Wineries Breweries & Cider Houses | Port Franks

The surprising new destination to delve into exciting new wines, sudsy craft beers and tangy ciders – Ontario’s West Coast, Lake Huron

 Wineries: Enjoy a Charcuterie Board and a glass of local wine! 

Wine Vines Vineyard - Port Franks Getaway Guest Tour
Wine Vines Vineyard

Alton Farms Estate WineryOur founding philosophy remains the same – make a high quality, food friendly, traditional vinifera wine. With several years of success under our belt, winemaker Marc Alton continues to push the boundaries and experiment with blends of Vinifera and cold-climate grapes, challenging conventional thinking about winemaking. A Geo Engineer and Marine Geologist by training, Marc knew that if you could grow peaches in an area, then you could grow grapes. Completely self taught, Marc challenges traditional beliefs about vineyard management and winemaking. Never one to call herself a winemaker, Anne Kurtz-Alton has a nose and palate that have guided Alton Farms Estate Winery from one successful vintage to another. Using her love of wine as her guide, Anne is also completely self-taught. – more info Tip: Make sure you check out their unique tastings!

Dark Horse Estate WineryOur Story: As the first and only estate and tourist destination winery in Huron County, we are the dark horse in this race – an enigmatic contender who, by hard work, tenacity, and heart, achieves undreamed of success. In the spirit of that iconic steed, we call ourselves Dark Horse Estate Winery, and we are creating a new wine-producing agri-tourism region in Ontario that truly embodies our name. Dark Horse Estate Winery could not have been conceived of or built in any place but Huron County. John and Sue Ann Rasenberg combined their passion for farming, a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and the dark, rich, loamy soil of this beloved Huron County to build an agri-tourism destination winery that would engage and delight visitors from around the world. John and Sue Ann, with their daughter Ashley and son-in-law Craig, established the winery and vineyard in 2014. Just minutes from the shores of Lake Huron and its world-famous sunsets, the 85- acre estate is a winery, vineyard, and special event venue. The centrepiece of the estate is a 31,000 sq. ft. manor house, which includes a full-service banquet facility, ballroom, state-of-the-art production facility, barrel cellar, tasting room, elite VIP Lounge, and patios overlooking the vineyards. more info Tip: don’t forget to order some artisan cheese to compliment your wine.

Schatz WinerySchatz Winery is a family owned and operated business located on the shores of Lake Huron at St. Joseph.  Second generation innkeepers Frank & Liz Ihrig continue to build on the legacy of founders Christa and the late Ernst Ihrig by maintaining the unique European heritage of the Inn while mindfully innovating along the way. Today, the horse paddocks have been lovingly repurposed to house a growing family of hybrid and common grape varietals in the 5-acre family-run vineyard that is Schatz Winery. 5 Acres of Vineyard Grapes: Marquette, Petite Pearl, Siegerrebe, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, La Crescent
TIMELINE: 2014 > Plans for Vineyard Begin, 2015 > First Planting, 2017 > First Harvest, 2018 > First Vintage Release, 2019 – Schatz Winery Opensmore info FYI: Also home to the Hessenland Inn with restaurant & accommodations!


Maelstrom Winerymore info

 Breweries: Craft Beer Micro Breweries & Great Food 

Foam Head on Beer - Port Franks Getaway, Ontario Tour
Foam Head on Beer

Anderson Craft Ales We’re a family owned and operated brewery proudly brewing out of London, Ontario. We pride ourselves on crafting small batch, handcrafted, premium beers without compromise that we know you’ll love; from our family to yours. –more info Tip: The Cream Ale is a Gold Medal Winner!

Bad Apple Brewing Company“We’re Talking About Farm Fresh Fermentation Here People!” Stop by Bad Apple Brewing Company where you will be greeted by their brewer Jason Ingram and his father Sandy. Be prepared for a sampling of unique craft beers and genuine country hospitality! The Ingram’s will sweep you away with their story telling, first hand brewing knowledge and of course delicious beer! Come for a taste, leave with an experience! more info FYI: The tasting room is located in a Century old barn!

Cowbell Brewing Co.more info  

Curley Brewing Companymore info 

Forked River Brewing CompanyNothing brings people together quite like a good beer. Whether you’re in a pub, watching the game, or just sharing a brew with your neighbour, beer is one of the quintessential ingredients to great company. Made in London, Ontario, Forked River Brewing Company is dedicated to delivering consistent, flavourful brews made with care in the traditional craftsman manner with all natural, quality ingredients. Three local, award-winning home-brewers, all University of Western graduates, have teamed up to bring the Forest City the beer it deserves. We believe that our beer has the power to bridge people from all walks of life. Your enjoyment is our success, so raise your glass and here’s to all of us! – more info Tip: Check out the food pairings on their website!

Half Hours on Earthmore info 

Herald Haus Brewing Company – A heritage-inspired brewery in Stratford, incorporating local ingredients from the vast agricultural community that surrounds us. Our entire beer selection is based on historical Stratford and area memories. Owned and operated by Daniel J. Graver and team, we have renovated the historical Herald Building, former printing and newspaper office, into The Herald Haus Brewing Company. – more info Tip: The Taproom has a small menu of perfect bites to accompany the beer.

Refined Fool Brewing Co. – Now serving 2 locations! “We make craft beer in Sarnia, Ontario. Refined Fool is a group of teachers, creatives, blue collars, entrepreneurs, musicians and pastors who care about beer, business, Sarnia, and each other. We started out as a foolish bunch of backyard brewers using propane burners and frozen hoses and now we’re a real life microbrewery.” – more info Fun Fact: This microbrewery has really hip names for their brews like My Cousin Knows the Drummer, a hefeweizen.

Rusty Wrench Brewing Companymore info 

Square BrewSquare Brew is Goderich’s only craft brewery. We brew a rotating variety of beers and serve them up in our tap room for in house or takeout. Bring in your favourite food and stop in for a beer or just grab some to go. You can also find Square Brew beers at a variety of local establishments! – more info Tip: They offer up some great events so be sure to keep an eye on their calendar.

Stonepicker Brewing CompanyStonepicker Brewing Company is located 7143 Forest Road, Plympton-Wyoming, 4 km South of Forest.  Stonepicker Brewing Company opened its doors to the public Labour Day weekend for the first time. The crowds came in and we had lineups at the door and have been going quite steady ever since! We serve many varieties of beer including blonde ale, lagers, ipas and a stout.   We also brew seasonals you can taste at the brewery.   We have cool names for our beer that go with the farm theme of the brewery.  Farmer’s Tan, Crop Tour, Big Red 9350 (names after a tractor) are just a few of the names.  Our beer is also sold in approximately 25 restaurants in the area. We also sell merchandise, ball caps, t-shirts as well as glasses and sample glasses at our brewery.  We have entertainment nights almost every weekend and now we are organizing food events once a month.  These events have been very successful in bringing out the crowds.  We are gearing up for the supper as the tourists should be coming in at that time.  Come on out if you haven’t already! – more info  – Tip: Not sure which brew to order? Order a flight and try them all!

Storm Stayed Brewing Co. – Storm Stayed Brewing Co. is located at 169 Wharncliffe Rd S in London, ON, nestled between Old South and The Coves neighbourhoods. The bright, airy taproom serves as a neighbourhood hub, welcoming all ages to relax with friends and family, play a board game, and enjoy a wide selection of beers crafted on site. Family-style tables encourage interaction, and all public spaces have been designed with accessibility in mind. A menu of locally-sourced, house-made foods, including charcuterie, pretzels, and hot sandwiches, complements the beer. A selection of wine, cider, and non-alcoholic beverages is also available. more info Tip: Enjoy the simplistic edgy atmosphere in the taproom while washing a Pork Belly Bahn Mi down with a Hop Forward of choice.

 Cider Houses: Crisp Apples fermented to liquid perfection 

Cider Apples
Cider Apples

Twin Pines Orchardsmore info 

Have you had the opportunity to visit any of the above wineries, breweries or cider house? Did I miss anyone? What was your experience? We welcome your comments below!

Ask about Private / Semi Private tours offered exclusively to guests staying at Port Franks Getaway - vacation apartments. 

Don’t Drink and Drive!



IZ Budget Hotel Kuala Besut

Heading to the Perhentian Islands? You may need a room in Kuala Besut, Malaysia

Common Area - IZ Budget, Kuala Besut, Malaysia
Common Area – IZ Budget, Kuala Besut, Malaysia

We arrived at the Sultan Mahmud Airport, Terengganu, Malaysia by 12:30 pm.
Pick up at the airport was slick; no luggage as we travel carry on only, so we simply walked out where our pre-arranged (by our motel on the Perhentian Islands, Suhaila Palace) driver was waiting for us with a sign! The 1 hour 40 minutes drive to the IZ Budget Motel in Kuala Besut cost 130 ringgit / €28.10 / USD$31.77.

Communal Area - IZ Budget, Kuala Besut, Malaysia
Communal Area – IZ Budget, Kuala Besut, Malaysia

Don’t forget to pre-arrange checkin time because it is by appointment. Located above a clinic in a commercial strip mall, there are cafes, restaurants, a supermarket, taxi stand and bus station all within immediate walking distance.

Bed - IZ Budget, Kuala Besut, Malaysia
Bed – IZ Budget, Kuala Besut, Malaysia

A very friendly young man, possibly the owners’ son, checked us in. The room is very simple with a double bed, a shelf by the NOT international receptacles, air conditioning, large window and a very Asian wet bathroom with cold water only.

Clothing hooks with hangers, 2 towels, 2 blankets,shampoo and shower gel were the available amenities.

A nice community area with sofa, chairs, fridge, water kettle, cups, iron, ironing board, sink and television is in the entrance area.

Receptacles – please do remember to have an adaptor with you as the receptacle are Malaysian only.

Bathroom - IZ Budget, Kuala Besut, Malaysia
Bathroom – IZ Budget, Kuala Besut, Malaysia

There is only cold water, so be prepared for a chilly shower. The noise level from the traffic is loud, and it goes all night. Probably can be muffled with earplugs, so remember to bring some if you decide to stay here.

Communal Area - IZ Budget, Kuala Besut, Malaysia
Communal Area – IZ Budget, Kuala Besut, Malaysia

Unfortunately, we were content until night rolled around and karaoke started blaring right under our window. We kept hoping it would stop, but 10 pm, 11 pm and midnight all came and went and the music still blared. It shook the building on this Tuesday night. We called the owner and he said he would send someone. By 12:30 they packed up and finally left us in peace.

IZ Budget Motel Cost: 70 ringgit / €15 / USD$17

Would I recommend it? If you are a very deep sleeper, yes. If you value/need your sleep, stay away. The price is right, even with cold water!

Perhentian Islands Malaysia

How to get from Kuala Lumpur to Pulau Perhentian Islands Besar, the big island and Kecil, the small island including costs. A step by step guide.

Kuala Lumpur Perhentian Islands, Malaysia - Transport
Kuala Lumpur Perhentian Islands, Malaysia – Transport

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur with a 3 hour flight from Bali.
After overnighting in an airport hotel, we flew to Kuala Terengganu where our pre-arranged driver picked us up. Our hotel, Suhaila Palace on Pulau Perhentian made the arrangement on our request.

The drive to Kuala Besut takes a little more than 1.5 hours.
We booked IZ Budget Hotel to give us the opportunity to grocery shop (Island food supplies cost double of mainland price) for one night.
Next morning transfer to the Jetty and Ferry across to the Island.

Clothing Appropriate, Public, Kuala Besut Jetty, Malaysia / Perhentian
Clothing Appropriate, Public, Kuala Besut Jetty, Malaysia / Perhentian

– Air Asia Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu €10 / US$12 pp
– Transfer Airport to Kuala Besut 130 MYR / €28.50 / US$32 Hint: Grab would have been a better deal at 95 MYR
– IZ Budget Hotel overnight 70 MYR / €15 / US$17
– Transfer to Besut Jetty FREE (from our pre-booked hotel, Suhaila Palace)
– Ferry to Perhentian Islands (return): 70 MYR pp / €15 / US$17; be ready for some chaos and waiting .

Total cost for 2 persons: €68.50 / US$78

For interest: our flight from Denpasar, Bali to Kuala Lumpur with Malindo Air cost US$50 pp.
In Kuala Lumpur we stayed in an airport hotel called the Bary Inn for 93 MYR / €20.50 / US$20 including airport transfers both ways! Excellent deal.

Also of Interest:
– Supermarket Pasaraya Pantai Timur – for water, noodles, snacks, mosquito repellent, sun cream and anything else you may want or need on the islands
Address: Lot 2812, Jai An Semiramis, Mukim Kuala Besut, 22300 Terengganu, Malaysia
+60 17-953 3620

Kuala Besut Jetty Boats, Malaysia; Perhentian
Kuala Besut Jetty Boats, Malaysia; Perhentian

– Best SIM for the Besar & Kecil Islands is CELCOM purchased at X PAX (across from the Chinese in the side street), 65 MYR for 20 GB + 10 GB. Although it does not work perfect all of the time, it worked most of the time and was 4G. Some other people used Maxis’s Hotlink and said it was also good.
We also saw strong advertising for Mspot, a pay as you use for MYR 1 per hour, but nobody we met was using it.


– buy alcohol at Chinese restaurant, B.Sakura Seafood Restaurant,131, Jalan Besar Kuala Besut, 22300, Besut, Terengganu

– Take cash, there are no ATM machines on the islands.

Kuala Besut Perhentian Island - Transfer Boat Ferry
Kuala Besut Perhentian Island – Transfer Boat Ferry

Ferry Departure times start at 8 am and go until 4 pm. Private transfers can be arranged for other times.

Of possible interest, but we did not do it: VIP Bus from Jetty to Kuala Lumpur 45 MYR, 7 hours.

Bary Inn Airport Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Within it’s price category, this hotel deserves a better star rating review than what you find online. The Bary Inn hotel Kuala Lumpur with airport shuttle, free parking, wifi and restaurant is simple but enough.

Lobby at the Bary Inn, Kuala Lumpur Airport Hotel
Lobby at the Bary Inn, Kuala Lumpur Airport Hotel

Our experience:
We wanted a room close to the airport due to a long day of travel, with shuttle, wifi and cheap, for one night. The Bary Inn, located a short 20 minutes away at No 1 Jalan 4, Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi Business Park, Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi, 43900 Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia seemed like a perfect choice.

Bill Summary - Bary Inn Airport Hotel
Bill Summary – Bary Inn Airport Hotel

Shuttle service included? Yes, but… We phoned the hotel at 4:50 pm to let them know we had arrived and they said the shuttle would arrive at 5:30, level 1, exit 3. We found the area by 5 pm and sat to wait. At 5:25 we called to reconfirm and they told us to call the driver. So we took the phone number and called the driver who said he would come at 6:30 pm. We called the hotel again and they said there was nothing they could do. We were tired from travelling and upset that we had to wait – not off to a good start. More about the shuttle further down.

Rather than waiting we ordered a Grab which finally arrived at 6:10 pm – on a different level, but ok. Cost 65 ringgit / €13.50 / USD$15.50. The drive to the hotel took around 25 minutes.

Simple but Fine, Bary Inn - Kuala Lumpur Airport
Simple but Fine, Bary Inn – Kuala Lumpur Airport

Check In was painless. Reception was friendly, reserved, maybe a little confused. He was not apologetic for the shuttle problem, rather wanted to get us to reserve it for the next day, I assume to avoid any further complications.

The Room: Not the Ritz, but value for dollar it definitely is. Clean, walls not too scuffed and a firm double bed with clean bedding. End tables, a desk with no chair, small tv, ceiling fan and air conditioning complete the small room with a highway window view. Yes, you can hear the traffic whizzing by, but it is muffled and I read there are rooms without windows, so traffic is not so bad. Lots of hooks to hang clothes is a thoughtful addition. Unfortunately, although there are international plugins / receptacles there is only one and none are by the bed, but there is a light switch. 2 courtesy bottles of water are included as is WiFi.

Comfy Bed - Bary Inn, Kuala Lumpur Airport
Comfy Bed – Bary Inn, Kuala Lumpur Airport

The Bathroom, is a simple bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower. Surprisingly, 2 single use shampoo packets and 2 small soap bars were available!

Clean Shower, Toilet and Sink - Bary Inn, Malaysia
Clean Shower, Toilet and Sink – Bary Inn, Malaysia

– 20 minutes from the airport
– Free shuttle
– Restaurants & Convenience Stores within walking distance

Outside View, Bary Inn, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Outside View, Bary Inn, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The shuttle worked great in the morning. Look for a white van with green Bary Inn on the left door and green Bas Persaran on the side.

Hotel Cost: 93 ringgit / €19.50 / USD$22.20
+  a deposit of 50 ringgit which we got back

Would I stay here again? Yes, it is perfectly located with only 20 minutes to the airport, clean and the price is amazing. Next time, I would make it very clear when our arrival is so there would be no complications with the shuttle.

Address: No 1 Jalan 4, Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi Business Park, Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi, 43900 Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia

Telephone+60 3-8706 4267

Eat: Restoran Al Zain
Address: G/F No 57, Jalan 4 Medan 120, Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi, 43900 Sepang, Selangor
If you are looking for something to eat within walking distance, down the street is a fair priced local restaurant serving Roti, Noodles, Chicken and more. We ate there (sorry, no camera with me, no photos); Nasi Ayam, Magi soup, lemonade, ice tea and a large water for 17.80 ringgit / €3.90
The place was very busy with locals and travellers alike.

Top Things to See & Do Ubud

Sit back, relax and watch the rice grow in Ubud, Bali.

The smell of burning incense, the constant drone of motorbikes and the huge warm smiles will have you relaxing in no time, however, if you need to be busy, look no further! Below is our top list of things to see and do.

Rice Fields, Ubud, Bali
Rice Fields, Ubud, Bali

Without any further adieu, here is our list of things to do in Ubud (in no particular order):

Jambe BudayaThe Barong & Kris Dance
A cultural highlight! The fight between good and evil – Balinese mythology with traditional dance and costumes
Time: 1 hour, 5 acts;   Cost: 100,000 per person / USD$6.75  /€6
Click the link above for more info and directions.

Barong Kris Dance Incredible Costumes - Bali
Barong Kris Dance Incredible Costumes

The Tegenungan Waterfall
Cost: 15,000 pp / USD$1  /€0.90
Busy place, beautiful waterfall

Tegenungan Waterfall, Ubud, Bali
Tegenungan Waterfall, Ubud, Bali

Tampaksiring (the town) or Pura Tirta Empul Temple – Holy Water Springs, Cost: IDR15,000 pp / USD$1  /€0.90
Be sure to take / wear your bathing suit (under your clothes)
Bathroom cost: IDR30,000 / USD$2  /€1.80
Sarong free – Must wear to enter
May not enter if menstruating
Long, winding exit through shops

Pura Tirta Empul Temple, Bali
Pura Tirta Empul Temple, Bali

Sacred Monkey Forest: Entrance 50,000 / USD$3.50  /€3
A wonderful walk through forest paths with monkeys everywhere.

Hang on Baby - Sacred Monkey Forest, Bali
Hang on Baby – Sacred Monkey Forest, Bali

Alas Harum Luwak Coffee & Swing: Free Entrance – you are given a wonderful tour of the facilities with information and tastings. Bonus: this is where you can go on one of those Instagram swing rides!
Super Extreme Swing (IDR200,000 / USD$13.50 / €12  for 15 “swings”), Extreme Swing (IDR150,000 / USD$10 / €9  for 15 “swings”) and Couple Swing (IDR300,000 / USD$20 / €18 for 15 “swings”)

Beans Roasting over an Open Fire - Coffee, Bali
Beans Roasting over an Open Fire

Eat & Drink: Of course, part of visiting a new place is trying local foods and drinks and Ubud is no exception. Try some traditional Bebek Betutu – Balinese duck, drink Bintang Beer and try a brew at Anomali Coffee – Cool vibe with a huge variety of coffees and teas including Single Origin; expensive yes, but worth a visit. For a list of places we ate, complete with our experience, visit my travel page > Indonesia > Ubud.

Bebek Betutu, Traditional Balinese Duck
Bebek Betutu, Traditional Balinese Duck

Stay: Your possibilities are almost endless! From hostels, to budget rooms to full luxury. The only deciding factor is your pocketbook. We stayed at the SenS Spa Hotel and can absolutely recommend it.

SenS Superior Room - Ubud, Bali
SenS Superior Room

Getting Around: Grab (similar to Uber) or Taxi; beware – at time of publication the taxi drivers were very angry people. We boycotted them (the taxis) based on one bad experience (overpriced, filthy old car with an unpleasant asshole driver). Grab cars are clean with very friendly drivers, at least in our experience)

We hired a man named Agung to drive us around; he actually made a 7 hour tour for us the one day at a very fair price. He drives a 7 passenger, air conditioned van and it was very comfortable. I recommend booking in advance as he keeps himself very busy!
His info – WhatsApp: 081236471884, Email: [email protected]