Chasing the Adrenaline in Elora, Ontario
Written by: Brandon Sousa
Elora Mill on the Grand River in summer – © Peter Veraldi. Photo retrieved from http://elora.info/
Elora, a small village in the township of Centre Wellington is well known for its limestone architecture, artistic community and the Elora Gorge. However, this little community packs a big punch for thrill seekers and adventurers.
The 80 foot limestone cliffs guard the Grand River, making Elora Gorge a key tourist attraction for the village of Elora. Growing up as a kid, my family would make its way to Elora once a summer to hike the Elora Gorge Conservation Area trail along the cliff’s edge. There’s concrete steps that walk you right down to the riverbed where another trail takes you along the river. Remember to wear appropriate footwear and enjoy the views.
One Axe Pursuits
Frederick Schuett and his partner Christa Niravong started One Axe Pursuits combining Frederick’s character of living life on the edge and Christa’s passion for adventure and travel. Together, they built One Axe Pursuits into a leader in recreational adventures as well as work in the stunt and film industry.
For those with an appetite for adventure and local cuisine, One Axe Pursuits created a one-of-a-kind experience called Rappelling and Riverfeast. Participants rappel off the 80 foot cliffs of the Elora Gorge, walk through a waterfall with an umbrella and down to the riverbed where a white tent decorated with twinkle lights and natural accents complement the amazing scenery of the Grand River.
Historians in period costumes kicked off the event, sharing interesting historic and cultural information about the area while Chris Sharpe serenaded the group of 12 on the cello. The menu was uniquely local featuring smoked local fish, chicken roulades, fresh seasonal veggies and salad, Elora bread, Elora pasta, and finishing with organic lavender and dandelion ice cream topped with local chocolate.
Be sure to check out all the other offerings from One Axe Pursuits as there’s no shortage of activities to get your heart racing.
Elora Raft Rides
Photo via http://eloraraftrides.com/index.html
Ken Thompson at Elora Raft Rides has created one of the coolest adventures for the thrill seeker looking to take on the white water rapids of Elora. As the only river bugging in North America, Ken will take you through a stretch of river in a single person water craft which is the cross between a white water raft and a floating lounge chair. Sitting feet first, wearing a wetsuit, swim fins and paddle mitts, you navigate the rapids with Ken as your guide.
It took me a little while to get my “sea legs” in the river, with a backwards peddle in order to get the power to move my river bug. The rapids at the time were a Class 3, ensuring quite the exhilarating and somewhat intimidating adventure down the current. But once you’re in the water and have conquered a few rapids, the thrill of the rushing water and grand splashes make it an addicting experience.
Elora Brewing Company
Set in a renovated hardware store, the Elora Brewing Company offers some of the best craft beer in Southern Ontario along with a farm-to-table menu in their brew pub. With humble beginnings as a home brewing passion project, five partners got together to turn this dream into a reality with two years of planning and research.
After a tasting and tour of the brewery, I completed my visit with the highly recommended EBC Burger with farm direct beef and pork patty, brioche bun, tomato, lettuce and the options to add cheddar, blue cheese, house-cured bacon and/or caramelized onions.
Their Three Fields (Triple Grain Lager), Elora Borealis (Citra Pale Ale) and Ladyfriend (IPA) top the list of fan favours, but their seasonal creations are the real reason to visit Elora Brewing Company more than once. Their Wild Saison is the ideal brew of summer and currently on tap at their brew pub. However, I was lucky enough to taste their Lodestar (Dry Hopped Sour Ale) from the vault, earning a very special spot in my heart and taste buds.
Elora’s White Garden
Photo Credit @eloraswhitegarden
Transport yourself into an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel with Elora’s White Garden, a bed and breakfast owned by David and Karen Drimmie. Decorated with an old-world charm, this Edwardian estate in the heart of Elora is the perfect location and escape from your regular life. With a four posted bed and vintage stain glass windows, Elora’s White Garden Inn defines refined vacationing. It also has lavish gardens and a swimming pool so you can enjoy both inside and outside of your accommodations. David and Karen are such great hosts that the real challenge of staying here is checking-out.
Writer’s Note: This trip was in-part sponsored by Elora & Fergus Tourism and the respective tourism operators through in-kind services. All opinions expressed are independent.