Originally published May 2021 in The Toronto Star
When April Brown and Sarah Sklash, co-owners of hip Prince Edward County motel The June, were hunting for the perfect spot for their second location, they fell in love with Sauble Beach. “It’s just so laid-back, with that quintessential beach-town feel. You never need to get out of your flip-flops,” says Brown of the pretty community on the shores of Lake Huron.
While the business partners threw themselves into overhauling an old motel with their signature retro girlie style — think 1970s vibes with neon signs, vintage-y pool loungers and pistachio and pink decor — thanks to COVID, they were only open between Labour Day and Thanksgiving last year.
But it was enough to get Toronto tourists titillated (it’s about a 2.5-hour drive away), and now they’re ready to roll for 2021, with pandemic measures, like contactless check-in and room deliveries, already neatly in place. “What’s great about being a motel during COVID is that there are no real communal spaces you have to walk through to get to your room,” says Brown.
Although a big appeal of the area is its namesake shores — 11 kilometres of freshwater beach, baby — and the hiking and splashing to be had in the Bruce Peninsula, including Tobermory and Flowerpot Island, there’s still cute fun to be had in Sauble itself. It’s tiny, so most of the action is pretty close to The June on the main drag called (yup!) Main Street. Here are just a few of Brown’s favourites.
(Both regional travel guidelines and access to specific places can change quickly; always check official updates before you go.)
For the gourmet takeaway: Casero Taco Bus (316 Main St., Sauble Beach)
This double-decker-bus-turned-taco-stand is open on the central drag all summer long, slinging pitchers of tasty margaritas and grilling next-level spicy shrimp tacos (the cauliflower ones aren’t too shabby either). Hit the minigolf links at Just Puttin’ Around a couple doors away to burn it all off.
For the beach wear: Grit & Grace (316 Main St., Sauble Beach)
If Alexis Rose were looking for stylish boho clothes to add to her “Schitt’s Creek” look, this is where she’d shop. “The store is in this adorable boat that’s painted white with pink doors, and they have lots of trendy sundresses and really beautiful beach attire,” says Brown. On-trend jeans, chic linen jumpsuits and, of course, wide-brimmed hats are all on offer to perfect your best “Ew, David!”
For the soft serve: The Beach House Cafe (811 Lakeshore Blvd. N., Sauble Beach)
“This one is great if you want to go for a long walk on the beach,” says Brown of this ice-cream hot spot about a sandy 40-minute walk — or four-minute drive — away from The June. “They make their own soft serve, and we love going there for affogatos [espresso poured over ice cream].”
For the open-air fare: Heydays (11 Sauble Falls Pkwy., Sauble Beach)
Brown doesn’t run The June’s on-site restaurant, but she’s a big fan of taking their hot lobster roll down to the beach to munch while watching the sunset. If you’re not up for a stroll, the sweet patio means guests can dine al fresco on Connecticut cuisine/seafood-shack-inspired dishes like oysters, seafood platters and haute sundaes mere steps from their rooms.
For the craft beer: Tobermory Brewing Co. & Grill (28 Bay St., Tobermory)
If you take a day trip to Tobermory (and seriously, why wouldn’t you?), Brown recommends rewarding yourself for all that nature-ing with a pint of craft beer at the local brewpub, and the town’s famous, piping hot Georgian Bay whitefish next door at The Fish & Chip Place (24 Bay St., Tobermory).