Two weeks in the province of Ontario – a place I left 20 years ago – and we spent it hopping from one town to the next, visiting family and friends for a few days at a time. Not too much time spent sightseeing; rather, lots of sit-down time over food and drink, reconnecting after years of being away.
First stop: a 24-hour visit with cousin Cam and her partner, James, at their lovely home in Newburgh.
It’s been almost 30 years since Cam and I have seen each other, so there’s a lot of catching up to do – and we do, over copious amounts of Labatt’s Blue, with our party of five (which includes Kim, whom we’ve followed in the car on the drive up from Montreal) making it a wee family reunion. Umpteen beers later, we decide we’re having such a good time of it, we should plan a much bigger family reunion next summer.
To his many skills, including storyteller extraordinaire and a wonderful sense of humor, James is a terrific chef, preparing us a huge Sunday morning brunch, giving us the energy for a walk about town and a look at why Newburgh attracted Cam and James to move here.
Ontario is limestone country, and Newburgh’s oldest buildings attest to the fact. First settled in 1822 along the river banks, it became a bustling mill town. But in a confluence of events that included a fire that destroyed its downtown in 1887, Newburgh’s industrial base disappeared, and so did most of its population. What remains is a quaint reminder of its 19th-century beginnings.