A Good Home, Canadian Village Life, Villages

Two Days in Creemore

I’m a country girl. Born in the country, raised in the country, I love country villages and rural areas.

So I was glad to visit the village of Creemore, northwest of Toronto, last weekend. My husband, younger daughter, son-in-law, pet chug Julius and I stayed in a small farmhouse owned by friends of our older daughter.

Blog Photo - Creemore Luaren at the farm

Blog Photo - Creemore Julius at the farm

Blog Photo - Creemore Dan and Julius inside farmhouse kitchen

We were surrounded by farmers’ fields, woods, birdsong, flowers, crickets and spectacular views.

It was also the weekend of the vintage festival and the village was dressed up for the event.

Blog Photo - Creemore bicycle with flowers

Blog Photo - Creemore signs

Blog Photo - Creemore vintage fashion show

Blog Photo - Creemore singers and radio booth

Blog Photo - Creemore church st lukes

Blog Photo - Creemore father and son on street

Blog Photo - Creemore woman takes photo on street

We walked along Creemore’s main street, stopping to make small purchases in the stalls and stores or to eat and drink. Creemore’s beer is deservedly famous.

Blog Photo - Creemore four

Blog Photo - Creemore springs Brewery copper vat

At Chez Michel restaurant, the food was excellent and the staff attentive and friendly. 

Blog Photo - Creemore Group Photo at Chez Michel

 In fact, everyone we met was friendly. We chatted with many people and — as you can see, above, we were happily photo-bombed by some!

Blog Photo - Bakery and Cafe

Blog Photo - Creemore brakery sign about unattended children

Creemore has that homey feeling that I associate with my favourite villages and small towns. (And yes, that’s really a cup-and-saucer chandelier below.)

Blog Photo - Creemore bakery chandelier with cups

Blog Photo - Creemore friends meet in bakery

Blog Photo - Creemore sign in bakery - WIFI

But like most rural villages, Creemore needs outside support to thrive. Events like the vintage festival attract visitors and locals alike.

Blog Photo - Creemore Vintage Festival sign

Outsiders who have fallen in love with Creemore also help by building/buying houses there and spreading the word among their networks. 

Blog Photo - Creemore sign things to do

Well-known interior designer Sarah Richardson and her husband are among the influencers who are big Creemore supporters.  Sarah, one of HGTV’s stars, renovated a home in the village for her TV series, and she and her husband recently built and moved into an “off the grid” house in Creemore — also televised.

Blog Photo - Creemore girl on fountain statue

When it comes to helping our villages survive and thrive, every bit helps.

__

Thanks to Hamlin Grange and Dan Leca for the beautiful photos.

A Good Home, Amaryllis in Bloom, An Honest House, Architectural Conservancy, Architecture, Architecture and Design, Authors, Bond Head Harbour, Country Homes, Family Stories, Heritage Homes, Historic Bond Head, historic neighborhoods, Homes

This, That and The Ebor

 

There’s this: a crop of summer-blooming Amaryllis, a huge flower that normally blooms in winter — unless you’re like me and forgot the bulbs in the cold room until recently….Blog Photo Red Amaryllis2

Blog Photo Amaryllis Red and White

Then there’s this darling photo of Mr. D. and Mr. JC. 

Blog Photos JC and Dawson

Then – for a change of pace – these two vintage cars….

Blog Photo Ebor House doors open 16 jpgEH

In front of my favorite 17-room mansion, Ebor House…

You may remember that time I got lost and ended up sipping tea in a stranger’s kitchen in his beautiful old mansion…. 

Ebor House was built in 1868 by the Farncombs, a remarkable English-Canadian family which counted two Lord Mayors of London, England, as close relatives.

Blog Photo Doors Open Ebor House

Well, there I was at Ebor House again last Saturday, and this time, for a very different reason.

Ebor House was a highlight of Doors Open Clarington.  The architectural conservancy event features many beautiful heritage buildings in Clarington. And I was the author guest, invited to speak about my books, share my knowledge of Ebor House and also the Farncombs’ history.

Blog Photo Farncomb Legresley

While I was in one room, “Farnie”, great-grandson of the Farncombs, was in another room, charming visitors with tales of growing up at Ebor House. He inspired me to keep going: his energy was so radiant! 

Well over a thousand visitors — including a few cyclists- visited Ebor House. 

Blog Photo Doors Open Cynthia

It was a lovely day.

The volunteers (including Leo Blindenbach, who was in charge of the Ebor House site) were organized and gracious — as were the owners, Andrea and Nav.

Thanks to MaryAnn Isbister, whose excellent work turned my 6-part blog series on Ebor House into a full colour booklet for the event. Organizers Bernice Norton, Marilyn Morawetz, Leo and the rest of the team should be very proud! 

Bravo, all of you!

 

 

 

 

A Good Home, An Honest House, Book Blessing and Launch, Book launch, Book lovers, Canadian Authors, Canadian Books, Canadian Homes, Canadian life

Book Blessed and Launched

Last weekend, my book was blessed and launched.

By our priest, Rev. Canon Claire Wade at St. Thomas’ Anglican in the village of Brooklin, Ontario

Book Photo at Launch Rev Canon Claire

And our church community, family and friends

Book Photo at Launch with Reader D

At 9.a.m in the morning of a long weekend, no less!

Book Photo at Launch Cynthia Reading

It was a full house. The food was great, the speeches were short, and I didn’t stutter or cry while reading.

Book Photo at Launch Small Group 4

Book Photos at Launch small group smiles

Book Photo at Launch Group applauds

Book Photo At Launch with Jane .JPG

Thanks to Hamlin for the photos and to publisher Don Bastian for his beautiful speech below:

Book Photo at Launch Don B
Publisher Don Bastian

“I’ve attended many book launches, but this is the first book blessing I’ve ever heard of.  I think there should be more of them!

In my experience as an editor and reader, memoir writers fall into one of two camps.

In one camp are those who create a book. Their book falls somewhere on the spectrum from boring waste of space to keen insight into a life well spent. But in the end, all they have created is a book.

Book Photo at Launch Small Group 3

 

In the other camp, and this camp is less populous, are those who create a book, of course, but who also create a world. In some mysterious way, in telling the story of their own life, they tell the story of their readers’ lives, as well.

I think you know into which camp Cynthia Reyes has pitched her tent.

Book Photo at Launch 2

Opening the pages of AN HONEST HOUSE is like opening a colourful gift. Yes, we do grapple with the pain we are subject to, having messed things up in the Garden of Eden. But we do get closer to the border of that wonderful garden. We are drawn into Cynthia and Hamlin’s literal garden and into their big-hearted marriage and church relationships and extensive set of friendships. And we are so much the better for it.

And so I am honoured to congratulate Cynthia on her new book. To congratulate her for displaying:

  • great skill as the writer of a book;
  • supreme artistry as the creator of a world;
  • and amazing grace to confer on us, her readers, honorary citizenship in that world.”

~~

Thank you, Don, Hamlin, Rev. Canon Claire, Sharon and everyone who took part.

 

 

 

A Good Home, Arabella Magazine, Author Cynthia Reyes, Book Clubs, Book lovers, Books, Books in the Garden, Gardens

Books, Gardens and Bob Marley

I can barely describe how marvelous it is to be the author-guest of a book club again.

I’ve been mostly at home since November – doctor’s orders – rarely venturing out.

But last year I’d accepted two book club invitations for this spring-summer and I really hoped to be able to carry through.  Well, hooray! I did.

Blog Photo - Book Club 1 2014

The first was hosted by Samantha (left) at her lovely Toronto home, where a very animated discussion took place about A Good Home.  The members knew the book very well, and were prepared for a great discussion. I loved being with them.

Thank you, ladies.

The second was The Ladies Literary Liquid Lunch.  (Great name!)

Blog Photo - Book Club Pool and Rock Garden

Blog Photo - Book Club Pond

 The club met in this garden in the countryside near Toronto.

Blog Photo - Book Club Lunch Preparations

Blog Photo - Book Club Linda with tray

Host Linda went all out to capture the Jamaican theme of A Good Home’s early chapters.

Blog Photo - Book Club Table Setting

She set the table in tropical colours.

Blog Photo - Book Club Table Setting CU

With colourful namecards.

Blog Photo - Book Club Name Card

And look at that coconut tree!

Blog Photo - Book Club Under Cocunut tree

As befits a book-club lunch in a garden, Shirley wore red and Sandy wore green.

Blog Photo - Book Club Shirley and Sandy

Members shared news. Joan and others took turns looking at photos of Linda and husband Daryl’s newest grandchild.

“What a sweet little face!”

Blog Photo - Book Club Linda shows Pic of Grandchild

It was time for lunch. A Jamaican menu, of course: jerk chicken, rice ‘n’ peas and a salad.

Blog Photo - Book Club Chicken and Rice

Daryl cheerfully manned the barbecue and played Bob Marley music — of course! That led other book club members to declare him “a hard act for other members’ partners to follow”.

Blog Photo - Book Club and Daryl

The club started “between 14-15 years ago” after one woman, Terri, posted a notice in the local library.

It’s an interesting group — from accountant Linda, to psycho-therapist Pam. There’s realtor Joan,  retired businesswoman Denny and several others.

Surprisingly, I discovered mutual acquaintances — like Debra Usher, my editor at Arabella Magazine.

Blog Photo - Book Club Iron Heron

It was through Denny’s local store in their small town that I got my first copy of Arabella, before the magazine even started publishing my feature stories. And here I was, meeting Denny in person and sharing that story with her!

Blog Photo - Arabella SpringSummer2

Pam, I discovered, is a member of the Heron clan of Heron Road in Ashburn, northeast of Toronto. I know the Heron family’s beautiful original homesteads.

There’s a democratic quality to the LLLL club. Every year, each member gets to choose one book for the club to read.

Blog Photo - Book Club discussion

‘Course, there was that time, earlier on, when everybody read and loved a well-known book. Then, Pam, who’d been silent, announced that she simply hated the protagonist.

Then there was the meeting where everyone had read the same book, but had mysteriously different ideas about the plot and characters. Partway through, they realized they were discussing three different books, all with the same title!

Blog Photo - Book Club and Cynthia

The group enjoys books, and each other.  They’ve even traveled together at times.

It’s yet another benefit of books – bringing people together.

As for A Good Home? The women had many questions, which I hope I answered somewhat intelligently.

And they loved the book. Thank goodness!

Dedicated to book club members everywhere.