A tipple after a day on the trail! I was reminded a couple weekends ago of those simple but oh-so true words of American philosopher-poet Max Eastman: "A smile is the universal welcome." I had spent a gorgeous Saturday hiking with The Bruce Trail Club through the area around Limehouse and Speyside, Ontario. It was one of those perfect one-hike-suits-all outings: Interesting rock formations, a couple caves to explore, quiet hours sauntering along green-leaf-canopied trails, a handful of hills to slog up and slide down (one must work up a bit of sweat) and a few meadows to cross under the mid-day sun. In other words, it was an energetic, 15-km hike which merited, so a few of us thought, a just reward: a cold pint. We got the cold brew – and along with it a mighty fine welcome and big smile when we crossed the door, which isn't always the case in some pubs when you show up a bit muddied and the worse for wear. I remember turning up at a pub in Hamilton one afternoon last spring with a different group of hiker friends and getting a bit of a frosty welcome. "You look like a hiking group," that particular barkeep intoned as if we were carrying with us the bubonic plague. Granted, at the end of a day on the trail we didn't look our best, but we figured we had what the publican wanted: cash in our pockets coupled with a powerful thirst. So you can imagine how thrilled we were on our recent Bruce Trail Club hike through Limehouse to end up at a pub in downtown Georgetown, Ontario, and receive the heartiest of welcomes. Our hiking leader pointed us to The St. George. We walked in, the gal pulling drafts looked up at us, and said, "Are you folks hikers?" Silent pause. "Yep," we said. "Great! We love hikers! Grab yourselves a table." With that she promptly served up the tastiest Smithwick's I'd tasted in a long time, or at least since the previous Thursday. I felt like we'd stumbled onto the Shangri La of hikers' pubs. Should you find yourself in the heart of Georgetown, Ontario, with time to kill and pocket money to spend, I vouch for the welcome you'll get at The St. George. Our restorative hour at that friendly spot prompted me to recall William Blake's famous words: “A good local pub has much in common with a church, except that a pub is warmer, and there's more conversation. ” Here's the Bruce Trail where you'll work up your thirst:
(Photos courtesy of Bruce Trail Club)And here's the spot in Georgetown where you can quench your thirst: The St. George:
The St. George Pub, Georgetown, Ontario: Where hikers are welcome...anytime.The Bruce Trail is one of the most beautiful wonders of southern and central Ontario. The trail begins in Queenston, Ontario, not far from Niagara Falls, continues due north through Hamilton, Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills, Walters Falls, Owen Sound and Wiarton, following the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, and finds its way to Tobermory. For more information, visit brucetrail.org.