A Fun Day Away Exploring Cottam
By: Hannah Witherbee, October 2022
Take a trip to Windsor-Essex’s Stars Hollow.
There were two things that were front-of-mind the first time I visited Cottam, Ontario last Saturday.
1 – This is was closer than I thought, and 2 – Am I, or am I not living in an episode of Gilmore Girls?
(Although now that I’m in my late-twenties, I’m creeping towards identifying more with Lorelei than Rory at this point in my life.)
Even though I am a self-proclaimed “city girl”… The town of Cottam welcomed us with open arms.
If you would like to explore Cottam this Fall, here are some suggestions on how you could spend your day.
8:30AM – Begin your drive!
Cottam is actually much closer to us than we thought it was. My fiancé and I were coming from LaSalle, and it was the first time we’d realized that Cottam is closer than Kingsville, or Leamington. It took only 30 minutes to get there, and that timeline is roughly the same whether you are in Amherstburg, Windsor, or Tecumseh.
9:00AM – Grab Breakfast at The Grounded Café
105 County Road 34, Cottam, ON.
Right in town centre, this place was SERIOUSLY giving Luke’s Diner vibes. There were only a few tables free when we showed up – which is when you KNOW it’s a good spot. The café was FULL of locals asking for “the regular”, and enjoying the bottomless coffee re-fills. Kevin ordered the Grand Slam, which came with three pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, toast, and homefries. I had the sausage breakfast sandwich, but turned it into a wrap, and added homefries! We did NOT regret that decision when we saw their crowning glory – something called “Em Sauce”. It’s a condiment made in-house by “Em”, who was actually working there during our visit! It was like meeting a celebrity. They had Em Sauce on every table, and were also selling it in bottles at the checkout! 10/10 recommend!
10:00AM – Browse the Trinkets at Forgotten Treasures & Fabulous Finds
107 County Road 34, Cottam, ON
After breakfast, we headed right next door to Forgotten Treasures & Fabulous Finds to check out some of the incredible vintage furniture, collectibles, and jewellery. This place was FULL of reasonably-priced treasures that we wanted to take home with us! We left with a vintage glass decanter, an retro matching necklace/earring set, and a hand-painted masquerade mask from Venice. We might need to think about making another stop here, because I can’t stop thinking about the vintage glass punch bowl and 12 matching cups for $30. We love an excuse to make a fun fall drink for our Halloween guests. If you have any Lord of the Rings fans in your life, my fiancé Kevin was drawn to their impressive display of swords. REAL SWORDS! They are SHARP. This Aragorn replica sword would have come home with us if I didn’t veto the idea! (Sorry, they scare me!)
11:00AM – Buzz over to Sun Parlor Honey
238 County Road 14, Cottam, ON
Sun Parlor Honey is a local, family-owned business, and one of the largest honey producers in the province! This year their 85 MILLION BEES were able to produce over 80 tonnes of award-winning Ontario honey. Some of the bees were even on display in their retail store – behind glass, of course. The store is full of different honey options AND flavours. Whether you’re looking for raw honey, creamed honey, buckwheat honey, OR real honeycombs, they’ve got you covered. They let us taste-test some of their delicious honeys, and we decided on a white liquid wildflower honey, a creamed honey, and also picked up a few of their little honey sticks for a treat on-the-go. Sun Parlor Honey Sticks are similar in shape to pixie stix – but instead of sugar, they are made of flavoured honey! They are easy to grab and convenient to eat. Plus, there were probably at least ten different honey stick flavours. We tried the root beer and the sour raspberry flavours, the latter of which was my favourite.
12:00PM – Release Your Inner Carnivore at Zaccagnini Meats
120 County Road 34, Cottam, ON
Zaccagnini Meats is a custom butchery right in Cottam’s town centre. This place was bumping on a Saturday afternoon, and the staff were still so nice and knowledgeable about all of their products. According to them, their best-sellers are their steaks, but they had everything from turkeys, to pre-seasoned racks of ribs, and even rabbit meat available for purchase. I had a pet rabbit as a kid, so we steered clear of that one (sorry Jasper)! We DID however, get two rib eye steaks and six meat sticks. We need to take a minute, and make some commotion for the Zaccagnini meat sticks. They have two types of meat sticks that they make in-house: a pork, and a beef, and the employee recommended the beef. She said it was her favourite, and was a little dryer than the pork. Best meat stick I’ve ever eaten in my whole life. My fiancé ate four of them in one sitting – I had to fight him for my two!
1:00PM – Grab Some Pastries at Auntie Aldoos Kitchen
123 County Road 34, Cottam, ON
All this shopping had us work up an appetite, so we made a little pit stop at Auntie Aldoo’s Kitchen. Alex from Auntie Aldoo’s is a self-proclaimed “kitchen witch”, who is known for her had-crafted artisanal pies and pastries! Spoiler alert – it did NOT disappoint. We had one of their pumpkin chai poptarts, and it was AMAZING. We also ordered a “Hot Carly”, which is a strawberry tea (served hot or iced) with vanilla cold foam on the top, and the rim was even lined with jam! My fiancé was very interested in the cans of “Liquid Death”, which is a sparkling water that promises to “Murder Your Thirst”. Of course, we had to take a Witches Brew to-go – because it’s spooky season in the county, and we had some exploring to do! Their Witches Brew is actually lavender lemonade with edible black glitter at the bottom of the cup!
2:00PM – Take a Walk in Rotary Park
County Road 34, between lots 161 and 183, Cottam, ON
Only a few blocks away from Auntie Aldoo’s is Cottam’s Rotary Park. Firstly, we enjoyed the walk TO the park because not only are there are a couple of other parkettes on the way, there also was a big pumpkin stand with a cash box where we picked up a couple of pumpkins. That’s the type of town that Cottam is – the pumpkin stand had labelled prices, and a cash box where you used the honour system to pay for your haul. I only had a $20 bill, so we ended up doing math to buy $20 worth of assorted bumpy gourds. No RAGRATS. Once we arrived at Rotary Park, we got to play around on the swings, which we hadn’t done since we were little kids! It has one of the coolest playgrounds I’ve ever seen. They really have come leaps and bounds in playground technology. Playgrounds are much cooler now than they were when we were kids. (Wait… This phrase is even more proof that I’m inching towards my Lorelei era, isn’t it?) We walked off our pastry at Rotary Park by doing a lap of the scenic pond, which included a fountain, many benches, and the cutest little tiny house we ever did see. Obviously, we spent the rest of our walk back to town centre speculating on who lived in the tiny house in the park, and what it possibly could have been built for. Someone needs to write a children’s book about it, or a ghost story! One or the other!
3:00PM – Find Fresh Produce from Pretli’s Green Acre Farm
150e County Road 34, Cottam, ON
Pretli’s Green Acre Farm is a third-generation farm where everything is home-grown and picked fresh daily as needed. They also offer homemade jams, jellies, preserves, and other canned goods, made from much of their very own produce! It was about 3 minutes down the road and full of delicious apples, pears, and root vegetables. (Including the biggest cabbages and cauliflowers I’ve ever seen). We decided to try a little bit of everything; buying fresh apples, homemade salsa, red pepper jelly, and also some perogies and cabbage rolls. I can’t wait to make a Cottam Apple Crisp.
4:00PM – Pre-Game Pizza with Ice Cream at Original Guys Pizza Pies – OG Pizza Cottam
127 County Road, Cottam, ON
We ended our afternoon by grabbing some OG Pizza on the way out. They do the classic, Windsor-style pizza to perfection, and while it’s a take-out location, you can also order at the storefront and enjoy some ice cream while you wait! There were LOTS of flavours of Shaw’s Ice Cream available right at the storefront, which you could order one or two scoops of, in a cup or cone. I chose mint chocolate chip, and my fiancé tested out their grandma’s cupboard flavour, however we both had our eye on a rainbow ice cream option called “Unicorn Toots”! We may forever wonder what Unicorn Toots taste like. Once our pizza was ready, (a large super, obvs), we took it on the road and ate slices on our 30-minute ride home.
If reading isn’t your jam, here’s a video about our experience in Cottam!
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We can’t wait to go back.