One Long Lovely Summer in Eastern Canada: Wilderness, History and Celebrations near Kingston, Ontario

My 'home from home' for six weeks was this quaint little cottage on Dog Lake near Battersea, Ontario (as seen from a canoe!)

My ‘home from home’ for six weeks was this quaint little cottage on Dog Lake near Battersea, Ontario (as seen from a canoe at sunset!)

During the summer of 2015, I had a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a prolonged stay near Kingston Ontario, which is my home town.  For six weeks, I stayed in a familiar  rural setting and got to know it even better.  On the edge of the wilderness,I stationed myself for numerous idyllic summer days at one of the  cozy Three Little Cottages on Dog lake. These cute and comfortable cabins are owned by longtime neighbours and friends, Sharon and Will

The Freedom Farm is situated near the Three Little Cottages, and the home of proprietors Sharon and Will Freeman.

The Freedom Farm is situated near the Three Little Cottages, and the home of proprietors Sharon and Will Freeman.

Freeman of Battersea, Ontario. Their organic Freedom Farm, which is situated in close proximity to the cottages is the perfect complement to my Canadian quest for clean air, food and water!  While these dedicated farmers quietly toiled over about 30 varieties of produce for their clients of the Community Supported Agriculture program, I was able to observe the tending and growing process and occasionally devour the ‘fruits’ of their labours – with great pleasure!DSCF5773

There are lots of good reasons to spend time at the Three Little Cottages and Freedom Farm - I should know!

There are lots of good reasons to spend time at the Three Little Cottages and Freedom Farm – I should know!

Its somewhat remote location actually forms part of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere (FAB), which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. One of the biggest thrills for me in this place of  serenity and solitude was the abundance of opportunities to observe wildlife up close.  It was very exciting to be able to ‘shoot’ animals without ever disturbing them in their natural habitat.  For me, that was a new experience that I want to repeat!  A sampling of my encounters with wild four-legged and two-winged creatures is found below.

Bees happily buzzed around these hives on the Freedom Farm. They certainly had fields of plenty to make great honey!

Bees happily buzzed around these hives on the Freedom Farm. They certainly had fields of plenty in order to make great honey!

I nick-named this Great Blue Heron, 'Herman' because he seemed to want to get to know me. He certainly left his calling card - on my car and the roof of the cottage!

I nick-named this Great Blue Heron, ‘Herman’ because he seemed to want to get to know me. He certainly left his calling card – on my car and the roof of the cottage!

Little bunnies occupied the fields and lane ways - around the garden, of course!

Cute little bunnies hopped about the fields and lane ways – but they were not encouraged to hang  around the garden, of course!

OF course, some domestic animals occupied the Freedom Farm - ponies, dogs and a cat added to the homey feel of the place.

Some domestic animals occupied the Freedom Farm – ponies, dogs and a cat added to the homey feel of the place.

At daybreak, , a family of deer would sometimes come to the shore directly opposite the cottage for a drink.

At daybreak, , a family of deer would sometimes come to the shore directly opposite the dock of the cottage for a drink.

I caught this Pileated Woodpecker early one morning at Gilmour Point on Dog Lake.

I caught this Pileated Woodpecker early one morning at Gilmour Point on Dog Lake near Battersea Ontario.

It’s also an area renowned for fishing, and my brother and sister-in-law took advantage of that opportunity.  Edwin did catch a ‘big one’, but that is a story for another day.  I had fun watching them cast their lines – morning, noon and night!

Many days, I read books by Kingston poet laureate and author Helen Humphreys. I also took short excursions to nearby villages such as Westport, Glenburnie Latimer, Seeley’s Bay and Inverary.  These little

It's fun to look over the pretty village of Westport on Upper Rideau Lake from Spy Rock in the Foley Mountain Conservation Area.

It’s fun to look over the pretty village of Westport on Upper Rideau Lake from Spy Rock in the Foley Mountain Conservation Area. Photo taken by Edwin.

hamlets formed part of my childhood experiences  and I always enjoy returning to them.  Then there were times when I

There's always another 'big one' out there, and the many fishing enthusiasts on Dog Lake will tell you so!

There’s always another ‘big one’ out there, and the many fishing enthusiasts on Dog Lake will tell you so!

I caught Edwin and Beth casting their lines at the crack of dawn - ever hopeful for one that didn't get away!

I caught Edwin and Beth casting their lines at the crack of dawn – ever hopeful for one that didn’t get away!

drove half an hour south of the cottage near Battersea  to go ‘downtown’, as my family used to refer to outings to Kingston from our country location.

This year, I decided that it was time to refresh my memory about the history of my  beloved Limestone City, which was settled in the mid-17th century.  It was no coincidence that  my sudden

This regal statue of Sir John A. Macdonald figures prominently in the park named after him in Kingston!

This regal statue of Sir John A. Macdonald figures prominently in Kingston’s City Park!

interest in a local refresher was prompted by the celebration of the 200th anniversary (bicentennial) of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister.  Although he was not actually born here, he resided in Kingston, Canada’s first capital, for most of his life  He subsequently died in Ottawa, the current longstanding federal capital.  This visionary man was instrumental in developing a national railroad (from coast to coast) and, as a Father of Confederation, recognized that the country’s early cultural and regional differences  would ideally make an exceptional nation! He met with many pitfalls along the way (both personally and professionally), but he perservered, and  his ideas greatly influenced the kind of country that Canada is today!

I

There are a number of buildings around Kingston that were once occuspied by Sir John A. for personal or business interests. This pub was his law office. It's located on King Street East and offers good food at reasonable prices!

There are a number of buildings around Kingston that were once occupied by Sir John A. for personal or business interests. This pub was his law office. It’s located on King Street East and offers good food at reasonable prices!

caught up quickly on what was long forgotten in terms of my knowledge of this great Canadian when I took in the Salon Theatre Company’s top-notch re-enactment of the key events during Macdonald’s life in Kingston in an outdoor setting.

If you are in Kingston Ontario in the summer months, you've got to check out the Salon Theatre Company's super show on Sir John A.!

If you are in Kingston Ontario in the summer months, you’ve got to check out the Salon Theatre Company’s super show on Sir John A.!

The Salon Theatre Company offered a highly entertaining and instructional production called 'In Sir John A.'s Footsteps in downtown Kingston.

The Salon Theatre Company offered a highly entertaining and instructional production called ‘In Sir John A.’s Footsteps’ in downtown Kingston.

I thoroughly enjoyed the one hour performance by this professional acting troupe, and I could easily understand why they were rated a Trip Advisor top attraction in Kingston this past summer!

As this production further provoked my interest in reacquainting with my home town, I took a guided bus tour

Bellevue House in Kingston is afascinating museum that displays effects from the time when Sir John A. and his family lived there in the mid 19th century.

Bellevue House in Kingston is a fascinating museum that displays effects from the time when Sir John A. and his family lived there in the mid 19th century.

of the Limestone City, as Kingston played such a prominent role in the founding of the Dominion of Canada. The historic sites are all very significant and well worth the review.   As well, I heard more about our first prime minister.  Kingstonians are certainly proud of their Sir John A.!

The dome of Kingston City Hall (centre) and the spire of St. Mary's Cathedral (left)figure prominently as one approaches from Lake Ontario.

The dome of Kingston City Hall (centre) and the spire of St. Mary’s Cathedral (left)figure prominently as one approaches from Lake Ontario.

One another steamy day, I took the ferry from Kingston to Wolfe Island and back in order to get cooled off and to appreciate the lovely city from  its

Kingston is renowned for its excellent sailing conditions. It hosted the sailing competitions during the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

Kingston is renowned for its excellent sailing conditions. It hosted the sailing competitions during the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

important location at the intersection of Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and the Rideau Canal! Certainly the afternoon’s journey was most revitalizing. However, I did not take time to visit the quaint town of Marysville on the island, but will certainly do that on my next trip to Kingston.

The rehearsal studio at 'The Isabel' overlooks Lake Ontario. What a spectacular setting for musical and theatrical endeavors!

The rehearsal studio at ‘The Isabel’ overlooks Lake Ontario. What a spectacular setting for musical and theatrical endeavors!

It was a complete delight to take a guided tour of the brand new Isabel

I was very honoured to be taken on a tour of the Isabel Bader Center for the Performing Arts by its Director,Ms. Tricia Baldwin. I am very grateful to Ms. Faye Ransom, Senior Development Officer/Gift Planning at Queen's University for organizing this delightful visit.

I was very honoured to be taken on a tour of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts by its Director, Ms. Tricia Baldwin. I am very grateful to Ms. Faye Ransom, Senior Development Officer/Gift Planning at Queen’s University for organizing this delightful visit. Photo taken by Faye.

Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University.  As a graduate of the School of Music, I truly admired the state-of-the-art performance hall and attractive rehearsal space, both with world-class acoustics.  I was bold enough to sing a few notes from the stage and was completely amazed by the quality of the sound.  I envied current students, who I am sure will make good use of this facility.  I hope they will enjoy it as much as I would!

In fact, the entire summer seemed to be filled with joyous events and occasions.

Before the formal grad ceremony commenced, Mara played flute with the high school band. Behind her on alta saxophone is her brother Dallin (in the hat). They are both accomplished musicians!

Before the formal grad ceremony commenced, Mara played flute with her high school band. Behind her on alto saxophone is her brother Dallin (in the hat). They are both accomplished  young musicians!

My niece Mara was thrilled to receive the Governor General's Medal at her high school graduation for the highest average in academics.

My niece Mara was all smiles when she received  the Governor General’s Medal at her high school graduation for the highest  academic average at her high school .

It was an honour  as a proud Auntie to attend the high school graduation of my niece Mara, whose incredible academic accomplishments earned her the prestigious Governor General’s Medal, among other awards and  post-secondary scholarships.  She is a very humble, hardworking young lady, and I wish her much success in her university studies (at Queen’s!) and beyond.

A couple weeks after that ceremony, I was honoured to attend another milestone: that of the marriage of

It was a beautiful day in early July when my longtime friends David and John 'tied the knot' in a moving ceremony before 100 guests at their home in eastern Ontario.

It was a beautiful day in early July when my longtime friends David and John formally ‘tied the knot’ in a moving ceremony before 100+ guests at their home in eastern Ontario.

longtime friends David and John at their home in eastern Ontario.  Throughout that special afternoon, I was enveloped in the complete sensation of love and honour that prevailed throughout this unforgettable day.  I felt so proud to be one of the 100+ witnesses of their formal vows of commitment to each other.  The feelings of good will were definitely infectious.  I wish my dear friends happiness and love always.

I cherish this photo of me with my brothers, Edwin (l) and Marc from our Summer 2015 reunion.

I cherish this photo of me with my brothers, Edwin (l) and Marc from our Summer 2015 reunion.

Then later that summer, I realized a commitment that had been overlooked for several previous visits due to the timing of my stays in Canada. My nephew Dallin is an accomplished student actor who

Auntie Gwen delighted in the chance to spend a little time with her niece Mara and her nephew Dallin in the Summer of 2015.

Auntie Gwen delighted in the chance to spend a little time with her niece Mara and her nephew Dallin in the Summer of 2015.

has participated in a number of plays produced by the  Stirling Festival Theatre‘s Young Company in Stirling, Ontario. This year, I got to take in all the fun watching him and the cast singing and acting their hearts out in ‘Legally Blonde, The Musical’. After I saw the hilarious show for the second time, we gathered for a family reunion at The Black Dog Family Restaurant in Stirling, to top off the happy events of the Summer of 2015. We were all in fine form, and I have the photos to prove it!

After our gathering I drove back to the little cottage north of Kingston to spend what I thought would be my final week in Canada. As we now know, Tropical Storm Erika changed my plans and I got to enjoy a longer visit with family and friends. But before that happened, I felt  completely at peace with my commune with nature and the pervasive tranquility that enveloped me during my six week retreat at the Three Little Cottages.  I hope it won’t be too many summers before I can return there again!

But wait… there’s more! I haven’t told you about the adventures in Nova Scotia  with my relatives this past July!  Find out about my down-east fun times in the next post!

At summer's end, even the fishing fanatics have gone 'home'.

At summer’s end, even the fishing fanatics on Dog Lake have gone ‘home’.

One can get up close and personal with the granite shoreline when in a canoe.

One can get up close and personal with the rocky granite shoreline of Dog Lake when in a canoe. It’s part of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere (FAB).

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3 comments on “One Long Lovely Summer in Eastern Canada: Wilderness, History and Celebrations near Kingston, Ontario

  1. gwendominica says:

    Reblogged this on Ti Domnik Tales and commented:

    As the weather becomes decidedly cooler in Eastern Canada, my fond memories of time well spent in that locale this past summer are documented here . This is the second of three posts about my long lovely summer…elsewhere!

    Like

  2. Sharon says:

    Gwen, I love how you captured the beauty and tranquility of our surroundings! I enjoy seeing it through your lens. We look forward to your next visit.

    Sharon & Will

    Like

    • gwendominica says:

      Thanks Sharon! I have always enjoyed my stays at Three Little Cottages and am glad that my love of the place comes through in my words and photos. Of course, I have the best hosts too – you and Will – which makes for a perfect summer holiday!

      Like

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