Taking the kids to a historic and culturally-unique rural community after a ski and tubing vacation wasn’t exactly met with cheers and excitement. My attempts to expose our kids to diverse places, people and educational experiences was met with some skepticism from even my biggest kid – the one I married. He worried that undertaking a “learning adventure” on my quest to find great staycation locations was going to be a bust. But I really had this drive to expose the kids to new places where they would explore and learn, and for that I knew that St. Jacob’s would fit the bill! It was a place we could go as a family where we could learn about its unique history and the different cultural groups that settled throughout the Southern Ontario region. As I explained in Part One of this series, St. Jacobs Village turned out to be a great place to explore and ranked high on my children’s ‘awesomeness’ scale.
We had come many times to St. Jacobs when the kids were young and visited the quaint village shops, the renowned farmers market, and even purchased custom-made furniture from a local blacksmith. Yet for all our visits we did not realize that there were at least a dozen museums and exhibits within a 5 minute walk of each other, in some cases scattered within the same building. Fortunately we had a great tour guide in our new friend Jenny Shantz, Director of Marketing with St. Jacob’s Village who gave us an insider’s tour of all there is to see and do in St. Jacob’s Village.
We started at the Market Pantry and Bakery because really why leave one of the best things for last? We sampled the maple syrup that is offered from the various maple syrup producers that make up the co-op, about 6-10 different farmers. We held off on sampling some of the yummy treats, much to the kids dismay but I knew that if we were going to get through any of the exhibits or museums, I didn’t want them bouncing off the walls. For dinner we ventured into the family style buffet at The Stone Crock.
We could not possibly experience the abundance of activities this little village has for tourists in our short visit, so this time around we focused on their indoor offerings. With all there was to do the kids fell in love with St. Jacobs and we’re now planning another excursion this summer to experience some of the outdoor fair-weather offerings. What more could we possibly do?
Top 5 Places to explore outdoors in St. Jacobs:
- Maple Sugar Bush Tours
- Horse Drawn Trolley Tours
- The Millrace Footpath – a 2 km trail which is part of the Trans Canada Trail.
- Waterloo Central Railway
- Doon Heritage Village
So in the end, I got my wish – a fun learning adventure. And after a busy day exploring, we were fortunate enough to discover the Destination Inn & Suites in nearby Waterloo, which was an easy five minute drive from the centre of the village. One of the few truly family-considerate facilities that we’ve been too, they did not place any limits our reservation based on three kids, in fact, they offer free accommodation for kids 16 and under and room prices are still based on double occupancy. You can book a room for five but only pay for the two adults. Complimentary warm and cold breakfast buffet adds to the value. And after a long day of exploring and learning, the kids only had eyes for their indoor heated pool. I opted for the Hot Tub! The staff were friendly and helpful and the lodgings were clean and roomy and the price was hard to beat.
For a complete listing of things to do, what to eat, and where to stay you can go to St. Jacob’s Tourism Site at http://www.stjacobs.com/
Rania Walker is a busy mom of three kids who loves to travel and is always looking for deals and tips to allow her to do so with her “large” family of 5. Through her company R.W. SPEAKBoutique she offers Media Training and On-Air Presentation Skills; P.R. & Marketing Consultation, and Corporate Training. A television producer and host, she is a woman of very many words who loves to share information, especially tips and tricks to make life just that little bit easier.