This summer I have been enjoying some travelling close to home in Ontario. I pack up my Travelocity Roaming Gnome and two crazy girlfriends who are always up for an adventure and hit the road. We had a lovely adventure with an outdated GPS and a drive to the Village of Erin and as we were driving back on the old dirt roads we remember the Village of St. Jacobs.
Road Trip to the Village of St. Jacobs Ontario
The Village of St. Jacobs is located in the Waterloo region and is rich with history since its inception in 1852. The town is home to over 4,000 Mennonites who live on farms in the surrounding area. These Old Order Mennonites continue to live and work their farms in keeping with the traditional heritage of the community.
St. Jacobs Farmers Market
The St. Jacobs Farmers Market is often the prime destination for tourists visiting the area. Its one of the few all-year round farmers markets in Ontario and features local Mennonite farmers produce, baked goods, specialty eats and an eclectic mix of flea market wares. Summers are when the market is in full swing, with outdoor vendors competing for your attention and the main building hosts food venders on the ground floor and crafts and hobby venders on the second.
St. Jacobs Outlet
Across from the Farmers Market is the St. Jacobs outlet. I was surprised by how commercialized this area has gotten since the last time I have been there. The Outlet mall (with an odd website http://www.embraceyourchange.ca/) is not the most exciting outlet mall I have visited, but has a few name brand stores that might interest you. Surrounding the outlet is where the growth and development is shockingly apparent – furniture stores, hotel chains and even a Walmart have creeped into the once quiet country destination. Traffic on a Saturday morning was insane as people fight to find parking to get into the Outlet and the Farmers Market. I suggest going in earlier in the day rather than later!
Village of St. Jacobs Ontario
A short drive from the Farmers market is St. Jacobs Village. A small strip of street featuring small community stores ranging from home décor, clothing and quilting goods, jewelry, yummy treats and baked goods and antiques. The street has changed some but I was happy to see some of my favourites including: Angel Treasures, the Stone Crock Bakery, Christmas in St. Jacobs and Chocolates N More.
I discovered a new favourite store on this trip to St. Jacobs Village. A gift store by the name of Pink Papaya. It’s hidden away on the second floor of one of the first buildings on the street (just follow all the Tiki Umbrellas) and is filled with fun quirky gifts, country collectables and even some elegant housewares.
Another store to note is the Toy Soup toy store. Even if you’re not searching for toys you have to hit this store just to see it inside. The Mennonite church has been converted to a store and beneath all the stained glass church windows are aisles and aisles of toys and puzzles. Very cool store.
Of course no trip with the girls can be complete without an awesome lunch. We lucked out just as the sun came out we were seated on the patio of St. Jacob’s grill. A great pub like restaurant which sits in the middle of the Stone Crock Restaurant (a buffet of comfort food) and the Stone Crock Bakery.
St. Jacobs is a great place to visit for a fun summer day. Be sure to pack a cooler with ice for all the treats and produce you will buy at the farmers market. If you love a nice walk among some great country stores you’ll have more selection than you can image in St. Jacobs. From artisans, jewellery, fashion and collectables there is something for everyone.