This was written in 1990. Somethings have changed, some things have not. I thought because a nice weekend is predicted that I would publish this old 1990 tourist blog.
Today’s drive takes you to four small villages founded at the turn of the century: Plum Hollow, Athens, Delta and Forfar. About a 90-minute drive south of Ottawa, you can purchase locally-made cheeses and candy, discover the history of the area through the Delta Mill Museum and admire the murals of Athens.
First stop is Plum Hollow, where Blackland’s Country Candy factory is situated in a century-old building that used to house the Plum Hollow Cheese Factory. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and while you can still purchase locally-made cheese there, you will also find a tempting assortment of fudge, hard candies, jams and jellies and elegant filled chocolates. Colored wicker baskets and flower-printed boxes can be made into a gift hamper, filled with items from the shop. Choose your favorite of 16 flavors of hard ice-cream.
To get to Plum Hollow, take Hwy. 7 southwest. At Carleton Place, join up with Hwy. 15 which heads south through Smiths Falls. Connect with Hwy. 29 as you leave Smiths Falls and drive 36 kilometres south to Toledo. Veer to the ET3 right down Road 8, and turn left down Road 5 after Bellamy’s Mills. Another eight km will take you to Plum Hollow.
The village of Athens, farther south, has become famous in recent years for its historical murals painted on the sides of shops. Scenes take you back to a summer band concert and a picnic at the turn of the century and the working life of the community. Look for the likeness of “Duke,” the resident German shepherd, at the bottom corner of the lumber mill scene on the H & R feed store.
To get to Athens from Plum Hollow, drive south down Road 5 for eight km. Park on the main street and wander the sidewalks to view the murals. Before you continue your trip, take a few minutes to walk along the side streets of Athens. There are many beautifully kept old buildings, some of which are represented in the murals. Head south to Church Street and wander through the cemetery. Many of the moss-encrusted stones date back to the early 1800s and provide a glimpse into the hardships and events that ruled the lives of the people of the area.
Head north from Main at the Pro Hardware store. Next stop is the village of Delta, one of the earliest settlements in the township. From Athens, take Hwy. 42 west for 15 km. Delta is home to the oldest mill in Ontario, a beautifully preserved grist mill that’s the subject of many Keirsted paintings.
In the early 1800s this mill was thought to be the best building of its kind in Upper Canada and today the Delta Mill Society is working to restore the building to working order. You can visit the mill for free between 10 and 5; displays of equipment in the ground-floor museum depict the history and operations of the mill and its patrons. You can purchase note-card photographs of the building at the gift counter. Now continue on to Forfar, 10 km west along Hwy. 42.
Sunflower Bakery in Perth has moved to forfar . We bought some amazing multigrain bread and fresh buns , pies , brownies etc all made there . also a huge selection of variety of cheeses which we bought 4 varieties , and tons of other great items other stores do not carry . They also make fresh sandwiches , soup and have an ice cream counter . Open 7 days a week . Fresh baking is a huge plus for the area
The Forfar Dairy (open today from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.) is on the left as the highway veers west through the village. Here you can purchase Cheddar, which is aged up to four years, as well as whey, cream and various butters. The shop also sells flavored teas and mustards, cloth bags of dressing and muffin mixes as well as hard candy and honey. Next door, the Forfar Dairy gift shop is open from 10 until 5.
Town draws crowds for curds By Doug McCann Visitors can always tell when it is 1 p.m. in the tiny village of Forfar. A small crowd of cheese fanciers gathers in the entrance of the Forfar Cheese Factory, eager to buy those first bags of fresh curds. There are usually lots of curds left by 2 or 3 p.m., but somehow I p.m. is the magic hour for true curd connoisseurs. This hamlet of perhaps 40 people has been put on the map by its cheese factory. The factory’s motto is, “The Cheese that made Leeds County famous” in reference to its winning several prizes for Cheddar throughout the years. Dave Dean, the factory’s master cheesemaker in residence, has made Cheddar cheese for 40 years, 12 of them at Forfar. In recent years, the factory began producing flavored ‘pop’ cheeses like garlic and caraway seed, which are excellent. But, to get a better idea of what this little factory stands for, try its Cheddar: It’s some of the best in the world. For a special treat, buy a wedge of four-year-old rare Cheddar. It costs a bit more but is well worth the extra price. The factory does not provide tours of its facility, but you can peer through the viewing window and watch the various stages of cheese-making. You might meet one of the cheese-makers if they have time, but don’t count on it since the staff keeps busy producing about 1,000 pounds of cheese per day. The Forfar factory’s cheese prices are often less than those of the large food stores. The cheese curd, is $1.95 per pound while other cheeses range from about $2.00 to (5.00 per pound, depending on age. To get to Forfar, drive past Smiths Falls and Portland on Highway 15 until you reach Crosby, about GO miles from Ottawa. Then, make a sharp left onto Highway 42 and drive about three miles until you reach Forfar.
CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa JournalOttawa, Ontario, Canada02 Aug 1980, Sat • Page 128
Some time ago I posted the photo of my grandfather, Clayton Coon, coming back to the Young’s HIll farm. He had taken milk to the Forfar Cheese factory and was returning with the milk cans loaded with whey for the pigs. That’s the photo on the right, which I have re-posted. The photo on the left mother took (1928), probably to showcase the flowering trees but, more importantly, if you look to the lower left you can see those same milk cans stored ourside to dry. I am always curious about how they did things–Roger Irwin
If you’re ready for a meal, continue about 10 km west along Hwy. 42 to the village of Newboro and the Stagecoach Restaurant. It serves brunch from 11 until 2 and is open for other meals until 9 p.m. You can return home through the scenic village of Westport, then up County Road 10 to Perth, or retrace Newboro Dennis Leung, Citizen your route back to Hwy. 15. Many readers have given us tips about this lovely area.
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They actually hadn’t produced any cheese there since the early ’80s, probably strong armed out of business along with other small producers by the likes of Kraft or Parmalat, an interesting story in itself.
Since then it functioned as a candy shop, and an antique shop but that’s the limit of my memory. The loss is a historical one for the area, one less monument to a time when a small producer could thrive along with the surrounding farms, etc.
It was a very picturesque factory located on a hill. Approaching eastbound on the road it pops into view across a golden meadow, approaching westbound it springs into view at a sharp curve in the road, the golden meadow stretching out behind it.