willow barrel retreat fox den suite with a fox kit sitting in front with a chilly moose cooler on the deck


Summer is a great time to travel and check out new places. You don't have to travel across provinces, or territories to have a relaxing holiday, you can stay close to home and still have a vacation with all the local amenities you would ever need.

This trip took us up the road to Chatham-Kent, a short 2 hour drive from home.  We took the long way to our accommodations at Willow Barrel Retreat by doing a self guided beer tour.

We started in Wallaceburg at Glasstown Brewing Co. We enjoyed a couple flights and a delicious margherita pizza. The patio out back is right on the water and offers a unique perspective on the town. There also may or may not be a Speak Easy in the vicinity... shh!

Then we headed to Sons of Kent in Chatham. We downed another flight and nibbled on some nachos and salsa and an excellent "jerky jar." This brewery reminded me of JobSite Brewing in Stratford. They are both located in downtown locations and offer an urban twist to the brewery vibe.

The day was starting to get away from us so we headed to Erieau, ON to check into our cabin at Willow Barrel Retreat. We stayed in the Fox Den Suite, the largest cabin available to rent. It was spacious, modern and offered some incredible amenities. Not only did the claw foot bath tub literally take our breath away, but the view of the bay from the living room was worth waking up early for coffee. Although we opted to sip coffee from the dock and catch the sunrise both mornings we were there.

After we checked in, we hopped on a couple bikes and biked into town to catch our third and final brewery of the day, Bayside Brewing Co. We had a couple beer cocktails with our fresh perch supper and watched the sun dip down over the bay.

When we got back to Willow Barrel, our hosts greeted us and offered us some insight to the history of the property. It was an old fishing camp that they revamped to be a retreat. I wish we could've seen a before and after, because Jeff+Jenna have put so much love into this space, you could feel it in every detail.

After a night of face masks (that we purchased in the boutique) we cooked local fares from one of the many farmers market for breakfast and enjoyed a personalized tour of Erieau from Jeff in his 1982 Wagoneer. Carolyne was in heaven since this is her dream vehicle. Ha! We checked out some local shops including Five-Eau that had a yummy iced coffee bevvie, hit the beach and headed back to WBR for a history of Erieau pontoon tour. Which again, was a super cool way to see the small beach town from a totally different angle.

After the tour we went for a walk on the Erieau Marsh Trail, which is minutes from WBR. It's a great trail for young kids, pets and anyone with mobility issues. The trail is nice and firm and relatively flat. The viewing stand is worth the walk. We saw so many turtles, fish and herons from this look out point - yet again another perspective on this natural habitat that Erieau boasts.

We spent the night around the communal campfire with other guests and the resident fox kit playing in the marsh. Watching the fox leap into the marsh after a frog was a memory I will never forget. What a special moment to see this piece of nature, steps away from our cabin.

Willow Barrel Retreat offers so many things to do, both on and off the property. Even if this is just a place to rest your head, you will not soon forget your trip to Erieau, the beach town that stole our hearts.

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