Saturday, August 08, 2009

Hi. How's your day goin'? Mine? Just fine; thanks for asking. Have a seat for a bit and I'll tell you a story about a recent trip I took with my wife.

Early last week, or maybe later in the week before, we decided to cross the border into Canada and visit the beautifully preserved 19th century village known today as Merrickville. Our intent was to go over Wednesday,have lunch, spend the night at Sam Jake's, have a spa treatment the next day, oh and work in a little shopping. We did all that and more. We stayed an extra night just so we could stay in a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian bed & breakfast.

Merrickville came into being in the 1790s when a man named William Mirick built a saw mill along the shores of the Rideau river to harness the rapids there. For nearly 100 years a thriving industrial community grew up on the shores of the Rideau making use of both the river's power and as a transportation avenue. In the 1880s the railroad was the progress that spelled the wasting away of Mirick's Mills prosperity. This decline, common to old industrial towns, continued until the 1960s when a group a historians with help from Canada's federal government began the restoration of this historic "Jewel of the Rideau," Merrickville.

From our cottage on the St. Lawrence river it's a 45 - 50 minute drive to Merrickville; depending on the line at Canadian customs and if there is any road work going on
After parking our car, we walked the couple blocks to the Yellow Canoe restaurant for lunch. Everything in the village is within walking distance. The population of the greater Merrickville vicinity,according to the 2007 census is 2, 867.
D. ordered the frittata special, and the roasted red pepper soup. I had the Blue Cow: thin slices of roast beef, alfalfa sprouts, thin sliced avocado on olive bread, and the lentil and lime soup. We had a local merlot from Pelee Island winery. For desert we shared a date square, Scrumptious all around. In every establishment, locally produced products only were offered for sale; when possible.

While waiting for 3pm check-in to roll around we strolled the village streets taking in the ambiance of the Canal, the sidewalk stores and village homes. we adopted the slower pace of the 1860s to assist us in imagining ourselves back in those times.

At three o'clock we checked into Sam Jake's Inn which in 1861 was the home of Sam Jakes. The decor is in keeping with the decor one would enjoy in the 1860s.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent exploring all that the village had to offer. We spent time at the Locks and taking in the placid views of the Rideau Canal and the enormous pleasure cruisers docked in the Marina. We strolled the streets admiring the restorations to building after building, many of which are still private homes. In our meanderings we crossed the bridge on Mill Street and wandered around the remnants of Mirick Mills industrial complex of 1793. A block or so after that we came upon a Queen Anne Victorian home, built in 1845, which has been converted to a B&B. We decided then and there that we'd stay an additional day just so we could spend a night in this beautiful home.

We stopped for coffee and espresso at Brewed awakenings, and browsed all the stores along St. Lawrence St.: souvenir shops, artist studios, glass blowers studios, and antique shops. Then it was back to Sam Jakes for supper and finally a stroll along the canal to catch the sunset on the Rideau.

Tomorrow we'll meet a girl from Moldova, eat french fries, check-in to a wonderful B&B, and happen upon a Jazz band.



Blogger Kay said...

Adorable place! Thanks for letting me wander around with you and D for a little while too!

1:58 AM  
Blogger Puss-in-Boots said...

I love trips like that to historic places. Loved that menu too!

Thanks for the tour, Rel. Oh, and fabulous sunset...

2:59 AM  
Blogger Pear tree cottage! said...

O! the history, O! the love and most of all Oh! that weather...why you had it all! while we sit here at the end of winter wishing it would all come to an end and our first daffodils would show us that spring is here......

I am not often here at your blog but I do truly love it when I am.


6:00 AM  
Blogger Michelle Johnson said...

What a beautiful place. Glad you guys had a nice time. Aren't places like these the ones where memories can be made? Nice post. Hope all is well.

8:05 PM  

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