This started out a a very long post with many photos. So much so, that I had to cut it in half because I didn’t want to slow down anyone’s computer trying to load it. I tried to pare it down to fit onto one, but I just had to include them all. When you find a town that you absolutely love, you want to share it with everyone. That is how I felt on our visit to Elora during our camping trip this summer.
Every street we turned onto was more pretty than the last. People seem to really take great pride in their homes, gardens and shops.
There were lovely window boxes, planters and gardens at each shop. The houses were well cared for and the public areas were tidy. It was like being in a storybook.
There is also an incredible amount of history in this little town that just celebrated it’s 190th birthday. Even the liquor store is an old armory from 1865!
Aside from all the great old houses (you all know I have a soft spot for them), there are so many lovely shops in this town. The entire main street shopping area feels like a small British town.
The backs of many of the stores are on the Grand River. It reminded me of a trip my family took to Bath, England years ago, where the stores were on Pulteney Bridge, overlooking the river.
For as many polished buildings you see, you’ll find more rustic ones too.
This home decor store is in a large brick and plaster building, with large rustic window trim featuring carved designs.
At the corner of Geddes and Metcalfe sits The Darby House, a flatiron building that was built in two stages in 1965 and 1870.
In the past it has been known as Gordon Block or The Iroquois Hotel and is one of the oldest hotels in the province and country. It was the only hotel in Elora to make it through prohibition in the 20’s and 30’s.
The town centre even boasts it’s own independent movie theatre. The Gorge Cinema screens large blockbuster films along with great independent films as well.
Just down the street and right beside the Grand River (which we went tubing down), is the Elora Mill Inn and Spa. Originally built in 1833, the mill has been burned down and rebuilt several times. It was a working mill up until 1974, when it was turned into a 5-star hotel. It is currently under restoration and renovations.
As you walk down the main streets, there are so many fun and quirky shops like The Crooked Door consignment shop. The door really is crooked!
Among all the shops, there are some really cute restaurants and cafes, like the Uptown Cafe, which was recommended to us by some store owners nearby. We already had lunch plans at the campground, but it was fun to check them out. I loved their rustic wood and metal signs.
If we’d had more time there, I would have liked to check out Cork (great name for a restaurant) which specializes in wines and craft beers.
I was in love with all the amazing cowgirl boots at Steve’s Sheepskin and Leather Shop.
They even had a boot there worn by Dolly Parton!
Who knew that nestled in a quiet Ontario town would be a store filled with Parisian treasures. Pariscope is full of gorgeous linens, dishware and toiletries. These handmade soaps would make great gifts.
We even spotted Beyonce the Chicken while walking around.
Every shop seemed to have a fat, old dog laying in the doorway, greeting customers and neighbours who walk by.
This one didn’t even move from his spot while people stepped over him. He had more important things to worry about – like napping.
Although the cutest greeter we saw was at a different store. While the shopkeeper was out front setting up a display, we walked into this sweet little environmentally friendly store. There was a baby sitting in a swing by the cash register, so I jokingly said hello and asked if he was minding the store while his mom was outside. To my surprise, I heard a response back from the infant….
…although it turned out that it was his big sister up in the loft above the store who was talking for him. She offered Garrett and I to go up there and play dolls if we’d like. We politely declined and she told us to come back again. Such a sweet shopkeeper-in-training.
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing part two of our visit to Elora, highlighting the three stores that we liked the best. I think you’re all going to love some of the awesome things that they have.