Eugenia Falls and The Flying Chestnut
Long ago, prospectors were drawn to Eugenia during the Gold Rush of 1852. While their dreams of riches came crashing down when their ‘gold’ was declared pyrite, visiting this quaint village for a winter snowshoe and an epic waterfall view remains a golden experience.
The village of Eugenia is located on Grey County Road 13, just south of Kimberley and just north of Flesherton. With the Bruce Trail running along both the west and east side of the Beaver River near Eugenia Falls, there are several options for snowshoeing in the area.
To park at the Eugenia Falls Conservation Authority, turn west off County Road 13 onto Pellisier Street. While the parking lot is not maintained in winter, the plow has cleared enough space for a few vehicles to pull off to the side. Watch for snowmobiles as several passed by this roadside pull-off while we were loading and unloading. Visitors are also welcome to park across Grey County Road 13 at the Eugenia Emporium.
Since we were snowshoeing with two young children, we opted for the very short but very rewarding Eugenia Falls Side Trail. The side trail itself is just 400 metres and combines with a main section of the Bruce Trail to create an 800-metre loop. The loop is entirely within the Eugenia Falls Conservation Authority and exits the main trail at kilometer 56.6 before re-entering at kilometre 56.9.
The loop affords amazing views of this ancient intra-glacial waterfall that plunges 30 metres into the gorge. A cement wall offers a safe spot to overlook both the gorge and the falls, providing amazing views of the Beaver Valley en route.
Those wanting to extend their snowshoe loop can make use of the new pedestrian bridge that runs alongside the current traffic bridge on County Road 13. This lets you cross over to the west side of the river, where you can view a stone arch that marks one end of a hundred year old tunnel dug in an attempt to harness the power of the river. You can then double back on the trail, cross the bridge again and head back to the parking lot.
Alternately, you can continue south-west on the Main Trail to the Upper and Lower Hogg’s Falls Side Trails. This route requires a longer in-and-back snowshoe to return to your car.
The Eugenia Falls Side Trail was passable on our visit but ample snow is needed to cover the many sizeable rocks that line the cement-viewing wall. Poles or a hiking stick are helpful. Coverage was better in the cedar forest North of the falls where there are beautiful views of the gently flowing Beaver River.
In all, we went a modest 1 kilometre in 56 minutes on our adventure… and our little ones were totally done. Snowshoeing with kids is a ‘unique’ experience and everyone agreed it was time to hit The Flying Chestnut.
To reach The Flying Chestnut, continue east from the parking lot to 199 Pellisier Street. Here, the restaurant has made its home in the refurbished Eugenia General Store. Chef/owner Shawn Adler has created something truly magical here in the heart of Eugenia. “We wanted to create an atmosphere of inclusiveness,” explains Adler of the casual atmosphere. “It was a general store so everyone would have been through here: Kids, adults, elders. We didn’t want white table cloths and linens, we wanted to keep it very casual but with very fine food.”
And the food is undoubtedly fine…. we timed our snowshoe to take in The Flying Chestnut’s legendary Sunday brunch. With an eclectic menu that incorporates as much local and organic food as possible, Adler says his main goal is to make sure no one leaves hungry. Judging by our plates, there’s little chance of that happening.
The Flying Chestnut is open Thursday to Sunday for dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and serves Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each weekend. Sunday night features a family-style meal served with platters and bowls for each table. During the summer months, Thursday nights feature $30 three-course pizza or grill meals, prepared on the outdoor oven. Once a month on Friday nights, some of the areas best live musicians pack the house. The next Live Music night is February 15th and features Hollow Hills and Nick Ferry.
Reservations are a good idea as The Flying Chestnut fills up quickly. Between his busy days at The Flying Spatula and The Flying Chestnut, Adler doesn’t maintain a website but he’s always happy to chat! Call ahead at 519-924-1809.
Click here for a PDF map of Eugenia complete with safety tips and to learn more about winter waterfalls hikes in Grey County.