Blueberry Rag by Jonathan Kravtchenko
September 20, Squamish, B.C- It’s no secret, Squamish’s popularity is on the rise and there are many reasons why. Travellers have discovered this gem adventure destination and know that each season brings something new. With the arrival of fall this week, Squamish continues to impress with its wide range of active activities and cultural events. Here are the top 5 seasonal highlights to choose from.
For information: www.exploresquamish.com/explore/aerial-adventure-park
It is not the first time we visit Perth and have lunch there, but the first time we had a chance to not just try the best foods in town, but learn some history of the architecture and get insight of top local scandals. The tour begins at the Matheson House Museum at 11 Gore St. East downtown Perth. The Museum is worth a separate visit – it is filled with numerous household items and furniture from the past. The Walking Food Tour is the first in its kind in Lanark County, and as we heard attracted a lot of guests since its debut last year when Perth celebrated 200th Anniversary. To get most of the tour make sure to have active start of the day and come hungry – you will have six-to-seven samples of local flavours varying from European cuisine to fancy desserts…
Every tasty dish comes with a piece of local history in a short story or anecdote form! We visited a lot of well established places and some that just recently opened – one of them is “Rocky River” well worth to mention here. They have beautiful shaded patio at the back that would be great on a summer day, but when we got there it started to rain, so we went inside.
Perth Walking Food Tour, table is loaded at “Rocky River”…
It took us a while there, the food was excellent, the rain was pouring, so we relaxed and enjoyed… Next stop was at the local brewery – what a busy place it was! We got a table by the window and waited for the rest of the rain to stop…
We eat so much of good food that decided that we didn’t want to have dinner!
If you are interested:
“The Perth Walking Food Tour” runs Saturdays from mid-May to the end of June, cost of $35 per person; beginning at 1 p.m. at the historic Matheson House Museum, at 11 Gore St. E. Perth, Ontario.
“Dancing Bass” Lodge – the the name says it all… the place should be rich for fish and all day water fun! It was so desired escape from the bustling life of the large city…
Dancing Bass Lodge is located in beautiful Lanark County, quite easy to access from major roads and only about 30 minutes away from Ottawa!
There are only a couple of cottages that are currently available for rent and those are located on the shore of the Lower park Lake. The location provides for the endless view of the lake surrounded by the forest…
From the terrace of the cottage we watched nice sunsets and could not stop admiring the tranquility of the coming evening – only some random sounds of the bird or loons…
Early in the morning when one could see the light fog over the surface of the water we would grab out fishing rods and set up right on the small pier with hope for a catch. The lakes are rich for various fish and if you have enough patience you won’t go away with empty bucket!
Back in 60s The Dancing Bass Lodge was a fish camp with 10 Log cabins. The current management took over about 10 years ago and they are doing an excellent job in rebuilding the old log houses. The cottage has all new furniture, large bathrooms, bright all equipped kitchen with dishwasher and wood stove in the living room for cooler days.
The original farm house from the late 1800’ still sits on the property, along with a sugar shack and barn, it is located on the border of two lakes, Lower Park Lake and Horne Lake.
Dancing Bass Lodge is currently offering two completely refurbished cabins to rent for a minimum of four days from on or about June 1st to the 15th of October. Make sure you call them for best directions from the main road!
To make a reservation https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/14296437 email firstname.lastname@example.org; phone : 613-259-5713 or 602-421-1066
Every summer we try to make a few local trips to explore our province and one of the regions we love to visit is Lanark County, which offers perfect combination of small towns, cottages on the beach and wild life. And after spending couple days in the cottage (“The Dancing Bass” Lodge cottage) we went to Perth for some shopping and lunch.
That lunch was a very special treat for us! Based on the art of Famous Canadian Group of Seven Chef Jamie Troutman from “The Stone Cellar” created the menu that interprets various elements present in paintings in “edible art”. Hours of research made it possible to reflect the famous Canadian art in the fine Canadian cuisine. In his creations Jamie is using the true Canadian ingredients coming from local farms. Chef Troutman, as per his own words, using the “deconstruction of the elements” from art into cuisine.
The shot glasses made of clear ice represent the art of Lawren Stewart Harris, who was criticized as being cold, but in fact deeply spiritual and one of the skilled abstract painters.
From ice and cold we suddenly surrounded by flowers and greenery of “Tangled Garden” by J. E. H. MacDonald – Jamie Troutman’s sunflower salad full of summer colours and fresh herbs… MacDonald’s art is distinguished by dark palette, tough, rich and at the same time elegant design. And Jamie is using the dark of the stone slab as background for the splash of colours…
From flowers and greenery of the garden we travel to Nova Scotia with help of another Jamie’s culinary creation based on “Nova Scotia Cove” again by J. E.H. MacDonald. Scallops and wild rice combined in a beautiful setting with shells to represent seashore…
We keep our taste buds tuned as next we get served Canadian beef – so tender! …accompanied by some root vegetables… chef’s creation based on the painting by Arthur Lismer “Habitant Farm”…
Lanark County is well known for Maple Syrup producers and it would be logical to find this unique Canadian product in local cuisine and famous art.
If you decide to indulge in creativity and fine cuisine make sure to make a 48 hours reservation, and if so, you may need to find a fine place to stay. Luckily the area offers a good variety of hotels – one of our favourites is “Perth Manor” which offers classic architecture, cozy rooms, beautiful garden and friendly atmosphere.
The Stone Cellar Restaurant Address: 71 Gore St E, Perth, ON K7H 1H Menu: thestonecellar.com Reservations: opentable.com Phone: (613) 267-0200
Perth Manor Hotel Address: 23 Drummond St. West, Perth, ON Phone: (613) 264-0050 and if this one is not available –
Best Western Plus Perth Parkside Inn & Spa Address: 82 Peter St, Perth, ON Phone: (613) 326-0082.
Puppets with Noreen Young
Last summer we planned to visit the International Puppet Festival, which is held annually in Almonte, Ontario. Unfortunately this year’s Festival was cancelled due to shortage of funds – however we found out that it is possible to have a puppet making workshop, which was a very attractive idea. We stayed in the Blue Hen Farm B & B, which is not far from Almonte, so we signed up and could not stop discussing various ideas for our puppet characters. Some of you may remember the TV shows with Noreen Young and her famous puppets… Well, I never even thought that one day I will be able to meet all of them in person! Even more – make a puppet with my hands!
When we came to Noreen’s house she greeted us at the door and we went to her workshop in the basement and saw her show room… It was SOO COOL!!! All her puppets were there including Gloria, Jacob and Iggy from “Under the Umbrella Tree” episodes. There were a lot of various characters, all dressed up and ready for the show time! For a moment it felt like I am part of this colourful crowd and we can chat any nonsense!
My favorite puppets from Noreen’s collection are the ones with an arch for the head and you move the sticks as your hands or feet – it was so funny!
After giggling and laughing we went to the room to make the puppets… We started with the mouth… then added the head… Noreen said don’t think about the character now – It will come by itself! We took her advice and just followed our inspiration!
At about noon we had a break for quick lunch and went to town shopping. Our newborn puppets needed some clothing! There is a store in Almonte called “The Hub” – what a treasure chest – we found a black suit, a dress, couple pairs of pants, pair of shoes… – all we need in 20 minutes and of perfect size (for a puppet of cause)!
And as Noreen suggested, we all made different very original characters and we had so much FUN!!!!!!!!!
After the four and a half hour drive from downtown Toronto we arrived at the Blue Hen Farm. Right at the turn we saw an old cupboard filled with jars of homemade preserves and a sign “Honk for Service”… And we saw the farmhouse in the opening between trees.
Farmers Jeff and Leslie greeted us and as we entered the house we were amazed by the old fashioned setting of the rooms – furniture, chandelier and even the old upright piano that produced some wonderful melodies after our evening meals…
Leslie and Jeff used to live in Ottawa and have jobs as many of us do… The idea of farming came up after some changes in jobs and also as a result of research of the food industry, commercial farming and agriculture.
Later, after getting settled in our rooms we headed down for dinner made by Chef Kostas who came out to tell us about the ingredients he used in his cooking, the dinner was amazing and filling.
As farmers do every day after dinner, we went into the barnyard to help with evening chores.
We found all the work surprisingly entertaining; we unloaded some 20 stacks of straw that will be used as bedding for the animals, fed the calves and pigs, brought the sheep and goats back to the barn and herded the chickens into their coop.
Once the chores were done, tired we went to our bedrooms; may be the mattresses were so comfortable or the day was long – falling asleep was no problem at all.
In the morning we woke up around half past six to the mouthwatering smell of bacon and eggs…
And after breakfast we went to the yard to do morning chores which repeats the evening in the back order – letting the sheep and chickens out, showering and feeding pigs… and saying hello to all of the farm animals.
The goats are very young and new to the farm and don’t know the barn yard, so they we carried to the pasture like babies!
Although all of the chores seem like quite a lot to do, they were our favourite part of the day. We also found that doing chores and waking up that early in the morning was very refreshing which was useful since we had a long day ahead of us. We found all of the animals so cute… and especially the three kittens that roam around the barnyard. There are also two dogs that help farmers by guarding the barn yard from foxes and other invaders.
Leslie and Jeff ask that visitors do not bring or wear any fragrances on the farm including mosquito spray, however they do supply their own free of charge so that you do not get bitten by pesky flies. Leslie makes her own natural soap – I found it very smooth and took a little piece home as a souvenir. Around the house we also found natural fragrances, bug spray and soap – all handmade from natural ingredients that smell like summer fields…
Their mission statement is free range thinking, meaning all of the animals are free to roam the field and raised with no antibiotics or chemical supplements at all. “Being a novice in such a tedious business as farming should be challenging for city folks” – I asked… yes, and they learn every day.
We also had a chance to learn – about how to feed pigs and chickens and how to take care of sheep and goats; we would join Leslie to let the animals out of the barn with the first rays of sun and get them all back in the evening…
For us it was just two days – but these days were filled with smiles and laughter, delicious homemade meals and that feeling of love and happiness…
We took a lot of pictures that will remind us about this wonderful place and people that are so enthusiastic about what they do. Thank you Jeff and Leslie for teaching us some very basic skills that we miss in our city life!
So, time to leave The Blue Hen Farm… I think I saw tears in some eyes…, we hope to come again.
After lunch at the (nearby) Boston Pizza, we came in to the Bingeman’s Big Splash. After changing into our bathing suits we stepped out on to the deck exited about all of the slides that awaited us. They had many slides to choose from and better yet, the height restrictions are very reasonable so that everyone can go (most of the required heights are around forty inches). My personal favourite slide was the Cyclone.
Over all, the park quite fairly spread out which makes it feel like there is less of a crowd, there also is a big wave pool
which has a shallow end
and a deep end however the tubes have to be rented for five dollars each and Cabana rentals are also available, another thing to note is that most of the rides are one person at a time, however there are a couple that two people can ride on at the same time.
We highly recommend that you try it out especially if traveling with young ones.
Overall it is the most fun water park in the region.
By Jonathan K.
As soon as we knew that we are going to CTRL-V we were so impatient that could not wait for 8 pm! The dinner took so long… Finally at 8:10 pm we arrived at Ctrl-V – Canada’s first virtual reality arcade that was opened in Waterloo just recently. We walked in the first set of doors… First the parents had to sign the waver for safety reasons… after the wavers we watched the helpful demonstration video… and finally were ready to start! My first game was “Climbey”. I had a tutorial, also the staff helped me to figure out walking and climbing techniques. After playing “Climbey”, I choose a game where you pick a song and with your controllers you bump to the beat of the song – I chose “Shake it off” By Taylor Swift. It was a good exercise. My about an hour experience felt like ten minutes…
By Anna Sophia
Needle Felting with Peg Learn
After spending the day in Almonte, we arrived at the Blue Hen farm for a felting workshop presented by Peg Learn ( Learn Creations). She greeted us with a big smile, hand holding a large red dragon made from felt pieces … Surprisingly felting is much easier than it may look; everyone was given a felting needle, a foam pad and of course some colourful wool. Since we are the beginners Peg suggested that each of us make a simple Halloween pumpkin. The process is started by taking wool strands and using the needle to compress the wool together by poking it and combining into a ball. The pad is used to rest the material while using the needle. It was quite entertaining and after we got the pumpkin form down we started customizing our pumpkins in different ways. I put a French mustache on my pumpkin while others placed eyes, and/or smiles..
It was very fun and informative and we highly recommend it as something to do while in the area. Peg also told us about her experiences in felting competitions where the winner receives many pounds of felt, which means a LOT of felting fun! And according to Peg ” It is the most fun when you can have stabbing something repeatedly and legally” … It was a great eye opening experience that made something that appeared hard quite easy to learn.
If you wish to learn felting and have really fun workshop with Peg, her contact is: www.facebook.com/learncreations.
By Jonathan K.