The ladies of the Purple Grove Women’s Institute enjoyed a day of exploration and new experiences in Southampton as their annual summer adventure, Tuesday.
The first stop was the Rotary Perkins Park where 12 members and two guests learned about Monarchs and the Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores. The native plants and plentiful blooms were admired and photos were taken of the many Monarchs flitting about the park.
Then it was time for lunch at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre. The warm, sunny day was perfect for eating "al fresco" on the patio, and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to share a relaxed meal with friends.
A brief business meeting included plans for future catering commitments, and discussion of responsibilities at the Ripley Fall Fair in September.
The members were eager to experience the museum’s First Nations Cultural Demonstrations program where Saugeen First Nation Elder, Shirley John, demonstrated drumming and singing. Also known as Strong White Buffalo Woman, John has been sharing her spirituality and teachings throughout central and southern Ontario for many years.
In explaining the markings on her drum, she stressed the connectivity between all people, the elements of the natural world and the belief system of the Anishinabe people. It was a timely message and very much in keeping with the principles of the Women’s Institute.
Time was also spent perusing the archives and other exhibits, including fibre art, showcasing iconic Canadian imagery.
The remainder of the afternoon was allocated to exploring the main street of town, including the Southampton Art Gallery and the many shops and businesses.
The group reconvened at the Walker House in Southampton for dinner before the final event, an after-hours tasting party at the Southampton Olive Oil Company.
Owner Dave Rudell explained the origins of this unique gourmet food boutique and the basics of pairing flavoured oils and vinegars.
To get the party started, guests were presented with oil and vinegar combinations and bread for dipping and were introduced to “shrubs” – sparkling water with fruit-flavoured white balsamic vinegar. Additional courses included green salad, fruit salad and ice cream.
Throughout the evening, staff made helpful suggestions and assisted the ladies in selecting complementary flavours for tasting and purchase.
It was a wonderful day spent in a beautiful town, but as one member remarked, it was all about fellowship with friends.