A Landsby Jaunt to Woodstock, Ontario
Whether you’ve heard of it or not, Woodstock, Ontario provides an off-the-beaten-path trip full of unique tastes, fun activities and passionate people. Known as the Friendly City, Woodstock is home to local coffee roasters sharing their craft, award-winning cheesemakers, chocolatiers, cultural stops and much more along the way. While there are so many ways to explore, here are just a few of our favourites. We suggest starting your trip with these stops then staying the night at the beautiful Chateau la Motte Guest House in Woodstock’s historic district. The next day, head out on the Oxford County Cheese Trail to discover cheesemakers, mouth-watering restaurants, unique shopping and one-of-a-kind experiences.
1. Early Bird Coffee
Where: 815 Julianna Dr. Woodstock, ON. (View Map)
This micro-roaster is the first of its kind in Woodstock and has made a big splash! Pop in to grab delicious beans in a variety of roasts (we love the Peacock roast), locally-made baked goods (Wednesdays and Fridays offer up fresh donuts), hot and cold drinks and coffee accessories like French presses and grinders.
If you want to really get a little more out of your visit, consider grabbing a tasting flight. Similar to a flight of beer, this flight of coffee offers the full range of roasts as well as tasting notes on the region the beans were grown in and how that shows up in the roast. Want to really get your hands in on an experience? Early Bird’s Roasting Lab lets you join roaster Elio Caporicci as you roast your own blend together. You’ll sample local baked goods, do a guided tasting together and go home with your own bag of the coffee that was roasted right in front of you!
2. Upper Thames Brewing Company
Where: 225 Bysham Park Dr. #9 Woodstock, ON. (View Map)
Pull up a stool to the bar, grab a table or enjoy the sunshine on the patio at Upper Thames Brewing Company! Serving up an impressive rotation of seasonal beers plus a few flagships, this brewery is all about keeping things local. That’s why you’ll find loads of local goods like soap, clothing and even dog biscuits in their bottle shop plus beers using local ingredients like their Welcome to the Dark Side stout using chocolate from Habitual Chocolate or the Mocha Latte Porter using beans from Early Bird Coffee.
We recommend ordering up yourself a Dark Side of the Moo flight to see what we mean about their love for local! This flight includes the previously-mentioned stout, chocolate from Habitual Chocolate and cheese from Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese that has been soaked in the beer! Of course, there are some pretzels in there for good measure too. You’ll receive a tasting card that talks about the ingredients on the flight and how they interact with one another as well.
Want to really up the ante? Sign up in advance for their Brewed Exploration Experience which brings you behind the bar so you can learn about brewing from hop to glass. You’ll even get to bottle your own beer and create a label for it!
3. Habitual Chocolate
Where: 389 Dundas St. Woodstock, ON. (View Map)
Chocolate-lovers unite! Habitual Chocolate has Canada’s largest selection of bean to bar chocolate and makes it all in house! On chocolate-making days you can watch Philppe, the chocolatier, work on his craft through a viewing window.
Also on deck? Handcrafted ice cream in a great variety of flavours. Check out their Oxford County Cheese Trail Ice Cream Sample Pack to try a fun variety including their famous brie ice cream using Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, craft brew ice cream using Upper Thames Brewing, vanilla drizzle using their own chocolate and a rotating ice cream using products from neighbouring farms like strawberries, blueberries and pumpkin.
4. The Woodstock Art Gallery
Where: 449 Dundas St. Woodstock, ON. (View Map)
Of course, there are other things to do in Woodstock besides eat (but of course, we could fill your day on food alone). The Woodstock Art Gallery is just a short minute walk from Habitual Chocolate and has a stunning variety of pieces from local, national and international artists. Discover two floors of gallery space as you wander through this free gallery- Oxford’s largest. With interesting exhibits being switched out all the time, there’s always a reason to come back!
5. Dinner at SixThirtyNine
Where: 639 Peel St. Woodstock, ON. (View Map)
Wind down your day with a delightful dinner at SixThirtyNine, Oxford’s first FeastON-certified restaurant. Inspired by the seasons and Oxford’s bountiful farms, Chef Eric Boyar and his team craft delicious dishes plated beautifully. With 30 seats in-house and a few more tables on the patio, the menu changes regularly, each better than the last.
If you have any questions about any of the Woodstock experiences mentioned on this blog, please feel free to reach out. Happy adventures!