect, romantic date that treats you as much as your new love interest or long-term partner? Look no further than the great destinations in and around Sparta, Ontario, a village located a short 10 minutes away from the shores of Lake Erie.

Sparta is also located a short two hours away from major urban centres including Toronto, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York. It is a quiet rural area to visit and perhaps stay overnight at the Sweet Magnolia House Bed & Breakfast – a heritage home built in 1870 in Aylmer, Ontario.

You will find no shortage of historic points of interest in the town of Sparta, and can enjoy shopping at Anything Used & Sparta Country Candles, sampling and selecting wines at the Quai du Vin Estate Winery, and a fresh, local lunch at the Green Frog Tea Room at Pinecroft.

There are many potential stops along your trip to the back roads of Elgin County!
There are many potential stops along your trip to the back roads of Elgin County!

Anything Used & Sparta Candles

Taking your sweetheart into Anything Used & Sparta Country Candles will result in ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ over the huge selection of home décor items, crafts and inspiration, and candles. You can spend as much time as you like trailing through the multiple rooms and floors of the shop, many of them themed.

A cottage-themed room in the upstairs of the building, perfect for summertime!
A cottage-themed room in the upstairs of the building, perfect for summertime!

Sparta Country Candles prides itself on using only first-rate ingredients and selling directly to customers, as well as selling candles at a fraction of most places. Visitors will also find quirky and unexpected used items, such as the Philco TV pictured below, available at random throughout the store. It is a surprising and often joyful place, and you will walk away with lots of candles perfectly scented for romantic dinners.

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Quai du Vin Winery

At the Quai du Vin, you and your sweetheart can sample a variety of delicious wines made in Elgin County’s oldest estate winery. For example, their Dry Riesling 2013 was cool fermented to preserve soft aromas of citrus fruit, apples and perfume. They also have speciality wines and blended wine and fruit juice mixes (e.g. Sangria, Raspberry Merlot, and Cranberry Niagara).

A vast selection of delicious wines!
A vast selection of delicious wines!

You can take a tour of the winery itself, as it offers a rich family history of wine making. The vineyards for this estate were first planted in 1970 with Redi and Roberto Quai both drawing on their European heritage to establish this base (About, 2015). They distribute wine from their farm directly to consumer’s front doors, and produce over 90,000 bottles per year (About, 2015). They also have a beautiful facility available for rent for weddings, receptions, corporate events, and private functions.

Each year, they also present the “Summer Sounds Delicious” music series, where friends gather to hear great music and entertainment while enjoying great wines. What kind of gathering could be better for a romantic outing with your sweetheart?

Looking out from the store into the vineyards.
Looking out from the store into the vineyards.

After visiting Quai du Vin, you will likely want to return again and again to this family of winemakers who devote all of their efforts into creating varietals and speciality Ontario-sourced wines.

Green Frog Tea Room at Pinecroft

To end the day of romantic travels with your sweetheart, you will want to refuel with a delicious, local meal. The Green Frog Tea Room at Pinecroft is not just a restaurant; it is an original log cabin built in 1934 overlooking an expansive pond filled with wildlife. On the property, various artists have found the location to be similar to Northern Muskoka, and you can purchase pottery and artwork in the gift shop which hints at this connection to northern vistas.

Pottery and art available for purchase in the gift shop.
Pottery and art available for purchase in the gift shop.

The food in the Green Frog Tea Room (see their menu here) is fresh, delicious, and prepared with care. It is just the right way to end a trip to Elgin County, which is well-known for its locally-made and sourced food products. The Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings, for example, are dumplings baked into an individual casserole dish and served with a fresh Pinecroft roll.

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Elgin County, and the area around Sparta, Ontario, is the perfect setting for a romantic trip to treat yourself and your partner. It is also a place which maintains its charm throughout the year, and is not a long drive from major urban centres like Toronto, ON, and Buffalo, NY. Start planning your trip today on the Tourism Elgin County website!

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