Let’s Go to The Bend!
For anyone who grew up near Grand Bend (like me), you would recognize the call to action in the title of today’s post. “The Bend” is a summer haven of sandy beaches and kitschy 50’s style eateries on Lake Huron’s west coast. This is where you go to see and be seen driving down the main drag and along the historic beach front. As you might notice from the photo above, my visit happened on a somewhat dodgy beach day several weekends ago. But in The Bend, a threatening sky does not deter beach lovers! Or red headed photogs…
Grand Bend has had several names in past including Brewster’s Mills, Websterville and Sommerville. This leads me to believe if I had settled there in the late 1800’s it might now be called Hendersonville… 🙂 It is now known as Grand Bend due to the sharp hairpin bend in the Ausable River which runs through this community. On my recent visit I had a lovely lunch with my parents at Purdy’s Fishery (the Best fish and chips EVER!) and learned a bit of history about The Bend that I didn’t know, despite having grown up so close. Beside Purdy’s Fishery is a lighthouse with an historic plaque commemorating the sinking of the SS Wexford. In November 1913 the Great Lakes witnessed the worst storms to ever hit this region – a combination hurricane and blizzard that sunk 19 ships and killed more than 250 people. One of the wrecks was the SS Wexford recently found off shore just north of Grand Bend almost completely intact and sitting upright in 75 feet of water. The SS Wexford ran aground in the hurricane and lost all of her crew. It is now a magnet for divers looking for a glimpse of Great Lakes history. If you fancy learning more about this shipwreck and the “White Hurricane” of 1913, please see local historian Paul Carroll’s new book: The Wexford: Elusive Shipwreck of the Great Storm 1913, as well as these two sources here and here.
If you ever find yourself along Lake Huron’s western shore, drop in to The Bend. It is the best beach you will find just about anywhere. And don’t forget to grab some fish and chips and an ice cream cone. And oh yes, if you want to see a few snaps from my Grand Bend adventure, please visit Ginger Snaps here. Enjoy your weekend!