How to spend a day in Sarnia, as recommended by locals. (Chris Traber, Kitchener Post/Metroland Media, Feb 8, 2017)

If you’re fortunate enough to be visiting Sarnia, the largest city on Lake Huron, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Often and wrongly perceived by the uninitiated as merely a gritty petrochemical centre, the city across the St. Clair River from Michigan, is steeped in history, culture and an abundance of spectacular scenes of nature.

Hotels and inns in Sarnia

After a quick drive from London or Windsor, set up camp at one of the many chain or independent inns.

Familiar franchises include the Hampton InnComfort InnBest Western and Holiday Inn.

For more local flavour, have a look at The Drawbridge Inn (located downtown), The Harbourfront Inn (right on the waterfront) or the Twin Lakes Retreat Bed & Breakfast (close to area parks and trails).

For the budget conscious, the Lambton College Residence is available during the summer for a no-frills stay.

Restaurants in Sarnia

There’s no shortage of great and eclectic dining in Sarnia.

Delicious breakfasts are to be had at the Ole Country Diner. For a fun lunch go to Paddy Flaherty’s Irish PubLola’s Lounge or Norm’s Pub & Grill.

Settle in for dinner on the shore during the warmer months at Alternate Grounds Dockside, and for fine dining visit Maison St. Aubin and Big Fish Steak and Lounge.

Local attractions in Sarnia

To experience the region’s ample natural settings, trek, bike or roller blade through Canatara Park or The Howard Watson Trail or conservation areas, including Wawanosh WetlandsHighland Glen and Warwick.

Golfers can tee it up at Sunset GolfBright’s Grove Golf Club or Huron Oaks Golf Club, former stomping grounds of PGA pro Mike Weir.

Natural history buffs will revel in the Stones ‘n Bones Museum in downtown Sarnia where you can spend hours looking at various exhibits including minerals, fossils, rocks, gems and other rarities.

For family fun during the warmer months, Macklin’s Farm Produce offers pick-your-own produce, while Korny Korners Adventure Farm offers a full day of kid-friendly activities.

If shopping is more your speed, you can peruse unique downtown businesses including Grace Brothers AntiquesGourmet PassionsCheeky Monkey Record Store, and Comme Moi Boutique.

Arts and culture in Sarnia

Art lovers can stop by the downtown culture district to experience what the local artistic community has to offer. Along Christina St, you’ll find the acclaimed Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery with its collection of contemporary Canadian artwork, and the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts which hosts art exhibitions and an open stage for local performers.

The International Symphony Orchestra performs at the Imperial Theatre, also located downtown. In addition to symphonic concerts, the Imperial Theatre stages professional dramatic productions .

Just a quick drive from downtown Sarnia is the Gallery in the Grove in Bright’s Cove, which puts the spotlight on emerging local artists.

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