L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.
I’m guessing you’ve heard the expression, “Right under your nose!” Who hasn’t? Quaint little articulation, “Right under your nose!” We’ve all heard it before and probably as commonly have dismissed it as trenchant as an old pocket watch suspended under a glass dome. Well, I’m telling you there’s something to it, it’s not just a quip. Everything you’ve been looking for is right under your nose and you don’t even know it! And here’s the thing, I have the proof because that’s precisely what happened today!
When we nosed the car out of the garage and onto the highway towards Carleton Place around noon today, we hadn’t anticipated anything more or less than a casual tour to Kingston for a late lunch. We certainly didn’t expect to come home this evening with a self-satisfied grin upon our faces. All that changed in remarkably short order.
We turned left from Highway 7 in Carleton Place onto the road to Smiths Falls, intending to take Highway 15 all the way to Kingston. Normally we whiz through the green fields of Lombardy, chatting about our personal affairs while absorbing the latest intelligence from the BBC, not stopping for anything until we get to Kingston and park the car. But on this occasion nature began to overtake me just as we crossed the municipal boundary into Kingston. I dryly informed my passenger I was looking for a secluded country road where I could stop to void my bladder. When I saw a sign for Washburn Road I decided that was it. We accordingly slowed and turned off the highway onto the narrow rural road. While it started off with promise (that is, lots of trees and no houses) we were astonished to land almost immediately upon what looked to be a tidy and sprawling public park.
It was Lower Brewers Lock 45 on the Cataraqui River. The good news was there was a sign for a public washroom so we abandoned the tourist instinct momentarily first to check the facilities.
Having relieved myself of the distress, I emerged from the water closet far more buoyant concerning my future in general and Lower Brewers Lock in particular. My immediate instinct – apart from capturing the views with my camera – was to marvel at the serendipity of having stumbled upon this thoroughly delightful spot (which turns out to be a National Historic Site) on a tiny back road in the outreaches of South Frontenac County. I subsequently learned that in this sequestered area there are some exceptionally distinguished properties including a grand residence built of 110 tons of locally quarried stone. Who could have imagined!
When we arrived in Kingston we parked along the road which borders the St. Lawrence River not far from the Town Hall. Though Kingston bustles with activity there is seldom any annoyance about finding a place to park.
Kingston has an uncommon number of appealing retailers, including locally produced beer, olive oil, leather goods and of course food. We also found on nearby Princess Street an Apple™ dealership which wasn’t swarming with teenagers. The young lead salesman Josh (blond hair, keen gaze and a winning Australian accent) provided helpful and honest advice regarding in particular my enquiries about the latest iPad devices. At another location we subsequently diverted ourselves with a tour of a walk-in cigar humidor where the selection of cigars, tobacco, pipes and accessories was nonpareil. I even stumbled upon a ladies’ clothing and accessories store where I purchased an alluring Treska bracelet for my dear sister.
As the object of our mission today was luncheon, we then made our way to Dianne’s Fish Shack and Smokehouse. The place is kitty-corner the Town Hall which means it is located in the prime tourist area. Our fortune to be there mid-afternoon and mid-week worked in our favour. There was only one other couple already seated upon our arrival (though the tempo picked up very quickly as the hour approached five o’clock). The experience at Dianne’s was surprisingly reminiscent of a visit years ago to a bistro in Greenwich Village, New York City. In particular the obvious seafood menu imparted the same nautical sensation as the Atlantic flavour of New York City; and the quality of the production was equally fine. We each had a dozen oysters followed by a superb lobster roll. Really! What could be better!
This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve surprised ourselves to discover exceptional diversity right under our noses! Anyone who imagines it is imperative to go far afield for pleasing entertainment need only look around. Another gem hidden far from sight but readily accessible is the Opinicon Resort in the Rideau Lakes. The main structure on this property is a rambling grand cottage with creaky wooden floors in the tradition of Lake Muskoka and the Beaumaris Yacht Club.
There is also the Ivy Lea Club near Gananoque. On a pleasant summer day the patio dining adjacent the well-appointed marina is a delight! Otherwise inside dining overlooking the St. Lawrence River is sure to please. The food in both venues is superb!
Never overlook the charm and high quality menu at Cedar Cove Resort on nearby White Lake. The surrounding Arcadian scenery from the Village of Pakenham to Cedar Cove Resort is of the first water. And the road is newly finished.
For anyone looking for a very pleasant afternoon, it’s right under your nose! The summer is ideal for these ephemeral highly rewarding outings!