2014 Spring Tour - Following the Butter Tart Trail, Ontario
May 24, 2014, what a beautiful morning for a tour! Linda Smith had organized this tour and there was a good response from our members, with over 35 people attending. Some of the group met at the junction of Highway 11 (it is not named this anymore due to our former Conservative Government, but it will always be Yonge Street, the longest street in the world, to us locals) and Highway 89 (Victoria Street in Alliston). This group of intrepid travelers mostly driving their vintage Buicks of various years and models traveled west along 89 and took the bypass around Alliston. Then west to Ernie Dean Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, the local dealer. A few of us came from Alliston directly and we all met in the dealership lot.
The dealership owner and his staff were expecting us and had cleared an area in the packed lot for us to park. We sure attracted a lot of attention from the employees and some local residents (the dealer had the local radio station announce that the McLaughlin Buick Club of Canada would be at the dealership). This is the dealership where my Buicks have been serviced since moving to Alliston in 2003. I am fortunate to have a designated mechanic who does all my work. Ernie Dean, the founder and father of the current owners, is in poor health and has to travel in a power wheelchair. He is a great man and made the effort to come from his home to see our Buicks. He was excited to see so many vintage Buicks on his lot.
At 11 a.m. our leader called for us to depart for the next leg of our tour. We headed west on Highway 89 for 70 Kilometers to Mount Forest. It was an impressive sight to see these Buicks all in a line. In Mount Forest, Linda had arranged for our group to have lunch at the Spot Restaurant, famous for its Butter Tart Pie. Great food and pretty good service for a large group. I think the count was 38 people. Each Tuesday evening there is a “Cruise In” at this restaurant.
Our next stop, the “Wild Things Plant Farm” at 9688 Baseline Road. This is a very interesting place to visit. The couple that own it retired from journalist careers 12 years ago or so and purchased this special piece of acreage in the country. They raise and sell plants of all kinds, they were an interesting couple and gave us a tour and talk about their interesting life.
Departing there after about 45 minutes we continued our tour in the high country around Mount Forest, heading to Kenilworth, the home of “The Dancing Frogs Antique Shop” where you received a free butter tart with every purchase. It was a cute little shop, loaded with all kinds of antiques and things you cannot live without.
When it came time to depart for our next destination, Keith Robinson’s 1939 McLaughlin would not start. It was traced to a loose battery terminal and they were soon on their way.
Our next destination was back to Mount Forest and a visit to “Mom Munro’s” a small diner famous for their butter tart ice cream, we all crowded in and settled down for more calories. They sold a lot of their ice cream and butter tarts to a group of people who were still full from lunch. All car tours include a lot of eating. We departed Munro’s and found our way back to Highway 89 and the 70 odd Kilometers back to Alliston and the home for most of our group, The Red Pine Inn on Highway 89. We have used this establishment for many car tours over the years, including a very successful Homecoming in 1998, a Buick Driving Enthusiast fall tour in 2007 and a MBCC spring tour in 2010. On the way to the hotel, Keith and Sarah Robinson, had another problem, at the traffic lights in Primrose (Highways 10 and 89) there was a grinding noise and their McLaughlin decided it had enough. A good guess by Keith, was that the differential had failed. Dave and Becky Pettengill, members from Michigan who were on the tour, stayed with them and contacted Bill Hamilton to let us know about the problem. Bob Ward and Matt Harbert, hopped in Bob’s truck and they drove out to see if they could help, NO! CAA was called and the car was flat bedded back to the Robinson’s home in Holt, near Mount Albert, ON. While this unfortunate situation was unfolding, the rest of us enjoyed our dinner at the Red Pine Inn, then drifted off to our beds. Wendy and I, of course went back to our home, about 5 minutes away.
On Sunday morning, another beautiful day, Wendy and I led the second day’s tour, from the Red Pine along very scenic roads north of Alliston, past some outstanding older homes and through some nice little villages, up and down steep hills on our way to Orangeville. At the bottom of one very steep hill at the intersection of Prince of Wales Road and River Road, Bill Hamilton’s 1938 McLaughlin stalled and would not restart. It had been blowing black smoke according to the people behind him. We pushed it out of the intersection and Mel Sadler got out some tools and after a few minutes it was running again. We figured the steep incline had maybe caused the float to stick and flood the engine.
In Orangeville we had arranged a pre-paid lunch at the Winchester Arms, (we frequent this place when we go to the theatre). After lunch we walked a short distance down Broadway to the Orangeville Theatre where 30 of us enjoyed the play “Queen Milli of Galt”. This was a supposedly true story set in a small Ontario town where a retired schoolteacher commissions a headstone naming herself as the widow of the Duke of Windsor after his death in1972.
This was another successful tour organized by members of the Board of Directors, and we thank all the members who took the time to join in the fun and bring out the Buicks.